“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing about”
She awoke with a scraping, dust filled cough. Agony resonated from every inch of her body and with each inhale and exhale that passed through her chapped and bleeding lips she felt it all the more. The bed beneath her was soft, but the leather cuffs that chained her to the frame were stiff and sent a surge of alarm that screamed in the forefront of her mind. Her eyes quickly flitted open and as she blinked the haze and blurriness away, she realized the room she lay bound within was not a cell. Instead it was a small, tidy space with several unoccupied beds nearby. Several Christian crosses and other paraphernalia cluttered the shelves that seemed to have been hung with delicate care, as each was perfectly level and free of dirt. A single window allowed a streak of warm, late afternoon sun to enter the room from the west.
Taking another deep, haggard breath, she reached out with her senses to feel the area around her. A single click of her dry tongue across the roof of her mouth, a mere moment for the sound to return to her ears, and she had an image of her surroundings. She was not alone. She stiffened as she perceived the green auras of curiosity outside the door. There were four of them. They were small and shifty. Children. There where two boys and two girls with nervous excitement and intrigue racing through their color. There was a fifth color. This one still curious like the others, but fearful, intelligent. It was a woman. She was elderly, but still capable enough to handle the small firearm in her hand.
“Where am I?” her voice rasped. It was deeper than she thought it would be. Why did that surprise her?
After a brief moment of hesitation, the door swung open, its decayed hinges creaking from the strain of the heavy wooden door. Four small and dirty faces peered around the elderly nun that stepped into the room. They murmured excitedly amongst themselves as their guest peered sideways at them. She smiled softly. The elderly woman did not smile and the cuffed woman on the bed eyed her warily. A frightened individual with a weapon was unpredictable. Especially when protecting their own.
“My name is Clarice. I found you in the Wastes three days ago. You were nearly dead, so I brought you here,” Clarice informed, her hand still firmly wrapped around the nine millimeter she carried.
“Thank you. That was major risk. I will not harm you,” She promised in her mechanical tone. It felt as if she had never spoken of her own accord and the words felt forced and thought out.
Looking down, she realized she was not wearing normal clothing, but a loose fitting blue blouse that travelled down to just below her knees. From what she could see of her legs, they were heavily scarred with small lacerations and several circular scars that she assumed were healed bullet wounds. Why didn’t she know what they were from? Her heart started to race as panic rose in her chest. She looked at the other woman with wide eyes.
“Clarice… I-I can’t remember my name,” she stammered. What did she even look like? How old was she? She could recall the world around her, at least the history. She could remember what things were, but not how she knew that information. What was happening to her? She started to struggle against her bonds as the fear in her chest continued to grow. Clarice stepped forward quickly and placed her hands, gentle hands, on the amnesiac woman’s arm.
“Look at me child, look at me,” Clarice said sternly, but softly. The woman obliged, the violet color emanating from her aura soothing her mind. “When I found you, you were terribly hurt. Your right shoulder and hip were dislocated. You had lost a lot of blood from a gunshot wound that grazed your head and from contact with the rock your head struck sometime during the time you were injured. Its likely that you have some form of amnesia.”
“What’s going to happen to me?” The woman choked out.
“I don’t know sweetheart. I’m sorry.,” Clarice ran a hand down the side of the woman’s face and tilted her chin up, “But you are welcome to stay here until you feel better.” Her guest nodded in acknowledgement.
She bobbed her head nervously. Clarice smiled and reached over to unshackle the woman’s hands. She gestured toward a small cabinet that was to the right of the bed.
“I washed the blood and dirt out of your clothing. You can find them in there. If you would like, there is a bath in the next room. A hot rinse might do you good. Supper will be ready soon if you feel up to it,” Clarice instructed. The woman nodded and rubbed the skin around her wrists. She waited for Clarice to exit the room, however she turned before closing the door. “I don’t know if it will help, but the children have taken to calling you, Rogue. You kept muttering the word in your sleep.” And then she closed the door.
The woman took another shuddering breath and swung her scarred legs over the edge of the bed.
“Rogue.” It sounded foreign coming from her own lips, but it was something she could call herself. She stepped down gingerly, the cold wood floor soothing against her toes. Using the bed to support her weakened body, the woman slipped through a door she hadn’t noticed next to the bed and into a tiny bathroom. It was simply lain out. A small sink with a cracked mirror above it, a toilet bowl and a chipped bathtub whose faucet and handles were riddled with lime.
She crept nervously to the mirror, anxious to see her own image for the first time. She knew that her nearly shoulder length hair was blonde. She could tell that much from her peripheral vision and a quick sweep of her hand through the strands. What startled her was her darkly tanned, oval face. Second were the vibrant violet eyes that stared widely back at her like amethysts in a milky sea of white.
“Strange,” Rogue whispered to herself. She reached a tentative hand to her face and trailed her fingers across the tan surface of her skin. She followed the lines of her prominent cheekbones to the soft curves of her pink lips, down to the small, rounded chin that met at the middle of her distinct jaw line. Her long neck rose from deep collarbones that had a long, faint scar running from the left collarbone up to just below her left ear lobe that, like the other, was intact with no piercings. She was young, Rogue realized in surprise. In her mind she felt much, much older, but she appeared to be in her mid-twenties. She stared at her visage in awe and confusion for a long while before stepping away to bathe.
Clarice was right. The hot water that poured from the bathtub faucet felt incredible as she slowly lowered herself inside, the blue blouse abandoned on the floor. Within moments she was exploring, tantalized by each scar or burn that decorated her body. She was small in stature, but muscular, she realized, as she examined the abdominal muscles flexing beneath her tanned skin. Raising a hand to her face, she regarded her scarred and battered limb that was firm with callous.
“Who am I?” She pondered aloud.