The first 10 minutes you were helpless, like anyone is: Gasping, lost still in the dreams of life on … where was it again? … hands clenched into helpless cramp-fists, writhing in pain.

As the cramps eased, the dreams faded, and with them any memory of the life you’d lived before awakening so abruptly. A few others had awakened at the same time – you heard their cries of alarm and pain, and thought them your own. They seem familiar.

  • * *

The room is a deep arc carved, it seems, from a single piece of yellow-gray metal. Every surface is covered with a light tracery of shapes and patterns, some resembling runes, some schematics; this tracery darkens and deepens in the thicker, load-bearing beams. A large, low desk covered in a cluster of similar writing commands the center of the room; the far wall is lined by what look like containers.

Behind you there are a series of heavily decorated niches; within four of these slumber people – if slumber is indeed the word. The gilded sunburst design etched around the upper arc of the four occupied niches glimmer faintly, the way sunlight wriggles across water, although there is no light source that vivid in the vicinity. Three of the occupants are naked, and in the prime of life. The fourth, an ancient man, wears robes over his pallid skin.

The windows – for there are windows, it just takes a bit to notice their darkness in the middle of the general darkness – show nothing but black. The air smells stale. The room is cool.

Lost. Alone. Far From Home.

scyldsceafing Wyn_McTwitch acephipps BiffJustice