Oh… my head… So many words- feelings- thoughts running through it. I don’t even really understand what it means, not entirely, but it’s all coming together to force me to. What is a word? What is a feeling? What is a thought… All thrust upon me. Along with so many others, all crashing, colliding, melding into something called a language. Somehow, I know it’s called English -at least as it is now- but that there are other languages mixed in- bastardized. It’s a bastardized language. Bastardized English language… which only caused more thoughts to form. Where am I? What am I?
But, above all, who am I?
My senses came to me last -senses, as it turns out, was the term given to functions to allow you to process and survive then thrive in a three-to-four dimensional plane- with the first being hearing. I could hear birds in the distance, muffled by something heavy in between –a wall. A wall in between. There was a wall keeping those full songs from wherever they were berthed from enthralling me in their serenade. Wind whistled, passing by as it wound through the room I was in, taking with it my startled first breath and soft, lethargic gulps to try to keep my senses about me –these senses far different than the functions mentioned prior. There were only smaller sounds after, scuffles and scratches… and other pants. Some very near.
Scent, smell was next to return to me, what many consider the most offensive of senses, given what one may come into contact with or pass by. It was, also, the most coveted one for the very same reasons, but, in this place, wherever it was, it was quite neutral. There was nothing too insulting nor pleasing in that location. Perhaps one would be envious of the smell of wildflowers and timber, but it seems whomever I was did not really care for such. I did not find it invigorating… but… there was another scent upon the air. One that I did quite like. Yet I could not put my finger on what that spicy flowery smell was, just as near as that set of pants.
Feeling and taste woke at the same time, both complementing yet clashing. They both were dry, after all, with a sickening rime lingering upon both, but the dry rime gave way to an iron taste, alongside an alkaline tinge. Something about that combination didn’t make sense, but I couldn’t quite remember why. Only that those were the best way to describe what rested in my mouth.
As for what I felt, what was felt, I knew I laid upon some kind of stone, and I had been there quite a while. Every part of my body, my being, my mortal vessel and coil to this plane, ached and groaned. It was locked upon the ground, and even trying to move my smallest finger -the pinkie my thoughts tell me- made it scream and pop. Yet, though it wasn’t on that floor, my chest ached the most, as if it had been slammed against and flung onto that ground. There was a burning sensation, as well, clashing with the chill across it as the wind whistled by once more.
At last, there was only one sense to return to me. One that was voluntary yet not, that required my assent to be used. If I but kept them shut, they would never know use, yet they were the most vital of senses for what I was. After clear deduction, feeling every part and where it was, my mind resulted that I was human, a bipedal, mutated, mostly hairless, monkey –ape to be specific. We never had a tail… At least, most of us didn’t. From what my memory shown me, we didn’t.
Even as this was all coming to me, even as I deprived my mind of one of the five senses, allowed it a bit of room to reach further… I could not remember who I was… But I couldn’t deny it any longer. That detail would simply have to wait. Every moment that passes put my life further into jeopardy, and, at that point, what good was it to know.
I finally gave consent, and, at first, my eyes weren’t too fond of it. There was a hint before, even behind those lids, but the sun shown strong through a nearby opening. It took several blinks for it to endure those strong rays, only to realize they weren’t that strong. In fact, the sun was coming through the opening far and across the square room. It didn’t even touch me, in truth, but the wall to my right, where it reflected a weak beam across my face. I was right, though. It was stone -the floor, I mean, but it became one with the stone wall then ceiling, fortified with red wood, both in planks and beams. The edges of the rooms seemed swelled, stone added around the beams inside most likely, adding more stability, aiding the pillars, six of them, that ran in two, parallel rows. There were four openings, windows in between them, and I laid under one of them, able to see a piece of blue sky far above, with hints of cloud wafting by.
But my mind hungered for more. It demanded more, needed to know… more. It would not simply let me lay there. The curse of consent, it seemed. My body yelled as I was tried to rise, to at least sit up. My arms, my back popped and squelched, each disc of my spine releasing such a storm of pain upon me, wracking me, holding me in agony, but I would not relent. The thirst for knowledge was too great, as was another. One that needed answered far more if I were to survive, thus I rose.
I made it half way, at least. My legs would know peace a moment longer, but I could now see I was in a decline from the rest of the room. The windows, the ring along the walls, had a trench, showing to match the foundation for the door set in the center. It was opened, inward, showing another room, while behind was a spiral stairwell, leading both up and down. There was no rhyme nor reason to the stone cobbled there for the floor, slung together for utility rather than any form of aesthetics, brutish in nature. To what, though… For that, my mind would not tell me. Only insist that it was.
There was nothing else special about that room, though. Aside a few metal brackets staked into the walls, housing wooden sticks with their ends wrapped in singed cloth, there was nothing else inside that room. As if it were only meant to be a stopgap between whatever was beyond that door and the stairwell. I could only fathom what it could have been used for by its creators, but the layer of dust upon the floor, that floated through the soft rays and the cobwebs that hung easily two feet from the ceiling and were so thick, it hadn’t been used for quite some time. So, once again, my mind asked where was I and why I was there?
But it quieted yet yelled to still as a fresh, soft pant met my ears. My gaze looked lower, to that floor, and saw that there was someone else in there. How I did not notice sooner- but then again I was racing to gather everything, to piece it all together, to get some idea where I was. Who else was there at that moment was immaterial… yet, here I was, now paying attention. As I looked upon them, that strong, spicy, flowery smell seemed to grow, as if that… female emanated it. She was in a bright white coat, its front blackened and melted away to show what my mind called business attire –which, turned out, very much matched my own. It joked, though, that I wouldn’t have the legs to pull off that tight dress, but, also, it sobered that my sex was not meant to wear it normally, instead locked in what was known as pants. Both a sound and a fashion; a bastardized language indeed.
There must be something about those coats, then, that linked him to her. They must come from the same place, from a similar event, but… no matter how hard I press, how I try to understand what made it uniform… that part would not come to me. As she didn’t seem to want to come to.
My legs still didn’t want to move, but my arms already have. They hated that I realized this, and grew to loathe me as I forced them to claw me over. Getting out of the “trench” was the hard part, as it did require my legs to wake some. But only some, to flip over as I dragged them over and out. In truth, my front cursed me more than anything. It was still quite raw, and for good reason. There were hairs under where the clothes and coat remained intact, but the front was singed clean, revealing bright pink skin on an otherwise soft peach hue. Blacks and blues and even purples and greens would soon follow, my mind surmised, but I was more concerned about her.
As I drew closer, I saw that her hair was not burned away but cut into a bob that ended right before her shoulders. It was black as oil, contrasting to her almost alabaster tone. She had a heart-shaped face, filled out, matching the rest of her, curvy but not obese, with the daintiest of noses. Her eyes were aided by a pair of oval glasses, the right lens shattered, angled in a way to show off my grizzled features. It looked as if I hadn’t shaved in weeks, and one feel along my jaw confirmed that. Thick, brown hair dotted with white and even a bit of red, matching the fade on top of this dome, but my eyes, those browns, were sharp as ever. Like a raptor’s.
Yet she still didn’t stir. Even as I looked down upon her… I couldn’t exactly leave her there like that, could I? Goodness knows how long we’ve actually been there. My stomach asserted that point, feeling like an abyss inside that stone room, and my mouth was as dry as a desert, made worse by that strange iron-alkaline combination upon the tongue.
“Hey,” I croaked out, and was little more than a croak. My throat grated that word as it left, but was left coarse as I repeated it, giving her shoulder a small shake. “Wake up. Come on, now.”
So I repeated thrice, shaking her shoulder a bit more each time. By the fourth, her eyes finally fluttered open.
And went wide, seeing my mug.
She screamed, a scratchy, ratcheting sound, and shoved me away, scurrying across the room towards the windows and trench. She gasped as she fell in, but smacked against the wall, panting hard.
“Who are you?” She spluttered out, her voice deep, almost velvet. She had bright blue eyes, made brighter by the fear and the thoughts colliding. I could sympathize, all too well. “Where am I- where are we? What are we doing here- what are you going to do to me?”
“Calm down. I just woke mys-”
She wasn’t listening. She was already screaming for help.
And help did show.
Others, people in singed white lab coats thundered up the steps. Five other males and females. The first to arrive, a tall blonde, looked between me and that woman… then rushed over and kicked me in the chest. It wasn’t a hard hit, but it was enough to knock the wind out of my sails and push me on my back, where he dug his sole into that reddened flesh, keeping me there.
“The hell you think you’re doing?” He exclaimed, but didn’t wait for me to answer, looking to the raven-haired woman. “Are you okay?”
“Yes! Thank you. Thank you! I don’t know what he planned to do, but he was over me when I woke up-”
“Because I shook you to wake you up,” I croaked out, groaning as that man stamped his foot against.
“Are you the one behind this?” He demanded, pushing down. “Are you the one that kidnapped us! Where are we? Who are you, and, more importantly, who are we?”
“Get off of him,” another yelled, a mousy-looking girl, asserted with her shoving against. “Look at him! He’s one of us.”
“Then why was he-”
“He told you! He was checking to make sure she was okay.”
“Is that true?” Another male said, stepping into view. He had brown hair, tied back into a ponytail, and his jacket suffered the least. He barely had more than a black spot on the shoulder.
“I just woke up, and worried about her,” I said, and the foot was removed from my chest, replaced with a couple arms helping me to my feet. Much to my leg’s disdain. They shook something fierce, but the man with the ponytail and the mousy girl refused to let go until I was sure upon them. “I don’t know how long we’ve been out, but the sooner she was up could focus upon finding water and food.”
“That’s what we thought,” another woman said, and her head was shaved. Hints of red still popped up along her scalp, but it was only starting to blossom anew. “The tall blonde brute there and I wake on the first floor. We found those two on the next, and the black man and tanned woman in the room adjacent.”
“For some reason, I still don’t like being described as such,” the black man said, rubbing his shaved head. “However, considering I still can’t remember my name, it will suffice.”
“None of you can remember your names, then?” The black-haired woman said.
“No,” the mousy girl said. “Not even the Asian nor the Indian.”
“Yet we can remember those slight details,” the blonde said, groaning. “I have deduced that we are all suffering from selective amnesia.”
“Selective, my ass!” The Asian woman said. “I didn’t choose this. I wouldn’t have chosen this.”
“That’s not what it means-”
“I know that’s not what it means! But it doesn’t make it any less frustrating! Or believable. Am I to really trust that you all are suffering the exact same thing? How do I know none of you are lying?”
“Why would we be lying?” I said. “It’s apparent none of us know where we are, so cooperation is key… You. The shaved redhead. You said you woke on the first floor?”
“Along with the blonde, yes,” she said.
“Have you had a chance to investigate where we are?”
“No. As I said, we started climbing the stairs and ran into others. Then we hurried up when we heard that woman scream.”
“Then that’s our first order of business. We need to investigate this building and its perimeter. Find water, food, and then evidence of others who may have passed through here. Even if it was a while ago.”
“How do you know that?” The raven-haired woman asserted. Leering at me. Thankfully, I didn’t need to answer; the mousy girl did for me.
“Look around you. The dust, the cobwebs; it’s been at least months since anyone was here.”
“It’s true,” the redhead said, nodding back to the steps. Where their footsteps left a trail through the dust. “It has been a long time before anyone stepped foot in here-”
“So why are we here?” The black-haired woman interjected, nodding to me. “And why was he with me? He seems suspicious if anything.”
“Because he woke up in the same room as you?” The mousy girl said, as if jabbing her with the statement. “Because he showed worry?”
“Regardless, we’ll keep an eye on him,” the blonde said, scowling at me. “We will all move as a group through this building, so he won’t have a chance to try anything. Does that ease your mind?”
“Slightly,” the woman said, and, as much as I hated the insinuation behind their tones, at least we could put this behind us. There was far, far more ahead than to linger on such a trivial first impression… That being said, the moment I can, I want nothing more to do with this group –aside the mousy girl and perhaps the redhead. At least they had common sense, not related to either of the senses prior.