Holding no awareness of location, presence or time, P must assemble fragments of the past, present perception and possible purpose to ensure survival. An inability to collect, collate and create from the surrounding environment will result in total oblivion. There can be no in between. Without an identity, P has a one hour countdown to annihilation.
There was a car accident.
There was sickness.
There was vomiting.
There was a loss of consciousness, but no concussion.
There was blackness as the car left the road and swayed across several lanes of fast-moving traffic from the middle lane across the overtaking lane to scrape the central barrier and back across all four lanes to wind up smashed against the barrier on the verge.
There was a tapping on the window.
There was a show of concern.
There was an explanation.
There was yellow vomit all over the dashboard and over his trousers.
There was a little Buddha.
A stone Buddha.
A stone Buddha on a window sill surrounded with flowers.
Yet it was winter.
Maybe late winter and approaching spring.
So maybe daffodils.
Or imported flowers from abroad. From somewhere in the south, maybe. Most likely.
There was a winter holiday in the Alps.
Yellow sunshine up on the mountains.
Hot grog and flaming braziers in a kiosk-lined market place.
The mobile was still blinking its little red light – its last red death throes – when it pinged and a little band lit up along the top, saying WhatsApp Message and in a line of glowing tiny green-white letters:
…on my way…
But who was on their way and where to? Without the power cable or PIN he was unlikely to ever find out.
He looked around the room: square, about five metres from wall to wall, painted perfect white, with four exits: one with a permanent-looking heavy wooden door leading to an ante-room and steps down to another imposing-looking door; an internal closure of two narrow wooden doors (from where he had emerged less than four minutes ago?); two similar-looking internal doors, but glazed, off two steps up into what was probably a kitchen; and two big sliding doors out onto a vertigo-inducing veranda.
It didn’t look like a room in a sanatorium, which was some kind of relief – wasn’t it?
It meant he was probably here under his free will – originally, at least. He wasn’t a patient of any kind. (That was a definite relief!)
He examined the low wooden table, and saw it unexpectedly contained a drawer. Inside the drawer was a sleek, silver-coloured laptop with a lead coiled beside it.
Yes! He was saved.
He took out the equipment and plugged it in to a socket on the wall and waited for it to come alive.
Boing! There it was…
And then, an error message and warning:
Repeated failed attempts to access this device. Power on and wait for two hours before attempting again.
Two hours! But he only had one hour to live. Less than one hour. In fact, fifty-six minutes was all that remained to save himself.
Follow the new instalment posted every Friday night GMT.