Period Number: One
As Yuna said, Oliver woke up in his cell. There was no collar around his neck, no cuffs on his hands and, again, he was dressed in a white nightdress and trousers. He knew, they were not the same, that he had had on before, as they weren’t dirty with food.
Yuna told him a lot, but as he was thinking about it, it didn’t help him at all. He only knew, this was how it goes here. He didn’t know whether he was in the same cell as before. Oliver broke down. He became furious. He was hitting the walls, the floor, screaming, but nothing helped. Nobody came in, nobody hit him with the current, he couldn’t get his imprisoners to do anything or maybe they weren’t even watching him being trapped. Though he was still making noise.
One good hit and his hand started to bleed. Oliver was staring at his hand as if he had never seen blood before. And he continued till he wasn’t bleeding from both hands. When he couldn’t go on, he fell to the bed and was eating his heart out.
After several minutes, the door opened and a small bowl and a glass of water were pushed in. Oliver stood up and went for the food, while his hands were still bleeding. The blood was everywhere but he didn’t take a notice of it. The blood was in his food, as he was eating it with his hands, but he didn’t care about that. He was starving to death, so he put the whole slimy mass in his mouth and flushed it with the glass of water. He wiped his hands on his pants and continued thinking what to do. What’s with Sophia? Is she OK? Won’t they hurt her? And what were they doing to me?
It was absurd, Sophia’s destiny was more important to him than his own. He was feeling guilty of what had happened again. And he was feeling, that he would not break down, if he focused on helping someone else.
After a short time, he fell to the ground like a ragdoll again. The Grey, who looked like the one before, put a collar on his neck and handcuffed him. Oliver realized all Greys looked the same. He wasn’t disturbed by the blood on Oliver’s hands or the blood in the room.
Oliver followed him in the same direction they went during the period before. But, suddenly, when Oliver thought, they were turning right, they went on straight. At first, he thought he just didn’t count correctly, but when they came to another crossroad, they turned left and then right and entered another laboratory. Oliver took of his clothes and they tied him to the metal bed. The lab looked different. He looked at the second bed and saw Sophia. “Sophia! Are you alright?” She didn’t answer. Her eyes were closed but he saw, she was breathing. Her chest went up and down, as if she had been sleeping. Suddenly he felt a sting and fell into the darkness.
The door opened. Oliver heard a bowl and a glass were pushed in. He recoiled and woke up. The weirdest thing was, he wasn’t dreaming. He just closed his eyes in the laboratory and woke up in his cell. It was strange, he woke up after they had brought him the food, but he didn’t care. He ran to the bowl and ate everything.
Hardly had Oliver finished eating and he was lying on the ground again. The situation repeated itself. Third period, third direction to a lab. When he woke up, he saw sleeping Sophia again. He laid down and fell asleep, too.
Oliver woke up. He felt something was different, but he didn’t know what it was. The food was missing, so he sat down and was thinking it over. Then he remembered Yuna’s words that he had to go through all the periods before meeting the same person again. And he met Sophia the second time right after he had met her the period before. Yuna’s version about talking to each other before fainting also didn’t fit in with what he had experienced. But why? Was Yuna crazy? Or was this about something else?
He was sitting and thinking about it. Something just didn’t feel right, something more than the conversation with Yuna, but he didn’t know what. Oliver was looking over the room and then it came to him. The blood from his hands was still there, but his hands were soft as a skin of a baby. The blood drops on the floor were blurred but still there. That meant, he was still going back to the same room and either the Greys were curing his wounds, or he was being unconscious for a longer time and his wounds were curing by themselves.
Did it mean he could map the hallways they were leading him through? But how? He didn’t have a pen or a paper. Oliver was standing there, starring at the ground and thinking about it. He went back to the mattress and he wanted to kick it. He missed and hit the wall. The nail on his toe ran under his skin and it started bleeding. He got an idea, but had to test it first. Oliver bit into his hand so hard, that it started to bleed. He turned over the mattress and wrote information with his own blood. He wrote down some numbers and wanted it to look wise. He wanted them to show him they control him, if one of them had found it. He turned his mattress back and lied on it. Seconds later his food came. Again, hungry as a wolf, he ate it in a moment. That slimy thing was, again, disgusting, but he was feeling good, because after waking up he was feeling like he had just run a marathon. He came to a conclusion, that the food is some kind of protein mix and it was giving the body as many nutrients as it needed.
After eating came the silence. Oliver was walking around his room and was bored. Sometimes he used the blood on his hand and drew on the walls. He was angry he couldn’t do anything and he hated when he didn’t know anything. The pain he was feeling, when putting his fingers in his wounds, moderated him. It was a sign he was still alive. He felt a pain in his arm and fainted.
The Greys didn’t care about Oliver’s blood drawings on the walls. They tied him up and dragged him to the laboratory. Oliver decided to count the steps. This was the only way how to have a clue where he was, what where was. He counted the steps to the first turn. Oliver created a memory palace and saved these information in it. It was his favorite technique to memorize important information. Then he counted again till they came to another turn. He memorized the number of steps again and deducted steps, which led to the lab.
Oliver was in a lab similar to the one during his first period. While he was looking around, a man spoke to him, “So, you’re Oliver.” He turned around and saw a man. He was about thirty years old, had dark mop hair, that wasn’t very long. His eyes were cold and dark. Oliver was surprised about the man knowing his name. “You know my name?” “I’m Darius. During the last period I was talking to your friend Sophia.” “You’ve met Sophia? But…wait a minute, during the last period? Aren’t all periods in the same time? I met her during my last two periods, but I couldn’t talk to her.” Darius lifted his eyebrows, what would look funny, if he didn’t have a poker face. “You didn’t talk to each other? That’s weird…what do you mean ‘during your last two periods’? You never met anyone two times. And the last time I saw her, now I’m with you. I haven’t met anyone else.”
“I have had three periods. The first was with Yuna, who told me how the periods work. The next two I had with Sophia. But every time I came in, she was already lying on the table and sleeping and afterwards I fell asleep, too.”
“That’s weird. The periods have never worked like this before. You said she had been sleeping before you entered the room? Was there anything else strange, different from the period you were with Yuna?”
“When you are saying it, then maybe yes. I think they went faster, after the second one I woke up when they had brought me food.” “Interesting. That means something is different from the normal situation.” Darius looked like he was thinking about something. Oliver was watching him and then he felt a sting and fell unconscious.
When he woke up, he was even more confused than before. The first thing he did, was standing up and turning over the mattress. The numbers, he had written down, were still there. Oliver looked at his hand and it was healed. He bit it again and started to write. The number of steps, the way they went and turned, the number of steps and the way again. He numbered the laboratory as #4. According to what he just wrote down, he started to draw a map.
When he was ready, he assured nothing got blurred and turned the mattress back. He went to the drawing on the wall and was thinking about a way out. That wasn’t simple, he needed information first. For some reason, Sophia and Oliver violated the normal run of this place, what made him worry. A special attention like this wasn’t a good sign. He needed an as detailed map of this place as possible. Then he had to think through how not to get paralyzed. He was sure he was becoming paralyzed because of the bump in his arm. According to the stings, he felt, he realized, the Greys put in him a kind of a device sending paralytic substances into his body and the collar was able to neutralize these substances. If he was right, maybe it involved a tracking device, too, but there was no way how his theory could be confirmed or disproved. In fact, if it was confirmed, it would not solve his problem. Oliver had no idea how to put it out. Even if he did, there were no suitable medical tools he could use.
The food came so he went eating. It didn’t take a minute after he had finished eating and he got paralyzed again. And again, he was counting the steps. They entered a laboratory, where he was with Sophia during the second period. She was lying in unconsciousness on the bed again, so Oliver knew what was going to happen.
Immediately, after he woke up in his cell, he wrote down the way to the lab, numbered it #2 and food came in afterwards. He ate everything and they took him to Sophia again. After the next waking up he numbered this lab #3.
If Oliver’s theory was right, during this period he should meet someone new. It seemed that for the Greys only Sophia’s repetition of periods was important. Oliver realized, if it went on like this, it meant, they were letting their prisoners meet each other between the periods.
After he wrote it all down, he started to count the seconds. Oliver counted six hundred and forty-two seconds till the food came, give or take a minute, until he wrote the way to the laboratory. He finished eating and started to count again. Now it was one thousand three hundred and fifty-seven. However, he was paralyzed and wasn’t able to write this down, so he just memorized it.
Oliver was mapping the way again. He ended up in the lab #1, that meant in the laboratory from his first period. On the table besides him a thirty-year old man was lying. The man’s hair was much longer, greasy and messy. It was darker than Darius’ and, although it could be hard to see, as they were both lying on tables, he had a hulking figure.
“Hello, I’m Lucas. You’re new here?” “Yes, I’ve been kidnapped with my friend. I’m Oliver. I have already met Yuna and Darius.” “You’ve met Darius? Oh, then I’m gonna meet him soon, too. At least I’ll have fun.” “Why?” “Darius and I have been kidnapped at the same time. I wanted to put him in jail, but those grey assholes were faster. He’s been making fun of me since then and I am trying to pay him back.”
Even though they were in a situation like this, Lucas was in a quite good mood. They were both naked and cuffed to their metal tables waiting for those alien creatures to do with them whatever they wanted. And Oliver still didn’t get it how could Lucas be still smiling. Lucas continued talking, “Did you say you were here with a friend of yours? Is it a girl? That would be the third woman in our family. I hope she’ll be more talkative than Amat’s wife.”
“Amat’s wife?” “Poor woman, she’s not able to deal with it, she isn’t talking to anyone. She hides from the world. But…maybe it’s because she doesn’t speak English,” said Lucas and started to laugh.
Because of Lucas’ good mood, Oliver was feeling very uncomfortable. “When you meet Sophia, can you say something to her?” Lucas stopped laughing and turned serious. “What do you want to say to her?” “Tell her not to worry, that everything will end up as with Martin and his competition.” “That sounds as if you know what’s going on here. Man, you’re even crazier than I thought.” And he burst out laughing again.
This made Oliver feel even more uncomfortable, but he needed as much information as possible. “As I said, I’ve met Sophia, Yuna and Darius, so with you and me, that’s five people. You’ve mentioned an Amat. Who else is here?” “Darius and I have come here together, I said that before. Yuna has come twenty periods after us. Amat and his wife Ewa had been here before and what I understood from his English, they have come after Ales. But Ales didn’t confirm this because he doesn’t talk to anybody. He hopes, if he’s not talking to us and cooperates, they will soon let him go. He says I was mad.” And he laughed again.
Oliver tried to memorize as much info as he could. He knew, they would be sedated very soon because the Greys didn’t want the information to be shared at once. He felt a sting and fainted.
The very first thing Oliver did after waking up, was writing the time between food and going to the lab during a normal period. Afterwards he drew a map to the lab#1 and was still counting the seconds. Two hundred and twenty-one was the time he counted between waking up and his food. He finished eating, counted to one hundred and twenty and was already lying on the floor. He was brought to the lab#2.
When he woke up in his cell, he wrote both of those times and counted almost the same ones. He was brought to the lab#3. He met Sophia during both periods.
When Oliver woke up, he was almost sure, there was a scheme. Yet, he didn’t know what it meant, but he was decided to figure it out. According to the scheme he should meet one of the other prisoners. He was right. Oliver came to the lab, which he later marked as #5. Now he was focusing on gaining information. An elderly woman was lying next to him. Her long messy blonde hair was covering most of her not very pretty face. Oliver thought she could be about twenty-eight, twenty-nine years old. He tried to talk to her, but she was staring at the ceiling. He tried to speak other languages, he knew, but with no success. Oliver thought it was Ewa so he was examining the room instead talking to her.
After a while, at least that’s what Oliver thought, he woke up in his cell again. Exactly according to the scheme, during next two periods he met Sophia, but couldn’t talk to her.
During the next period they didn’t enter any new lab. Oliver met Amat, who was a small half-bald man and wasn’t more than twenty-five years old. He couldn’t speak English very well, so Oliver tried to talk to him using his broken Polish. When he couldn’t say something in Polish, he said it in Slovak. Now he appreciated the similarity of these languages.
“My wife and I have been kidnapped at home. We visited the doctor in the morning because Ewa is pregnant. It was the best day of my life. At night, this day turned into a real nightmare. We woke up here and, after a while, Ewa broke down. Presumably, she lost our baby, too. Since this, she hasn’t been talking to anybody. Not even to me.”
Oliver saw, he was very sad. He gained no new information. The next two periods were with Sophia and he was curious, what would Ales be like. It was disappointing to find out Lucas was right. Ales had short messy hair, dirty face and he totally refused to talk, as he didn’t want any problems. In fact, Oliver wasn’t disappointed because he was interested in the seventh period. He wanted to know whether he would have the chance to talk to Sophia.
When he came in the lab, Oliver almost kicked his imprisoner in rage. But he didn’t know what would happen to him then, so he didn’t do it. Darius was lying on the table.