It was dark. No sound echoed off the walls. There was no wind, no heat, no wet, no dry. There was nothing but his breathing, perfectly steady, almost perfectly silent.
He checked his watch. There was no light, and yet he could tell what time it was to the second just by how the mechanics felt on his wrist. 2347, he'd say. Almost time. Not quite. He shifted in his stance, making the most minute rustle with his boots.
Something else shuffled behind him, seven o'clock. He swiveled to the rustle, thrusting a flat palm towards the sound.
You're early, he thought.
He heard her shrug. Aren't you happy to see me?
He didn't respond. Slowly, he turned back around and continued staring straight at the abalone-tiled wall in the pitch dark, waiting.
Archie, the girl thought, walking closer. There's a reason I came early this time.
Stop bugging me, he insisted, not moving.
We have ten minutes until it starts.
Nine. Shut up.
She rolled her eyes and stopped right beside him. He took her hand, savoring its warmth.
So we still cool, then? she said slyly.
Fine, she replied, tossing her hair back.
Her breathing slowed until it matched the rhythm and volume of Archie's. They each closed their eyes independently, simultaneously. The wall drew closer with each tick of Archie's clock. Vanessa tightened her grip. It was 2358. Almost time.
Where are we going this time? she finally asked.
He paused for a second. I think you're going to love this place.
The clock struck 0000. Archie placed his hand on the wall and the two disappeared.ns 188.8.131.52da2