It was cold, the floor. My legs were aching, but I had to run. Why? Maybe someone was following me. Yes, someone was following me, I could hear his footsteps. But before that, I was talking with someone else, a girl. Who? Then we had heard something in the hall…after that…I don't remember.
I had to run fast, or else I would be dead.
Pain flared through my legs and my knees failed me as I fell blindly down the stairs. But this wasn't supposed to be like this, something was wrong. I was not supposed to die this way.
Strong hands pulled at my hair and I screamed, because it hurt. My head throbbed, everything was dizzy. And then I saw his eyes, full of detestation, and wrath. He picked up a large antique bronze jar, and I realized he was about to hit me.
I woke up, drenched in sweat and feeling jittery. The whole room was spinning and my heart was thumping loudly. I looked around, fearing to see that horrifying staircase and those merciless eyes. I cautiously checked a spot in my head that was supposed to be injured, and found it heavily wrapped in bandages. Looking around, I realized I was in a hospital. There were a few other patients, some reading and some snoring. I slowly tried to sit up and instantly felt woozy. A few patients were looking at me curiously, and I realized I had screamed. That dream was horrifying. But what had happened? Why was I in a hospital?
A lady entered the room and made her way towards my bed. I looked around and saw everyone drawing their curtains and going to sleep, it was nighttime. I was pretty sure I couldn't sleep after that sickening nightmare. Nevertheless, I drew my curtains and waited for the doctor to come, and also hoping that I would finally get some answers.
"Do you remember your name?" she asked cautiously.
I found the question a bit weird but I answered, "Clara Phoenix."
"Your mother's and father's name?"
"Sarah and Scott Phoenix."
"Did you have any siblings?"
"No. Why am I being asked such stupid questions?" I asked, exasperated.
"I am Doctor Jennings. I was the one who conducted your surgery. According to Stephen, you were found in the Reineer household bleeding and unconscious. You fell from the stairs and hit your head hard, after which you supposedly lost consciousness."
That is not what happened. A small voice in my head said, but for the moment I had bigger issues.
"Who is Stephen? Who are the Reineers? Why was I in their house? What was I doing there?"
"We were hoping you could answer these Clara. Stephen lives next to the Reineers. You hit your head hard. You suffered physical trauma to your head, and it might have hampered your short and long term memory. Your semantic memory is unimpaired, but you might lose episodic memory. Do you remember what happened?" she asked.
"Bits and pieces." I replied. "But what do you mean? I might not remember and all that? I remember everything." I felt panic rising in my chest, because a part of me realized she was correct.
"Sweetheart, do you remember what happened in the last month? Anything? Your friends and stuff?" she asked sympathetically.
I tried to remember, but I hit a wall. I remembered giving a job interview at a university for the post of a professor, but after that, nothing. I don't know if I was selected, if I had a job, about any new friends I might have made…
The name dropped out of nowhere, and I had a brief memory of a guy with sandy blond hair and cerulean eyes.
"Ethan…Ethan Reineer." It was his house, the one in which I had been attacked. Obviously he had something to do with me. A lot of questions were buzzing in my head, so many that I felt disoriented. "Do you know him?"
"I am afraid I don't know anything. Maybe an old friend can help? You need to rest now dear. It's been three days since the incident. Tomorrow you have an appointment with your psychologist, Leonardo Valdez. Maybe you will find things out there?" she gave a kind smile and left. The nurse then came and injected me with morphine, saying that it would help with the pain. I wanted to protest that I didn't feel any pain, but my eyes were already heavy. Slowly, I closed my eyes, and slept.
"Come in Clara, take a seat." Leonardo said politely.
The room was a bit big, with a few paintings hanging here and there, and a fireplace with two comfortable chairs facing each other placed nearby. A sofa set decorated the centre and a chandelier hung overhead. Doctor Jennings had said that I was recovering at a tremendous speed and that I could go back home. But before doing that, I had to have a 'chat' with Leonardo Valdez, my psychologist.
I remembered my house address, fortunately, but some things needed to be explained. And the last two months were completely wiped out from my mind, gone, deleted. Leonardo was sitting in one of the chairs, and asked me to sit in the other one. There was a sweet scent in the room that I found extremely calming.
Leonardo was handsome, definitely, with dark curly hair, which was a bit long and unkempt and stark sea green eyes. He wore a pair of black jeans and a navy blue shirt, which looked a little less professional and friendlier.
After we were seated, and done with the introductions, he asked me to tell him whatever I knew. I started with the dream I had seen, the guy attacking me with the jar, then I told him about the Doctor's questions and how the name 'Ethan' had popped into my head, and then the fact that I was injured/attacked in his house, and finally about how I didn't remember a single thing about the last two months. I also added that I remembered applying for a university job.
He was quiet for a few moments, absorbing the information, and occasionally taking notes. He finally said,
"I have seen the report your neurologist sent me. Most of it is medical jibber jabber which I am sure would be incoherent to you, but what I can tell you is this: You are amnesiac. The part of your brain that was damaged should have resulted in retrograde amnesia, which means a complete memory wipeout of your past life. But that is obviously not the case. What actually might have happened is that your memories have been repressed, by your own conscience, simply because they were too violent or painful or sickening. The traumatic experience along with any related memory has been removed from your conscious mind, although present in your long term memory but hidden from your knowledge."
"So I won't ever remember what happened? And why only the last two months? What happened?" It was all too much to take in, but I knew that Leonardo was watching me closely and that I might be sent back to the hospital if I appeared to be weak, so I had to put up a strong face.
"That's the main thing. Your memories will or might come back, depending on your mental health. These thoughts will most definitely be intrusive, and will come to you at unexpected and even unwelcome times. You might be bathing and suddenly remember about someone trying to drown you, and might develop hydrophobia, just saying. So you have to be careful. That dream you had, you might have many others like that, even when you are awake."
"So…" I had to choose my words carefully,"the memories were repressed because they were too painful, and when they come back; I would have to live them again?" I was suddenly not sure if I wanted to find out what had happened in the last two months.
"In a nutshell, yes. But don't worry, things will get easier as soon as you meet or see someone you know. Someone from your past life can be of extreme help." His voice was soothing, and his raw honesty was reassuring. At least I had one friend, I thought wryly. The session soon ended and I was definitely feeling better after talking to Leo (He insisted I call him that).
I went again to the hospital for my regular check up. After that I went straight home, and stood outside my door for about a minute, before finally gathering my courage and stepping in. What I saw when I went inside, was definitely not what I had expected.
"A body has been found in the canal. Come fast." I cursed as I kept the phone and picked up my jacket. Another brutal murder, another sloppy mystery. Great. I also picked up my half eaten piece of pizza and made my way towards my car. I reached my destination in about fifteen minutes and it was extremely crowded. I saw my friend, the head of Forensics, taking samples from the body of a Sandy haired girl. Her whole face was mashed up and her torso was completely blood soaked.
"Bludgeoned to death. I would guess three days ago. Identity says she is Elsa Reineer. Also found a cell phone, last call made to a Clara Phoenix. I will be taking her up to the forensics for now. You do your job Captain." Said Alan DiAngelo, the Forensic guy.
"Yes I will. Have to earn my bucks bro." I gave a smirk and started the regular proceedings, asking people about what they knew, if they had seen anything, blah…blah…blah.
"Jason Shore." I heard a voice behind me. I spun around only to find Luke Castellan, my colleague, my nemesis.
"Hey Luke, you here? I thought you were working on that suicide-but-maybe-murder case." I said coldly.
"Yeah, tough work, that is. Just taking a break."
"Well, unlike you, I value my job, so goodbye."
I opened the car door and slammed it shut, deciding that I have interviewed enough people here. I took out my crime book (Yeah I maintain one, like Sherlock Holmes. Cool huh?) and jotted down some names and the details Alan gave me. The next person to interview was Clara Phoenix. Today had been tiring, so I decided to call it a day and talk to her tomorrow first thing in the morning. For now, some sleep was overdue.