Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Short Story: Grace

by Lottie Allen

Glow is low and it's dimming,
And the silence is ringing...
I stroll down the shadowed street, again finding myself able to relate to the song lyrics. I sigh, my breath creating a flurry of warm clouds to erupt, as I make my way through the dark side of the sleeping city. Ordinarily, I wouldn't walk home this way but after the ordeal at work I'm running extremely late and I can't miss my appointment tomorrow morning. Therefore, I'm taking the shortcut home. Just as I round the corner, a loud noise startles me and I rip my headphones out in sudden terror. Then, shake my head at my unusually jumpy behaviour when I realise the noise was only Big Ben's distant signalling of 11 o'clock.
I hesitantly put my headphones back in, attempting to block out the world around me and suppress my rising fear but I catch a peculiar, glistening in the corner of my eye. The hairs on my neck rise and I get the unnerving feeling that I'm being watched, maybe I would even go as far as saying I'm being followed. But it's not like I even work in the agency anymore, I would have no reason for anyone to want anything from me. All my clients have long since passed away. Anyhow, I whirl around, the tension and suspense of waiting kindling the fiery flames of fear slowly growing inside me.
Nothing. Typical.
Jessica, you're just paranoid. Stop fretting, I tell myself, firmly. I need to get a grip. I'm about to turn around and resume my walk home when a hand clamps down over my mouth, I jump in shock but find myself unable to scream. I jerk my head up, bringing my left heel into my captors groin and hearing a groan. I throw my head forwards, sinking my teeth into their hand and try to turn in the now loosened hold on me. A strip of foul-smelling material is shoved brutally over my mouth and under my nose, forcing me to breath it in. I try to twist around to identify my attacker and thrash, my head makes contact with someone's forehead and they let go of me. But before I can have any satisfaction or triumphant from my small victory, I become acutely aware of my sluggish movements. In panic, I scream but it's muffled by the material over my face and it's not like anyone would hear anyway. I slump to the floor, both welcoming and fearing the inevitable oblivion as I lose consciousness.
Is it possible to be wide awake yet your body is unresponsive and asleep?
I guess, that's what a coma is. I try desperately to open my eyes and squint but even the smallest movement causes a shooting agony to dance through my useless body. I am distantly aware of a voice droning in the background and listen hard to understand the words. But I can do nothing, I can't even twitch my muscles to tell them I'm awake.
"Jessica? Jessy, I miss you. The doctors say you're in a coma and that there might be a chance that you can hear me but I miss you Jessy, so much. Did you know, you've been sleeping for nearly three months now?" That voice. It's strangely familiar yet entirely new and unfamiliar at the same time. And who is Jessy? It can't be me...can it? I haven't been sleeping for nearly three months!
I try to sort through my distorted mind to find any memory of who I am or where I could be. I think I'm at a doctors because the girl, whoever she was, said something about the doctor talking to her. That is if I am Jessy. It's like sifting through sand, my thoughts slip through my fingers before I have time to grasp them and I'm left with nothing. Empty, confused, lost. The more I try to summon up my memories the quicker the slip away. I don't care about anything else at the moment. Just two questions.
Who am I?
Where am I?
If I had the ability to move I would be furrowing my brow in confusion, creasing my forehead into a frown. I'm baffled. How can you forget everything about you? Of course, I still remember that I'm English but if you ask me who my parents are, how old I am or even what I look like I will be lost for answers. Confusion courses through me, how is any of this possible? I remember my education, my times tables, quadratic formulas but I am lost for words at who taught me, how I know or when I learnt this.
So many unanswered questions. And no answers. Whatsoever. I want to scream in frustration, all I want are answers, is it really so difficult? To remember things? Only one word, that one word that means everything yet nothing to me...


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