I was falling, and falling fast. I couldn’t remember how I got to be falling, all I knew was that there was eventually going to be some kind of ground soon, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. It’s like nothing existed up until this point and I woke up, free falling in the air at an impossibly high distance. I tried to think of the best way to situate my body so the impact didn’t kill me. Should I go into a ball? Should I just stretch in a sort of belly flop position? As I try to remember what to do in this sort of situation-even though I don't really understand it myself-I realize I don’t remember anything, who I am, what my was name, why am I falling from this seemingly endless sky with no hopes of stopping?
The cold air stings my body, and my hair was lashes at my face. I can feel the beginning of panic churning in my stomach.
What the hell happened to me? I think.
I try to think up situations which me falling though the sky was plausible. Maybe I was in a -
?In a what?
? My mind cannot think up a single word for a thing that I could have fallen from. Maybe I fell from a...hmm..maybe something that starts with a "R?".
How long have I been falling for anyways? I think to myself. I feel like Alice in Wonderland when she fell down the rabbit’s hole. She was so unnaturally calm, just pondering what was going on. I'm shocked to realize that I'm so calm now, like I knew that I’d be fine even after I crashed into the ground like some meteorite.
So I can remember Alice in Wonderland, but not my reason for free falling to the ground?
I quit trying to fix my body into a position, so I'm tumbling down, down, down like a drunken gymnast. Every time my head is thrust down I catch glimpses of the brown and green geometrical land getting bigger and bigger. My bipolar mood changes again, and panic takes over when I start noticing other things beside square-shaped land. I see the tops of bright green trees, and fuzzy yellow lines that divided ...traffic.
Yeah that sounds right.
I can see cars rushing past each other, or so I assume since everything seems to be moving slowly but me.
Now I can make out the roofs of houses, coming closer and closer to me. I pray I wasn’t going to crash into someone’s house, it would be such a mess to clean.
Oh no, I’m getting closer now, I can actually see the branches on the trees. Oh I wish- I stop, wishing isn't going to do me any good at this point.
If wishes were fishes… I stop that thought too; I never knew the rest of that saying. ..Or from what I can remember.
I can make out single leaves in the trees now. Crashing is inevitable. I close my eyes and brace for impact.
My body slams into the tree, it's like being slammed into steel. My breath tears out of my lungs, as I tumble down through its thick limbs. Each breaking as I fell into them. The back of my head smashes into a branch, and I see stars. My vision is starting to tunnel. I reache out to a branch to stop my fall, my hand gripping its rough bark. I quickly realize this was a Very Bad Idea. The weight of my body slams up my arm, and I hear a sickening pop, as my arm dislocates itself from the rest of me. I hear myself scream out in pain. My body continually falls through the tree, with me completely unable to stop it. Finally my back brakes through the last of the branches and I land with an earth shattering crash. The entire “Tree Crashing” scene can’t have lasted for more than five seconds. It felt like an eternity.
My body feels as if it were on fire, and I can feel my consciousness slowly ebbing away. As my vision began to blacken I think,
Well, will you look at that? I’m not dead.
I give one soft wheeze, which could have been a full hearted laugh in any other situation, and then everything is gone.
There is a knock on my door. I reluctantly close my book, and walk over to see who it is.
"I didn't expect to see you until tomorrow," I say surprised, looking into icy grey eyes.
"Yes, well the Hunt was rather disappointing, so I decided to come back early," he says, staring at my book. "Are you still reading that filth?" he asks, his nose wrinkling in disgust.
"You know I am. You ask me that question every time you see me reading them. Has this become your favorite past time now?"
"Hunting has become so boring lately, I have to do something to pass the time," his eyes glitter with a slight hint of a smile.
I shake my head, and turn toward my cupboard. I rifle through for a moment and grasp my hand around the neck of a bottle. I check the label and smile in approval. The best wine available. Though everything here is the best. It would be impossible to find something less than perfect. Popping the cork off, I pour two glasses of the deep red liquid, and hand one to my companion. The grey eyes look at me questioningly.
"Here's to another disappointing Hunt, and hopefully many more to come!" I say smiling. We clink glasses and take a sip. The grey eyes continually look at me. I can feel my smile fading. "Why are you so quiet tonight? Did something happen?"
He drains his glass quickly, walks over to the bottle, and pours himself another. "Nothing's wrong, I'm just tired." His icy eyes are boring into mine. I stare back at him, trying to read any sign of emotion on his face. As usual, I can't.
"Alright. I don't entirely believe you, but alright," I sigh. He looks toward the door, then back at me. "Are you in a hurry for something?"
"No, I'm not. I'm just-"
"You're just tired. Perhaps you should retire to your room for the night then." I walk over and pour myself a second glass. I seem to have drank mine as quickly as him. The alcohol does nothing for us of course, but the taste is what always brings me back. Plus, the way he keeps looking at me make me anxious, I need something to do to break away from his stare.
I watch him turn to the door to leave. "Make sure you tell our Great Leader that you're back. You know how they worry when we're gone for more than five minutes."
"I know, he's probably already dispatched a Guard to come find me," his grey eyes look into mine once more, then walks out into the hall. Leaving me to look at the door in his place.
Flashes of red fill my vision. Someone is screaming. I can’t tell where I am, it's too dark to make out any details.
Why are they screaming? I think.
I look down at my hands. They're covered in blood. I lift my head and look around in horror in the dim light, and soon realize I am the one screaming.
Oh no, oh no no no. This can't be true. I have to be dreaming. My head is swimming, my vision is starting to tunnel. The last thing I see before losing consciousness, are two pairs of familiar eyes. Dead, unblinking eyes. A look of permanent horror, etched into them.
I allow the darkness to sweep me into its embrace.
I bolt up quickly, and instantly regret it. My head pounds, and black spots cloud my vision. I groan and grab my head, willing the pain away. I'm stiff all over, each movement is accompanied by a sharp stab of pain. A spot on my neck burns. Tentatively I touch the spot with my fingers. The spot is red hot. I quickly drop my hand away. I close my eyes, trying to capture the fleeting images from my dream.
A dream? Or a memory?
I shake my head. There was so much blood. And those eyes, those lifeless eyes, staring at me. Another pair of eyes pop into my memory, icy grey ones. Remembering them brings a sense of calmness to me. I want to see them again; I want to see who they are attached to. However, the more I try to remember, the more I forget, the more my head pounds till it feels like it may split in half.
Frustrated, I open my eyes and take in my surroundings. I'm in a small room, with bright lights gleaming from the ceiling. The air smells funny, musty, and if I breathe in too deeply it stings my nose. I'm sitting on a bed, with worn sheets that gets caught on my skin. The bed has rails on it, as if someone is afraid I might fall out. I look down at my hand and see a tiny clear tube connected to it. I follow the tube with my eyes and see a metallic pole with a clear bag with a liquid in it, hanging from the top.
Is this going stuff into me?
Panicked, I wrench the tube from my hand and gasp in pain. A sharp needle is at the end of the tube. A tiny dot of red starts to well up from my hand, I grab the blanket to stop the bleeding.
To my left, an odd machine is beeping. I watch as a green line goes up and down, like rolling hills. I follow the wires from the machine and see they connected to my chest. I quickly pull these off too. The beeping turns into a screech, I yank at another wire, and the machine goes silent.
I check my body over for any more surprises, and thankfully there are no more. I slump myself against the bed, trying to think this through.
What am I doing here? I think to myself. The last thing I remember is falling and then plummeting through a tree. Did someone bring me here? I don't even know where or what here is. Now that I'm not falling to my death, I try to think back before the fall. I scrunch my eyes shut and concentrate on anything that could explain it, but all I can see is darkness.
How am I even alive after that fall? Surely that’s not normal. Or maybe it is. I don’t even know who I am, so what do I know?
This is a fine mess I have gotten myself into. Here I am, lying in some strange place, with no idea how I got here, and I can’t even think of my own name. Pretty pathetic if you ask me.
I blow out a breath and sit up with resolution.
I’m not going to just lie here and wait for the next catastrophe to happen, I think. I get up and slowly let my bare foot touch the ground. The floor is cold, sending a shiver up my leg. I soon realize my next problem. I'm wearing a thin garment that goes half way to my thighs and nothing else. This wouldn’t have been a problem, but when I look around to my back I discover it is only connected by two small ties. Completely exposing my bottom to the rest of the world. Blushing, I grab the blanket off the bed and tie it around my waist. Satisfied, I creep to the closed door across the room and put my ear to the door.
I can hear people talking, though I can’t tell what they are saying. As I reach for the handle, the voices get louder. They're going to my room! I rush to the bed and grab the metal pole with both hands, the bag of liquid sloshes from side to side.
The door opens, a short woman wearing matching dark blue top and bottoms enters. Her eyes are wide in surprise.
“Where am I?” I yell, I tighten my grip on the pole.
“You’re in the hospital, you’ve been unconscious for four days. I'm your nurse. Please put the pole down,” she says, though she sounds calm, her eyes give her away. She's afraid of me. Good.
"A hospital? Do you expect me to know what that is?" If even possible, the nurses eyes widen in surprise even more.
Uh oh. I guess I should know what that is. I need a new plan. I slowly lower down my makeshift weapon. This seems to calm the woman down some.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean that. I just so confused, I don't understand what I'm doing here," I say, trying to sound as nonthreatening as possible.
"Don't you remember? The police say you were mugged on your way to school."
"Mugged? No I f-" I stopped. If people really believe I was beaten up- which for some reason I found to be hard to believe- what would happen if I tell them I fell from the sky? I clear my throat. "No, I guess I don't remember that." Which is partially the truth.
"Sometimes in traumatic situations, the mind lets you forget things. I'll let you rest now. The doctors will be pleased to know you've woken up. Oh, and your personal items are in that closet if you're looking for them." She points to a skinny wooden closet across the room.
"My...things?" I don't recall having anything on my during my tumble.
"Yes, though it seems like the mugger only left your backpack and an empty wallet with your ID in it." At that, she leaves the room, leaving me thoroughly confused and at a loss at what to do next.
Since I can't think of anything better to do, I walk over to the closet and peer inside. At the bottom there are two bags, a clear plastic one that seems to be holding dirty old rags, and what I guess is "my" backpack. I grab both bags and toss them on the bed.
I take a deep breath and open the plastic bag first. I pull out a piece of cloth, tattered and covered in rips. Dried blood and dirt are splattered sporadically over it. On closer examination, with a jolt of surprise, I realize it isn't a pile of rags, but the remains of a dress. My dress specifically, the one I was wearing while I was plummeting to the earth. I'm shocked at how much damage the dress took. If this piece of clothing looks this terrible, how is it even possible I'm still alive, in one piece nonetheless, able to look at the remains of it? Questions I want answers to, but with no idea how to go about it.
If the dress were whole and not covered in dirt, it would have been pretty. The cloth slips between my fingers like silk. It's so different to what I have on now, rough and worn. Looking at the dress however, fills me with a great unexplainable sadness. It's almost as if I look at the dress long enough I could pull my lost memories from it. As soon as an image forms though, it goes away just as quickly, like it was never there at all. Frustrated, I stuff the dress back into the plastic bag and move my attention onto the mysterious backpack.
The bag is a deep purple color with soft leather straps. I inhale the scent of the leather, bringing a sense of calmness over me. Where my dress is basically torn to shreds, this looks brand new. Not a single tear, or even speck of dirt on it.
Can this really be mine?
The other difference I notice between the dress and the bag was that the dress seems familiar to me. Like I have a connection with it. The bag however, holds no such thing. To me, it's just a purple backpack that smells nice. The more I look at it, the harder it's for me to believe it was ever mine.
Since nothing special was happening staring at it, I decide to move onto the inside of the bag. Maybe I'll get lucky and find some clues in there. I find the zipper to the biggest pocket and yank it open.
It's disappointingly empty.
Frowning, I open the other pockets, finding nothing again and again, leaving me with the last and smallest one. I slowly open it, expecting nothing. To my surprise, there nestled in the small pocket is a fabric pouch. I take it out, dropping the backpack to the floor, having no longer holding any interest for me.
The pouch is also purple, only lighter in color than the bag. A pattern of flowers decorates it. I instantly take a liking to it.
This has to be the wallet that nurse was talking about.
And if this is my wallet, that must mean-
My fingers fly to the zipper, and pull out the only thing in there.
This is it. This is my chance to find out who I am. Time for answers.
I hold my breath, and look at the small plastic card.
There staring back at me, is a girl with long red hair. She's smiling, like she's happy to see me. Her eyes are grey, that sparkle with a barely contained energy.
Taking the card with me, I get off my bed and all but run to the bathroom that's my connected to my room. Over the sink is a rectangular mirror.
The girl in the photo matches the girl I see through the mirror. Except, the girl in the picture looks well put together and relaxed. Whereas, my reflection looks a little haphazard. My long hair is messy. My eyes look the same, but in the picture they are filled with confidence. Now they have a look of desperate confusion in them, and perhaps just a touch crazy.
Now that I know the face matches the picture, let's find out my name.
I look down at the card again.
Name: Alice Zacharee William
I guess that's my name then.
Alice. Alice Zacharee William. I look at myself in the mirror.
"My name is Alice Zacharee William. My name is Alice Zacharee William."
I repeat this over and over, hoping the more I say it, the more I might actually believe it to be true. But that does not happen. This name feels just as foreign to me. It wouldn't matter if I say it once or a hundred times.
But that doesn't matter. That's my face on this card, so that must be my name. Whether I remembered it or not.
I look back at the card.
Date of Birth: April 11, 1996
Through the reflection in the mirror I can see a calendar hanging on the wall behind me. It reads September 9, 2013.
"My name is Alice Zacharee William. I am seventeen," I tell the girl in mirror.
Address: 29815 Canary Lane, Little Creek, Michigan
I say my chant again, this time adding the address.
If I were hoping for a great burst of memory from looking at this card, I am solely mistaken.
Absolutely nothing comes to me. Not even a flicker of remembrance.
I blow out a sigh and look at the address again. All I need to do is to get out of this place and find this address. It must be where I live. I must have a mother and father. Do they know I'm here? Do they know what happened to me?
They must. Maybe they'll come get me from this place and can help me fill on my memory.
I yawn. I feel exhausted. I walk over to my bed, lay down, and close my eyes.
I'm going to give whoever it is to show up in within the next couple of hours. If no one shows up, I'll leave and find the address by myself.
I then fall into a deep dreamless sleep.
"Alice, Alice wake up."
My eyes fly open and I bolt up in bed, my arm snapping out to grab my trusty pole. I look up to see the nurse from before, her eyes wide once again in alarm. I quickly drop my arm to my side.
I need to stop doing that.
"Sorry, I guess I'm just jumpy," I say, sheepishly.
"That's okay, I guess I can't blame you after what's happened," she says taking the pole from me with a pointed look. I can't help but feel slightly disappointed. "But anyway, I came to tell you that you have visitors." Her smile turns bright.
Visitors? Could this be my family? Maybe I won't have to break out of here after all.
"Your foster mother Diane, and one of your foster brothers. They've been by your side nearly the entire time you've been here."
I can feel my insides deflate. Foster? Does this mean I don't have parents? Could I be an orphan? What happened to them? Surely, I should remember something like that. I resist the urge scream out in frustration. When will anything make sense to me again?
"Oh, how..nice of them," I say, trying to sound happy.
The nurse walks out of the room, and beckons with her hand. A moment later a blob of red comes rushing toward me until I am encompassed by it. Hair tickles my nose and the scent of roses fill my nostrils.
"Oh Alice, oh dear. I was so worried about you! I thought this neighborhood was safe. You're not even in my charge for two weeks, and look what happens to you! I will never forgive myself!" The red blob wails in my ear.
"Geeze, Diane. Let the girl breathe." This is a new voice. Young. Male.
Diane the Red Blob lets me go. The woman in front of me is middle aged, with short curly brown hair, streaked with grey. She's short and plump. It's a good sort of plump though, it fills her out pleasantly. She wears dark red pants and a lighter red shirt. I look down to the floor. Her shoes are red as well.
"Oh Alice, it's so good to see you awake. Everyone back at home have been so worried about you, especially little Alex," she looks at me expectantly, like I'm supposed to know what she's was talking about.
I smile back at her. It's the only thing I can think to do.
"Well, what are you just standing there for, Sam? You've been chomping at the bit to see her, and now you're just standing there. Go give her a hug or something," Diane exclaims, as she gently pushes Sam towards me.
The boy in front of me cheeks turn a deep red. He would of matched perfectly with Diane's outfit.
He bends down to hug me. It's an awkward hug, he's quite tall and has a lot of limbs. He straightens quickly, his hand nervously pushing back his messy brown hair. It could use a good cutting.
He speaks to the ground, " It's nice to see you, Alice."
I try not to smile at his shyness. "It's good to see you too...Sam."
"The doctor's told us you can't remember what happened, is that true?" Diane asks.
I nod slowly, it probably isn't the best time to tell them what I think really happened.
"Maybe you don't even remember us?" she says looking at me seriously, before she bursts out in laughter.
She's joking. I feel myself inwardly sigh. She thinks it would be preposterous for me to completely forget everything. I think it's preposterous that I have.
Something in me tells me to play along. Act like everything's fine, even though it definitely is not. Just pretend like my entire memory of my life hasn't disappeared from me.
I clear my throat. "Yeah, like that could ever happen, Diane," I push out a shaky laugh.
At that moment, a man in a white coat walks into the room. We all turn to look at him.
"Well, it looks like my miracle patient is finally up," he exclaims, he has a deep voice.
The man walks up to me, grabs my hand and pumps it up and down.
How very odd.
"I'm Doctor McCraw, I'm glad to see you awake." He smiles, he has perfectly straight teeth.
"I'm sorry sir, what do you mean, miracle?" I asked.
Doctor StraightTeeth's smile widens.
"Well my dear, it's just that, you are the way you are today because of some kind of miracle. When you were brought here, you were unconscious, you had a broken leg, a broken arm, three broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder, and a severe burn on the back of your neck." I touch the spot on my neck, it still hurts.
"But now look at you, you've only been here four days and you're awake. You don't have a broken bone in your body, not even a single bruise. You're completely healed. In all my years of being a doctor, I have never seen anything like it. I'm just going to chalk it up to the grace of God, obviously someone is looking out for you."
I stare at him in amazement. Was I really that bad?
"But... but how is that even possible?" I ask, trying to keep my voice under control. I'm starting to feel overwhelmed by everything.
"I have no idea. We did tests on your blood and it did come back with some rather unusual results. Nothing to be alarmed of though." He says quickly, noticing Diane and mine eyes widening.
"You just seem to have some super charged blood, so that may have had something to do with your incredible healing speed."
"Oh." I'm at a loss for words.
I look at my three visitors. Sam is looking at me as if I have grown an extra head. Diane is beaming with pride, like she's proud of the fact that I healed so quickly. The doctor looks at me greedily. Almost as if he wants to open me up and poke and prod at me until he figured out how, how this was possible.
I squirm uncomfortably under their gazes.
"I guess my super charged blood can't fix everything though. The burn on my neck is still there," I move my hair over to one shoulder so the doctor can look at it.
"Ah, yes," he says slightly frowning. "This has been our trouble maker, my team has tried just about everything we can think of and it still doesn't look like it's healing at all. I can get you some burn ointment so it shouldn't hurt as much."
"What kind of person do you have to be to beat up a defenseless girl, and then just leave her there!" Diane says, her eyes welling up with tears.
'It's alright, Diane" Her name fumbles at my lips. This woman really must care for me if she is getting so emotional. "The doctor said I was alright, I look perfectly fine, don't I?"
I don't know why I'm comforting her. If anything, someone should be comforting me, I can tell I'm one more surprise away from a major breakdown.
I guess I just don't like the sight of someone crying, especially if it's because of me.
Diane sniffs and pats my hand.
"What about her memory, Doctor? Will she get that back?"
If I were an animal, my ears would have perked up. I turn to face the doctor again, eagerly awaiting words of hope. That my memory-though not what Diane is thinking of- will come back and this nightmare will be over.
Doctor McCraw scratches his chin. "Well..." Uh-oh. "In situations with memory loss, it's hard to tell when, or if she'll ever get her memory back. Alice has gone through a traumatic event, this could her brains way of protecting her from unpleasant memories."
I can feel my heart sink into my stomach.
Never? I know the doctor doesn't truly understand the full extent to my memory loss, but I must have experienced something traumatic if I woke up falling in the sky. Am I truly going to be stuck like this forever? Am I going to have to forever pretend that I know people, I have no memory of, and understand things I have no idea of what they are?