He closed his eyes.
That was interesting.
He felt more in touch with himself, somehow – with the third P: the Overseer. And maybe even the first one: the one that managed his body parts, at least, the motion and cessation of those parts: limbs and head and fingers and what have you. By concentrating, he could actually feel those body parts – become aware of them – and in some manner insert his consciousness into each different part. Maybe then he could gather them all up as a whole… It was even possible he might be able to tap into the biological P, the subliminal part of himself that generated his will to live and so forth – operated his heart and lungs and all the underlying functionalities of the living body…
For a moment, he felt it…something. And then it was gone. He opened his eyes.
How many seconds had passed?
Maybe such ruminations were dangerous; maybe they would limit the time remaining to him rather than add that extra dimension which was obviously required to help ease him out of his predicament.
The first – best – thing he could do right away was find the power source for the mobile phone (the tiny red dot of light was blinking now, as though it were fading away to nothing), that way he could access all sorts of information that might help him to survive.
He looked around the room for a cable.
He examined the plug sockets.
He opened some drawers.
Feeling exasperated and helpless, he remained still and closed his eyes again. Then he visualised the small black lead.
Following that short process, another – unbidden – image arose in his consciousness: that of a head of state being carted out of a building and a group in uniform clapping his exit. Then he saw a whole nation of people clapping their hands together. More than that, he could hear the clapping.
The clapping sound reverberated around the inside of his cranium.
Clapping, clapping, clapping. Clap, clap, clap.
Clapping like church bells or something.
A continuing, penetrating clapping noise.
Going like the clappers.
He wondered if that was why he was here in this strange, alien place.
Had he caught some kind of clapping disease? A disease that caused clapping to emanate from the head.
The clap! Had he caught the clap?
He smiled inwardly. His sense of wordplay had obviously survived the memory loss and might yet save him entirely. Who knew?
Was it a virus causing all the clapping, or was it some kind of purge, a vent – was the clapping intended as some magic ritual to fend off the disease?
Either way, it felt like he may have contracted the disease – contracted the clap.
A virus of some kind…
He opened his eyes once again.
The clock face was telling him – if he couldn’t save himself – he now had fifty seven minutes to live.