Author: Hushed Dreamer PM
Hoping to escape a life not meant for her, Graciela runs away to live with family in Paris. There she encounters Alexander, a man who can only remember his name, and is soon determined to help him regain his memory. But neither of them expected to be forced into a dark world along the way, and they especially didn't expect for their pasts to be tightly intertwined.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Chapters: 5 - Words: 25,664 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 7 - Updated: 03-31-13 - Published: 01-10-13 - id: 3091010
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 2: Confinement
Sunlight leaked in through a crack in the curtain, illuminating the room enough for one to be able to see where he or she was going. It was quiet that morning though Alexander didn't know if it was usually that quiet in the clinic during the morning hours. There was a moment where he didn't know whether or not he should get out of bed or just lay there and rest, but despite that awkward feeling it gave him to just lay there and do absolutely nothing he did the latter. Sleep was so inviting and it was hard to keep his eyes open so he laid there and hoped that sleep would come soon. Sleep was something he needed after staying wide awake for most of the night while he wondered how he would leave the clinic without anybody noticing and where he could possibly get clothes, mindful of the fact that the only article of clothing he was wearing was a dirty pair of pale brown trousers (to his knowledge anyway).
A few more minutes of silence passed and just as he was entering dreamland again, the door opened and somebody stepped into the room. He opened his eyes and blinked for a few seconds as they got used to the dim lighting as whoever had entered the room strode over to the window and pulled the curtains wide open, letting in more sunlight and causing his eyes to hurt from the unexpected onslaught of light.
"You're wide awake, good." he could hear a woman say as he rubbed his eyes before squinting them open.
"I was sleeping." he grumbled in annoyance as he blinked for a few seconds while his eyes adjusted to the lighting to see a woman walking over to the bed with what looked like neatly folded clothes in her hands. Once she was close enough he could see that she was around her mid to late thirties, a few strands of graying hair visible under the white cap she was wearing, her light brown hair tied up into a severe bun. From the white and blue uniform she was wearing he had to guess that she was a nurse, and though he knew that he should trust nurses he couldn't help but feel uneasy around her. Then again he had been wary of everybody who had been around him since he first woke up, having done so with no memory of who he actually was whatsoever and suddenly having to trust people who wanted to send him to an asylum did that.
Alexander watched as the woman placed the clothes on top of the chair next to the bed and straightened up. She fixed her gray eyes on him to the point where Alexander began feeling uncomfortable under her gaze.
"Yes, I apologize." she clapped her hands together, her eyes still glued on him. "I'm Alavda, your nurse." she paused for a few seconds and pointed to the clothes on the chair. "The clothes you were wearing when you came under Doctor Castillo's care were filthy; the only option was to dispose of the bloody mess of a shirt you were wearing and with the money found on your person new clothes were bought for you similar to those you were wearing before your injury. Your boots however, were able to be salvaged so there was no need to replace those."
Alexander raised a brown at her in surprise. He had money? So there was hope that he could escape be able to survive out in the city after all. Alavda narrowed her eyes at him and bit her lip before the next words came out of her mouth.
"Do you remember anything now Monsieur…?"
"Alexander…." He replied. He thought for a few seconds, thought hard to remember his last name. It was there, brushing against the forefront of his mind before escaping his reach again.
"I know, but your last name I mean."
"I don't remember." Alexander shook his head and frowned when Alavda gave him a skeptical look.
"Forgive me, but I find it difficult to believe that somebody can forget everything except for their first name so suddenly. Or is it that you're a criminal and the authorities are looking for you?"
"What?" Alexander glared at her now, not liking the tone that Alavda was speaking to him with or the fact that she was accusing him of being a liar and a criminal…he didn't think he was a criminal. What if he was?
"I suspect that you're lying about your memory loss, and as a precautionary measure I believe you should be sent to an asylum where the insane belong where they also take in criminals just in case you are indeed one."
Clenching the sheets, Alexander pulled himself up into a sitting position and before he could snap back at her the door to the room opened again and in stepped Valentin, a frown on his face. Alavda turned, seeming slightly surprised to see him as he held the door wide open and gestured for her to get out.
"Alavda, I'm sure you're needed elsewhere." Valentin told her, looking rather annoyed with her. Alavda let out a deep breath and nodded.
"Yes, of course I am." And with that she left the bedside, and just as she stepped out of the room Valentin gently closed the door behind her before turning to look at Alexander who pressed his back against the bed post with a gruff expression.
"I'm sorry about Alavda. She was up most of the night so she is a little grumpy this morning, especially since she doesn't want to tend to you due to her belief that you're lying about losing your memory. She thinks it's best to send you to an asylum but I think otherwise." Valentin strode over to Alexander's bedside with his hands in his pockets. "Especially since you still need to rest so you can get better. If I were to agree to send you to an asylum surely you would be experimented on. I do not wish for any of my patients to be sent to an asylum to be torturously experimented on, particularly a case like yours would be of much interest to 'scientists' and other 'doctors'."
"If you say so…." Alexander said, eyeing Valentin skeptically.
"I do say so. I've noticed that you seem to have trouble trusting those around you, and I don't blame you. I wouldn't trust anybody around me either if I suddenly woke up one day only knowing my first name." Valentin replied empathetically. "Now, right at the moment the main issue is to find out if anybody is missing you not your lack of trust towards the people in this clinic. I went through the newspaper to check if there are any missing person's reports fitting your description."
"There are no missing person's reports for this week."
Alexander nodded and felt a pang in his chest. Nobody was looking for him which meant that nobody missed him. Somehow that didn't really surprise him but it did leave him feeling insignificant, a feeling that was strangely familiar.
"When do you expect me to leave?" Alexander asked Valentin, who took a hand out of his pocket and scratched his chin as he pondered the answer to the question.
"I'm not entirely sure. I would rather you stay here for another day or two, maybe a little longer." he answered before his eyes rested on the clothes Alavda left on the chair next to the bed. "Money was found on you the other day, I'm sure Alavda told you that already, particularly the part where clothes were bought for you using some of the money you had."
"Thank you…." Alexander said hesitantly. Valentin nodded and shoved his hand back into his pocket.
"Are you hungry?"
"No." Alexander shook his head. He didn't want to eat, not that he was hungry anyway. When was the last time he ate though?
"Alright, I have other matters to attend to so I'll check up on you later."
Alexander watched as Valentin left the room and once he was alone he sat there in silence for a few minutes. Nobody missed him and he didn't exactly trust anybody in the clinic, and even though Valentin told him that it was better that he rest he had already made up his mind that he wasn't going to stick around any longer. He peeled the sheets thrown on him away and swung his legs over the edge of the bed, pausing when he felt his stitches protest a little before placing his feet on the cold wooden floor. His head spun when he stood up and it took him a few seconds for the dizziness to subside before he reached for the clothes on the chair, his whole body feeling heavy as he moved, probably due to the fact that he had been confined to bed for almost a whole week.
Picking up the clothes, he found that he had been bought a white shirt, a black coat, and dark gray trousers and on the floor beside the chair were a pair of black button-up boots. Well he had new clothes and that was what mattered. Now he just needed to worry about leaving the place.
It was much warmer than it had been the past few days; the sky was clear without a cloud in sight—just the way she liked it. Which was why she decided to leave the house while there was still daylight if only to go purchase the ink she had been told would be at the shop that day. Fortunately for her she was able to get the ink, but didn't want to go home yet. She hated having to stay cooped up in the house the whole day, every day mostly because Isabel didn't want her wandering around the city and end up getting lost, but how was Graciela going to figure her way around Paris if she wasn't allowed an opportunity to explore it? So far she had been able to make her way to the shops and back home without much trouble, the same went for when she would make the trip to Valentin's clinic to check on Alexander's status the days leading up to his awakening the day before.
Graciela didn't know why she cared so much if he was alright; she always seemed to care about things that she shouldn't concern her much but she was the one who had found him bleeding in the alley, and she was the one who went for help so it was only natural for her to care, right? Or maybe she was just too curious for her own good; the fact that Alexander couldn't remember his past did intrigue her. She had heard cases of memory loss before, and would love to know how it was that somebody could lose their memory after an injury. Valentin seemed to be interested as well, and Isabel only held a mild interest. Would he ever remember who he was?
Her thoughts were interrupted when she realized that she was standing in front of the clinic and without much thought, she walked right into the place. Upon entering and closed the door behind her she saw her brother speaking in hushed voices with one of the few nurses who worked with him, a young woman about her age. Valentin quickly glanced over in her direction and held up a finger, gesturing to her to wait for him. And so she did.
The front of Valentin's clinic always had shelves of medicines, herbs, ointments, and elixirs in jars. She wandered over to one of the shelves, observing each jar. She loved to read the labels on them whenever she was curious to know what one particular cure did, but before she could read the labels on the jars somebody spoke up behind her, startling her.
"What are you doing here?"
Graciela looked over her shoulder to see Valentin walking up to her from behind and she turned her full attention to him, offering him a small smile.
"I can't visit my brother during work?"
"Sure you can," Valentin nodded. "I just hope you can make your way back home."
"I've been in Paris for almost a month, so excuse me for trying to explore the city once in a while."
"Aren't you afraid that you'll get lost?"
"No." Graciela replied confidently and shook her head. Valentin smiled and nodded his head slightly.
"What do you have there?" he asked her, gesturing to the box in her hand.
"It's ink for my pen." Graciela replied, holding the box up so her brother could see it clearly. "But you know that I didn't just come to see you," she said, changing the subject. Valentin's smile turned into a frown.
"Of course, you came to check on Alexander's condition." It wasn't a question.
"Yes, how is he?"
"I can't say. I haven't seen him since this morning."
Graciela raised a brow in confusion. Her brother wasn't one to neglect his patients so maybe he had just forgotten about him? "But you never overlook your patients."
Valentin nodded in agreement. "You're right about that, but maybe I should pay attention to them a bit more. The last time I saw Alexander he seemed fine, I advised him to rest and not worry about what was going to happen once he was discharged,"
"Did something happen?" Graciela asked him, sensing that Valentin didn't want to say something. She knew her brother well, and she knew when he didn't want to admit something. Valentin remained silent for a moment before answering.
"What?!" she exclaimed in disbelief. "You mean gone as in…?"
"No," Valentin shook his head. "I mean gone as in he just up and left."
"Oh," Graciela relaxed and frowned. "Just like that?" she asked him, unable to believe that Alexander would have just escaped under everybody's noses so easily.
"He changed into the clothes that were bought for him using some of the money he had on him and then escaped through the window. He didn't seem to have much trust for anybody here in the clinic, and one of the biggest concerns for him was probably the fact that he believes that he might be sent to an asylum. He must have overheard the conversation I was having with Alavda the night before right before I left the clinic." Valentin explained with a sigh.
"But weren't you thinking about it?"
"No, that was mostly Alavda's idea, but I made it abundantly clear to her that I had no intention on sending him to such a place. I heard her telling him this morning that she suspected that he was lying to cover up the fact that he's a criminal, and that he should go to an asylum just in case…you know that Alavda's a little touched in the head. She can't seem to keep her opinions to herself." Valentin shrugged and shoved his hands into his pockets. "Maybe it's best that he left, I don't know. I would have preferred he stayed here until I was sure that he could leave. His stitches were slightly infected the last time I checked."
"So…you're going to let him go like that?"
"There's nothing that I can do, Graciela. However the fact that he has absolutely nowhere to go is a concern. Nobody's looking for him nor does anybody miss him, and when I broke the news to him that there aren't any reports of missing person's with his description this week he didn't seem surprised a bit, but he did seem distraught. Imagine that you wake up with no memory of who you are, surrounded by strangers, and then you get the news that nobody's looking for you and you're on your own completely."
Graciela didn't say a thing and bit her lip, not sure how to exactly respond to that.
"Why don't you go home? I'm going to finish for the day in another hour so," Valentin told her, breaking the silence. "I'm sure Isabel is probably worried about where you might be."
The sun had just begun to set when the gaslights were lit one by one as people made their way back home from work, or finished running errands or whatever it was they were doing. The sky was painted with hues of pink, orange, yellow, and light blue with a few stars already out. Not far in the distance he could see a sort of steel structure had been erected, something he had heard people say was near completion and had heard people hope that it would be completed in time for the Exhibition Universelle in May the next year. When he first left the clinic he had no clue where in the world he was, or at least he couldn't remember but as he wandered around the city he couldn't help but be familiar with most of his surroundings and then when he found his way to the Seine something in his mind clicked.
Paris. He was in Paris. How could he forget something like that? He had no recollection of what life he had lived in Paris, if he had had one at all but he felt at home almost as if he did live his whole life there and wandered a little bit more into the city in hopes that something would help him remember but wasn't successful so far. He had left the clinic with no problems, having changed into the clothes bought with his money before leaving through the window. He didn't know what laid beyond the door to the room he was staying in, if it was a huge maze of a building and he would end up getting lost or worse getting caught and seeing at though it wasn't much of a drop to the street below he decided to go through the window.
Alexander stopped near the river bank and watched as ferries drifted by in the water. It was just when he reached the Seine that he suddenly conflicting emotions with sorrow and strangely nostalgia were the most prominent. So did that mean that he did indeed grow-up in the city? If he did then he had to have a home somewhere, but the problem was that he didn't remember, couldn't remember. Would he ever remember? That thought lingered in his mind for a while as he began making his way down the river bank again.
What if he didn't want to remember or he would never remember who he was? What then? He could most likely make a new life for himself, though he would always wonder what his life had been like before.
October 27th, 1888
I know that both you and father are most likely upset, if not angry that I left home suddenly. But I can't marry somebody I don't love, I'm not like you. You gave in to your parent's wishes and married father; however the difference there is that you two actually loved each other. I don't love Vonze. Honestly, I loathe him. I don't understand why you would let father arrange a marriage between Vonze and I, and I don't think I will ever understand. I know girls my age are married by now with children on their hips, submissive to their husbands but I don't want that for myself. I don't want to get married yet, nor have children for that matter right now. I don't want to be a submissive house wife either like you are.
I'm writing to you to let you know that I'm fine, and that when I'm ready I'll return home. Father surely thinks that I'm an idiot for refusing to marry into a family as wealthy as Vonze's, but I honestly don't care about his fortune. Was that all father arranged our marriage with Vonze's father? So they could combine their fortunes? I'm probably wrong in my theory, forgive me for that.
I have to keep this letter short, but I will keep in contact with you whenever I can.
Graciela read the letter she had written her mother over again. She had finally been able to write a letter she was comfortable sending her mother much to her relief, even if she had to lie a bit. She was not traveling Europe, nor was she planning to and she was surely never going to be ready to marry Vonze. She wasn't even sure if she wanted to return home. She just told her mother she would return because she was sure that she would return to her birth place on day in the far future, hopefully she'd be married by then to somebody she wanted to marry so there was no way she could wed Vonze. She doubted now that her parents would suspect that she would be with Valentin; they had family in other parts of Spain, some in Italy, and the only relatives she had in France were her brother and sister-in-law. For all they knew she could have been with her grandparents in Barcelona or with her great aunt in Venice.
"Are you done with that?" Isabel asked, annoyance lacing her tone. Graciela looked up from the letter and folded it before shoving it into the envelope.
"Yes, I was just reading it over."
"If you're not sure about sending the letter to your mother then why don't you wait a little longer?"
"I think I've stalled on writing a letter to my mother long enough." Graciela responded, looking up to Isabel who sighed. The woman held the basket she usually took with her on shopping trips in one hand, the basket already partially filled with groceries that Isabel intended to be that night's dinner and a few items for sewing. Isabel sighed, casting a side-way glance in her direction.
"Alright, if you're truly satisfied with what you've written…." Isabel eyed the envelope in Graciela's hand with her parent's address and her mother's name on it, the rest of the envelope bare of any writing.
"Good, but you don't mind if I make one last stop before you mail it, do you?"
"Not really…." Graciela shrugged, quickly glancing at Isabel's direction.
"Thank you." Isabel smiled and let out a deep breath. "So, you haven't seen that young man during your outings into the city, have you?" the woman asked her, and Graciela immediately knew who she was talking about. She knew that Isabel didn't really care much about the subject and that she was only asking out of courtesy or probably just trying to avoid an awkward silence, but Graciela humored her anyway.
"No," she shook her head.
"Ah, I see." Isabel responded, trying to keep her voice animated but Graciela caught on to her obvious lack of interest.
Isabel, though she was like a sister to her, was somebody Graciela wouldn't exactly spend all her time with. The woman preferred to gossip like most of the women in the city, preferred to spend her time doing mundane things such as knit baby booties for a child that wasn't even there yet, or talk with one of her few friends over tea. Actually, Graciela felt like a child again where her mother would talk to her friends during many tea parties they had and gossiped to their hearts delight, or her mother would take her on shopping trips to pick out dresses for parties they would be invited to, or her mother would even talk to her about things that she didn't really care about. It was practically the same thing with Isabel. Isabel would go on and on sometimes and talk to her about things that she held no interest for. Graciela never liked gossiping, finding it boring. She didn't like hearing about other people's business or 'scandals'. No, she acquired a love for the arts when she was younger and would draw—scribble actually on whatever piece of paper she could find or she would even read books. Even to that day she loved drawing, spending time by herself than spending it surrounded women speaking nonsense though she didn't scribble anymore.
"The cold is coming in another few weeks, so he should have found a place to stay by then." Isabel commented and Graciela only nodded in response.
It had been a few days already since Alexander left Valentin's clinic, and the thought of the cold coming soon worried her but she tried to push those worries aside.
"Where do you intend to go?" she asked Isabel.
"I want to go for some tea. Would you like a cup when we get home?"
"No, I prefer coffee actually." Graciela replied, scrunching her nose a little at the thought of drinking tea. She used to drink tea all the time before, she loved it but then she got sick of the taste and substituted tea for coffee which she now loved. Tea was something she would occasionally drink now, the taste sometimes sickened her, but she never got bored of coffee.
They walked in silence the rest of the way, neither wishing to break it. Instead Graciela thought about how it would be dark in another few hours, and how she would have to help Isabel cook, her eyes scanning the mid-afternoon crowd. Horse-drawn carriages passed down the street; their hooves clicking against the cobblestone and people of both genders, of assorted statures and attire among many things strolled up and down the streets. The city was somewhere Graciela didn't spend much of her time in, her parents preferring to raise their children on the outskirts of the city they were born in—Valencia, rather than in the chaos of the city. Of course Graciela had visited Valentin with her parents for a short while the previous year, but even then she never really got used to the city.
The crowd dispersed a little—people walked into shops, others climbed into carriages and others stopped to speak to those they knew who they just happened to come across during their outing. But her eyes stopped on a man leaning against a wall next to two other men who were speaking to each other. She swore the man looked familiar and as she and Isabel got closer and right before they passed by Graciela realized why the man looked so familiar.
"Alexander?" she stopped before the man who looked up and held her gaze with a frown, his hazel eyes meeting her own light brown. For a moment she thought she had been mistaken before the man let out a deep breath and stood up straight.
"Yes?" She let out a relieved breath, glad that she didn't get the wrong person after all. Alexander glanced over at the two other men who were standing next to them turned to leave when they saw a uniformed policeman walking their direction.
"Graciela?" Isabel called behind her.
"I'll be a minute." Graciela called back before turning to look at Alexander again, whom she was surprised to see after thinking that he had disappeared into the belly of the city. "You remember me, don't you?"
Alexander quickly glanced over to the policeman who was nearing them. "You're Graciela?"
"Look, I know that you probably don't want to be bothered but I just want to know why you left the clinic so suddenly. Humor me, and then you'll never see me again."
"Can I humor you some other time?" he asked her with a frown.
"Why not now?"
Alexander opened his mouth to answer but wasn't able to speak, because just as he was about to the policeman who had been making his way toward them stopped and produced a pair of metal handcuffs out of his pocket.
"You," the officer hiccupped, pointing a menacing finger at Alexander. "are under arrest."
"For what?" Graciela asked, her brows furrowing in confusion.
"And you are under arrest as well. You two are loitering." the policeman said, pointing a finger at Graciela who took a step back as an overwhelming smell of liquor assaulted her nostrils. She studied him for a moment, taking in the man's drooping eye lids and red face. The stench coming from him was awful and it didn't take long for her to figure out what was wrong with the man.
"He's drunk." Alexander mumbled.
"I can see that." Graciela replied, panic starting to set in. Was she really going to be arrested? She glanced over to Alexander who seemed amused with the man.
"Graciela," Isabel called out loudly and Graciela looked over her shoulder to see the woman making her way toward them.
"You, who are you." the officer asked Isabel, eyeing her with annoyance. "Leave before I arrest you for loitering as well." the man slurred before turning his attention back to Graciela.
"Loitering? She wasn't loitering." Isabel quickly defended, frowning when she received a glare from the officer.
"Loitering…is against the law, and so is thievery." the officer slurred. "If you want her released then you'll have to go to the prefecture."
"Thievery?" Isabel and Graciela repeated in confusion. Graciela glanced over to Alexander who avoided her gaze, and she had to wonder what the officer was truly talking about.
The cell was cold, the only light coming in to it was from the barred window; the rest of the room was sealed off from the offices with a lone door. He leaned his head against the cool wall, eyeing the hole in the wall where a brick had gone missing. She was in the other cell, he knew it, and he knew how upset she was from how she loudly protested and insulted the man who had thrown her into the neighboring cell with much passion and that had surprised him as much as the fact that the cell he was sitting in was familiar. But if the cell was familiar, then that meant that the policemen in the prefecture had to know who he was, no? However nobody seemed to recognize him, so maybe he was rarely thrown in a cell like the one he was in now. He would love to remember if that was so.
"You're there, aren't you?" the voice echoed off the walls.
He opened his mouth to reply but no words came out. To his knowledge they were alone, the stone wall separating the cells the only thing between them but even so he preferred not to speak. What could he say?
"Cruel and unusual punishment are usually forced on those accused of thievery, the loitering accusation was ridiculous as is the one about thievery. I haven't stolen anything to my knowledge. And you…."
Alexander pressed his cheek against the wall and closed his eyes. The past few days he had done nothing but worry. Where would he go? How would he survive with the money he had one him as he gradually spent the only money he had on whatever he felt he needed.
"Thieves are executed most of the time; death by guillotine. But I've done nothing wrong." Graciela continued, her voice cracking near the end.
He let out a deep breath, and shut his eyes tighter. Execution by guillotine. He couldn't let her be executed; he was the one who had done wrong. He was surprised at how easily he had done it, and he had to wonder if Alavda was right about him being a criminal.
"I…." he began before pausing, wondering why he should confess to her what he had done. He didn't even know her but he supposed that he would feel better confessing what it was he had done exactly to somebody without much consequence from that person. "I'm…the thief." he confessed, feeling his ears burn in embarrassment at having done so. He was embarrassed that he had been caught, but it felt like it was a first for him in a long time. Why so?
There was silence for a long time, a silence he was grateful for actually and he did feel slightly better having admitted that he was rightly being accused of thievery.
"What did you do?" Graciela asked him softly, a mixture of anger and annoyance lacing her tone.
"I pick-pocketed a man, and got caught by that drunken officer. I managed to hide away from him for some time to avoid him catching me."
He heard a profound sigh from the other side.
"Why did you steal money from somebody?"
"I'm an idiot I suppose." Alexander replied, his gaze shifting to the window above him. "I've been out in the city for a few days now and by now almost all my money is gone. I don't know who I am, or where I live. Evidently nobody's looking for me, not that I care much but at this point I'm a nobody. What hope do I have of remembering anything and recuperating my life?"
"I don't have much sympathy for you at this point."
"And I don't expect you to. I'm not asking for your sympathy." he retorted, his eyes traveling to the hole on the wall.
Graciela pressed her back against the cool stone wall separating their cells. She closed her eyes and tilted her head up. "I suppose you're worried about your future? Much like I am?"
Alexander didn't reply, only silence following after.
"I don't expect much sympathy either; I'm not seeking sympathy because I don't care for it. I'm not one to drop all my problems on somebody and hope for a comforting hug. I don't want a reaction at all; positive or negative when I tell somebody I ran away from home just because I don't want to marry somebody I don't love. Vonze isn't exactly the man I imagined to be my husband." Graciela continued.
"Who's Vonze?" Alexander asked her, and Graciela could detect the lack of interest in his tone but humored him anyway. She hated the silence between them, not that it was awkward, but she preferred to speak to somebody so she knew she wasn't alone in the cell block.
"The only son of one of my father's friend engaged to me when I was just seven years old and he four. I don't understand why, and I may never understand the reason my father decided to arrange a marriage between Vonze and I. We were forced to form some sort of relationship while we were growing up, and it's evident that he's attracted to me but I'm repulsed by him."
"You left your family behind because you wanted to avoid marriage, while I on the other hand don't have a family that I know of. Sometimes I think about my family but I always end up feeling poignant, though I don't know if it's because I don't remember them at all or because I have an issue with my family that I just don't remember. If I do have one, do they even miss me or was I all alone in the city? I don't think I should care anymore however, not when I'm going to be executed with certainty."
"You shouldn't think like that…."
"You have a life, while I on the other hand don't have one at all. I've already gone so low as to steal from people and I haven't even been a whole week in the streets."
"Which reminds me, why did you leave the clinic?" Graciela asked him. There was a short silence before Alexander answered her.
"I had made my decision to leave whether or not I was going to be sent to an asylum. Not that it matters much now."
Graciela frowned and bit her lip, hating how resigned he sounded to the fact that he was most likely going to be executed for pick-pocketing while she was most likely going to be released. Isabel had probably gone to get Valentin as soon as she was dragged off to the prefecture. What if she were the one to only remember her name? What would she do if she had no recollection of her family or friends, nobody to help her with her funds quickly diminishing? What would she do to keep on getting what she needed on the streets? Pan-handlers were frowned upon as were thieves and if she were forced to choose one to make quick money which would she choose?
Suddenly she got an idea, an idea she hated yet an idea that interested her immensely but before she could propose the idea to Alexander she heard soft snoring coming from the other side of the wall. Had he fallen asleep? Before she could call out for him the door to the cell block opened; footsteps could be heard as what sounded like multiple people made their way to her cell. She looked up just as Valentin, along with another policeman leading him.
"Here she is." the man pointed into her cell.
"Can you leave us alone for a minute?" Valentin asked the policeman who nodded and walked away, where? Graciela didn't know nor did she care. Valentin turned to look at his sister as she stood up and walked over to the cell door. She wrapped each of her hands around a bar and offered Valentin a small smile.
"Hmmm…." Graciela hesitated for a second before answering. "Alexander and I were arrested."
"He's in the cell next to me."
"Why were you two arrested?" Valentin asked her, looking nothing short of confused and not the bit surprised that Alexander had also been arrested. "Isabel came to me telling me that you two had been arrested, though for what?"
"Loitering." Graciela answered him with a shake of her head. "And thievery, but Alexander was the one who pick-pocketed somebody and got caught by a drunken policeman who arrested me because I was 'loitering'."
"Are you sure he was drunk?"
"The smell he had of liquor was overwhelming." Graciela replied. Valentin shifted his gaze to Alexander's cell where the young man had fallen asleep in a corner, his cheek pressed against the wall. "Valentin…."
"What if…I help Alexander regain his memory?"
Valentin looked over to his sister again and crossed his arms across his chest. "You're not serious."
"I'm not crazy with the idea, but if you think about it he has nobody and it would have been a waste to help him only for him to get executed not long after."Valentin huffed and took a few steps away from the cell. "He pick-pocketed because his funds were quickly diminishing, it's a mystery why he has such a skill."
Valentin shook his head, mumbled something she couldn't quite catch and dug his hands into the pockets of his trousers.
"Can you please release these two?" Valentin pointed to both cells as the officer walked back to him.
"She can go, loitering isn't that serious of an offense but he is being accused of thievery." the man pointed at Alexander's cell. Valentin narrowed her eyes at him and nodded.
"She tells me that a drunken officer arrested them, and as far as I know those who are drunk don't make the best decisions, nor are they capable of making the best decisions. I'm surprised that you let an officer get drunk and arrest people without sufficient evidence of the crimes he's accusing people of."
The man shifted in his feet uncomfortably and dug into the pocket of his jacket, coming out later with the keys.
"Recently there's been an issue with that officer as he gets drunk which is against protocol. I didn't know of the charges filed against these two, nor do I believe that anybody knew they were back here. There much confusion as you recall of your claim that two people were being held back here."
"Yes, I do." Valentin watched as the man unlocked Graciela's door first before going over and unlocking Alexander's.
"Wake up." the officer banged on the cell door, earning him an annoyed groan. The officer left the cell door open and walked over to the door that lead out of the cell block as Alexander groggily walked out of his cell as did Graciela who Valentin led out of the cell block.
"Why did they release me?" Alexander asked, confused.
"I was able to get you out." Valentin looked over to him.
"It was really no problem." Valentin replied as they walked out of the cell block.
"Sir, if you would please come with me to fill out some paperwork." the officer told Valentin.
"Sure," Valentin nodded and followed the man with Graciela following after him. "You realize Graciela, that it may take many weeks, months, or even years for him to recover his memory."
"Where would he stay?"
"What about…he stays with us…in the attic?" Graciela hesitantly considered.
"Yes," Graciela looked over her shoulder to see where Alexander was but when she didn't see him anywhere she spun around and looked around the room. "Where is he?"
"Alexander…he's gone." Graciela frowned and turned back to look at her brother. Where could have that man gone?
A/N: I would really appreciate any feedback on this; it serves as proof that people are actually reading this.
Also the title-I wasn't so crazy about the title at first but I've decided on another title since then. For the next update the title will now be "Penumbra", which as I continue planning out how the story will go makes more sense. And it gets rid of the original title which makes it sound like it's a soap-opera. I'd like thoughts on that too please :)