It was like waking up after you'd been ill for a long time, she thought. She didn't really have a clear sense of where she was, she vaguely remembered being... well being somewhere else in a house, a familiar place, her house? She thought that must be right but it felt like trying to remember through thick curtains. Trying to think but she just got a blurred shape, and the feeling that she did recognise the memory.
And now, where was she? Sitting in the passenger seat of a car, parked by the roadside. It was quiet, and dark outside, and as she looked to check on her surroundings her vision wobbled, slid. Shaking her head she blinked quickly, but the view stayed indistinct, and as her eyes refocused she realised it was rain sliding down the windshield. But something was strange... when she tried to recall it she couldn't pin the thought down... It was something she'd noticed before she realised about the raindrops oilily running down the glass... something... but the thought was gone again.
"So, I'm in a car," she reasoned, talking out loud to be reassured that she coud reason and function. "I guess I didn't drive here or I wouldn't be belted into this seat?" She felt oddly divided, like her attention was not where she was now, but being pulled elsewhere, a kind of searching, seeking for something. Something not entirely pleasant, but a yearning, a hunger. Focus, girl, focus, she thought. She was wearing a coat, it was long and buttoned up most of the way, wrapping over her knees and parting as it dropped down to her feet. It was surprisingly soft to touch, and almost, almost, she felt it did belong to her; she felt like she remembered it; but when she tried to trace that thought, hook it on a line and follow it to find out more about herself, it somehow squirmed out of reach and eluded her.
"So I'm in a car," she tried again. "I'm alone, but maybe there is someone who drove me here? But where is 'here'?" It was almost impossible to see outside of the car, for the rain blurred the outside world. But there were no lights that she could see, looking directly ahead there was only the glimmer of the hood, the car she was in must be white and reflecting what slivers of light the sky still held. The darkness was not frightening though, or threatening, she realised, and again had the feeling that this was new, that this wasn't quite how she normally felt about being somewhere dark and wet and alone. She wasn't scared. Was that a good thing?
"What can I remember? There must be something that will remind me where I am and why," she thought. Under her rib cage she felt something contract, or clench. And again the feeling that she was focussed somewhere else, somewhere outside her body. She let her mind drift off to follow that sensation. There was something at the edge of her perception, but she wasn't sure what. It was intense, a concentration of something, a burning core and she wanted to reach out to it, wanted to reach out and pull it towards herself. Wanted, yearned, and as she wanted inside her something stirred, something pale and torpid uncoiled within her.
She shivered. It really did feel like there was something out there. She could even concentrate on it and pinpoint it. It was not that close to her, it felt like it was some distance away, she thought. She felt as if she could zoom in on it, a hot roiling melting something, a churn of hot and cold feelings. Feelings? How could she sense a bundle of feelings miles away?
"Oh for f*cks sake," she chided herself. "Can I not just keep my mind on my problem? I don't know where I am or what I'm doing here? I can't remember how I got here. I can't remember who drove me here and..." She didn't want to finish the thought. She didn't want to acknowledge the slowly dawning truth. She gazed at the rain on the windscreen again, sharp splashes pulsing against the glass. The distinct drops burst and spattered and disappeared into the watery film covering the windshield, fading into the foreground.
"I can't remember how I got here, and I can't remember my name!" Panic rose, she twisted in the seat, struggling to get out, feeling held down, constrained. Oh, God, I can't get out, I can't move, I can't, I can't, I can't... and then nothing.
This time when she came to herself, she remembered the convalescent feeling she'd woken up with last time, it felt so familiar. She also remembered trying to get out, to escape. She must have been so alarmed, so afraid that she'd blanked out. Looking down, the seatbelt was still tight around her, pressing her down into the seat. Her mouth twisted as she tried a wry smile. How stupid to have panicked over being belted in! She reached down and pressed the seatbelt release, catching her long fingernails as she did so. The belt snickered back across her body as she thought... "Long fingernails? I bite my fingernails, don't I?" But when she brought her hand up to her face the nails were perfect and long, and even painted. She wasn't sure what colour they were as it was even darker than before, but they were much darker than her skin, which did seem pale in this light. Disquiet rushed through her, but how absurd to look at yourself and think "These aren't my hands."
That feeling again, burning, empty hunger...
"I have to get out of the car!" she thought. And no sooner had she completed the thought than the door was open and she was standing outside of the car, twirling back to it to shut the door. Twirling, she saw movement, she saw a blur of motion reflected in the glass of the window. A fleering white oval.
Pause. Stop to think. Stop to process the visual information and assimilate it, place it into context. "My face!" she realised. "That was my face reflected in the window," and she drew closer to the car door to see herelf more clearly. As she bent down to the window a curtain of white blonde hair fell across the pale reflection and made her draw back in shock. "I am not blonde!" but even as she thought it she was looking at the image in the window and losing the indistinct memories of herself as a different person, feeling them dropping away from her.
She gazed at the window, she couldn't say for how long, transfixed at the face that was hers but somehow new to her too.
She gazed, and barely noticed anything else. It wasn't until a she heard a faint rushing sound that she glanced at the surroundings. She was in a wood, maybe even a forest, the trees were tall and seemed pretty close together and the only break in them was the road she was parked on. Now she did feel apprehensive...
Sound intensified, a rushing, growling. Before she knew it she was sitting back in the car and cowering into the seat. The feeling of longing and burning was very near and verystrong now, she found it difficult to concentrate on anything else. It was so near! Somehow, while she'd been watching the reflected face that wasn't hers, the longing yearning thing had come closer, so close. Sound filled her world, and a blinding flash, after the initial shock she placed it as belonging to a car driving past her.
And the strong feeling of yearning passed by. The relief! The...
But her memory left her again for a moment, and then when she came to again; the sickbed feeling not so strong this time, there was a person stood in front of her. She'd pulled her coat around her, it's hood over her head. The person in front of her said something but she was too distracted by the sense that all the burning intensity she'd felt and dreaded was inside him.
"You been stuck out here long?" the person said. What should she do? What should she say? What, what was this person in front of her? Somehow she knew what he wanted her to say.
"Not too long. My name is Steph."