The light glowed faintly from a different plain. If only I could get to it. Let it lead me anywhere else except for this ominous darkness. I pushed dauntlessly through the fog. I would not miss the light! The darkness was overpowering, almost engulfing me into its cold hands. This time I would not let it win! With fierce determination and mustered strength, I broke into a run, hugging myself as the wind whipped in gusts accompanied by a sinister howl. My heart thumped in an uproar of its own. Beads of perspiration broke through my skin. That did not matter. Nothing else did, except getting out of here. The light drew close. Its glow heightened with every step. My limbs burst with vigour at the pump of adrenaline, with all senses attuned to the singular aim of crossing the partition.
Suddenly, a thick cloud of murk rolled in, barricading me from the light, again shutting me in the dark. “Come on! You can do it!” An unfamiliar voice called in my head encouragingly. I did not have the time to figure whose it was. Now was not the time to. I pushed blindly through the fog, and almost cried in relief at first streak of light with a budding glow. “Only a few more steps and I will be safe”. My bones and muscles ached. Already it felt weary. I wanted to give up. I badly wanted to. But that little voice in my head would not let me. The light had started dimming. That meant one thing; indefinite disappearance. “Please no!” My head screamed in fear. I was losing again, banished into the dark forever. In one last fierce hope and supernatural strength, I leapt into the light.
Where am I? My head screamed, weak and befuddled like it had in my first brief drift into consciousness. How long that was, I could not tell. I squinted at the glaring fluorescent light blinding my sight. Gradually, my eyes adjusted to it, along with a sudden recognition of the bland walls and ceilings. I blinked rapidly and focused on the sea of unfamiliar faces around me. Each was staring, peering closely, all keen to get a piece of me. Some quiet beeps and hum had me take a curious sweep at my side. Machines. And they all seemed to possess a life of their own, moving in disjointed paces. I began to feel fear. It was so close. I looked back at the strange faces now conversing in murmurs. Heaven?
I searched the crowd for a particularly stout woman; one I had caught a moment’s glimpse of during my briefest pull into consciousness. She was nowhere around. For all I knew, she was probably nothing more than a fragment of my imagination.
I tried to sit up, but I was too drowsy to. My head throbbed painfully. I winced and closed my eyes willing the pain to stop, also somehow hoping to be teleported out of unfamiliar realm into familiar region. I reopened them and frowned in disappointment that neither had happened. All same unfamiliar faces glared at me conversing in an incomprehensible language. I needed out of here pronto! I tried to move my neck. But just like the rest of my body, it felt impossible. I tried again, it yielded. Except through the stiffness, this time I began to feel some sensation-Pain. Fear clogged my throat as one of the persons in white made a move so predatory-like. Impulsively I let out a hoarse, cracked defensive cry. Thankfully it seemed to have an effect as he stepped back in reflex. His eyes mirrored my confusion just like the rest of the lot.
Agitated by their close scrutiny, I started to rise, but froze at the spasm of pain so excruciating. Barely recovering from it, another of the strange persons drew in stealthy movements, mumbling some unknown words. Just like before, my mind and throat worked in instant reflex, making a jagged, harsh noise.
I began to push to an upright position but stopped short as I felt a strange weight on my right arm, and pain shooting like a million daggers. I looked down at it, and for the first time noticed the heavy stuffed mould on my arm, the same white as the room and gowns. I was trapped. My eyes jumped at them in clear accusation. What have they done to me?! In extreme uncontrollable agitation, and surge of fear mixed with fury, I yanked aggressively at the sheets, sending the whole place into chaos. The closer they lunged, the more violently I struggled against their reach. Eventually, all withdrew except for a woman. Only she dared come close. I stopped and watched with keen alertness as she drew close, smiling. There was something, a certain inexplicable quality about her that screamed ‘trust’. Something about her bright smile that caused a lifting in my spirit, until I felt every trace of fear dissipate and relief set in. She stretched out a hand. I watched in awe, wondering what she was about. Tentatively, she touched her palm to my cheek. I flinched at the feel of warm flesh against mine. It felt weird, yet familiar in a crooked way. Her touch grew bold and more certain as her palm glided across my cheek with a big smile I knew she was scared to shed, for fear of breaking the charm. Although her lips spoke words I could not decipher, her sweet soothing voice lulled my anxiety. The woman was beautiful. She had really short black hair that stood a huge contrast to her fair flawless skin. Both were a reminder of something I could not place or someone? An Angel? Yes, the woman had to be.
I tried to speak but it ended in a croak. My throat hurt with a somewhat patched feeling that made swallowing a herculean fit. My body ached wickedly from the previous struggle that caused my eyes to fill with tears. Confusedly, I let the clear liquid spill down my cheeks. I blinked once, twice, multiple times to end it, but it would not. If anything, it spilled more, and the more it did, the more ‘Angel’ mumbled. In a startling way, the spill helped ease my pent up emotion.
A creak from behind caused a brief turn in the crowd, and then the stares were back. ‘Angel’ pulled away from me, as the intruder joined the party. He was also in white. The intruder’s dark and intent stare caused a flip on my emotional switch, and the tears stopped. Conversation began again, floating around in a hum. I watched the man with an inexplicable heightened sense of alertness. Something about him triggered great unease. His gaze also was fixed on me as he spoke. I shivered. There was something about those eyes, that face, that seemed to pique my curiousity.
“How is she, her vitals, everything?”
Dr. Eucheria answered “She is good. Except-“
I screamed, gripped by a sudden intensity of fear as the man leaned over me.
“It’s okay Miss Pelumi. I’m here to help.”
I watched him under alert gaze as he spoke in an incomprehensible tongue. Finally he refrained as the beep in one of the machines ran faster. I let out a sigh of relief.
“What’s happening?” Dominic asked with an incredulous stare.
“I think she has lost her memory. She is blank”
“That is obvious. I mean… there is more.”
‘Angel’ drew closer again, mouthing some words again while her eyes spoke calm. She waved a thin object in the air for my inspection. Surprisingly, I picked out the word ‘temperature’ from her long strings of word, and grasped her need to run some tests. I let her put the thin wand in my armpit, flinching at its unexpected chill.
“How do you feel? Does your body hurt?” she asked.
Miraculously, her words clicked this time. I nodded in response “Water.” I croaked, grimacing at my throat’s soreness.
The room dropped into an ear-cracking silence with surprise evidently etched on every face at my first utterance. In an instant, the crowd snapped back into activity. A bottle of water miraculously appeared in ‘Angel’s’ hands which she started to unscrew but placed on the nightstand as an afterthought. I wanted to scream a protest, when she bent over me with that gentle smile and propped the pillow behind me, helping me into a proper sitting position. My eyes trailed thirstily on the bottle, and I would sure have protested if she had not taken up the bottle. Slowly, I drank from it and savoured its refreshing coolness against my throat. At some point, she must have sensed I had had enough and withdrew.
I shook my head, then she screwed back the bottle, and placed it on the nightstand. ‘Angel’ launched a conversation again. Sadly, my brain had returned to its previous incomprehensible state, where words were jumbled, disjointed and displaced. Only at few precious moments did some words find their way through. Angel’s previous excitement had seeped out and had been replaced with a dull expression. She’d sure observed my incomprehension. I yawned uncontrollably feeling somewhat tired.
“And what is that about letting only Eucheria get close?” Dominic pointed out with that trademark quirk of a brow meant for such interesting and confusing moments as this.
“Only a psychiatrist would be able to handle this-but I think she is male-phobic.” Dr. Alfred suggested. Every face turned to him in disbelief.
He shrugged. “It sounds weird. But what other possible explanation do we have. Eucheria can get close, I can’t, Dr Jude, and Dr. Dominic can’t. That is weird, but logical”
‘Angel’s stares were back, except this time with a perplexed frown, fresh from whatever discussion they had.
“Let’s try the nurses.”
Nurses? That meant I was at the hospital. I should have figured that out from the uniforms. But how did I get here in the first place? My eyes flitted nervously, as a stout female in blue appeared and exchanged a few hushed words with the party in white before approaching me with a comforting smile. I recalled seeing her when I had first awakened.
A sudden beep soon drew my attention, and I flinched. ‘Angel’ was back, and on her intervention, I realized the sound was from me as with a reassuring smile as she retrieved the object in my armpit, peered at it, and penned something in a brown file.
“Hello dear. I’m Matron Bunmi. What is your name?”
Again, my attention shifted curiously to the stout woman. I loved the way her words rolled on her tongue. Something about it, the tone sounded…familiar. But sadly, her words made no sense until she muttered again, this time sparking some sort of recognition.
Her face lit, sensing my understanding and she reechoed again. “What’s your name?”
Badly wanting to provide some answer, I searched my brain but returned with nothing. Sadly, I either didn’t have a name or could not remember it or anything else. I wanted to let her know but I didn’t know how to.
“No.” was all I could bring myself to mutter, as she and every pair of eye in the room stared on expectantly. I tried for more words, sensing that everything depended on it. But words and reasoning eluded me.
“Your name is Pelumi.” she helped.
I watched her for a moment, trying to put her answer into meaning for they made no sense. As she continued to utter her incomprehensible words, I let her touch my free arm where a tube with water was attached to. Her touch felt warm. I yawned, starting to feel really dizzy.
“sl-ee-p” from somewhere in my senses, the word fought a syllabic escape.
As my lids began to droop, I caught their curious stares. Curiosity was tolerable for no one else but me, having awakened in a strange room with total strangers, who spoke in unfathomable tongues that sometimes made sense out of the blue, and didn’t. I fought at fatigue, fought to keep my eyes open. But the faces had begun to fade to a blur. Please, not again! My mind screamed for alertness. Yet, against my will, I found myself drifting into the void again. I didn’t want to. The darkness was close, frightening! My head screamed, but the more I fought, the farther I sunk.
“I think she has Amnesia, and I’m afraid, aphasia.” were the last words that accompanied me into darkness.