I was in a place. It was so bright, I couldn't see anything. But the brightness faded into plain white for as far as I could see. I pushed my brown bangs away from my eyes, but I didn't help me see anything. I still didn't know where I was.

So I started to walk.

I'm not sure how long I walked for. It seemed like time didn't exist in this place. I didn't seem to be getting anywhere either. I was a bit scared. In a place like this it would be easy to lose my senses. As I walked, I decided to try to recount what I knew.

My name is Nichole Martell. I'm seventeen years old. My birthday is September 5th. My parents are Janet and Harry.

I tried to remember what I had been doing before I got to this strange place. I couldn't remember a thing. I was so confused.

Suddenly everything became blindingly bright once again.

When the light faded, I saw someone.

It appeared to be a girl, although she looked a little bit older than me. She had long, wavy black hair and her skin was very tan. Her eyes were a bright blue, so different from my dull brown irises. I was so glad to see someone else.

As she looked around, she saw me.

"Hello," she said slowly.

"Hi," I said. "What's your name?"

"It's… Ruba. Ruba Nejim." I noticed her hesitant tone.

"I'm Nichole Martell."

Ruba looked around nervously.

"Do you know where we are?" she finally asked.

"No. No I don't." I replied. Then I thought of something. "Do you remember what you were doing before you got here?"

She paused and appeared to thinking very hard. Eventually she responded.

"No," she said. "I can't remember. Why can't I remember? What is this place?"

She looked like she was starting to panic.

"I'm not sure. I've been walking for a while, trying to find a way out, and you showed up."

My answer didn't seem to calm her down.

"What? Is there no way out of this place?"

Sensing her rising panic and frustration, I suggested something.

"Well," I said, "maybe we should try to find a way out of here. I didn't get far in my walking, so maybe we should both keep moving. It's better than just standing around worrying."

She sighed.

"I guess so," she said.

So we started to walk.

As we walked, I looked over at Ruba. She looked extremely upset and I could understand why. This whole situation was confusing. I thought that maybe I could help her by striking up a conversation.

"So," I began, "how old are you?"

Ruba looked a bit surprised, as though she'd forgotten I was there with her.

"I'm twenty-five," she replied.

"Really? You look a bit younger than that." I was very surprised, as I would have thought her to be nineteen at the oldest.

"I've been told that before. How old are you?"

"I'm seventeen."

"Oh man, that makes me feel old. Feels like I was that age yesterday."

As we continued talking, I notice that Ruba had calmed down considerably. I was glad that she was responding to me. I was certain that we'd both need clear heads to find a way out of here.

But suddenly, the bright light returned.

I was certain that another person would appear. And when the brightness faded, I found that I was right.

Before us, stood a boy. He looked to be about the same age as me, but he was smaller than I was. He had short, light blonde hair and pale skin. He had green eyes and looked just as confused as us. He spoke before either of us had a chance to ask him who he was.

"Where am I?" he asked, with a tone that sounded like he was accusing us of something.

Ruba and I exchanged a glance.

"We don't know," she said honestly.

"What?" he said, angrily. "What do you mean, you don't know?"

I was surprised by his standoffish attitude, but I elaborated anyway.

"We mean, we don't know. We've been walking, looking for a way out."

"A way out?"

"Yes. We haven't found one yet."

The boy looked even more confused and angry.

"Haven't found one?" he muttered, more to himself than to us. "Well that just silly, there has be a way out. It's not like I'm stuck here forever, I mean I couldn't be. There's definitely a way out, they're just messing with me."

"What's your name?" I ask, trying to stop his strange murmuring.

The boy jolted slightly and his face turned red.

"Sorry," he said suddenly, looking embarrassed. "I got carried away." He shook his head quickly. "My name is, uh, Steffen Ott."

"I'm Nichole Martell," I said.

"I'm Ruba Nejim," Ruba said.

"S-so," Steffen began shakily, "you two really don't know where we are?"

Ruba and I nodded.

"You say you were looking for a way out?" he continued. "Maybe I should join you. To help, of course."

Ruba chuckled softly. She seemed to be amused by his sudden change in attitude.

"Sure kid," she said. "Come help us look for an exit."

"Okay," Steffen said. Then he looked at her, a bit indignantly. "But I'm not a kid. I'm eighteen."

"Is that right?" she said smirking. "Well you sure don't act like it. Besides, I'm seven years older than you, so to me, you really are a kid."

Steffen deflated a bit. He didn't seem to take being called immature very well. I cleared my throat.

"How about we just keep walking?" I suggested.

Ruba looked over at me and said, "Good idea. Let get going."

So we continued to walk.

As we walked I remembered something.

"Hey Steffen," I said, looking over at him.

"Yeah?" he replied, meeting my gaze.

"Do you remember what you were doing before you got here?"

Steffen looked confused for a bit. Finally he responded with, "No. I- I don't remember."

Just as I figured.

"Wait," Ruba spoke up. "You asked me the same question. Why?"

"Well," I said, "when I first got here, I thought that this place might mess with me, so I ran through what I knew, like my name, my birthday, that sort of thing. But I realized that I couldn't remember what I doing or where I was before I got here. I figured you two might remember what happened before you got here and it would help me to remember."

Ruba nodded, but didn't reply. We fell into a slightly awkward silence. As we kept walking, I started to feel a bit hopeless. Would we find a way out of here? Or would we just keep walking forever and running into other people?

Then, as if on cue, the bright light returned, blinding us all.

When the light faded, we saw another guy, although he looked older than Steffen. He looked at us and the first thing I noticed about him was his eyes. They were so dark, almost black. He had messy brown hair that reached his shoulders. Some of his hair had fallen in front of his face so he reached up to tuck it behind his ear. Then he spoke.

"Sup?" he said.

I blinked. He didn't seem concerned in the least for where he was. I said the only thing I could think of.

"What's your name?" I asked.

"Axel," he said in a serious tone. Then he laughed. "Nah, I'm just messing with you. It's Lucas Fenn."

I was shocked. He was so calm, like this was just another day.

"Hey," Steffen said impatiently. "What's with the chill attitude? Aren't you wondering where you are?"

Lucas raised his eyebrows.

"Uh, yeah, I guess," he said. "So, where are we?"

"I- I don't know!" Steffen replied.

"Well, if nobody knows then why should I bother wondering about it?"

Steffen start stuttering, trying to respond. His face was starting to get rather red, when Ruba put her hand on his shoulder. He fell silent and looked at her.

"It's okay, kid," she said, with a friendly smile. "This guy's probably just trying to stay positive."

"Yes, but… he's so careless!"

Lucas cleared his throat.

"What's so wrong about that?" he said, looking a little annoyed. "Life's no fun if you're serious all the time. This one gets it." He gestured at Ruba. "What's this boy's problem?"

"Problem?" Steffen huffed. "I don't have a problem at all! You're the one being rude!"

It looked like a fight was about to break out between them. I quickly stepped forward to break it up before it started.

"Hey," I said. "I think we all got off on the wrong foot here. We haven't even introduced ourselves yet."

Steffen went red again.

"Sorry," he said.

"You got a point, girl," Lucas mused. "You all know my name, but I don't know any of yours. Let's start with the small fry. What's your name, boy?" He pointed at Steffen.

"I'm Steffen," Steffen said. Then he stated crossly, "And I'm not a boy. I'm eighteen, I'm an adult."

"Well, you look a bit too short to be an adult. But I guess that's just my perspective from up here. Besides, I'm twenty-two and I'm not quite an adult either."

Steffen looked ready to argue again, but Lucas continued speaking, cutting him off.

"And who is this lovely lady?" he said, winking at Ruba.

She seemed unaffected by his flirting.

"It's Ruba," she said. "Ruba Nejim."

"What a nice name," he said. Then he turned to me and said, "And how about you?"

"Oh!" I said. "Nichole. My name's Nichole."

"Well, Nichole, how's it feel being the youngest in the group?"

I was surprised he knew I was the youngest.

"Huh? How'd you know I'm the youngest?"

"Just a lucky guess. But even so, you're more mature than Mr. Steffen here."

Steffen's face turned red and he sputtered a bit, but he did manage to respond.

"That's Mr. Ott, to you!" he said.

"Sure. Mr. Ott then," Lucas said, rolling his eyes. Then he turned back to me. "You seem to know what you're doing. Care to tell me what the deal is with this place?"

"Well," I began, "we don't really know. We've just been walking trying to find a way out."

"Cool. Mind if I tag along?"

"Not at all."

"I mind!" Steffen exclaimed. I looked at him, surprised. I hoped he wouldn't try to start a fight.

"Steffen, calm down," said Ruba. She tapped the top of his head. "Don't be so immature."

Steffen fell silent again at being called immature.

"Fine," he said suddenly. "Let's just keep going."

He then turned and moved forward.

So once again we started to walk.

I remembered my question again.

"Hey Lucas," I said.

"What is it, Nicky?" he replied.


"Yeah. Do you mind if I called you that?"

"Uh, no. No I don't mind, but," I shook my head, and tried to remember what I was going to ask, "I wanted to ask you something."

"Go ahead."

"Do you remember what you were doing before you got here?"

He thought for a bit before responding.

"No," he answered. "I don't remember. But I'm sure whatever I was doing; I was doing it with style." He flipped his hair with his hand and laughed.

"So that's it then," Ruba said. "None of us remember what we were doing or where we were before we got here. What does that mean?"

Nobody answered. None of us knew. We just kept walking. I decided to run through what I did know one more time.

My name is Nichole Martell. I'm seventeen years old. My birthday is September 5th. My parents are Janet and Harry.

Suddenly a bright light enveloped us once again. But this time it seemed different and somehow bigger than it was before. As the light blinded us, I truly had no idea what we would see when it faded.