Neptune's Star

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003: Memory

I woke up to a ridiculously expensive-looking room. I was so appalled I couldn't even react.

A simple yet elegant chandelier hung above near where my feet rested in the middle of the small room. A reflection of the chandelier visible in the tall, narrow mirror across me.

My eyes grew tired straining under the bright ray of light. It was after that I realized it was morning. The windows were open partly and the semi sheer curtains danced as the wind flows in the room.

The tranquility didn't last long.

Why am I here?

A newfound feeling of horror washed over me. Quickly, I threw away the blanket covering me and made room to get off the bed until a hand touched my side and I jumped with a small shriek.

"Hey, you okay?" A well-dressed man sat beside my bed holding my arm so I wouldn't run away. How did I not notice him? Tears welled up in my eyes, but I stayed where I was like a statue, not protesting even a little bit.

The man held me for a few minutes as I try to steady my breathing. I still couldn't shake off the feeling of horror, though. All of this just felt so horribly foreign I couldn't even process it.

"Why I.. Where am.." I couldn't even make out a proper sentence, but the man's reassuring expression calmed me down.

A vague memory rose up and I remembered what had happened last night.

'Take the boy in and take care of his wound,' said a deep voice of another man last night.

I looked down at my leg, wrapped in bandages. I notice a light sting after I saw it.

"Have you remembered?" The man looked relieved, seeing that I've calmed down significantly. I nodded, a bit embarrassed.

"Thank you for helping me."

There was a brief silence. "I was very shocked to see an injured young boy in the rain, you know?" The man smiled, but he seemed very concerned.

"What exactly happened last night?"

That question got me.

I thought about it but I couldn't put a finger on it. I must've... forgotten?

I must've looked more worried than the man beside me, because he raised his hands and offered to talk about it some time later. But I simply looked at him, shook my head, all confused.

And the man quickly understood.

I observed the tea being poured in a cup in front of me. I was startlingly a bit too cheery, I suppose, considering I have no idea why I'm here and I have no clue who this person is.

"So, you don't have any memory going here? You were wandering around in the rain," the man explained.

I'm in the dining room with the man from before. I was mesmerized by the artistry of this spacious house.

The owner of this house, the deep voiced man, or I assume he is – it's not that hard to guess, especially with the power he showed by letting me inside of their home – hasn't made an appearance. He's most likely at work at this hour.

"I was running away... And I ran... I jumped off a gate and hurt my leg, and made it here." I tried to explain as clearly as I could.

He waited for me to continue but eventually believed I legitimately lost my memories. I've given up on trying to remember, everything was just a blank page.

He sighed and put down the teapot. "Okay, what's your name?" He took a seat across from me. I can tell he looks tired but I don't think he's a bad person, he seems reliable and friendly.

"Cole, Cole Adler." I responded, carefully taking the fragile cup. The tea isn't as sweet as how I liked it to be but I'm grateful he was kind enough to give me anything.

"Thank goodness, I thought you wouldn't remember your own name as well." He chuckled and took a sip of his own cup.

"Do you remember anything else?"

I shrugged after thinking for a bit.

"What a curious situation you have, you are quite a handful. But that's okay, we'll figure it out sooner or later." He smiled. "I spoke to a friend and they're going to sort this out. So we're going to the police station by 1 PM, we're gonna take you back to your family, alright?"

Something about that didn't sit right with me. There was something uncomfortable bubbling inside me but I nodded anyway.

"Come on then, I bought you some clothes just for this. Now change and you can have breakfast in the car." He gave me a bag of clothes and I left him to clean up the tea cups.

I halted, looking back at the man with my ears already turning pink.

"Ah, bathroom is on the right near the room you came from."

I nodded and quickly went up the stairs.

The ride was amusing. I've never been on a car ride before, not even once, so I was very excited. We arrived in front of building where the man led me inside.

"Cole Adler, is that correct?" A dark skinned lady, sporting beautiful earrings behind a counter asked. I spelled out my name as she typed it in a computer.

"Okay, do you remember where you came from?" The lady asked again.

"Um, not very far, I think. I ran to the neighborhood alone and jumped over a pointy gate beside a street light."

"That's not a very helpful description. Are there any more details?"

"... There was a four way stop?" I gave every little information I could remember and did my best to describe it.

"Sorry kid, I don't think there's even a Cole Adler in that side of the city." The woman kept typing and even told someone else to look for files of my possible family.

"Was that really your name?" The man beside me asked to make sure.

"Um, yes, that... should be me."

I started to feel sick. All of this just felt like a weird dream, I couldn't even make sense of myself anymore. My eyes began to sting as anxiety bubbled in me. My heart beating along with my nervousness.

That uncomfortable feeling rose up again.

I felt a hand on my shoulder. "Alright, slow down, okay? No pressure." The man smiled at me reassuringly, patting my back as I quickly wiped my flooded eyes.

The man spoke after a moment, "Not to be offensive, but I notice the clothes you were wearing isn't at good condition. Do you perhaps come from an indigent family?"

"Oh, in that case, he might not even have any proof of identity." The lady exclaimed.

"Oh, right. My family is poor," I said casually.

"You remember your family?" The man brightened up, excited from my unexpected remark.

I too, was shocked. Thinking back, I also remembered I've never been in a car ride before when we were on our way to the police station. But for some reason, I couldn't remember my family or where I was from, or what kind of person I used be. My name is the only thing I could recall of myself.

I was floored.

"I think young Cole here is suffering from some kind of amnesia, dissociative amnesia." The lady reasoned, although she doesn't look convinced herself.

"Whatever it may be, Cole's condition doesn't look too concerning. We'll keep an eye out for his family. Please take care of him for now, both of you may leave now."
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