When he woke there was a cascade of senses.
His mind seemed lost at first. It was like a gale of sensations was throttling every sensor receptor on his body.
The stench of gravel. The glare of the sun worming through his sweaty eyelids. The casual roar of bending trees overburdened with leaves. They all came at once.
Eventually they begin to slow down, almost taking turns, like they knew of his confusion. Soon, there was just the dryness in his mouth, which burnt both his tongue and lips.
He sat up slowly. His limbs were weak, wobbly, and uncertain of what his brain wanted to do with them. He was in the center of a large pit, with yellow earth surrounding him. The sediment was high enough so he couldn’t see far around him. Atop the lips of earth were the branches he’d heard earlier, swaying their bulky shadows like ships moored lazily on an afternoon tide.
He twisted his body slightly. At his feet was a beige blanket with streaks and blobs of dried red and pink fluid. There was something ominous about those crimson patterns, but he couldn’t get his mind to tell him what or why. Beneath his head was a pillow, which was brackish and stained with dirt. He took a deep breath and pulled closely to his knees, propping himself up with his hand.
“Am, am I in a quarry?” He said to himself, in a hoarse and timid voice.
How did he know that word? How did he know that language? He had no idea who he was but he was able to speak and verbalize? How?
He slowly stood, placing his hands on his thighs for extra balance. His body was short and wiry. His hair was black, his skin tan, and he wore a red flannel shirt with khaki shorts. On his feet were a pair of tennis shoes. One was white. One was navy blue. Each was torn and ragged, so the fabric was pulsing outwards in small threads.
Had he been walking? It looked like he had. Why was he sleeping in the middle of an empty pit.
“Hey, hey, you there?” A voice said from above. He craned his neck and stuck a shaky hand in front of his eyes to block out the sun. To his left, up high above the hole, a man was crouched against a tree. He was wearing some sort of body armor and was wrapped in a brown, partially-torn plastic sheet. His skin was white, but grimy with soot and mud. He had narrow eyes, a small face with sunken sockets, and a long, gray beard. He had on a black baseball cap, which had a tattered rim. He was carrying some sort of weapon. It was metallic, heavy looking, and required both his hands.
“What on earth are you doing taking a nap out in the open? I mean honestly, do you want to die?” The man said.
Wh-what?” He stammered back.
“I said you’re out in the open. Get out of there right now. Do you want to die? They’ll be here any minute. The Drum is about to start.”