Coldness throbbed through her cheek, the flesh biting, aching, the slow seep furrowing its way into her tender bones.
Her lethargic eyes opened, and her vision swam. She stirred, her body protesting the rash movement. The bend in her left arm throbbed. Like the unstoppable water rushing over the fall, one thought flitted through her mind like a scythe through wheat.
Who am I?
She rolled to her back. An explosion of panic rippled through her, and heat bloomed in her chest. Her eyes stung; did she want to cry? Terror clawed at her throat. A weight settled on her chest like someone’s boot crushing her bosom. Beneath the fear, the panic, the terror that threatened to possess her, a justifiable anger rose within. Hysteria wouldn’t help her now, and the resentment towards the vulnerability she embodied gave her focus.
Vague impressions crept waywardly through her mind like a stumbling drunk, their impacts sudden but never lingering. She bent her left arm, working out the soreness. After a few moments, her hand went to her face, gingerly touching the numbness. Pins and needles rippled across her skin. All the while, she asked herself what happened.
In the quiet, her breath roared in her ears, rivaling the echo of brontide thunder. The room around her hinted at the smallness of the building beyond her sight. In her mind, the room constricted, bringing back the tightness of her chest.
I’ve got to get out of here, but where am I? How would I get out?
Again the anger flared, that vulnerability resurfacing. Panic wouldn’t help her.
I am in control, she told herself. Reality differed significantly from her current mantra, but it contributed to keeping her grounded. Still, something undefined, something untouched, prevented her from submitting to anxiety.
What’s my name?
A void, a deep darkness suffused her mind, covering her thoughts like a wool blanket.
I know something is there. I know I had a name. Everyone has a name, but what is mine? Who am I?
The thought of other people having a name jarred something in her. Maybe she wasn’t alone? Maybe there were others? Did the same thing happen to them? What if they couldn’t remember either? What if they could, and she was the only one that couldn’t? The tightness in her throat returned, and the heat she once felt in her chest came rushing forward.
Something sufferable is tolerable and better than nothing at all.
Calmness fought against the onslaught of trepidation. She had to remain in command, control, disciplined; to do otherwise meant … something. It was the beginnings of a thought, a memory, of that she was sure, but it remained aloof, aloft, inaccessible. Still, the quietness slithered, smooth and slick like the scales of a serpent. A chill rushed up her spine, and she shuddered. And then, whatever restraint she had over her dread vanished.
In an abrupt moment, she bolted for the door, somehow knowing they’d open.
Freedom and answers lay just beyond, she thought. They have to.