Chapter 01

I open my eyes and try to focus but all I see is are bright lights and blurry images. I seem to be lying on a cold floor, which causes me more than a bit of concern because I can't seem to remember how I got here. Actually I can't remember where I am.

I lay back down and close my eyes again. Focusing on what I am doing and where I am... a sudden frightening thought hits me. I can't remember who I am. A cold sweat covers my body as I struggle to remember who I am and how I came to find yourself... where?

I try to raise my head again and a stabbing pain behind my eyes forces me back to the ground. I try again to raise my head but the pain explodes once more and I fall back to the floor. I fight to remain conscious but I slide into darkness once more.

As my head starts to clear I open my eyes a second time. I see my surroundings much clearer.

I am naked in a private room somewhere in the a hospital emergency room. There is gauze on my right hand. I feel under the gauze and discover a cut that feels and looks a lot like it was made with the broken base of a forty pounder of Vodka.

Every pore of my body wants to go back to sleep, but what the hell is this crap in my mouth. The light is stabbing my brain with such vehemence that I think my name is Blue, but I am not sure.

I get to my feet and look around. I use the bed for support and see my clothes on the floor and in a garbage container. I paw through the clothes looking for a hint of where I was and where I could be. The black silk t-shirt with the silver 'fsck me' across the front is ruined. There is too much blood on it for my comfort. I drag the brown leather pants out of the trash and a black case falls to the floor with a clatter.

My blackberry! I can't live without that!! I pick up the case and attempt to wipe off the sticky mess that coats it. Luckily, my blackberry case is shockproof, waterproof and securely closed, unless I unlock it with my thumb print, so it appears fine. I set the case on the bed and sit down and see if I can find anything else of value.

I dump out the trash and dig through looking for my wallet. The bastards! My wallet is gone. The pants are coated with the same sticky mess as the blackberry case, and the shirt is coated with blood. No help there.

I push the clothes back into a pile near the trash. Grab a gown from the shelf and pull it over my shoulders. It doesn't quite cover as much as I would like. They obviously don't design these gowns for someone six feet three but I can't be running around naked. I shuffle toward the door and see my socks and boots neatly stacked on a chair. I grab them and go into the bathroom.

Looking in the mirror a single name pops into my memory. Knash! I thumb open my blackberry and dial my best friend, Knash. As the phone rings, I laugh out loud, painfully, when I see a 'No Cell Phone allowed' sign reflected in the mirror. I hope Knash is still alive this morning, if it is morning.

Knash's message service picks up. I'm not surprised that the voice on the message play back is my own. I am telling myself that if or when I call the girls names are Monique and Sara and we went to club called 'the Aphrodisiac'. What the hell would I be doing in a club called the Aphrodisiac? A new memory hits me. I remember deciding to goto the club. It has a reputation of being one of the hottest clubs in Cleveland.

I hit a button to rewind the message playback. It is fairly normal for Knash or myself to call ourselves and leave details of what we will not remember in the aftermath of the night before.

I am pissed at myself for not being able to remember the girls. Wait! I think I can recall one of the girls...

A loud grunt form the hall interrupts my memory. I pause the playback and stumble out of the bathroom. On the way out I catch a good look at my reflection. I have some kind of black charcoal all over my face, mouth, and the front side of my chest and stomach.

I poke my head into the hallway. There is a sign on the opposite wall that reads 'Emergency Room'. There is bloody foot prints on the floor and a smeared red hand print on the wall.

The grunting noise seems to be coming from down the hallway.

The noise will wait.

I pull myself back into the room and sit down in a chair. I thumb the playback back on and listen. My own voice describes for me Sara. I think I can remember her - a goddess, blond and tiny, just the kind of girl I like. Ah Yes. Man, I hope Sara explains why I woke up naked, rather than the huge cut on my hand

I pull the gown back off my shoulders and move back into the the bathroom. In the mirror, I examine my 'blackened' reflection. I would think I would remember a fire big enough to coat me with this much ash. The soap in the sink is not doing anything more than create new black smear across my chest. I need to clean myself up. I walk back into the room and see an open box labeled 'Medicinal Charcoal?. That is the source of this black crap. That is when it hits me! I wasn't burnt I was poisoned! Alcohol poisoning! Well that much alcohol and getting my stomach pumped would explain a lot. No wonder i am so dehydrated and hungry.

I grab a couple of bottles of soaps and disinfectants. I turn on the shower and try different soaps until I find one that will clean up the charcoal. It takes about a gallon of industrial-strength soap, my skin has only a slight discoloration (and no natural moisturize left).

I dry off and pull on my socks and boots. Then I put on the hospital gown again. I managed to open up the cut on you hand during your shower and dressing. I press the call button but by now I are fairly certain no one will be coming. I do notice that the grunting noise gets louder when the call button is pressed.

With a bit of searching I find some fresh gauze and replace the bandage on my hand.

My eyes are still burning and my head is still hurting and now my hand is starting to throb. But my hunger is starting to drive me to find some food, any food, even hospital food.

I push out the door and down the hallway toward what the sign indicates is the emergency room. This is far too quiet for a hospital emergency room. The grunting is being drowned out by the droning hum of the fluorescent lights.

As I move toward the Emergency Room the moaning and grunting starts again. Maybe there are other people here after all. The sound keeps getting louder as I lurch down the hall. I guess from the sound that there is more than one person nearby.

I reach a intersection in the hallway. I see a candy machine in the emergency room to your right and the cafeteria is straight ahead another three hundred meters. The grunting sound is off to my left. It might be coming from the nurses station or maybe from one of the examinations areas.

There is a lot of blood on the floor of the emergency room. In the hallway I am in the floors are fairly clean but the floor leading from the Emergency Room to the nurses station has bloody smears and foot prints running the length of the passage.

I hear an odd scraping sound like someone dragging their fingernails across a smooth surface.

I try and I try but I just can't clear my head. My body refuses to listen. Where the hell am I? How did I get here? Through the fog, one memory comes through. Me and the little tech-weasel, Knash, had been doing our usual "hack-into-unsecured-web-sites" Friday night thing, with - of course - the usual libations, but then what?

Well, I am off to find some liquid, and Knash, and maybe why there's blood all over the place and no people in the hospital. Nahhhh, first things first, liquid and then Knash! I head out down the hall to the intersection, and then across to the cafeteria. Hopefully some good samaritan will buy me a Coke - since a beer is likely out of the equation.

As I step into the intersection the hallway the grunting sound immediately stops. Somehow, I get a feeling that it is just gonna be one of those kind of days...

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