We're trying to escape a serial killer's apartment before he stops us.
I'm standing in a room, surrounded by things that aren't my own, though it looks like someone lives here. My friend Shannon is fumbling over a combination lock, while another friend, Taylor, and I try to figure out the numbers that give us the next clue to help us make our escape.
We're "trapped" inside one of the Memphis Escape Rooms, a new East Memphis attraction in which participants must solve puzzles and find clues to escape a room within a certain time frame. And, for added intensity, there's a fictional serial killer on the loose. The Escape Rooms opened to the public this week.
It's an adrenaline rush and mental puzzle, and it forces us to hone in on things we may have otherwise missed. The timer on the screen counts down from an hour, pushing us to work faster.
There is a bit of roleplaying involved. We're acting as police officers tasked with stopping The Mayflower, a serial killer who leaves an antique ship-in-a-bottle beside each of his victims. The Escape Room team lets us know prior to letting us into this room in the killer's apartment that we're there to fill in missing clues on how to apprehend him.
So we're not just trying to escape the room. We're figuring out the mindset of this deranged killer, too.
In addition to The Mayflower room, Memphis Escape Rooms has another room called "What's In The Box?," where players focus on finding a key to unlock a box left behind by the wealthy and recently deceased (and fictional, of course) Mr. Merryweather. Both rooms are intricate and require cooperation, logic, and persistence from all parties.
The Memphis Escape Rooms — co-founded by Memphians Keith Edwards, Stephen Lynch, and Ryan Hoover — were modeled after similar concepts in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Nashville.
There are only the two room scenarios for now, but Memphis Escape Rooms has plans to eventually add more rooms.
Memphis Escape Rooms recommends a minimum of four people per room, but up to seven people can play. Tickets are $20 per person, and seven tickets must be sold for a group to have the room to themselves. Reservations are required and can be made online at memphisescaperooms.com. The facility is located at 1010 June Road.
As for our own escape, well, we finally got out of the room — after the clock ran out. That's when the Escape Room staff came in to walk us through what we missed. Normally, when a team fails the challenge, the staff doesn't let the team in on missed clues, but we were so close that they felt compelled to clue us in.
We may not have completed the challenge, but nonetheless, we were proud and relieved; escaping the room is as hard as it should be.