[really should have thought of a title]

I wake up with my head pounding. My eyeballs feel like hard-boiled eggs.
The bridge of my nose is sore, like it’s been squashed in a tiny vice.
A nose vice. For squashing noses.
God, I need a coffee…

I open my eyes to darkness. That’s odd.
I’m not sure where I am. I’m not at home. Or crashing on someone’s couch.
I reach out in the darkness for a switch, a lamp, something, but there’s just the floor. It’s cold and smooth.

I hear scratching and scuttling from somewhere above me. And… to the left?
Like a metal chair being dragged roughly across a freshly polished metal floor.
Now I hear some kind of whirring and clicking.
A thin beam of light appears a few metres away from me, floor to ceiling.
I sit up and look around. Dammit, I can’t see anything except the beam. Stupid beam.
My head and the ceiling have a meeting – apparently it’s quite low – so I Quasimodo my way over towards the light.

I can’t tell if it’s coming from the ceiling or the floor.
I reach out to touch it – it’s hot like a black coffee from Starbucks on a frosty morning.
I sniff my fingertips; they smell like matches.

More clicks, and another beam appears to my side.
Then another few in quick succession, circling around me.
They’re close together; I can’t get between. More whirs from above, and the circle tightens a little.

“Good, you’re awake. We can resume testing.”
Oh, this doesn’t sound good.