This is the an excerpt from my last novel The Moon Sees Me.
She barely opened her eyes before she had to shut them again. She had no recent memory. God, what happened? She couldn’t remember where she was or what was doing there. There was nothing familiar around her. She could feel it. Answers to even the simplest questions remained elusive and mysterious. She was afraid.
She took a deep breath and opened her eyes more slowly. Dark silhouettes against a sea of white surrounded her. Deciphering details or intricacies was impossible, an attempt to interpret seamless black clouds against an ashen sky. The fog across her vision stubbornly lingered, regardless of how many times she blinked. She lifted one heavy arm and rubbed her eyes. After a few moments, her vision finally tried to adjust. There were fluorescent lights above her, stark, utilitarian. She hadn’t been staring into the powerful light of the sun.
A shadow emerged from the corner of her eye and hovered closely. It seemed to take an interest with her right eye and moved to the left. After a moment, she could tell they were human, but their clothing faded into the white surrounding them.
The person held a black device with a white light on the tip. She looked away from the hovering mass and tried to study the rest of the room. The lingering haze finally subsided enough for her to see where she was. How did she get in a hospital room?
The figure that towered above her was a doctor. He smiled and spoke. “Good to see you’re awake.” His deep hazel eyes were strange, as if he felt none of the warmth his voice implied. She wasn’t at ease with him, even though something about him seemed so familiar. She feared the man before her, but couldn’t remember why.
He had neatly trimmed black hair with a hint of gray at the temples and an equally neat moustache. His dark hair and eyes contrasted with his pale skin. He raised a cold hand and gently felt her pulse in her throat. There was something off about his touch. “How are you feeling?” She’d felt that touch before, but where? He was a stranger, his touch shouldn’t be familiar. He wore a muted peach dress shirt and coordinated gray tie beneath his white smock.
“Not so hot,” she struggled to sit up. Her entire body felt fifty pounds heavier than she remembered. Had she gained weight?
“Be careful… easy now.” His hands shifted pillows behind her to accommodate sitting up. “You’ve been out for a while. You will need a period of adjustment. Have patience with your body, it’s going as fast as it can.”
“How long is ‘a while’?” What was happening to her? She woke up in a hospital, but couldn’t remember how she got there. The chilly air smelled of antiseptic, she tugged the covers closer to ward off a shiver.
“First, you weren’t comatose, please don’t be alarmed. You’ve been in and out of consciousness for two months. You were in a car accident and had a severe concussion. We’ve been administering a regimen of therapies.”
“Wreck?” That was ridiculous. She couldn’t remember any incident with a vehicle. She was… She was walking with someone. That was her last memory. Her head throbbed as she strained to recall. The pictures stubbornly eluded her mind’s reach. Something wasn’t right, something didn’t agree with the story of a car crash. It was deep within the pit of her stomach. He wasn’t telling the truth about it. Or did he even know the truth about it?
He sat on the stool by the footboard of the bed and waited for her to clear the residual fatigue. “Since you obtained such an injury, we need to go over some things. Just to make sure you didn’t suffer any damage which we couldn’t find earlier.”
“Okay.” She was certain there was no accident. She knew it. She was terrified of car wrecks, even passing them on the road had made her nauseous. She wouldn’t be involved in one without some kind of recollection. Who told him that happened?
“Let’s start with some simple questions. What is your name and where do you live?”
She stared at him for a moment, unsure of how to answer. What an odd question. Why would memory loss last so long with just a concussion? Was it a medical joke of some kind? The doctor seemed completely serious. She answered, “I’m Clarissa Grace Tyler. I live in Evansville, Indiana.”
“Street and number?”
“3659 Rosewood Park.”
“Good,” he smiled. “Now, how old are you and what do you do?”
“I’m twenty-three, a full time student at Evansville University. I’m working towards my MBA in business administration.”
“Great,” he became more enthusiastic. “Now, recite the alphabet.”
“What?” It was just a concussion, not a major trauma. People sustained concussions all over the country on a daily basis. It wasn’t really substance for panic, but it seemed to be one here. She ignored the taunting internal dialogue and recited the letters. She felt silly, but the doctor’s face remained dire.
Her mind returned to a sense of urgent and relentless worry. She lost something important in that black time. She couldn’t ignore the feeling she had forgotten someone, or something, more valuable than anyone or anything else. That massive shadow of the unknown lurked in the back of her mind.
“Where exactly is, ‘here’?” There was something wrong. She didn’t want to hear the name of where she was. She didn’t want to be there or in the company of the doctor. The cloud of distrust lingered over her and aggravated her developing migraine. She didn’t have a reason to doubt the doctor. Why would he lie? He was a professional. Maybe her imagination had become overactive during her stay. She did wake in a strange place to a strange doctor.
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