A voice echoes throughout the long, cold and surprisingly dirty hallway. A strange voice continues to speak as the man who is wearing handcuffs behind his back is walking down this seemingly endless corridor with armed men by his side. He pulls his head up, opening his eyes, confused and with a nasty headache, trying to figure out where the sound comes from since there are no speakers of any kind on the walls. His stomach turns and his breath becomes faster as the panic sets in of waking up in a place where nothing good ever happens. With no idea what happened or how he ended up in handcuffs, getting dragged by two large men into a building that looks rather abandoned, he asks them a question but gets zero answers. He tries with another question and another and another. No response. Nothing. Complete silence.

The more he looks around, the more he notices the condition of the walls and the ground beneath him. Stepping on plates that are not just filthy and broken but with old blood stains on them. And dirt. How can there be dirt below the plates in a building? The deterioration and the mould around the corners of the ceiling makes him sick. But it’s not just the mould around the corners, it is an unusual toxic smell that almost burns his lungs. Never in his life has he seen something that looks so abandoned, yet the lights still work. Forsaken to such an extent that it would be considered mercy to demolish this building with one big bang.

The man tries to slow down the pace that the two brutes are keeping completely in sync so he could try and read the little signs next to the door that they are passing. The two men recognize his attempt and he is gently pushed to keep going. There is no stopping these guys.

‘What is this place?’ he thought to himself.

Just as he asks the question, the same voice can be heard again. ‘0h, but you can smell it, can’t you? The smell of burning rubber and the sound of crackling broken glass below your feet. The black smoke just gets under your skin, doesn’t it? It crawls inside you, filling every little crevice and it stays there. It festers. Oh, and the sound. How I love that sound. Same as the black smoke, it will never go away. That crushing mix will be with you forever. You will hear it and you will smell it for the rest of your life. You did that, don’t you remember?’

‘What is happening? How is this possible?’ the man asks himself. Just before he wants to try and speak with the two armed men, to try and get at least some explanation why he is currently there, they suddenly stop after walking for a few more meters. They unlock the rusty door that opens on his right and to his utmost surprise, the room is in total darkness. Like staring into an abyss. The fear of the unknown inside this pitch-blackness in front of him makes him want to jump out of his skin and run away as fast as he can. He wouldn’t know where to run, since he has no idea how he got here in the first place.

The man stands there for a period of time that to him seems far too long as the guards remove the handcuffs, releasing his hands. He is pushed inside by the armed men and they slam the steel door behind him with a little too much force as the pieces of decaying ceiling fall on his head, bouncing off in front of his feet. As the door closes, he immediately tries to hold it from closing but with no luck. Instead, he finds himself holding both of his hands on the strangely cold doors with his eyes closed. The man holds his breath out of fear; he refuses to turn his head. Tensing every muscle in his body, almost waiting for something to happen. His body is in panic mode and his hands are starting to shake. A cold sweat crawls on the back of his neck. Fight or flight mode is not responding since he can’t run away and he can’t see a finger in front of his face. The only thing that is left for his brain is to tell him to scream for help as loud as he can. The only other option is just to accept his fate.

Either that or to try and say something into this void of darkness. With his eyes closed, his ears start to pick up something. After a few moments have passed, just as his heart calms down a little bit, thinking he might not die right this second, he starts to hear something. He is not alone. Someone is in here with him, locked inside this black box. He can hear faint breathing behind him but as far as he is concerned, he could be standing on a single plate of concrete, floating in infinite nothingness. All alone in a deep dark place of the universe. Being close to a heart attack due to this high-stress situation he finds himself in and someone else inside this room decides to make a decision for him. Scaring him even further to the point where his legs almost give up.

‘It’s all right, John. There is nothing to fear, you are safe.’




Still looking worried, John doesn’t know how to proceed. He is still occupied with the sinister vibe that this cell is giving him. Before he can even say anything the man next to him turns the next page of his newspaper and speaks.

‘And what would you want this to look like? Like some four-star hotel on an island with a bar right next to the beach and possibly with some palm trees giving you a perfect shade while you eat your hot dog with your friends?’

At that moment, John feels his stomach drop to his feet as his hands get cold instantly. His eyes flicker as he gets dizzy for a second before responding to the man.

‘What did you say?’ John asks him, knowing perfectly clearly what the man just said.

‘What? Does that sound familiar?’ says the man, giving him a quick look under the glasses.

‘Who are you? Where am I?’ John opens his eyes wide as he is startled by the man’s words.

‘Isn’t it clear? You are in a prison. Same as me.’

‘Why am I here? I did nothing wrong!’ John raises his voice a little bit. He is not taking his eyes off the man who continues to respond calmly. ‘Well, you did something wrong since you ended up here. And how can you be sure that you haven’t done anything wrong? Didn’t you tell me just a minute ago that you can’t remember anything in the last few days?’ Once again, John’s heart starts pounding as his breath becomes short and fast. Panic sets back in. Sending signals throughout his body to be on high alert. He never said out loud that he didn’t remember anything in the last few days. It was a thought in his mind, trying to figure out how he got here. Whenever John finds himself in a situation like this, his palms start to sweat. They become cold almost instantly so he closes his fists like he is preparing for a fight.

‘I haven’t said that out loud, old man. So, who are you?’ John stands his ground, trying to prepare for anything. Although sitting in front of him is an older gentleman in a suit, he never thought that he would find himself in a situation preparing to fight with someone of his age. But this isn’t a normal situation and John is desperately looking for answers. Answers that right now, can only be answered by the man in front of him. Maybe the root of John’s fear is not what kind of an answer he is going to get from the man, but the absence of it. If he can’t provide the answers, then who can? His only hope of ever getting out of here is the person sitting next to him. So, if he doesn’t have the answers John needs, the hope is gone.




The man spoke words that John cannot understand. How could anyone get used to these walls? To be imprisoned in this dirt and filth? ‘I don’t understand,’ says John, and before he can continue, the man interrupts him.

‘It’s not for you to understand. At least not for now. I want to know why are you here. What made you do what you did?’

‘What made me do it? What?’ John finds himself utterly confused.

‘Well, yes, you must have done something wrong in order to be here.’

A few seconds pass as they are both quiet. John is doing his best to try and remember something that would give him a clue about what is happening. In his effort, another revelation dawns. He remembers what this man in a suit told him a few minutes ago. The man described one of his last vacations to the letter. He described it like he was there.

‘You said that you wanted to have a chat? Well, how about we start with you describing my vacation? What is that about?’

John looks straight at him, crossing his arms.

‘You see, John, it’s not about me. It’s about you. About why are you here? We’ll get to the vacation in a minute, but what I want to know is what made you do what you did,’ says the man.

‘Again with what I did. I don’t know, OK? Can’t you understand that? That I don’t remember. I’m trying but it’s not working.’ John’s voice changes as he becomes a little agitated with the same questions.

‘The last thing I remember is being at a friend’s house. After that, there’s nothing. I don’t even know how long ago that was.’ John looks at the ground, scratching his left eyebrow while he forces his brain to try and remember what happened after that while the other part of his brain is once again confused as to why there is dirt on the floor. He remains silent. He feels that he is losing control over his life. Right now, in all the chaos, there isn’t a single thing he can control. When that happens, the mind can go to a pretty dark place.



‘Look at me,’ says the man, lowering his newspaper, leaning towards John and looking him straight in the eyes. ‘Where are you right now?’