Part I: Origin
Prologue: The Man in Room 67
Josh Michaels normally liked complicated problems. After all, he was an attending physician and had been for nearly ten years now. Even after a decade, he was still in love with his job and was constantly noticed for his outstanding work.
He was used to tackling difficult problems: people lying about symptoms or those who thought they’d brought the bubonic plague back into society. Josh knew how to tackle those problems. But some problems, by their nature, were more difficult than the others. There were people who refused treatment, those who swore surgery was the better option or people who thought the Internet was enough to medically diagnose themselves.
Memory loss was always a tricky one, at first. However, there were usually a few family members or a driver’s license to help sort stuff out, but not with his newest patient…
He remembered the report easily enough: an old woman had found their John Doe with blood pouring from the back of his head. Blunt force trauma had knocked the kid out cold, and had given him amnesia. At first, they thought he was going to die. There was certainly enough blood for him to be considerably weakened and sent into shock, but the kid pulled through.
Upon reflection, Josh figured that “kid” wasn’t really a fair judgment, but he was certainly young, couldn’t be older than 20, and was likely still in his mid to late teens.
They’d all gotten a shock when he woke up and started asking questions about them. It was almost as if he had read all the doctors’ portfolios in his sleep.
Sighing, Josh replayed the scene in his head for the umpteenth time.
“Morning there, Sleeping Beauty,” whispered Josh, trying to relax the youth. “How are we feeling?”
The kid looked around at the room for a moment and finally spoke as though Josh wasn’t even in the room.
“Still nervous, I guess?” he said to the nurse, Jenna Roberts.
“Sorry?” she asked, her face flashing confusion.
“Your hands are still shaking. You’ve been a nurse for about a month or so, right? It’s ok; you do know what you’re doing.”
“Um… thanks, I guess,” she said, shaking her head softly.
“How’d you know she was new?” asked Josh.
“What do you mean?” the kid asked, brushing his dark hair back. “I just see it. It’s obvious to me, can’t you see it? Hell, I can tell that you’re worried about your daughter… or daughters, and what they’ll do for college.”
Cocky little bastard had driven him up the wall.
The kid saw everything and Josh couldn’t get those blue eyes out of his mind. That boy and seemed to know things he had no business knowing, and yet he couldn’t remember his own name or where he came from or what he’d been doing right before he was hurt.
It was in the middle of these musings that Josh felt the cell phone in his pocket start playing its ringtone. A quick glance at the phone revealed that Conner Castro, his long-time friend, was calling.
“More good news,” he said sarcastically, flipping the phone open. “What’s up?”
“Hey Josh, it’s Conner. Your John Doe in 67 vanished about ten minutes ago. Not sure why he left, but camera just caught him walking right out the front door.”
“Wow,” said Josh, honestly taken aback. “How’d he get past security?”
“He intentionally tripped the silent alarm on the fourth floor before leaving.”
“…Conner, who the hell is this kid?”
“Not sure I want to know…”