A defining Moment


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The sun rising, light rays crept across his face. Moving slowly, thoughts began to surface. Subconscious turned to conscious with a restless tension. His eyes darted under the lids interrupted momentarily by feelings of discontent sweeping across him. Searching for familiarity, it wasn’t a normal day.

A chill shot across his leg emanating from a window behind. With the music outside beginning to register, his left eye opened cautiously. Desperately trying to focus through a bloodshot curtain, it was eventually joined by the right. Cranking his head forward, the surroundings brought startling validation to the situation. He was lying spread-eagled, with a solitary sheet draped across his body.

Gathering his reserves, he began to sit up. Usually the simplest of processes, it was a mental assault course. The room was lifeless, soulless and oppressive. Unlike anything he was accustomed to, it put his sheltered upbringing to shame. Comparable to his student halls, there were stark differences. Once white, the walls had turned cream when faced with despair. Dark patches invaded the corners, while shards of newspaper lay in unexpected places as if to tell a story.

Sparsely decorated, the bed sat in the centre of the room. To the right there was an empty bookshelf. In front was a plywood wardrobe in the right corner of the room opposite the door in the other. A standard yet degraded setup, there was a striking difference. Directly in front on the wall was a sink. Stained and dirty, it had clearly deputised as a toilet. Above it was a mirror. Cloudy and smeared, it was a selfie addict’s worst nightmare.

Trying desperately to connect his memories, he panicked. A previously enriched pool of self-reflection was filled with a suffocating black hole. Stuck in the moment, his surroundings revealed the only clues. Devoid of possessions, his jeans were hardly scuffed. His T-shirt showed no signs of a scuffle.

Inspecting his arms, his wrists started to pulse. Bringing them up to the light, handcuff marks were clearly defined. They were unnerving. He had never been in trouble with the police. Frustratingly though, they did nothing to wake memories of the previous night. Resignation pinned him. It wasn’t a dream. A nightmare of the highest order, the room felt like a prop in an altogether more disconcerting story. Establishing rationality now went way beyond any compulsion for self-pity.

Awake for less than a minute, a surge of tiredness started to engulf him. A crashing weight on his mind, keeping his eyes open presented a hopeless challenge. With his mental reserves depleting rapidly, he began to focus on a couple of voices from down the hallway. He could make out two men talking quietly. It was just enough to register.

“Take me to the other side… Not heard that one before.” said the first.

“Haha! Yeah I know.” replied the other.