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Find me in me (Act 1)

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CHAPTER 1

DAY 1 - 001

VICTOR

Ugh... Okay, so... Ahem. I might be dreaming this...? Or I might not. I'm not entirely sure what's going on right now. I might have been freaking out for a while already, but... well, that's not getting me out of here.

There's not a ton of light in here, and I'm in a bed that's not mine. And no, before future me listens to this and judges me... not that kind of "this bed isn't mine".

This is more like... "I'm accidentally starring in a horror movie" kind of bed. "My only candle is about to go out" kind of feeling. "I feel the need to whisper as I record this" kind of moment.

Not to be dramatic or anything, but it's giving me the creeps.

I just woke up, so you'll forgive me for being a little out of sorts... Given that the last thing I remember is definitely not going to bed. I was at the banquet, wasn't I? At Sochi? I don't remember going back to my hotel room, not really. I was talking to someone, I had just been dancing...

My head hurts a little bit. I think I need to get up and figure out what's going on. It's... probably for the best.

But before that, though. If I'm about to get slaughtered, I hope this recording at least provides some context for the police... I don't really know what to say, but I'll try my best.

SOUNDS OF SOMEONE MOVING AROUND IN A BED

VICTOR

This bed is way too big for a single person. Whoever owns it must either love their luxuries, or has a partner. I can't see anything, hold on... Thank god someone thought of putting flashlight apps in smartphones—!

Well, that's not what I was expecting. There's a window to my left, but the curtains are drawn... Oh.

Oh.

Okay.

Well, this isn't what I was expecting... This... it might sound like I'm on some kind of drug, but I swear, this... this looks like there's nothing outside. Just... white. Like flying above the clouds. It's... it's like this room is floating in the air, or something.

This is weird. Is it a picture outside of the window, is this like a hidden camera thing? I don't like this at all.

BREATHING, FAST AT FIRST, THEN HE TAKES A DEEP BREATH

VICTOR

The room itself is okay, I suppose. It's... empty, pretty much. There's a desk, but there's nothing on it. There's a wardrobe, and a mirror, and a rocking chair. There's the bed I was just in, a four-poster bed. It has simple white bedsheets on. They look clean, but they didn't have a smell that I could identify earlier.

The window…

NOISES OF SETTING DOWN A PHONE, FIDDLING WITH THE WINDOW

VICTOR

... oh, thank god. I mean, no! It's stuck. But it's very creepy out there, okay? It's very bright outside, but I can't open the window, and I can't see the sun or anything of the sort, and I would hate to jump into the Void.

I only remember the banquet at Sochi, I'm completely sure that's where I was. And this guy... um, well, I had been dancing with someone. He was pretty drunk, I wonder if he meant... anyway, that's not what's important right now. There's a door on the opposite wall of the bed, I'm going to try that one.

NOISES OF PICKING UP THE PHONE, WALKING UP TO THE DOOR, HE TRIES THE HANDLE AND IT CREAKS WHEN IT OPENS

VICTOR

Oh! Well, that's a relief... I think. This entire situation is already very odd, I wouldn't want to be stuck here. That would be... That would be really unpleasant. I don't think there's anyone else here...? It's very quiet.

MORE STEPS, NEXT TIME HE SPEAKS HE'S WHISPERING AGAIN

VICTOR

There are no windows in this corridor, and no lamps that I can see, but there's light... it's not... I can't tell where it comes from...

AGITATED BREATHING, TENTATIVE STEPS, HE SOUNDS SCARED

VICTOR

It's a very long corridor to be a house. Or a very big house. There's another door at the end of it, and four doors along the way, two on each side. I'm... I'm going to try them as well.

I know it's probably a terrible prank by someone, I hope... I hope I'm not like. Dead, or something? Or drugged? I can't really explain how odd this place is. It's... the light doesn't have a source! It's like the ceiling is the sky, it's just... it's like it comes from the ceiling, but I don't have a shadow, and I...

DEEP BREATH

VICTOR

I'm going to ignore that for now. If I get out of here then I can ask more about that.

STEPS, ANOTHER DOOR OPENING

VICTOR

This room is a bathroom. It's already lit, and it's... just a simple bathroom. The floor is tiled, but the tiles are warm, that's... if this wasn't so creepy, I would say it's nice. There's a bathtub, a toilet, a sink, a small cupboard and a small mirror over the sink. You know, your average bathroom.

... I don't really want to see what's in the cupboard.

The space is clean, though, it doesn't look... well, it doesn't look abandoned. Except for the fact that I have yet to see anybody around.

DOOR CLOSES, STEPS, DOOR OPENS, STEPS

VICTOR

The next room is a kitchen. I'm now very confused. It's clearly well stocked, there are skillets and pots, and cutlery, and... everything, just everything. It looks like a well loved kitchen, or it would, I guess, if it wasn't spotless. Everything in this house seems to be white. I wonder... well, it's not important. It is kind of impersonal, but I guess some people like that...

DOOR CLOSES, STEPS, DOOR OPENS, STEPS

VICTOR

Well, the first room on the other side of the corridor... it's a storage unit? There are... boxes, here. With a bit of everything, I think. There's food in there, and there's books... There's toiletries, and...

BARK, SCREAM, PUPPY BREATHING

VICTOR

Holy...! Makkachin?! What are you doing here?! You scared the living hell out of me, girl! Why have you been hiding here anyway? Is there puppy food? Yeah, is that it? I hope you haven't been chewing on stuff you shouldn't be...

STEPS, DOOR CLOSES, DOOR OPENS

VICTOR

This room, the last one... it's an open room. And it doesn't fit in with the rest of the floor plan... or the one that I would have imagined, at least. This room is circular — no, it's octogonal. Such a weird shape! There's nobody here either.

There's a... vase? In the middle of the room. Nothing's on it, though. And there's a ton of screens, embedded in three of the walls. The others are plain, without any windows, and once more the ceiling is creeping the fuck out of me by being lit without any light source.

I'm starting to think something else is going on here, and I haven't decided yet between supernatural bullshit or a cult trying to brainwash me. And I'm... only half joking, sadly.

DEEP BREATH

VICTOR

Let's see what's behind the last door...

STEPS, DOOR CLOSES, NOISE OF A LOCKED DOOR BEING JOSTLED

VICTOR

STRESSED AND SARCASTIC

Huh. A locked one, I see. Great. Just great. Just... peachy.

Makka, how do we get out of here now? We're stuck, in a fucking terrifying... whatever this is, with a ton of food and supplies, a creepy ass octagonal room, and what seems like a locked entrance door. There's no way to turn the lights on or off, that I can see, and the only windows in this place are facing the Nothingness outside. What is going on?

STEPS, BREATHING, STEPS STOP, THEN RESUME, QUICKER

VICTOR

There's no way out. There's also no one here. The only thing I can't understand is the octagonal room with the screens, so... I think I should go take a closer look at that. Maybe there's a way to control the rooms in this place from there, it does kind of look like a control room... Without the controls.

In any case, that's where I am, and if someone finds this... well, I guess that means you've found me. Wherever I am!

Wherever I am.

#

Victor pocketed his phone, letting out a breath. He wasn't sure if the recordings would be worth anything, but at this rate, if he ever came out of this place alive, he'd be writing a book about it. And making millions, even if he had to market it as supernatural fiction instead of autobiography.

Would anyone ever believe him? He wouldn't blame them for sticking him into an asylum, right now. He pet Makka's head distractedly, chancing another look at the ceiling of the corridor.

"Makka, are you seeing what I'm seeing? Am I drunk? Drugged? In a new realm?" he asked her, trying to keep a light tone. She nuzzled his hand. "We're stuck here, girl. I guess you don't know what that means, huh..."

His steps were strangely loud in the corridor, and he hated it. He felt exposed, and observed, and he wondered if anyone was really following him or if it was just the silence bearing over him that made it feel that way.

He went back to the bedroom, looking over all the objects in there. The wardrobe was next to a mirror and he hesitated before throwing the doors open. Nothing jumped out at him, which was a good sign, and he skimmed through the clothes in it.

He almost didn't recognize them at first, but once he did, he couldn't help but shiver, crossing his arms protectively around himself. Those clothes were his. They had been taken from his house, and from his suitcase at the hotel, to be put here. He was still wearing the suit he'd worn at the banquet, and he was thankful to have had his phone in his pocket at the time. Even though he had no signal with which to call anybody, he felt better at least having it around in case the signal came back at some point.

Makkachin, however, was an appreciated, if strange, add-on to the adventure. He'd been scared out of his mind when he heard her bark at him earlier, and he still hadn't made up his mind whether it was good to have her around or not. Was she in danger? Were they both in danger?

The desk had Victor's laptop in one of the drawers, yet another personal item that he couldn't fathom how it got there. There was, predictably, no wifi connection. He wondered why it had been left there.

There was also no need for a rocking chair. It was there, but... Victor didn't dare sit down. He couldn't find a single reason to watch out of the window into that stupid, swirly, mass of white goo that pretended to be clouds. He hated it already, if anything because he'd never seen it before, and he was already having trouble coming to terms with the fact that he'd been kidnapped... or whatever this was.

Neither the bathroom or the kitchen seemed strange either. He found anything and everything he could think of needing, but nothing that seemed strange. The storage room, seemingly small, also contained any item he could think of. At some point, he had the chilling thought that maybe the room knew what items he was looking for, as he found himself thinking of chewing gum and immediately running into it. He dropped the packet, and closed the door behind himself as he left. Makkachin took a stuffed piggy with her as they left, however, and Victor silently wished nothing bad would happen.

The octagonal room was, surprisingly, the least creepy one. Victor remembered reading a post somewhere, a few years back, about how every day places could become eerie when found in odd situations, and reasoned that, when stuck in a place that looked straight out of a supernatural movie, the octagonal room was the one he would expect to find, and not, say, a bedroom with his personal effects in it.

Still.

The room wasn't in silence, he noticed, at least not completely. There was a slight hum coming from somewhere within it. He didn't touch it, it didn't feel like something he should touch, but upon closer inspection he found out it was the central piece.

It looked like a vase, like one of the big ones that he'd seen countless times at the Hermitage, except those were colorful, and majestic, and polished... This one was white, just like everything else in the building.

The screens were off. They didn't have buttons to be turned on, and while the room certainly seemed to be designed for it, Victor couldn't find a way to watch anything on them. They were embedded in the wall, in a way the screens were the wall, and he couldn't move them to check if they were plugged in properly.

"That vase, I swear it's humming," he whispered, and Makkachin whined in reply. She had been trying to sniff at it for a while now, and he kept holding her back. "It's so... weird. It's all white..."

He finally caved in when Makkachin pushed towards it once more, walking back to the center of the room, and letting her have her way.

There was no one in there with him, nothing had happened for a while, and none of the objects he'd found so far seemed to be a trick of any sort. His things, while still creeping the living daylights out of him, were unharmed. The food and supplies he'd found, along with the rooms they were in, also looked good. The packets were unopened and sealed, and the vegetables looked fresh. He hadn't checked the fridge, but it looked like it would work just fine as well.

Whoever had put him and Makkachin in this... this bunker, this whatever kind of building it was, they clearly didn't want them to die. In a sense, Victor couldn't help but be reminded of a dollhouse. Everything in it, including the doll, perfectly laid out for some child or collector's amusement. He shivered. Not creepy at all...

He touched his fingers to the vase, watching intently. The surface was cool to the touch, and quite rough, like a stone. It was solid, unmovable. There was nothing inside it, and he leaned into it briefly.

It didn't do anything that could have warned him, so he couldn't be sure it was his doing, but something told him it was. As soon as he looked into the inside of the vase, however, all screens turned on a dim glow, and the light around him went out, making both him and Makka jump and scream.

They weren't just glowing, however. They were showing him a video. In it, a man much like Katsuki Yuuri from the banquet, looked out of the window of an old train, wistfully, while embracing someone that very much resembled Victor. It was snowing outside, and around them, a bunch of people he didn't quite recognize were cheering.

The imagery changed quickly, unpredictably, and with each picture Victor's heart skipped a few beats. He was in some of the videos. In others he wasn't. Sometimes it was a past moment, one he had no recollection of having on camera. Sometimes it was something so different altogether that he struggled to place it at all.

A coffee with a number and a little heart. Himself, throwing a flirty wink at someone behind the camera. Makka, running through the beach and being chased by Victor. Him sitting with other people in said beach. Him, dancing at the banquet with Yuuri. Him, receiving his first Grand Prix medal. Yakov tearing up when Victor first broke a world record. A candid shot of a morning, running by a bridge, waiting for someone with Yura. A small puppy, very similar to Makkachin, in the arms of a young dark-haired boy. Himself, watching another skater perform a wobbly quad flip.

The images didn't seem to make any sense, but after a few minutes, he couldn't help but notice a common theme.

In all of them, the subject was happy.

He, however, didn't seem to be the only subject.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 2

DAY 2 - 002

VICTOR

This is confusing.

I've been taking a look at these screens for quite a while now. I'm not entirely sure that I can control what they show me, but at the very least the scenes have slowed down.

I'm now sitting down on the floor, leaning against the vase. It's big enough, and heavy enough, that it doesn't seem to budge with my weight, which is just as fine by me.

The screens don't seem to have controls, remote or otherwise. They only started working when I looked into the vase, and I find that very sketchy for a control.

I have searched all the rooms now more thoroughly, and there's certainly no one here. At this rate, if someone does appear out of nowhere, that would scare me... This place is well stocked, however, and the last door which I assume to be the entrance is locked. So my guess is that whoever put me here wants me to stay... not a happy thought.

Anyway, the screens.

They show me memories, I've figured out. But it doesn't seem like all memories are mine, or from my point of view, or from... well, bear with me for a second. They don't all seem like they're real.

Some of these memories, or scenes, or movies, or whatever... They're from other... universes? I've seen some strange scenes. In some of them, I see myself, but I look slightly different, my clothes, or my hair, or something looks different... The world around me in those scenes does as well. Places I've never been to, people I've never talked to... Sometimes they're normal, but I can't seem to remember them.

I see the guys from back home a lot. Yakov, Lilia, Georgi, Mila and Yuri... I wonder if they're looking for me. I wonder...

There's also Chris, and Katsuki, and a few other competitors. There's also school friends, and family, and Makka...

And then there's people I don't know. A lady with triplets, and who I assume to be her husband. A tiny version of Makkachin. An older couple, and what looks like her daughter and son. They're all Japanese, and whoever's memories these are... they're lucky. They have a sweet family. A part of me wonders if they're... well, admittedly, I'm biased, but he is Japanese, right? I wonder.

But that's that.

The memories do have sound. It's just in a different language, so I have no idea what they're talking about.

I wish I could change what this shows me, though. Or at least slow it down. Some images are so quick it's difficult to piece them together. I wonder if I should be watching this at all.

I wonder if there's any way for it to show me the normal TV channels, though. There's no phone signal in here, but maybe the screens are connected somehow...? I'll admit, I know next to nothing about how technology works. Lilia is the one who knows how to do all that.

SOUNDS OF HIM STANDING UP, STRETCHING. MAKKACHIN JUMPS UP AS WELL.

VICTOR

I might as well try the vase again. It worked the first time... I didn't do anything to it, but let's see...

Hm. No, it doesn't have any buttons. What if I try to touch the inside...?

Ahhh!!!

Holy crap, that was intense. They all turned white all of a sudden! That's very bright. Very bright. Okay. Okay, okay, okay...

Okay. So. If I look into it, I can change things... so if I try to say...

I want to see the national news in Russia.

GASP, QUIET SOUND OF A RUSSIAN NEWSCAST IN THE BACKGROUND

VICTOR

ALMOST SOBBING, WITH RAPID BREATHING, AS HE SETS THE PHONE DOWN ON THE VASE'S EDGE

I... don't know what I was expecting, but this wasn't... I didn't... But there's nothing in the vase!

PACING, RAPID BREATHING, GASPING

VICTOR

Calm down... calm down... There must be... there must be another explanation...

MAKKACHIN WHINES AND HE STOPS PACING TO PET HER.

VICTOR

I don't know what's happening, girl. I don't understand. Are you as confused as papa is? Hmm? Ah, you recognize the news guy? Yeah, we've seen him at home before, haven't we?

Okay... well, might as well take a look. I wonder when this is from... It says it's from the day of the banquet, so maybe it hasn't been as long as I thought?

PICKS UP PHONE AGAIN

VICTOR

Well, if this thing can play anything I ask it for...

Show me the news from the next day.

Not this time, huh?

Show me the news from... Sochi, this same day.

STAMMI VICINO PLAYS ON THE BACKGROUND

VICTOR

Well, that's... interesting. Is this prerecorded? I mean, it must be, what a silly question. I'm clearly not out there skating, it must be.

Show me the news from later that day!

Critics... ads... no, this isn't it. Maybe I'm not phrasing it right? Maybe it doesn't quite understand... Ugh, this is confusing. It might not have been that long, then. Maybe the news haven't caught up yet, and no one has realized I'm here...

So this can show me the past, and random weird images, but not the future. Well, it's to be expected. No one can fake something that creepy, not even someone with a bunker like this.

STAMMI VICINO TRAILS OFF, A CONVERSATION BETWEEN THE CRITICS ENSUES, MORE NEWS KEEP PLAYING IN THE BACKGROUND, IN RUSSIAN. VICTOR TAKES A DEEP BREATH, AND SETTLES DOWN AGAIN ON THE FLOOR. MAKKA WALKS UP TO HIM AND SITS AS WELL. HER BREATH IS AUDIBLE FOR A LITTLE WHILE, AND THEN THE AUDIO CUTS OUT.

#

Victor wakes up with a start, and the familiar sounds of the news station make him question his sanity for a full second before he processes where he really is. But there's no escaping it. He's still trapped in the bunker.

He inspects the screens idly, noticing the one in the furthest corner from him that points the time. It says five hours and forty two minutes... The seconds keep ticking, but the clock doesn't change, and Victor wonders if it's supposed to be the time, or a timer. How long has he slept for?

Makka is right next to him, and she doesn't seemed freaked out at all, so nothing must have happened. That's right. Nothing has happened... he breathes, or tries to at least. He's not entirely sure he's not just moving stale air in and out. He feels out of breath.

It still takes a few more minutes of staring at the clock, at the image formed by the screens in one of the walls. Slowly, the more he relaxes, the more screens that turn on. Or maybe it's tied to the time. He's thankful that the sound in the room doesn't reverberate, or isn't excessively loud. It makes it seem more like a TV, and he can't think of anything that would scare him more than it having a particularly loud sound. He tries to push the thought away, however, unsure of how his instructions are taken in this room.

He remembers what he's recorded, he doesn't need to hear himself. Still, he reaches for his phone, stopping the recording and fiddling with his audio editor to try and delete the last part. So it's been about an hour, huh...

Makkachin wakes up after a little while, and Victor recognizes the look she gives him. It's probably time to eat something, but his stomach is still tied into quite a few knots, and the last thing he really wants to do is eat. Makka, on the contrary, seems to only be thinking of that. Victor sighs.

"I don't want to eat any of the food here," he tries to tell her, at first. It works for approximately five minutes, until she gets tired of pets, and stands up. Victor is cold without her, and he shivers, a wave of nausea running through him. Makka nuzzles his shoulder when he whimpers, but still tries to beckon him out of the room.

He follows in a bit of a daze. He doesn't want to leave the screens, but he's not entirely sure he can turn them off, and the news have been playing on repeat for a while, ending around the time of the banquet and never going further. He wonders if it's tied to his own blacked out memories, if maybe time has stopped and he's trapped in a weird magical limbo. He wonders if he has access to other TV channels, or maybe even internet media, if maybe he can try to communicate with the outside via the screens. But he doesn't have time to dwell on those thoughts, because Makkachin barks, startling him, and she nuzzles at him again, worried when he clutches his chest and does his best to breathe in and out.

He knows on some level of consciousness that he's probably panicking. He's never really felt it before, but he's pretty sure this is what it would feel like. He enters the kitchen, shivering with every step, and follows Makka's nose until he finds some dog food, her favorite. He pours it in one of the plates, not bothering to try and find a dog bowl, and sits on one of the chairs. He's not prepared for this. He's heard of people having panic attacks, but he's never had one, and he isn't even sure he's having one to begin with. His chest aches, and his breathing is shallow, and he swears he'll vomit on someone if he has to open his eyes. He keeps them closed, and focuses on the sounds of Makka eating.

It will stop. Whatever it is, it will stop. It has to.

#

It does, eventually. He doesn't fall back asleep, but the sounds of Makka eating, breathing, help. He eventually notices his own breathing becoming slower, and he manages to open his eyes to look at her. He serves her water from a bottle he finds in the fridge, after she finishes her food, and starts to wash the plate in an attempt at normalcy.

"I wish we knew how long we'll be trapped here. I wish we knew if we'll ever get out," he tells her, watching her drink, and ruffling her fur once she's finished. She whines in reply. "It's nice here, isn't it? That's what bothers me the most. If it was creepy, at least I would know what I'm scared of. Right now, I'm anticipating anything. The food could be poisoned and we wouldn't know. The water. The air. We might be being watched, or we might be completely abandoned... The possibilities are too wide, and I just want to know what's going on... Why are we here? Why us? I'm so glad you're here with me, Makka, I don't know what I'd do without you," he adds, when she curls up in his lap, ever cuddly, even now that she's big enough and heavy enough to not fit in his lap.

She's been big for a while, he remembers fondly. Then he has an idea.

"Let's go, Makka, I want to try something."

They walk back to the screens room, where they've stopped replaying the news and instead come to life slowly when he enters. He notices the clock, but he can't remember what time it was before. Five something, right? Well, it's five thirty seven now. He wonders if that's morning or night, but there's no way for him to really know...

"Show me memories of Makka as a puppy," he demands.

The screens comply, soft yips and whines filling the room immediately, and Victor smiles.

If he's going to be trapped in a weird ass room without any means of communication with the outside, if he's going to die in this place, at least he'll have Makka around when it happens. She's been his biggest source of comfort for so many years now...

She's surprised to see herself as a puppy, and Victor can't tell if she notices it's her or not, but he laughs at her antics, and lets her follow the screen-Makka around the room. More screens light up if necessary, and for a little while, Victor manages to forget their situation. Just for a little while.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 3

When Victor wakes up next, just as startled as the two times previous, he's in the bed again. He vaguely remembers going back at some point the night before, or whatever time it was, when he became sleepy. He didn't open the curtains this time, using his phone to light up the way to the corridor. The lights were dimmer than they had been before, and Victor wondered if they simulated daylight. Makka was in the kitchen, judging by the sounds, and he followed her there, feeding her once more, and eyeing the fridge for the first time, still not sure about it.

"What do you think, Makka?" he asked her quietly, still a little sleepy. "Your food is fine, isn't it?" She kept eating, unconcerned with Victor's antics, and he chuckled. "Of course."

He peruses the shelves, curious, but finally feeling like he's getting used to the place. There's a cookbook in one of the cabinets, quite a few cookbooks actually, but he once more gets the feeling that they're showing him whatever recipes he thinks of, and closes them again. He's not awake enough for that shit.

He finds a kettle, and some of his favorite teas, and he hums happily. There's no way to go wrong with tea. Boiled water is always edible, right? Well, and even if it isn't, there's not much he can do about it. He's no chemist, and everything in the kitchen smells nice, looks fresh... He can't find an expiration date on the tea box, but then again, he's never really noticed one in the boxes at home...? Tea expires, probably, right?

He puts the kettle on anyway, and makes some simple scrambled eggs on toast. As the scent of food fills the kitchen, he realizes, he's ravenous. He wonders what time it was the last time he ate, and then pushes the thought away. He's heard of those experiments where people don't know what time it is, he knows what happens to them. His phone doesn't show the time, he's checked the day before.

It's probably for that exact reason that the sudden sound of a clock ticking makes him scream, and nearly knock the pan off the burner. He turns around, but the clock that has appeared in the kitchen wall is just a simple one, without much decoration, that ticks steadily. He checks his phone, which seems to have started to work as well. He takes a deep breath.

"Makka, am I going crazy?" Victor asks her, but she's busy chasing a few pieces of her food that have fallen off her plate.

He knows what he's seen. He knows that the clock wasn't there before. He returns to his food, trying to find his appetite now that his stomach feels like it's jumped all the way up to his throat once more.

The tea helps, a little bit. It warms him up and relaxes him, if only just long enough to eat his breakfast, and clean after himself. Or, he tells himself, his dinner. Not a full day without a clock and he's already messed up his sleep schedule, huh?

The rooms in the bunker seem designed to help him around and cater to his needs, so he spends the next few hours — and it's a relief to finally know the time he spends on things — trying to make his phone work, or his computer, or anything. He remembers a particular passage on a Harry Potter book where he spent hours trying to figure out the words to open the Room of Requirement to bust out Malfoy, and he sighs when, upon turning around, he sees the book collection appear on his desk.

He's getting used to it, he thinks, by the time an old-styled music player appears. It doesn't have a space for CDs, nor cassettes, but what really surprises him is the lack of USB ports. He figures it out not long after, however, asking it to turn up a specific song, and getting his wish granted.

There are limitations, like the no communication rule, but he doesn't quite get to explore those. He's been inspecting the other rooms as well, and it's around the time that the clock in the kitchen hits midnight, that his new "world" takes another turn.

There's a heartbeat. Not his heartbeat, not a human one. It's like the bunker itself pulsates, only once, and then stays still. Victor is in the kitchen when this happens, and nothing seems to have changed, so he goes out into the corridor. The lights aren't flickering, for which he's eternally grateful, but he does notice a soft hum coming from the octagonal room.

This time, he's a little more prepared to face whatever they throw at him. He's spent an evening messing around with this newfound magic, he's probably ready to see more of it. Whatever that means. He gets his phone ready, and enters the room.

###

DAY 2 - 003

VICTOR

So, at this point there is no reason to pretend... I'm in a very weird place. But weird things keep happening, and considering there's no way out, I might as well investigate them...

DOOR OPENS

VICTOR

Hmm... Oh!

I thought the clock in this room was a little strange, but it's... Hold on, it's going backwards? Am I... traveling in time or something? Had it been counting down to something and I just didn't notice? How... odd...

The screens are working, but I can't tell what it is that I'm seeing. The images change too quickly to identify them. There's not much I can do like this...

Go slower!

... no, nothing.

Tell me what you're doing!

GASP

SCREENS

... Back

VICTOR

That's what I thought but... tell me why!

SCREENS

Life. Love. Find.

VICTOR

What. What is that even supposed to mean? Let me go back home! That's my life! I know, hard to believe, but I had one, you know?!

SCREENS

Trapped

VICTOR

Yes, I realize I'm trapped. Where am I?

SCREENS

You.

VICTOR

Yes, I'm trapped. Where am I?!

... all it says is 'you'. Oh well, then, I think that really clarifies things, of course. Of course.

The screens keep doing their thing for a long time, long enough that Victor isn't angry anymore by the time things change again. Nothing seems to have changed around him, except the clock on the Room, which now indicates it's gone back in time to sometime around... well, what looks like Victor's birthday. He watches himself be held by various family members who all look happy, and way younger than he remembers them. He doesn't remember this moment, of course, and he finds it cute, if slightly uncomfortable to be watching them like this. This is the first time one of the memories he's been shown was something he wasn't meant to see, other than the strange images that didn't belong to him, the ones he'd been shown during the first day. He's not sure how to feel about those.

He's not sure how to feel about anything, if he's being honest. He's tired, not physically, but emotionally. He's tired of feeling trapped, tired of feeling observed, and tired of being on his toes about things.

It's a little thing, but he resolves to ignore the screens for now, if he can. There's not much to be done other than that, but he'll find a way to entertain himself. He has been saying for a while that he wants to get better at cooking, right? It looks like he has the time now... because it doesn't look like he's getting out.

#

DAY 2 - 004

SOUNDS OF FABRIC

VICTOR

I don't understand what the Room is trying to do. What's the point of showing me things from the past? I've clearly not changed back into a baby, neither has Makka. Right girl? Makka?

PUPPY STEPS, HER BREATH

VICTOR

There you are, good girl. Are you worried, Makka? I bet you miss your walks. Me too, puppy, me too...

Maybe I should ask for a gym area. Just so I don't get too much out of shape. I wonder what people back home are thinking, if they're searching for us...

The day has passed very slowly today. I cooked a ton of foods, they're cooling down. I'll put them in the fridge in the morning... They came out pretty okay, if I do say so myself. The magical cookbooks are easy to follow. I suppose they are made so I find them useful, so that's something. Makes me wonder, really...

I wonder what the heck is going on. Though at the same time, I do try not to question things too much, I feel like I will go crazy if I do. Just... roll with the punches, I think is the expression. But it's impossible not to think about it a little bit sometimes. Too many weird things have happened in very little time, and it's hard to know if I should get used to them or not.

Will I miss not having this when I go back? Or will I remember at all? Nothing would seem strange by now...

It's...

FABRIC SOUNDS

VICTOR

It's a little past ten pm. I should get some sleep.

DAY 3 - 005

VICTOR

It's early morning now. Having the clocks working really helps keep my schedule...

YAWN

VICTOR

If I were home I would walk Makka now, after breakfast, and head to the rink for practice... Maybe I can turn the storeroom into an improvised gym. I gave it some thought last night, but if there's really no limit to what I can ask... that could be something.

I don't feel restless yet, but I'm sure it will come. Staying inside always becomes a little dull after a while. Hopefully I'll figure out how to... well, get out of here.

Anyway. There's little else to do other than that. I'll get something to eat and then try again with the different rooms. Yesterday I tried leaving the screens alone, but after giving it some thought during the night, I realized I might be missing important clues... After all, they're the only part of the house that has replied with words to any of my questions... There doesn't seem to be anyone behind things, and if there is, they're not making their presence known. For now, at least.

FABRIC SOUNDS, BED CREAKS

VICTOR

I'm starting to feel a little more comfortable, I must admit. It's a strange place, but I seem to be alone, and mostly safe. I'm not in pain from anything, the food from yesterday doesn't seem to have been poisoned... It's mostly disconcerting, but I'm glad this place isn't as dark as I thought it could be. The walls are a matte white shade, almost cream, and I think that helps reflect what light comes from the window... or the ceiling... or wherever the light is coming from.

PUPPY STEPS AND BREATH

VICTOR

Hi, girl. Are you hungry? I bet you are. Let's go get food.

STEPS, BEDROOM DOOR, STEPS, KITCHEN DOOR, SOUNDS OF PANS AND CUTLERY

VICTOR

I wish I knew how I got here in the first place. I barely remember the last thing I saw or anything like that... Maybe I was drugged? Or asleep?

I remember going to the banquet, chatting with people, dancing... I remember what he asked. I wonder if he's wondering where I am...

I don't remember anything after that, though. The next thing I remember is waking up in that bed, and thinking that I must have had a bit much to drink. I was wearing my pajamas then, but all of my clothes were in the closet. At least, they look like my clothes. It could be this place giving me what I want to see, though.

This place is strange, I can't say I like the way it seems to have magic. I don't even like to think in those terms, but I can't very well ignore what I'm seeing, right? I feel like this would be a wonderful thing to find out if I wasn't in such a weird situation.

Why is Makka here, anyway? I left her in St. Petersburg, I know I did. Whoever put us here had to go through the trouble of fetching her before getting me?

To be honest, the more time I spend here, the more confused I am. I don't think anyone put us here, because, really, this place is way too weird. I wouldn't believe it if anyone told me about it, that's for sure. The screens, well, the entire place seems to have a mind of their own, but they don't seem set out to hurt me. Makka is here with me, and if we ended up here because of magic, I can only be grateful that I'm not alone. I think it would be even worse...

BRIEF PAUSE, IN WHICH HE STANDS UP FROM A CHAIR, SETS HIS PLATE AND MUG ON A SINK AND WASHES THEM. HE SIGHS BEFORE WALKING OUT AND INTO THE ROOM

VICTOR

I'm going to try and figure out the screens. Let's see what they have for us today.

They're still set into a past time, when I was a baby. Makka, see that? That's baby me!

Wow, my mom looks super young in this... and my dad, too, wow... Oh, I'm crying! Haha, dad looks so panicked. I wonder if this is going to show me my entire life again. Man, I hope not. I sure was an embarrassing teen...

What else can you show me, Room?

The vase in the center... It's full of a liquid now. I didn't see it yesterday, I wonder for how long it's been here. It's glowing softly, almost like a night light. I wonder what it does...

SOUND OF ELECTRICITY

VICTOR

Looks like I can't touch it. Very well then. What am I supposed to do? Can I still control what the screens show me? Show me the news from that day!

SOUND OF RUSSIAN NEWSCAST ON THE BACKGROUND, MAKKA YELPS

VICTOR

Apparently I still can. Wow, the video quality back then was horrible...

Is this it? Is this all I can do? I should be able to ask for other things, right Makka? What should we ask for now? Hmm... what about the news in... the States?

AUDIO CHANGES

VICTOR

France?

AUDIO CHANGES

VICTOR

Italy!

AUDIO CHANGES

VICTOR

Wow. I have no idea what they're saying.

LAUGHS

VICTOR

Show me a cartoon!

AUDIO CHANGES TO AN OLD RUSSIAN CARTOON, VICTOR GASPS

VICTOR

Oh, I remember this one! My god, this was a cartoon I used to watch as a kid... But hold on, when is this from? Hm... Show me the news two years from today!

AUDIO REMAINS THE SAME

VICTOR

No, I guess not... Hm?

AUDIO CHANGES, IT'S MORE QUIET, A FEW BIRDS CHIRP

VICTOR

This isn't the news, but... It looks like a small town. It's near the sea, the image is closing in... a hot spring? Is this... I can't read the names on anything, this must be in Japan.

GASP, VICTOR FUMBLES WITH HIS PHONE TO TURN IT OFF, AND IN THE BACKGROUND HE CAN BE HEARD MURMURING:

VICTOR

Makka, he said his parents owned a hot spring inn...

AUDIO CUTS OUT.

#

Victor doesn't intend to, but he can't help but get caught in the images he's seeing. A young woman, working away in a kitchen. A young man greeting clients. Another young woman talking to them both, drinking and laughing with them. Occasionally, there's a small kid around, a cheerful girl with long brown hair pulled into a ponytail. A small family, by all accounts.

He also sees himself, and his parents, when he was younger. He doesn't live with them anymore, but he remembers the house he's seeing, barely on the edges of his memory. He remembers the outlets, old and rusty, and the sharp, sober decoration of the place. The ceilings, too high for him to even see as a toddler, and the small spaces in which they had to live. As he grew, he knows they moved a couple of times, but he doesn't get to see those houses yet, so he enjoys the reminder of what it was like during the first few years of his life.

His parents look so much younger, and not for the first time lately, Victor is reminded of his own age. He'd been thinking of retiring from skating, but he hadn't decided yet, and now... Now the decision might have been taken for him.

Those thoughts make him frown, looking away from the screens to the vase. He trails his fingers on the smooth, grey-ish stone, pensive, but he's not sure of what he's thinking when the sound from the screens changes again. This time when he looks up, he's skating. He frowns.

"I thought you wouldn't show me things from the future," he complains, to no one in particular, and the image shivers, but doesn't go away.

He remembers this particular routine. It's from earlier in the year, when he'd been toying with new ideas for the next year's competition. It's unfinished, and unpolished, and if he looks closely he can see Yakov frown in the background. In the video, he seems to be enjoying it, but his mood is quick to sour, and he keeps stumbling with his footwork. It's, without being dramatic, one of the worst routines he's skated in a long time.

The image finally fades when he sees himself flub a jump, and stay down on the ice, defeat clear in his features. He still hasn't perfected that routine, the most he's managed to do is divide it into two arrangements, and the thought that he might never get to bothers him.

Silently, Victor calls Makka so she's closer, and wonders what the screen will show him next. He makes a halfhearted attempt to think of memories of his recent past, but the images don't obey him. Instead, he's thrown into yet another scene with his parents, and the coziness of his home, but it somehow fails at making him feel any better.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 4

DAY 4 - 006

MATTER-OF-FACTLY

VICTOR

I've had breakfast already. The Room still keeps showing the same thing, though, and it doesn't seem to be following my thoughts or anything. The most I've managed is to watch some cartoons, and I can't help but wonder if it's purely out of boredom...

Watching a baby me grow up is boring as watching paint dry. My parents are nice, but it's weird to watch them like this, and frankly, I don't see the point of watching them fuss over me. I know they did, I've lived with them for my entire childhood, like everyone else! They're just being parents, doing what parents do.

SIGH

VICTOR

I don't see the point in watching this thing anymore, not if it won't let me see what I want to see.

#

It's a couple of hours later, after he's had lunch, that Victor settles down in his bedroom with Makka. The Room is frustrating him to no end, and he takes a different approach. If he's going to be trapped with nothing else to do, he might as well use his time wisely.

He reads, at first, finishing off a book he'd been carrying around for months without actually having any time to read it, or the mental space needed for it. He used to love reading, and he'll be damned if he doesn't read now that he —albeit unwillingly— has the time.

After that, he opens the curtains again, this time less freaked out by the strange vision outside. The fog is still there, swirling, unchanged. It brings some semblance of natural light to the room, though, so he opens the curtains completely, and lays back on the bed, looking up. After his book, and no longer invested in the story, he's once more reminded of his situation.

Makka cuddles closer, and he pets her distractedly.

"It's... December 26th, according to the screens," he murmurs after a while, and he can tell his voice catches her attention. It's been a while since he's spoken, he supposes. He's been listening to his parents' banter, and baby cries, and Makka's occasional barks, so he clears his throat and tries to focus on the sound of his own voice. "That means there's really only a few days until New Year's, huh? What do you think, Makka, should we celebrate?"

Makka raises her head while he talks, observing her with an enthusiasm that hasn't dimmed with the years, and it brings a pang of pain to Victor's chest. He also cuddles closer to her, and closes his eyes, willing himself not to cry.

"I wish I had your optimism," he confesses to her, and she tries to nuzzle her head into the crook of his shoulder. He maneuvers them so they're both comfortable, with the poodle now half on top of him. He takes a deep breath, feeling his muscles expand. "But okay, Makka. We'll do it your way. We'll celebrate New Year's, and maybe even Christmas. We should find presents, too! I'm sure the storage room will have something nice we can gift ourselves for... I don't know, for going through all this shit, don't you think that's a good enough excuse? I think it's a great excuse."

Makka yips in response, something she started doing when they were both considerably younger, and has never stopped doing. Victor remembered thinking somewhere that cats only meow at humans because they think we're like kittens and won't understand otherwise. He wonders if dogs do the same, or if perhaps Makka is aware of how comforting her little yips and barks are. She's gotten louder as she grew up, but he doesn't mind, he loves knowing she's around. She's never been prone to barking fits, anyway.

He still lays on his bed for a couple of minutes, but this time, he's found something to think about, and for a while, he's thankful for the distraction.

His mother and father, in the screens, are also starting the annual cleaning spree that they've taught him to do as well, at the end of the year, so he doesn't think twice before starting to clean around the house. It's interesting, he thinks to himself while vacuuming the floors, that the bunker hasn't automatically cleaned itself, and instead lets him have something to do. He appreciates it, no matter what the reason is, and sets out to move the furniture in the room. There's dust to get to, and he much prefers having his mind occupied rather than focused on his recently lost passion for skating.

#

It only takes Victor a couple of days to fully clean everything, but by the time he does, he also notices that time passes differently in the screens. He's glad to see it go faster than the clocks in the bunker, almost relieved. Victor isn't sure what the screens are trying to show him, but if he's going to be forced to see his entire life like a movie, he much rathers it doesn't take him another 27 years, thank you very much.

It's been about twice as many days in the Room than in his bunker, he calculates, and New Year's might come earlier than he thought, but he's alright with that. Maybe even more than twice, he notes with glee, and he rushes to tell Makka about it, so quick he catches a box with ornaments appearing in his room, which makes him laugh for some reason.

He's never been happier for time passing quickly, he thinks, and sets out to decorating his new home, with barely a thought towards his real flat, or what the real world might be doing. If this is going to be his life for the indefinite future, he might as well make it comfortable.

#

DAY ? - 007

SOMEWHAT SLURRED

VICTOR

It's a New Year!

Which means it's been a whiiiile... since we're here, huh, Makka?

SHE BARKS

VICTOR

That's right.

A GLASS CLINKS, AND A LIQUID POURS. VICTOR DRINKS.

VICTOR

I wonder what we're supposed to be celebrating... I don't really know anymore. Time happens weirdly in this place. Not that it matters, really. What's the point of celebrating when you're alone? It's dumb. It's been a while since we've celebrated, hasn't it? Yakov invited us last year to hang out with him, that was nice. For a while, at least, until he got all sad and mopey because Lilia wasn't with us.

I wonder if Yakov is okay. I wonder if he'll miss us this year...

It's been a few days, though, and they're not here, they haven't managed to contact me... Maybe they just think I'm hiding from the press. I've done it before, but I always told Yakov about it, so at least he would know...

Makka, are you going to bed? It's late, isn't it, I guess I've been drinking for a while

STANDS UP FROM CHAIR

VICTOR

I'll go with you.

FINISHES GLASS, WALKS TO THE DOOR, IT OPENS, CLOSES, HE CROSSES THE CORRIDOR AND GOES INTO HIS ROOM, CLOSING THE DOOR. THERE'S THE RUSTLING OF CLOTHES FOR A MOMENT WHILE HE UNDRESSES AND GETS INTO BED, WHICH CREAKS

VICTOR

It's been almost nice

MURMURING

VICTOR

The food was good, I had a good time cooking it... I can't remember the last time I cooked something so elaborate. I bet Yakov wouldn't believe me if I told him.

Champagne wasn't the best, but it reminded me...

I wonder if he would have tasted like this. If he hadn't been so drunk, maybe I...

SIGH

VICTOR

It would have been a little scandalous, Yakov would have been mad. But... He said... He was humping my leg. He wanted it, I'm sure of it... He wanted me...

SIGH AGAIN, AND RUSTLING OF SHEETS. NEXT TIME HE SPEAKS, THE WORDS SOUND MUFFLED, AS IF THE PHONE WAS UNDER THE PILLOW, OR FAR AWAY.

VICTOR

Hah. Isn't it ironic...

MUFFLED SIGH, THIS TIME FROM PLEASURE

VICTOR

Not long ago everyone would fight to have my attention... and now... I'm here, trapped, with only... ah... only the thought of him to keep me company at night.

SMALL MOAN. AUDIO FADES OFF, WITH FAINT SOUNDS OF HIM SAYING YUURI'S NAME, AND STILTED MOANS.

#

It's late in the morning when Victor wakes up next. His phone has fallen to the floor, and whatever he recorded the previous night has stopped recording long ago, his phone is probably out of memory. He'd like to say he doesn't quite remember, but his face heats up with the memories, and he immediately knows this won't be but the first time he goes to sleep with the thought of Yuuri Katsuki's body in mind. If anything, he tells himself, it was bound to happen sooner or later.

He doesn't bother with the recording. He doesn't quite remember what he was thinking when he started it, but it doesn't really matter right now. He wills the bedsheets to be clean, and arranged again, and shivers when new ones fall over his naked body, cool, and are crisply tucked around the edges of the bed. He rearranges them to feel less like hotel bedsheets, and once he's happy with the result, he looks up from his cocoon.

Makka isn't in the room, which isn't surprising. He can bet he wasn't letting her sleep last night. When she was a pup, she would sometimes jump on the bed when Victor was... busy, so to speak, and it had taken them both some time to get used to each other. Nowadays, though, unless Victor helps her, Makka rarely jumps on anything. She would paw at him until he helped her get on his bed, but if he was busy, she would find somewhere else to sleep. They had been together for a long time, and separated due to competitions even longer, it seemed like, and she didn't have any qualms abandoning her owner at night. It makes Victor's heart ache just a little, but he has to admit, it's probably for the best that she doesn't have separation anxiety. It would make leaving her at home that much harder...

He still stays in bed for a little longer, piecing the previous evening back together from his most blurry memories of it. Not that he did anything too different from his usual New Year's Eves. He had changed into a pair of slacks and a clean shirt, he remembers, trying for some semblance of normalcy, and he'd set the table for him and Makka. Dinner had been tough on his own, however, and he'd ended up watching the New Year's Eve TV programs on the Room for a while. He'd drank champagne with his parents as they all celebrated, and he'd afterwards returned to the kitchen to clean after himself, and pour some more champagne. Perhaps a bit too much, but if he was being honest, he probably deserved it for not having had any alcohol in all the days previous. This bunker was driving him up the walls, and he wouldn't blame anybody who needed a drink to cope with it. Hell, if he didn't get out soon, he wasn't sure what he'd have to do to... to keep going, really.

The thought isn't any more depressing than what has been going through his head as of late.

He picks up his phone from the floor after a little while longer of looking at the top of his poster bed. It's almost eleven, and the thought doesn't make him feel any better. He stands from the bed, dragging his feet towards the bathroom, but it doesn't quite hit him until he's drawn a bath for himself.

He's still in the bunker. A whole new year has started, people have celebrated, and he's still there. Alone, with only Makka to keep him company, but ultimately alone and trapped. There is no way out, and no one seems to be about to come in, and a terrifying thought occurs to him.

How many more New Years is he going to spend in this place?

The water filling the tub is warm around him, the steady flow from the faucet muffles his tears, and he's glad. Not even Makka hears him cry. He hugs himself into a ball, lets the water lap at him and soothe him. He's been mostly alone all this time and yet, now, alone in the bathroom, is when he finally allows himself to start accepting that he might never get out of this place.

The idea is equally terrifying and numbing. It takes him a while, so long that he hears Makka's steps around the door, and she even goes as far as scratching at it, trying to find him, but he eventually stops crying, and decides to step out of the bathtub. He showers quickly, almost angrily, before opening the door so she can see he's there. Her interest it more food-related than his welfare, Victor knows, but it's still nice to have her depend on him. He isn't sure what he could do, if she wasn't there...

He's never been prone to depression. He's had classmates, and rinkmates who are, and he's not as insensitive as to think their troubles were mere inventions. But he has to admit, he wasn't prepared for being thrown in here, and the onslaught of confusing emotions is new, and he doesn't quite like it. There's a lot of unknown circumstances lying at the bottom of everything, like the reason why he's in the bunker in the first place, or how long he's meant to wait before someone gets him out... or if someone will, at all, get him out.

Ultimately, he ends up deciding, there is no way to answer these questions. What matters is what he's going to do now, without a clear plan for the future, or without knowing how long said plan should be. He's never been one for wallowing, and he doesn't want to start now, if he can help it. If whoever put him in this place was trying to break him, well, Victor is the king of surprising people by doing the unexpected thing to do. He will be fine... at least, that's what he wants to believe.

He's cold, after his shower, and he returns to the bedroom after feeding Makka, to fetch a sweater. He looks at himself in the mirror in his room, wondering idly if the colors match, and if he should leave the decorations up for a little while longer, and if, maybe, he should get some tea and watch festive cartoons like he usually does.

By the time he's conjured up a rocking chair in the Room, fetched some decent breakfast, and sat down with a comfy blanket, he's feeling much better, and has decided on his main New Year's resolution — live.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 5

DAY ? - 008

VICTOR

Wow, it's been a while, hasn't it?

This place hasn't changed much, everything's quite boring in between four gray walls... But it's alright, I'm getting used to it.

I would have thought I'd be more restless than I am, but I'm surprisingly okay? I've been exercising indoors, which has been nice, and there's enough space in the Room to dance, from time to time. Makka isn't really used to walking on the treadmill, but I'm trying to teach her how to because she also needs some exercise...

Anyway, yeah. Things are pretty quiet. It's only been about a week, really, even though the screens are showing me... I think it's February, because the streets are full of things about Valentine's day. I guess it's about time to take off the decorations, huh? Maybe that's what I'll do today.

I've been reading a lot, all those books I never had much time to get through. I used to love reading as a kid, and I'm finally getting back into it! It feels great, to be honest.

I miss skating, but it's really just in concept. I have no qualms in saying it here, where no one really can hear me... I haven't had fun with skating in a long while. Not the same fun I used to have, at least. I'll get back to it as soon as I get home, but for now, I'm enjoying the down time. Let's see how long that lasts.

The screens... they keep doing their thing. I've managed to ask them for TV programs of the time, like the news, or cartoons, things like that. It also shows me TV and radio from other countries, not that it helps much, but at least I'm learning some history from the news from when I was a baby! Plus some languages, though that's going to take a lot longer.

Valentine's day though... yet another holiday I don't know what to do about. I mean, obviously, nothing, but... It's an odd feeling, being so apart from normal things like holidays. I hope Mila or Georgi remember to get Yakov some chocolates. I usually do it, but... Well, he still deserves to be gifted chocolates even if I'm not there, right? I hope they remember...

I usually get them chocolate as well, but they'll forgive me for being here kidnapped. Or trapped. Whatever.

You see, I'm starting to think I might be in a different dimension or something. I can't simply ignore the magic of this place, or the fact that the windows face the nothingness outside. If so, I really hope I'm not truly gone from the real world. I hope... I don't know. I hope time has stopped while I'm here. I hope Yakov didn't have to spend New Years and Christmas without me... Though I do imagine someone else would at least visit him. Georgi and Mila did last year, in New Years, and I think Yura was going to this year because he felt left out. Well, that would be last year already, right!

Anyway.

Anyway... that's all I have for now.

The door at the end of the corridor still isn't opening. I've tried, right Makka? We've both tried, but it isn't budging. I hurt my shoulder trying to get it down, but it won't break, it won't open, nothing.

So...

SIGH

VICTOR

Yeah. Okay.

AUDIO CUTS OFF.

DAY ? - 009

WITH A YAWN

VICTOR

I think it's been a week... I finally took off all the decorations, I kept procrastinating it. I didn't want to do anything for Valentine's day, so I had them up for a while until yesterday.

It's... nine am, Makka is already asking for breakfast, and then probably her morning walk. On a treadmill, but hey, she's gotten quite good at it, and we get some quality time together. I'm sure she's enjoying it, too, the lil' critter.

I just wanted to say something out loud to someone who isn't Makka... Really, there's nothing new going on.

I'm still going through my TBR pile. I should become a youtuber or something and do book reviews. It's not like I don't have time to record videos while I'm here.

AUDIO CUTS OFF WITH A FRUSTRATED SIGH

DAY ? - 010

A FEW SECONDS OF SILENCE, A TINY SIGH LIKE VICTOR IS TRYING TO FIND HIS WORDS.

VICTOR

Happy birthday, Yura!

A LITTLE TOO CHEERY, AWKWARD

VICTOR

I'm never too sure whether or not he wants us to congratulate him. I would want to say he does. Anyway... yeah. It's his birthday today, even though according to the screen's timeline he wouldn't have been born yet.

Time passes quickly here, but not quite as much as I'd like to. Still, it's only been around a week for me, and it's now March? Not complaining, though. I'm curious to see what will happen when the screens reach my real time. I want to see people's reaction to Russia's best skater disappearing out of nowhere.

I mean, I'd like to go back, of course. That... goes without saying. Oh, whatever. I'm sure you know what I mean, whoever... you... are.

... I'm really going mad, aren't I?

DAY ? - 011

VICTOR

I can't believe it's not snowing anymore? What time is it, anyway. I'm really annoyed about this, my parents haven't changed the calendar on the corridor in at least a month.

News? Come on, show me the news. There, they say... The news says it's already April! Ugh. I remember my parents forgetting to use their calendars, but I never thought it would matter this much.

I probably could watch more news, if I wanted to, but following them too closely makes time goes slower, and that's about the last thing I want... Actually, I'm logging in today with just that idea, is that if I'm waiting for something, I wish there was a way to make time go even faster. It flies by when I'm distracted, and having fun about something, but it's hard to find things to do in the bunker that aren't watching the freaking screens... but when I watch, they go slower? Ugh, listen, I'm really annoyed about it.

In any case, time keeps going by pretty fast. It's been already a few months out there, but for me... Hold on, I was counting somewhere.

RUSTLING OF CLOTHES, VICTOR GOES OUT OF THE ROOM. AFTER A FEW SECONDS, HE COMES BACK, SITS DOWN NEXT TO THE PHONE AGAIN.

VICTOR

Here we go. I think I missed two days last week, but according to this, I've been here for 25 weeks. I've been counting days according to my sleep cycle, and I definitely hope that the clocks in this place aren't tricking me, but it's hard to say, at this point.

A COUPLE OF SECONDS OF SILENCE. DISTANT SOUNDS OF KITCHENWARE CLINKING AND WATER RUNNING.

VICTOR

My parents used to cook together a lot, I don't think I appreciated that as a kid. Maybe that's why I picked up cooking early on. A shame I had to give up cooking most things because of my training, though...

SILENCE AGAIN, AND EVENTUALLY THE RECORDING STOPS

DAY ? - 012

VICTOR

I don't remember this summer, obviously, my first summer... It looks like I had fun, though.

VICTOR'S VOICE IS QUIET. IT SOUNDS LIKE HE'S BEEN DRINKING BUT HE ISN'T QUITE DRUNK YET. PENSIVE, A LITTLE SAD.

VICTOR

It was a beautiful summer that year. My parents took me outside nearly everyday, especially in the evenings when my dad was home from work. When I was older my mom started working too, and I eventually ended up in extracurricular ballet classes, and then skating classes. I don't regret it, but it makes me a little sad to know I used to have this.

Anyway, it's been another ten days, it's now the middle of summer in Saint Petersburg, and I'm a little over half a year old. Which is weird to say, but alright.

Sometimes I keep seeing the other images from somewhere in Japan. I still think it has something to do with him, I still think it could be his family, but... Well, this is of no importance to whoever listens to this, anyway. I just wonder why the room is showing me this. If it will mean anything later on, and I'm just not seeing the point now, or if it has anything to do with what I'm doing here, or how to get out... I don't know, I don't understand a lot of things.

SILENCE FOR A FEW SECONDS, MAKKA STEPS NEARBY

SIGH

VICTOR

I don't know, I think I'm getting used to not having the answers. What's one more day in between four grey walls, am I right?

DAY ? - 013

VICTOR

I don't know why I'm logging this stuff in anymore. But hey, it's been a few more weeks, and now it's snowing again. Yay for seasons. It's October now. I will soon be one entire year old, and wow, isn't that magical.

AUDIO CUTS OFF SOON, WITH A HUFF.

#

Victor stops logging things some time around December. It's still before his birthday when he makes the decision to stop.

He doesn't do it on purpose, not at first, but he's noticed he doesn't have anything to say, and he eventually sits down with his phone, listens to previous recordings, and decides... it's not worth it. He knows there's nothing new to say, and even if there were, he's long stopped trying to get any phone signal or internet in the bunker. He's tried, God knows he has, but there's no more faith left in him to keep trying.

All he has left to do is wait, and keep living.

The time of the year hits him while he drinks cocoa, and he watches his parents shop for New Years and for Christmas. That's coming up again, right... Last year hasn't been that long ago, he reasons, but when he goes back to his notebook he realizes it's still been roughly half a year, in his particular pocket of time and space.

The Bunker...

He started calling it that when he realized it was closed, but he isn't sure what it is, not really. The windows still face the most absolute Nothing outside, a view that doesn't startle him anymore. Interestingly, it's become a comforting light source, even, when he feels like he misses the sun.

He's let himself go the tiniest of bits, and he's kept his exercise routine shorter than usual. Makka still enjoys some walking and running on the treadmill, and Victor himself enjoys doing some gym training, but mostly what he does is dance. He's been dancing a lot on his own lately. It's a little lonely, he reflects while he summons the Christmas decorations back into the supply room, but he's coping. He talks to Makka, and to himself sometimes. He's never been very religious, so he's slightly embarrassed to admit that in his lower moments, he's had the thought to reach out to whatever higher being was watching over him.

Red, gold and green look vibrant over the black walls in his bunker, and the decorations brighten up the place a little bit. He can appreciate that, he tells himself, just for what it is, instead of dwelling on the reminder that it's already been a year since he found himself trapped in this place.

Can't he?

#

New Years morning finds him sober this time, but not any less lonely, not any less sad, not any less scared. Still, he's a lot more determined to keep going ahead, keep living, see this through to the end, and perhaps it's that choice that helps him get out of bed, mark another day in his made up calendar, and get breakfast. There's leftovers, and it's tradition for him to eat those. Salad for breakfast it is, today. He adds a latte, and settles in The Room to watch Christmas cartoons in the giant wall of screens.

It'll be another lonely year, it seems. He silently wishes for it to change soon, but isn't disappointed when nothing in the room changes. That's one of the many things The Room doesn't seem to be able to grant — company, or any connection to the outside, at that.

#

 

It's around the time he starts thinking of getting the decorations back in their box that he realizes something else. He'd been staring at the little bell hanging from one of the corners of the bathroom mirror when he sees it, and it does strike him as odd for a second, before his mind files it as yet another oddity of the Bunker.

His hair hasn't gotten any longer in the past few months. Neither has Makka's. He doesn't remember needing to clip any of their nails, or take care of his undercut. Everything is exactly how it was when he first got here...

Victor wonders for a moment if that won't be a matter of the Bunker giving him whatever he wants, but he doesn't remember ever wishing for his hair to be short, and the place hasn't reacted to a silent wish in a long, long time. He looks at the mirror.

"I wish my hair was longer," he enunciates, clearly, but nothing seems to change. "I wish... I wish I had brown hair."

... that's a no, then.

He sighs, leaving the room and finding Makka napping in their room. He fiddles with his fringe.

"What do you think, Makka? Are we stuck in time, is that why we aren't changing? Do you think we'll ever get out of here, and go back to the same moment we disappeared from?"

Makka doesn't answer, instead she walks up to where Victor has sat down on the bed, and cuddles into his lap. Victor smiles.

"Or maybe we haven't left at all! Not that we'll get any answers by guessing like this."

Light comes in from the window, bathing everything in soft white light, but doing very little for the room itself. The walls are black and bare, but the wooden furniture is also dark, and creates more shadows than anything else. Victor wonders if a couple of pictures would lighten up the place, but ultimately decides he doesn't quite care. Dark wood is pretty, and he looks up to the curtains of his bed, a rich shade of purple hanging around him. He doesn't quite remember if they've always been there, but he appreciates them at night, when they block everything out and he can pretend for a second to be in the real, normal world, and that he will go back home when he next wakes up.

He closes his eyes.

When he opens them again, however, he's neither surprised, nor disappointed, to find himself still in the Bunker.