Madison Gray – “Remember”

I wake up and instantly feel the pain of an awful migraine. I look at the clock and realize that I’m almost going to be late for work.  I jump out of my bed and rush into the bathroom to get ready. I look into the mirror and see that I have a bruise on the top of my head. I try to recall how I got that bruise but nothing came up so I pushed the thought to the back of my mind and rush to get ready. Once I’m dressed, I quickly grab my car keys to my rundown truck, and rush out of the door of my apartment building.

I had trouble getting to work today, I was having trouble with directions. It felt like I haven’t driven there in months which is weird because I was just at work yesterday. Once I get to work, I dash into the building. I’m a writer for the most popular newspaper in the state. I get into the room with all the cubicles and all my coworkers stare at me like I am a ghost.

“What do I have something on my face?” I ask, confused.

My best friend jumps out of her desk, runs up to me and hugs me as tightly as possible. I just stand there confused with my hands staying at my sides.

“Where were you? Are you okay? We were so worried about you. We thought you died,” my best friend, Abby said, crying.

“Are you feeling okay? I was only a half an hour late to work. That doesn’t mean I died, girl!” I giggle.

All my coworkers were still staring at me. Abby looks at me confused.

“Blake, you’ve been gone for over a month. The police couldn’t find any evidence of your disappearance so they assumed that you were dead,”

I just stare at her like she is crazy. That can’t be true. The last thing I remember is going to work yesterday and then going home and falling asleep. But what if it wasn’t yesterday. How long has it been since the last day I remember. All of the thoughts swarming in my head cause me to get overwhelmed and I faint.

I open my eyes and see my boss standing over me looking concerned but also a tad bit angry. I sit up and see that I’m still on the floor and that a bunch of my coworkers have gathered around me. I rub the back of my head as I sit up.

“How long have I been out?” I mumble.

“Only about a minute,” my boss, Derrick, says. “Come with me to my office.”

He holds out his hand for me to help me get up then I grudgingly follow him to his office. All my coworkers continue to stare at me. Even through the big glass wall that separates us and the cubicles.

“Where were you, Blake?” Derrick says as he sits behind his desk. He looks at me expectantly.

“I don’t know. I’m so confused. All I remember is going to work yesterday… or whatever day I went to work,” I take a deep breath. “Then the last thing I remember is going to sleep that night.”

I start tearing up. “I don’t know what’s going on!”

“Okay. You should contact the police and maybe go to the doctor to check your head. You can have the week off to figure yourself out, but I will expect you to be back by next week.”

“Okay, thank you.” I say as I get up, still confused. I walk out of his office and everybody pretends that they weren’t watching and immediately goes back to typing on their computers. Abby gets out of her desk and walks over to me.

“What did he say?”

“ He said that I can take the week off to ‘figure myself out,” I sigh. “I don’t know what’s going on. Where was I for a whole entire month? What happened? I wanna believe that you guys are pranking me, but I can tell you all are telling the truth.”

“I wish I could tell you what happened. Stay at my house,” she said, giving me her house keys. “Just in case your house isn’t safe.”

I nod. She hugs me again one last time. I walk out to my car and make an appointment with my doctor for later today. After that, I just sit there with my head in my hands trying to remember something. I looked at my phone and I realized that it’s been about a month and half since I could remember anything. Nothing is making any sense.

Abby is the only person I have in my life. My parents died in a car crash when I was twelve. I met Abby at the adoption center. She made herself my best friend as soon as I got there and I couldn’t be more grateful. Nobody wanted to adopt anybody older than five, they all wanted the cute little babies. So, Abby and I stayed there until we were eighteen and got a place together when we moved out. She was the only one who was probably worried about me when I disappeared.

I go to the doctor.  He tells me that there is nothing wrong with my head. The only thing wrong was the bruise.

“Are you sure? Is there anything else that may of caused my memory loss?” I ask.

“Not that I know of. I’m sorry. There’s really nothing anyone could do. I would just recommend going on with your regular day life.”

I say okay, not really meaning it. How could anybody just forget that you don’t have any memory of the past month? I need to figure out what happened. As soon as I get into the car, I see an unfamiliar picture on the floor. I grab it and see a picture of me as about a 15 year old, with my mom and dad. My parents died when I was twelve, so this made absolutely no sense. On the back of the photograph, “REMEMBER” was written in sloppy, rushed looking letters. I try really hard to remember something, but I just end up more confused. Why did I have a picture of my parents from when I was fifteen? Are they still alive?

Instead of going to Abby’s place, I go straight to my apartment from the hospital, deciding that it is probably safe enough. Once I get home, I go straight to my closet where I have a shoe box filled with old pictures. I look through the pictures and find a picture of me a month before my parents apparent death, and I look way younger than I do in the picture that I found in my car. Even more confused than ever, I sit in front of my closet and look at the older picture of my parents and I. Suddenly, a memory flashes in my mind.

I remember waking up in a unfamiliar room and my mom coming into my room. In the flashback, I look in the mirror and see my current twenty year old self. Back in present time, I look back at the picture. I need to find out more about my parents.

I go back to my car and look around the area I found the picture in. I grab a gum wrapper planning on throwing it away, then I see something written on it. An address. I immediately go to my phone to plug my address in. An hour away. East. There’s no towns in that direction for at least a couple of hours. This can’t be right. I have to try at least or I’ll spend my whole life wondering what would’ve happened if I went. I go back to my apartment, pack my bags and  drive away in record time.

After an hour of driving, my phone tells me that my destination is on my left. Trees. That’s all I saw. No destination. No road to any place. I decided to park my car on the side of the road and start walking the direction that my phone said to go. About twenty minutes later, I was ready to give up. Then, in the distance I saw a building. I started running as fast as I could. It was a motel. How was anybody supposed to get to it when it was surrounded by trees and the only people are miles away? The door to the motel was wide open. It was a mess. There were papers and office supplies scattered across the floor. Tables and chairs have been flipped over. It looked like a there was a tornado in the building.

I entered the motel, stepping around all the junk on the floor carefully. I look around the main building. I couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary so I went to look at the motel rooms. The first room I checked was unlocked but there was nothing in there. After looking through at least ten rooms, I find something in the last one. Unlike all the other rooms, this one was locked so I got a chair from one of the rooms and hit the window. Oddly, it took several tries to get through the window like someone really didn’t want anyone to go into this room. Once I got into the room, I tried looking in the closet but it was locked. For some reason, I knew where the key to the closet was. I immediately go back to the front desk and find a set of keys in a drawer behind the desk. I went back to the room and struggled to find the right key, then finally I did.

When I opened the closet, there was another door. A metal one, with no key. Beside it was a touch screen. I tapped against it.

“Please place your hand on the screen.” A robotic voice, commanded.

I squeezed my eyes shut and hesitantly placed my hand on the screen, hoping that it would work.

“Processing…” The robotic voice says. I nervously tap my foot on the ground. “Access: Granted. Welcome Blake Harding.”

I jump up in excitement as the metal door slides open. The first thing that awaits me when the door opens is a elevator. I get into the elevator and look at the 5 buttons I instinctively click the button with the number five on it. When I get to level five the robotic voice states,

“Blake Harding. Arrived.”

The elevator doors slide open and I am instantly greeted with the sight of my supposedly dead parents. For the second time today, I faint. When I wake up, I am in the unfamiliar room I saw in my flashback. My mother appears moments later. I sit up abruptly and stare at her confused. Then, I start bawling. My mother walk over to me and hugs me gently.

“Oh darling, you shouldn’t of came back here. How did you remember how to get back? Did the serum not work? Did your memories come back?”

“What serum?” I ask, confused.

“I guess that answers my last two questions. But how did you remember how to get back?”o

“I didn’t. I guess I left myself clues to get back here.” I say, showing her the gum wrapper and the picture of us that I had in my back pocket. “What is the serum you’re talking about?”

“It’s a memory loss serum. It wiped you memory of the past month that you had been staying here. It was what’s best for you. But you can’t take the serum twice, so you’re stuck here. I’m sorry.”

I sat there, more confused that I had been in my entire life. A memory loss serum existed. That’s crazy. What was this place? Why was I forced to forget it? I take a second to gather my thought before I ask my mother,

“What is this place? And why are you here? Why did you and dad leave me?” I scowl at her.

“I’m so sorry honey. We didn’t want to, believe me. This is a place for people like your dad and I. Everybody here has something in our bodies is contagious and can severely harm people in the outside world. It was happened during a failed experiment at the lab that your father and worked out at. We were trying to make the memory serum, that now have made, but this was a failed test. Someone made the serum a gas and it spread in the air, in the lab. Most people died from the gas. The people that survived live here away from others. We don’t know how we are contagious, so for the time being we are to stay here, so we don’t harm others.”

“I still don’t understand. Why am I not dead? Why did you have to erase my memory?”

“You are immune to it, like the rest of the survivors here. But since you didn’t have direct contact with the gas, you are not contagious to people in the outside world. I erased your memory because I wanted you to be free of this place and the experiment we did was illegal, so they wouldn’t let you leave unless we erased the memory of you being here.”

I sigh and stare at my mother, still shocked that she is standing here in front of me. Despite all of this, I still love her. I embrace her and whisper,

“I miss you.”

“I missed you too sweetheart. I’m sorry you’re stuck here for a while. We will figure all of this out soon.”

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