Everything was dark when he woke up. So dark he wasn’t sure he was alive. His back hurt like hell and his head was buzzing so much he fell straight on the floor as soon as he tried so stand up. It took him a good ten minutes to realize he was lying down on the cold steel floor and just as long to manage to stumble back on the softer, if not soft, space which he had used as a bed. He lied down, trying to focus. Where was he? What had happened? Where was Rachel? He couldn’t recall. He didn’t remember anything from what had happened during the last hours… No, not even from the last days…
That’s when it hit him, a sudden white flash and a searing pain, rapidly covered by a cry of agonizing cry which he would have thought was coming from him had he not a déjà vu feeling. No, he did not only not remember anything from the last hours; he didn’t remember anything at all. Not a thing, not even a glimpse of a memory…
Impossible… he thought at first. But as he tried to focus on the last recollections he had it seemed to slip away from his reach. But it wasn’t possible… He had heard somewhere, or at least he thought he had, that sometimes a severe trauma could create such experiences but never had he thought that is would happen to him. And what’s more never like that. What the hell was happening to him?!
He opened his eyes again, only to be greeted by an absence of light so real it made him shiver. It was like a moonless and starless night, like a void filled with nothingness. He was slowly shaking away the dizziness that had taken over him in the first minutes. Or was it hours? He didn’t know, this darkness was already altering his senses and taking over his mind. He was a bit breathless but it seemed to be caused more by the feeling of despair slowly creeping inside him than by an unbreathable atmosphere or injuries.
His ribs were hurting on his right side but that was mostly because he had fallen on the hard floor. The air was warm but not quite hot, it was still easily breathable, but it seemed to be getting hotter little by little. He was trying to grasp the situation he was in to calm down a bit. He tried to stand up but almost fainted as he did so instead he slowly sat up on the softer surface. It was a mattress, humid and used up but a mattress still. When he finally felt strong enough to stand up he lifted himself from the mattress and carefully walked around.
The floor was very cold compared to the air, it was almost freezing, he was glad to be wearing shoes for he didn’t feel the cold in his feet. It seemed to be made of some metal, steel if he had to guess, but he wasn’t sure. He walked straight forward to see where, or at least if, the place he was in ended somewhere. After only a few steps he reached a polished stone wall, the wall was as smooth as silk but as hard as the ground he was standing on. So at least he now knew he was not outside. He walked around to see how big the room was and roughly measured it to be eight meters wide and in the shape of a pentagon. He also deduced that the thing that he had been sleeping in, which one couldn’t decently qualify of a bed, was located in the center of the room.
He came back to sit on the mattress after a few minutes, sighing helplessly. He had found what seemed to be a door on one of the walls he had searched but it was as smooth as the wall and seemed to be as solid as a vault’s. As lied back down on the mattress which, he had guessed, was in the center of the room seeing it was approximately at the same distance from each wall, he was starting to give in to despair. Where was he? How did he end up here? Who was he? These questions were driving him mad.
He tried to scream for help, yelling at the top of his lungs but nothing happened. He had tried to hit every inch of the door and of the walls with his fists, his legs and his shoulders but to no avail, none of them had budged an inch. After what seemed like hours of hitting and shouting, praying and begging he had slumped down into a sitting position, his back to the cool wall, silently crying. The silence in the room was as oppressive as the reigning darkness; it seemed like an all-powerful force that was destined to crush his sanity. His best guess at the moment was that he was locked in some sort of vault or prison cell but it didn’t help him much, knowing that he was trapped without anyone, including him, knowing where he was…
The heat was slowly rising, he was sure of it now as he was starting to sweat. It seemed to be coming from the ceiling, or at least from the place here the ceiling should have been for he had tried to reach it but with no avail. Each time he had jumped he had felt nothing solid, only darkness in his hand and heat coming from whatever was up there. He was starting to panic again as he was thinking about his condition. Where was he? Was he even alive? Why was it all silent and dark? All these questions were repeating over and over again in his mind, each time a little louder. It was starting to drive him mad.
He decided to lie down to try and calm himself, maybe even sleep, apparently he really needed rest. He tried to grasp again at his fleeting memories, only managing to graze them a little before they disappeared in the depth of his mind. He remembered nothing. As he was thinking he came to that conclusion, it was improbable, unbelievable even, but he didn’t remember a thing. But something was strange, he remembered nothing from his past but yet, a few minutes ago, he distinctly heard himself think about a word. A single little word that came with a deep feeling of loss and agony, a simple word that he was trying to cling on to and that he now recited like a mantra.
The name of a woman he did not know but that left him crushed under his despair and at the same time a name that when uttered filled him with rage and renewed determination. The name of someone who once was dear to him but that had been taken away, a name that gave him hope. And he kept repeating it, again and again, so as not to forget it because he felt that if he let go of that sole link from his past he would forever be trapped in that dark and silent room. As he uttered it one more time he knew he had to get out of here, he did not know how nor if it was even possible but he had to. He had to for her.
The single word echoed throughout the room, reverberating on the walls and the floor as the man lying there, weak and on the verge of insanity, gave in to his exhaustion and fell into a long and dreamless sleep.