I’m a little confused. I woke up this morning in a hospital but have no idea how I got here. Everything is white but I can see some trees through the window. The nurses are really nice and the doctor is pleasant but he keeps asking questions I cannot answer. There are two other patients in the same room as myself. They talk to each other but only look at me from time to time and either shake their heads or smile.
“Time for your medication, John.”
I don’t know my name but it isn’t John. I want to tell her but my mouth won’t form the words. The nurse’s soft voice seems so far away and yet my ears ring with irritation. Short white hair under a white cap and a big round face appears above me and I notice soft white downy hair on her chin. Large hazel eyes study me for a few seconds before her mouth opens and words tumble out between white teeth.
“Just a little injection in your side, John, and we’re done.”
There’s that smile again. They all smile but I can’t. Questions – nothing but questions. The same questions over and over. I’ve got questions too. What’s wrong with me and how long have I been here and why?
“There you are, John. All done,” she says, pulling the covers back over me.
I look at the small name brooch pinned to her chest and I can see her name but can’t understand or read it. She hurries away and I have tears in my eyes.
It’s been six months, so they tell me, since I came in after a road accident but I cannot remember what happened. At least I can talk now and move around on my own. The police keep asking me about the dead girl but I don’t remember any girl. It worries me that a twenty year old is dead, someone I knew I assume. Her name was Karen and she was sitting in the back seat of my BMW.
I’m sitting by the window when the nurse rushes in. All excited, she half bends and claps her hands and makes me feel like a child. She’s grinning. “Someone to see you, John.”
“Thank you, Stella,” I reply.
An old couple enters the room. The man is tall and smartly dressed in a navy-blue suit and the woman in a pink dress. I shake hands with them but they seem preoccupied. The woman comes straight to the point.
“We don’t know your name but our daughter, Karen, was with you in the accident. I have a photo of her that might help you remember what happened. She ran away from home when she was twelve. We never saw her again.” The father hands me her driving licence.
I look at it. An instantaneous montage of confused pictures races through my mind’s eye. A man running toward me flashes into focus and then disappears. It’s then I remember and wish I hadn’t.
Writing order: Vatsal Shah (Ind), Hemali Ajmera (Ind), Rosemary Wakelin(Aus), Angela Shaw (NZ), Ray Stone(Cyprus), Donna McTavish(NZ), Anna Zhigareva(Scot), Hetal Zinzu(Ind), Suraya Dewing(NZ), Sumanda Maritz(Sth Africa)