Pins and needles were the first thing Euri Peterson felt as he began to ease back toward consciousness from his drug-induced sleep. Pins and needles in his hands, similar to when he woke in the night having slept on his arm – only this was different. Somewhere far off in the real world, away from the dark spinning pool in his semi-conscious mind, he could feel sharp pain, pain in his wrists and pain in his ankles. As the seconds ticked by, the drug began to wear off, allowing him brief, fleeting snippets of reality: pins and needles and pain, the hum of an air-conditioning unit, the chill on his sweaty brow.
Then he slipped back, reeling and falling into the depths of his cloudy mind. The unconsciousness was far more tempting than reality. Desperately, Peterson tried to hold on to it as he felt himself spinning once again – he wasn't ready to wake yet and face whatever it was that awaited him, but it was too late! The spinning pool released him, and he opened his eyes. If it hadn't been for the hammering pain raging through his head, Peterson wouldn't have even known he was conscious, as the room was completely dark. Blinking with slow, deliberate actions, he tried to clear the pounding, woolly fuzz in his head.
Attempts to move his wrists and feet only caused the chair to which he was bound to scrape and skip across the floor, emitting a sound like nails scraping down a blackboard. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, a thin bead of light on the far side of the room gradually revealed itself, followed by the dim, faint outline of a door. A chill ran through his body. Whoever was in charge of the air-conditioning had it cranked up high, and the cool air hit his brow, chilling the sweaty sheen which matted his greying hair to his head.
What can I remember, Peterson asked himself. I remember the meeting, and giving the speech. I remember leaving the Convention Centre, the rush hour traffic of Kuala Lumpur and almost being late for the Presidential dinner at the JW Marriott. After dinner and a few drinks, I went to my room and showered before heading straight to bed. The memories flooded back, one after another, each encouraging the next. So, I remember going to bed, he confirmed. But then? That's where the memories stopped and gave way to confusion. Then I woke up here, bound to a chair in a dark room. Peterson’s heart hammered in his chest like a drum; the sound of it flowed through his body and filled his ears with a rhythmic throbbing.