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I woke up with a terrible headache and a nauseous emptiness in the pit of my stomach. My mouth was dry and my inner eyelids felt like sandpaper.
I forced open my eyelids and pushed myself into an upright position on the bed to get some water to drink. But instead of the normal recognition one expects after a deep sleep, I had a moment of shock to discover my surroundings were completely alien.
And spartan. My bed was a steel-frame bunk, the walls covered in off-white paint that was missing here and there, revealing the bricks behind it. Bluish twilight entered through the flimsy curtains in front of the single window. My clothes hung draped over one of two rickety chairs, and, thank goodness, a bottle of water stood on the other one.
Preoccupied with getting as much water as possible into my mouth in the shortest amount of time, I jumped out of bed. But once I was standing on my feet, not only the pounding in my head increased exponentially, also the emptiness in my stomach surged. It felt like a miniature implosion occurred in my nether abdomen, then a wave of bile and whatever I had eaten or drunk last night came heaving up. Warm liquid - in which drifted tiny chunks of an undigested nature - filled my throat and oral cavity. Unable to stop the gag-reflex, I opened my mouth to let the filth pass from my body.
A thick stream of a very dark red liquid gushed forth. It was not really a liquid, more a syrup or slush. Very loudly, it clattered on the rough faded-blue carpet.
One heave seemed to be all there was to it, so I sat down on the edge of the bunk. I averted my eyes from the congealing pool on the floor and grabbed the water bottle.
Only after I had consumed all of the surprisingly cold aqua did my thoughts turn to more important things. Like the mystery of where I was, and why. I decided to dress while pondering these questions.
I had already noticed I was not having total amnesia because my basic mental functions seemed all right. I was glad to conclude I had not lost my mind and that my forgetfulness seemed to be concerning the very short term only. The missing part of my memory spanned from ten o'clock yesterday evening till this morning.
Suddenly I got afraid someone might have drugged and abducted me for an illegal kidney transplantation or some such vile thing. I'd heard of these practices of the so called "organ mafia" before. It was quite a big thing in Brussels a couple of years back, maybe it had migrated to Amsterdam.
But then I felt no pain (besides the headache) and there was no bandaging or blood. I send the thought out of my head and went to work reconstructing last night.
The intervening hours between ten o'clock and this morning were a collage of pictures, snatches of conversations, fleeting impressions. I remembered I'd dined in the fancy restaurant of a classy hotel. There I'd picked up a nice girl, whose name I was presently unable to recollect, and she'd taken me to go bar-hopping. We'd ended the night in the Popstyles, the local temple of music.