She wandered aimlessly, as if in a daze. She had no memory of who she was, where she had come from, why she was here. Her mind was a completely clean slate.
She was a young woman of perhaps nineteen or twenty, with blonde hair and blue eyes. She walked along a sidewalk in the downtown section of a small American city, past little stores and other places of business. People she passed looked at her curiously. A few held their noses and backed away in disgust. Uncomprehendingly, she stared back at them, wondering what it was about her that they found offensive.
Presently a policeman noticed her. He was young, in about his early twenties, with brown hair and eyes.
"Are you all right?" he asked her.
"I don't know." Her voice sounded stange to her, weak and hoarse.
"Do you know where you are?" She shook her head, and her eyes began to fill with tears.
"What's your name?"
"I don't remember." It was almost a whisper.
"Come with me," he told her. He drove her to a hospital, where she was weighed and her vital signs were taken.
"Your blood pressure is extremely low," a nurse told her.
A blood sample was taken, and the girl was told to sit in a chair and wait for the results. When they came back, the physician on duty looked at them in shock.
"Well, it's no wonder your blood pressure is so low! You're severely anemic. So much so that I frankly can't understand how you could be up and walking around. I'm admitting you immediately and putting you on a hemoglobin drip."
The girl was told to strip down to her underwear and put on a hospital gown. Although she could tell that the emergency room temperature was frigid, she felt strangely unaffected by it. She lay down on the examining table as she was told and wordlessly accepted the offered blanket, although she didn't really feel that she needed it. After some difficulty, a vein was finally found, and an IV was started.
A few feet away, a nurse wrinkled her nose in disgust. "Those really should be burned," she said in a voice that was nearly a whisper, indicating the little pile of clothes the girl had walked into the hospital wearing. "They smell like someone was buried in them."
"And not very recently either," another nurse agreed with a shudder.