It's dim, the first hint of dawn floating in with a single distant birdsong on the wind. It's calm--or it should be, soothing--or it would be, if he knew where he was, or how he got here, or who the person handcuffed to him is. He tugs gently at the cuffs to confirm that they're real.
"Do I know you?" asks the person handcuffed to him.
"No. I mean, I don't know you."
"Okay. Do you know where we are?"
He shakes his head. "I don't know that bird, so we're not in Colorado, but that's all I've got."
"There's eucalyptus growing outside but I don't know if it's native or introduced..."
"Does that narrow it down at all?"
"I'd need to look it up but if that's the species I think it is and I remember right it grows in zones eight through eleven. I think we're somewhere with mild winters."
"In layman's terms, please?"
"Australia, California, Portugal..."
He tries to curl in on himself but ends up just yanking the cuffs awkwardly and suddenly.
"Do you have a phone?"
It's hard to check all his pockets with only one hand but he does his best. "Not on me. I don't know where my bag is, either."
"I still have my pack." He unzips it to check that it still has everything he expects it to. It does, and then some, as if he was forewarned about being lost somewhere and packed accordingly.
"Is there a key in there by any chance?"
"I don't think so." But he can start taking things out and looking in the bottom. There isn't a key. There is a note. "Why do you think I wrote 'stick together and write things down' and then didn't leave myself a pen? Do you have a pen? And paper?"
He has one restaurant-branded crayon. It's green.
"At least we have something to write with. I guess we'll be writing on the walls if we don't find any paper."
"Have we been doing that already?--I want to look at the other walls."
"We should do that but first we should write something on the closest wall, in case we've been stuck in a loop of going to check the other walls and forgetting everything."
He shivers and hands the crayon over.
He writes. It doesn't matter much what he writes, just that he writes something to keep them from living the same five minutes over and over again.
Woke up not knowing how we got here. Handcuffed together. Check the other walls. - Vance
"Vance," Mica repeats quietly. Does he know a Vance? Does he know of a Vance?
"Yeah. And you are?"
"August," he lies.
He writes that on the wall below the first note.