I'm back for another one. This is the story I promised at the end of MPMI. Please give it a try, because it has a lot to offer. Amnesia Bellas have been done, but not quite this way.
Just to note, I'm not aiming for absolute realism. If you're someone that needs a story to be accurate in all its aspects, then look elsewhere. This plot is exciting for me do, and I want it to be an enjoyable read for everyone.
Thanks to Lindz26 and ShabbyApple for beta'ing, as well as MichelleMMarie and Renas40/FFpassion for pre-reading.
- PART ONE -
*Washed Up Along the River*
Everything was numb. My toes…I couldn't feel them. My head…it was killing me. Pounding. Pounding harder.
I tried to suck in air, but my lungs were blocked. Coughing a few times helped, and suddenly, my lungs were free, and I could breathe.
My body was weak. I couldn't even open my heavy eyes. But I could feel something…on my face. It was wet, warm, and soft, moving over my cheek slowly and rhythmically. I tried to crack open an eye to see what it was, but my strength was non-existent.
I was also aware that I was soaked, cold, and lying on my stomach.
"Stop," I heard a deep voice say quietly somewhere above me, and whatever movement there was on my face suddenly halted. "What do we got here?"
I was too exhausted to open my eyes. Was someone here? Was I imagining things?
Unable to find out the answers to my questions, I dipped back out of consciousness.
The next time I awoke, not much had changed for me—I was still cold, wet, and my head was throbbing, but the slight difference was that I was flying. I could feel air swirling around my frigid skin, yet I was bundled against something warm…something comforting.
I felt safe.
I went back to sleep.
By the time I woke up again, I had strength enough to feel warm blood coursing through my body. I was lying on something cushy. I'd never been more comfortable. There was soreness in my muscles, yes, but it was lessening, becoming a dull ache.
I breathed in deeply through my nose, slipping more and more out of my slumber. My eyes cracked open a smidgen…and just as quickly, they closed.
I was in a room.
In a bed.
Slowly, I opened my tired eyes again and took in my surroundings. The room was big enough to move around in, but there wasn't any type of furniture, and the log walls were bare. There were three doors—two to my right, and one straight ahead of me.
I strained my ears to hear if anyone was perhaps outside one of those doors, but there were no voices or footsteps. Was I alone?
Pushing the blanket off me, I carefully swung my feet to the ground and stood shakily, my joints cracking with the movement. What would happen if I were to leave this room? What would I find? Curious to figure it out, I walked to one of the doors. I pressed my ear to the cold wood, but could hear nothing. Once the knob was turned and the door was pushed open, my eyes roamed over…a bathroom.
There was just a toilet, a shower, and a sink with a small mirror above it. I walked inside the dark bathroom and over to the sink. A small amount of light was peeking through the doorway, allowing me to see my reflection. My face was dully pale, and I had bags under my eyes. My lips were cracked, which I tried to resolve by licking them. A light sigh left me when I saw my hair, a disastrous tangled mess. The knots protested as I combed my fingers through it.
Looking further down, I noticed I was wearing a large, navy blue sweater that was two sizes too big for me. However, it felt warm, and I was cold.
Feeling small prickles on my arms, I pushed the sleeves up to my elbows and instantly saw varied sized cuts and scrapes all over my skin. I checked other locations on my body, seeing more marks, as well as a few bruises.
Where on earth had they come from?
After pushing my sleeves back down, I suddenly became very aware of where I was. Somewhere I didn't recognize. I left the bathroom and opened the closest door to me. It was a small walk-in closet. My eyes roamed around, taking in the clothes hanging up. They were…men's clothing. Jeans, shirts, jackets—all for a man. Feeling like I was snooping, I quickly retreated and opened the third door very cautiously.
A new room appeared. The back of a brown sofa was facing me. I could just make out a reasonably sized fireplace with a blazing fire inside. At the far end of the room, a small, circular dining table stood in an open kitchen. By the looks of it, there was just the living room, kitchen, and the one bedroom.
Moving from my still place in the doorway, my body immediately gravitated toward the hot flames, desperately needing its warmth. Even with this thick sweater, pair of sweatpants, and woolen socks I was wearing, my insides were practically numb.
As I rubbed my hands near the heat, I became nervous about what would happen if the person living here saw me standing in front of their fire. Before I could think more on it, a sound of a car alerted me. A loud engine could be heard cutting off outside.
Someone was here.
My entire body was still, anticipation coursing through me. I was nervous. I was anxious. I just wanted to know why I woke up in a strange bed. My mind was too thick and hazy to bring myself to try to remember what had happened to lead me here.
The front door unlocked, causing me to look over my shoulder to it. When it pushed open, bright light invaded the living room. Before I knew what was happening, two dogs were charging at me—one small white and caramel dog with floppy ears, and one very large black dog with patches of white and copper on various locations of its body.
I began backing up in fright, and the backs of my knees hit the sofa, causing me to topple onto the cushions. A high-pitched yapping and a low, growling bark filled the room. I shut my eyes and prayed they wouldn't attack me.
The front door slammed shut, causing my eyes to fly open. Standing at the front door was a tall, lean man with unkempt dark hair, wearing an olive green field jacket. The fire caused shadows to dance across his face, which was covered by a beard. He was staring directly at me, his hard expression sending unwelcome chills throughout my now warm body.
Who was he? He didn't look familiar to me. Was this his home?
The barking dogs ran to the man, circling him, and heeled at his feet. He patted the head of the large one and said something quietly to it that I couldn't make out.
The man hadn't moved from his spot, his narrowed eyes assessing me. He crossed his arms in front of him. "Finally awake," he spoke, his bass voice having a touch of hardness that made me feel uncomfortable.
I merely stared at him, not able to voice a response due to shock, fear, and unfamiliarity.
"Do you talk or are you just gonna sit there?" he asked, appearing impatient.
This man scared me, though I didn't feel he would hurt me…I hoped. I needed to communicate with him, however, in order to answer my questions. "Why am I here?" I asked, my voice a rasp, sounding unused.
A crease lined his forehead. "You tell me," he replied.
I didn't understand him. I woke up in a weird bed, unsure of my surroundings, and he wanted me to tell him why I was here? I was sure my expression mirrored my bewilderment.
He dropped his arms, and his nostrils flared, a darkness crossing his features. "You washed up along the river this morning near my property," he revealed indignantly. "You've been out cold for nine hours."
I'd washed up along a river? That couldn't be. That just wasn't normal. Though, I did have a faint recollection of coughing up water. But wasn't that just a dream?
"Oh…," I said, deep in thought as I tried to figure out the purpose for my being in a river in the first place. "Um…do you know why?"
He gave me a look as if I was the craziest person in the world. Instead of answering, he finally moved from his spot and walked past me in long strides, heading straight for the kitchen. He opened a door, which from what I could tell was a pantry. He took something out of there, and I craned my neck to see better, but it didn't help, since his back was turned to me.
He was making a lot of noise, banging things, not acknowledging I was even here. The two dogs had settled by the legs of the table, as if it was part of some routine.
The man finally turned around, holding a plate in one hand and a loaf of bread in the other. Without looking at me once, he walked to the small table and scraped a chair back. I watched as he sat down, wondering if he would continue talking to me again. Finally, his head turned in my direction. He had that same annoyed look from earlier that I didn't much care for.
"Well, sit down," he ordered, gesturing to the only other chair across from him.
I blinked a few times, but stood to do as he said. He went back to ignoring me immediately, ripping off a piece of bread from the loaf and stuffing it in his mouth. I cautiously moved the chair back and sat down. The plate that was in the middle of the table had refried beans in it. I wondered if it was for him. He didn't seem to want it.
That was when I realized how hungry I was. God…I was starving. But I wasn't sure if I was allowed to eat his food. Maybe I didn't want to eat his food. I didn't exactly know him.
He continued to tear pieces of bread and scarf them, while I stared down at the table, unsure of myself and too scared to speak.
A deep groan suddenly escaped him, and he stood from his chair, going into the kitchen. He pulled open a drawer, took out a spoon, and came back to the table. With a loud clatter, he carelessly dropped the spoon in front of me as he sat back down. The action made me flinch, and my head began to pound, causing me to not be so hungry anymore. But I knew I needed to eat, so I tore off a small piece of bread for myself. I could feel his eyes glowering at me, making me shiver, but I refused to look up at him.
There was a light nudge on my leg, so I looked down. The smaller dog was staring up at me with such adorable, expectant eyes. My heart practically melted. Its tongue came out and it panted. I wondered if it was hungry.
"Are you hungry?" I asked softly, and brought my hand under the table that was holding my piece of bread so it could eat.
"Sadie!" the man snapped ferociously, causing the little dog to cower in fear and move a good distance away from me.
I slowly looked up at him, my eyes gradually turning to thin slits. I assumed the dog's name was Sadie, who was a girl. That fact made me angry. How could he shout at such a sweet, little creature? If she was looking to me for food, that meant she was hungry. I couldn't have just denied her, even if I was hungry myself.
"You don't have to yell at her," I spoke as I glared at him. I felt protective of Sadie, and I wondered if she got bad treatment from him often.
He raised a challenging eyebrow, not looking very amused at all. Without a response, he grabbed the plate and dragged it loudly across the table toward himself. He took the spoon, dug it roughly into the beans, and brought it to his mouth. His incinerating stare never left me as he ate.
I didn't know what his deal was, but I decided I didn't like him at all. He seemed like a heartless bully.
Attempting to ignore him, I took a small bite of the bread I was still holding. As I chewed, I let my eyes wander around, but I wasn't really looking at anything specific. Meanwhile, I sneakily brought my hand back under the table and down to my legs. Within a few seconds, I could feel a nudge in my palm, and soon, the piece of bread was gone. I let my fingers run through Sadie's soft fur, petting her affectionately.
After that, I developed a routine; I'd take a piece of bread, bite into it, and then give the rest to her under the table. The rude man didn't seem to notice as he continued eating in silence. The bread wasn't enough for me, and I sort of wished I had more to eat, but I refused to ask him for anything.
More than half of the loaf had been eaten by me when the man stood up and silently walked to the door next to the pantry that I figured led out to the back of the house. He opened it, but instead of going through, he turned to me and nudged his head to the side, gesturing for me to follow. With that, he disappeared.
Curious why I was to follow him, I pushed my chair back and ventured out of the house. My eyes scoured the scenery before me. Giant trees with thin, reddish-brown trunks towered overhead, the sun barely able to shine past them. Nothing was around except tree after tree. It was intimidating, to say the least.
The man stood a few yards away at a tree stump. My sock covered feet prickled over the short grass as I made my way to him. I took a brief glance back at the house, which appeared to be a very modest log cabin with smoke from the chimney billowing up to the sky.
His back was facing me as he stared down at the stump. As I grew closer, I saw a heavily wrinkled outfit laid out over it—a pair of light gray yoga pants, a white tank top, and a thin black jacket with a white strip down the length of the arms. All the articles of clothes had one thing in common—each had large tears and rips in the fabric. On the ground was a dirty pair of white running shoes.
"Whose are these?" I found myself asking him.
He furrowed his brow at me and then looked down at the clothes. "Yours," he muttered through his teeth.
This outfit was mine? Had I been wearing it when I washed up? It didn't really look like something I'd want to wear. Then again, I couldn't actually picture what I'd prefer to wear. Perhaps he was lying? Would he really lie about clothes?
Looking down at myself, I began to ponder. If I had been wearing that before, and now I was wearing something different, then that meant I had changed. I couldn't remember changing…and definitely not into these baggy clothes…
Oh my God! He'd changed me. These were his clothes! I flushed ten shades of red, realizing he'd probably seen me naked, especially since I couldn't feel myself wearing a bra or underwear.
Why had he done that? That was an invasion of privacy! I was curious, though, because he didn't even seem to acknowledge my train of thought. Surely, he had to know I would put two and two together.
Trying to stop myself from thinking so much, I reached down to take the outfit, which was why I supposed he brought me out here.
"Well, you can't wear them now," he snapped, causing my hand to retract quickly. "Obviously, they're ruined. The shoes, you can wear." Seemingly finished, he turned and stalked back to the cabin.
I sighed heavily and slipped my feet into the shoes. A snug fit, but that was only because of the thick socks. My nose wrinkled, realizing the sneakers were soaked through and through. As I walked back to the cabin, they made loud and embarrassing squishing sounds.
Upon entering the house again, the man was standing at the opened front door, waiting for me. God…now where did he want me to follow him? All this back and forth was making me nauseous.
He didn't bother to look at me when I reached him; instead, choosing to gaze out the doorway. "You're going to go left out here, then straight down the path until you see a large boulder," he began instructing quickly, causing me to furrow my brow in confusion. "From there, go right until you reach the road. Make a left again, and you'll hit where you need to go. There's a phone there and everything." With that, he pulled the door open wide and made a gesture with his hand for me to leave.
He was sending me out…alone? My head was still hurting, and I couldn't seem to think straight, but it wasn't like I wanted his company, anyway. He'd made it blatantly clear that I wasn't welcome.
Somewhere deep down, I felt like I could take care of myself, even though I was frightened and wasn't exactly sure what had happened to me. No, I didn't need anyone to take care of me, and I could feel that confirmed right down to my core.
I took a step out onto the front porch of the cabin, but immediately remembered that, technically, he'd saved me. He may have been a jerk, but it was a kind gesture to anyone's standards. I should thank him.
But as I spun around to do just that, the door slammed directly in my face. A second later, several locks turned, followed by heavy footsteps walking away.
Well…never mind, then…
I walked off the porch and glanced around. More giant trees. A dark green, slightly rusty truck parked around the side of the porch was his, I guessed.
With a heavy sigh, I did exactly what the man had said. I went right.
Oops, I'm pretty sure he said left. :-s
If you got this far, thanks so much for reading. Updates will be weekly, on Tuesday. I've pre-written a lot, so it should be smooth for a while. I'll most likely get into a flow of posting teasers, though I haven't decided where yet, so go ahead and follow me on Twitter to know more.
See ya next Tuesday!
Twitter: xrxdanixrx - for teasers and other story related junk.