I remember not my name, nor how I arrived. The unyielding darkness has made the passage of time immeasurable. Even the impetus to attempt such a task has been lost. The scratch marks on the wall and the decaying rot beneath my fingernails indicates this was not always the case. Like my name, I can no longer remember. Why it was once so important escapes me. Could it possibly bear some significance? Now it only proclaims a rudimentary fact. The commencement of my life began elsewhere. For I am certainly older than the seven hundred and forty-three hash marks that mutilate the peeling wall. On the concrete floor lay remnants of paper, having fallen from their previous heights. On each can be found these same marks. I have yet to count them. What benefit would it bring me? I sleep amongst them instead.
Every abandoned room is populated with these damp sheets. I have gathered them by the armful and piled them into a putrid nest. The smell should be overwhelmingly offensive. It has never been so. That I am not forced to stretch out upon the cold, hard ground is the only comfort that accompanies the torture of sleep. The dreams that punctuate my unending existence are unwaveringly repetitive, a curse of color and sound amidst the dark and calming silence. Faces parade before me. Is this what I myself resemble? I have seen no reflections, glimpsed at no polished surface. Only my fingers have explored the curves, clefts, and depressions. They have discovered the same basic features. Do I dream of some forgotten past, crave a present so horrifyingly different, or present myself with a vision of the future unbelievable and bizarre? More startling questions arise. Have I lost my mind? Have I a mind to lose? Would I know it if I had? Dread that penetrates my soul greets me upon waking. The details of their faces and the echo of their frantic calls chase me. I am as desperate to evade them as they are to capture me. Reflexively, I flee.
Two dilapidated doors connect my octagonal cell to the corridor beyond. I rush out and come to a jarring halt. Where will I go that I have not already been? What crumbling corridor have I not traveled? What room have I not painstakingly inspected? What creaking staircase have I not ascended and descending again and again? What forsaken and deserted equipment have I not yet turned over? I am at home with destruction.
I will myself onward. With each step, my nightmares are left farther behind and my doomed search resumes. Somewhere within these walls I will find the corpses of those past. Their stench lingers in the dank and humid air, clinging to all that remains. Their presence assails me. They are the afflicted and the tormented who have walked before me. They are those who once occupied rooms now vacant. They are the generations gone. They have become my purpose. Death has enveloped my life.
As I wander, I contemplate my dilemma. Would it be more frightening to encounter the phantoms from my dreams amongst the yet undiscovered bodies? Or would it be agonizingly worse to never find them at all? My heart aches.