Life Without Memory (Book 1 of the Magical Machine Series)

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Chapter 9: This Insane World

I am awake, but I don’t want to wake up. I don’t want to be forced back into the reality of my cell. I let myself just lie here, in this limbo state between nothingness and forever.

The surface under my head moves and I jolt awake, opening my eyes quickly to Nathan’s bare chest above me.


I am lying on his lap. His blue eyes are engulfing me, their color out of place in this world of mine. Something is gently stroking my head, a hand, his head. I decide not to move yet, and to simply stare in those bottomless eyes.

“Ummm, Hi,” he laughs nervously.

Oh, I am lying on his lap. I struggle upwards, and his hands help push my shoulders till I am sitting up.

“I…” What do I say, I didn’t mean to pass out?

“You passed out and I grabbed you. I didn’t want you to hit your head on the ground.”

I nod, as if accepting a perfect excuse. My legs had moved and were stretched straight out in front of me, parallel to the wall instead of perpendicular.

“I moved your legs so you wouldn't move them in your sleep and cause one to heal incorrectly.”

I nod again, not quite sure what to say.

“Could you help me move back to leaning against the wall? It’s hard to hold my body upright without the wall supporting me. I wanted to just lean back, to let myself just lie on his lap, but I can’t. It’s not… I don’t know. I just know that I have to force myself to continue to sit up.

Nathan nods, and moves over to my legs. He carefully holds both my legs, stabilizing the one against the other, and rotates my legs, rotating me as well.

“Thanks.” I let myself lean back against the wall, too tired to keep myself from leaning against the wall’s support.

He nods. He’s been helping me like this so much. I think he doesn’t even really think about it much anymore, but every time I need his help I feel my helpless so much more. I want to move, to crawl or walk. To be able to do everything myself, but I am dependent on him.

I sits down next to me, leaning against the wall, and I let myself lean against his shoulder. I expect complaint, but he says nothing and simply leans his head against mine.

“How long do you think I have?” His voice rumbles against me.

“Hmm?” I don’t quite understand his question.

“How long do you think I have until they take me?” He repeats.

“I won’t let them take you.” And I know how I shall prevent them now.

He is silent for a while, thinking on his own private thoughts.

“How long until we have to fight them, then?” He is fixated on thoughts of being taken away.

“I honestly don’t know. I don’t…” I take a deep breath, “I don’t remember.”

He says nothing, and I let myself drift away.

The cell door opens, and though it quiet its as loud as someone screaming. Nathan is clutching my arm tightly. They won’t take him from me!

I feel the power building behind my eyes. I feel the hatred for them. The disgust for the conditions they have kept me in. The useless worthless beasts they are!

I feel the pressure again, but this time I feel like I can do anything the guard is moving in slow motion toward us, toward Nathan. Wrinkles form around his eyes, his mouth, his nose. A look of disgust and contempt.

I can do anything. The guard grabs Nathan’s arm, and I hold on for dear life.

“No.” The voice that comes out of my mouth is not mine, it is a powerful, sure, commanding voice. A woman with a purpose would speak that way.

The guard laughed, each breath grating against me. “Release him.” The guard says, but his voice is a high pitch whine, a piercing shriek against the pressure building up inside my head.

You are behind him, staring at me. Waiting to see how I plan to stop them from taking him.

They will not take Nathan from me! I glare at the guard, and I feel the power build behind my eyes. It is an inferno waiting to be released, the hands are reaching out toward the guard, waiting for the command to strangle him. He pulls harder, and Nathan’s arm slips from my grasp.

“Hope!” I can hear him scream somewhere, everywhere.

“No.” I reach out, and when I touch the guard, I feel his heart pounding in his chest, adrenaline pumping through his blood. My hands find his heart; I can see the bulbous muscle pulsing away in his chest. It needs to stop making so much noise, I can’t hear anything else. I grasp it to silence it. I hold it as it struggles. It fights, trying hard to beat even louder, and then it shudders. I hold it tighter, fighting it, and eventually it quiets.

Someone cries out. Someone hits the ground. My vision slowly wavers, and I can see the room clearly for a moments, the cell outlined in stark light. The guard is lying on the ground, his face outlined by the horror of what I had just done. Nathan, standing above him, his back turned toward me. Slowly, his head turns to look at me. His shock is written on his face.

I just killed a man. I just killed the guard. I just wanted to silence his heart… No, I’d wanted to strangle him. I‘d desired to kill him.

I killed him. My power killed him. The scene becomes spotty, and slowly the spots crows out my vision until the world becomes black.

Someone is shaking me. Nathan’s blue eyes are looking straight into mine, but there is fear. Fear in his expression, in his voice as he shakes me. “Hope!” He screams at me.

“Yes?” I whisper calmly, unable to care about his fear.

“We have to get out. This is our chance. The guard, he’s dead, there’s probably more coming.”

He doesn’t realize that I killed the guard, or maybe he does, and he just doesn’t want to accept it.

He reaches down to pick me up, and I shake my head. “Help me walk.”

He stares at me for a moment, “Your leg isn’t strong enough yet. It will break.”

“It will not break again.” I stare down at my leg, and I see the hands reaching down, wrapping around the site of the break and leaving a hard residue around the bump that is the healing bone.

He hesitates, one hand hovering near my legs, but then he brings both hands to my waist, and lifts me to my legs. I wobble, and he holds me up. I wrap one arm over his shoulder, and slowly we begin to move toward the door.

Step by painful step with Nathan carefully holding me up. He didn’t say anything, but I could feel his anxiousness, his fear that we wouldn’t manage to escape.

I could hear arguing beyond the open cell door.

“Do you think we should go in?” One voice asked; worry raising the pitch of his voice.

“Nah, Frank’s probably just playing with the girl,” the other voice sounded calm and uncaring.

“I’m going in, Frank should be out by now.” The first voice says. I hear something clinking as we walk through the first door into a small area with a second door at the other end of this are barely big enough to hold us.

The door opens, and a guard is staring at us for only a moment before the door starts to close again.

“No.” I reach out with the invisible little hands and grab the door, yanking it from the man’s grasp. Two guards stand in front of the door, shock written on both their faces, and again the world slows down.

I reach out and grip the one who was afraid for the man named Frank. I can see him, playing with two children in a room, golden hair swinging around the face of a woman, and coming close to her, kissing her. “Ray,” she laughed, her laughter ringing out in joy. The children down below, clinging to legs. “Daddy, will you play shark with us.” A deep rumbling laugh. “Later, tonight”

Sitting in a church next to the golden haired woman, “Anne…”

Her in a beautiful white dress. Her for the first time, dancing in a room with flashing lights and a silver dress that hugged her figure. Sitting in a room filled with other people, staring through reality glasses at a virtual classroom. The glasses coming off to a small room with a chair and a desk. A father coming in, screaming, yelling, a belt.

A mother sobbing in a yellow dress blotched with blood. A friend, lying on the ground, a bruise forming, his face full of shock. Hiding in a cabinet, wiping something sticky from head, looking at the hands and seeing red…

I ripped myself away from his mind. I could feel the memories still in my head. He was staring at a wall, lost. He wasn’t a threat anymore.

I felt energized. The pressure was building in my head, and I grabbed the other guard’s heart and held. I watched as he collapsed with a detached feeling, as if I wasn’t in this scene and simply watching it happen.

Nathan’s arms are still wrapped around me, holding me up. I feel hot, as if my skin is burning, but the world is bright. Energy pulses through me.

One man is on the ground. His eyes open in death. The other stands there, staring at a wall. Ray… The golden haired woman, Anne, called him Ray. He had two children, and he’d grown up a bully, but he was trying to be good, for Anne, for his children. I could see his memories as if I was standing outside them, watching people move through the motions of life. The outside world.

He didn’t seem to notice me. Did I break his mind somehow? Would he not return home to play shark with his children tonight?

You reach out toward him, as if to touch his shoulder, and then stop. You look so sad. What did I do?

Nathan starts to walk, and I stumble along with his support, wishing I had agreed to simply let him carry me.

My legs are useless sticks only holding me up because Nathan’s arms are holding me upright.

Slowly we wind through the halls. Nathan keeps hearing noises and dragging us into corners or hiding places. Sirens are booming, I can hear them in the back ground. The exhaustion is pulling at me like water dragged down Ray when he was a child. Hold me down, filling my lungs with its power.

Nathan pulls me out of a cell he just dragged me into, and almost carries me along the hall, my legs stumbling along underneath me, almost dragging.

He stops, and scoops me up, one arm under my knees, and one under my shoulders. “You are so light, like a wraith. I think this is easier for both of us.”

I nod, and let my head settle into his chest, one arm still wrapped around his shoulder.

I look up at the ceiling and see a small black screen watching us. I can’t let them see us. I reach out toward it, and then I let myself sink into the exhaustion.
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