[[ Enter Gill ]]
I couldn't believe how ridiculous my father was being. He was so closed-minded about everything! Why couldn't he understand my point of view for once? Why couldn't he just—
My thoughts were abruptly cut short when I shot a quick glance down the cliffside at that small, sandy beach outstretched beneath me. A large... something-or-other was lying motionless in the sand, mangled with a variety of seaweed and other unidentifiable substances. This was slightly odd, especially considering the tangled mess seemed to resemble... a person?
I turned and rushed down the rocky slope to the beach to examine the situation. Sure enough, lying before me was a girl; she looked to be about the age of nineteen or so, but who could really tell under all that mess? There was absolutely no way I was going to touch her, but I did reach out to her neck to see if she had a pulse. After I removed the few strands of seaweed in my way—and it was rank, that seaweed—I found that the girl did indeed still have a pulse and was, therefore, still alive. (Though she certainly didn't look it.) Shoving the nagging thoughts about my father aside, I immediately took off to see my neighbor, Dr. Jin and inform him of this peculiar discovery.
[[ Enter Harper ]]
I couldn't really see anything, now that I thought about it. Everything was rather... fuzzy, if you will. Come to think of it, I wasn't seeing a single thing just a few moments ago. Had I been sleeping? I rubbed my eyes, hoping to clear my blurry vision. "Irene, she's awake." I heard a quiet voice call from another room.
My eyes suddenly shot open, panic-stricken. What room was I in? I certainly didn't recognize it. I sat up all too quickly and suddenly caught a dizzy-spell. My hands impulsively flew to my forehead, as if doing so would somehow ease the pain.
Just then, a tall, mysterious figure entered the room. It was a man wearing a white lab coat, his long, black hair tied back in a ponytail. "You gave us quite a scare there," he chuckled lightly, handing me a cup of herbal tea. His voice was soft and friendly, slightly contradictory to his stern and serious features.
He handed me a cup of herbal tea. Its aroma was intoxicating, and, despite how hot it was, I began gulping it down. The man continued, "Gill found you lying out on the beach, unconscious. We brought you here to be taken care of until you woke up." As memory of the previous night flooded back to me, I glanced down, bewildered at my dry, unrecognizable clothes. The doctor smiled once again. "Irene cleaned you up—she's the lady over at the front desk," he added. "And I'm Jin."
The effect of his comforting voice could only last so long; I was beginning to get uneasy. "Uh, would you mind telling me where I am?"
"You're at the clinic," Jin answered, very matter-of-factly.
I shook my head. "No no, I mean where am I? What town is this?"
"This is Harmonica Town," Jin answered once more, raising a curious eyebrow. "and you're on the island of Castanet. Can I ask what you're name is and where you're from?" he added, taking out a clipboard and pen and preparing to write.
I suddenly froze up. Castanet? I'm on Castanet? I knew of this island. It was only a hop, skip and a jump away from my own home town—the very place I was running from. If I tell Jin where I'm from, he'll send me back home without a second thought! I shook my head once more, trying to come up with a quick alias. "Harper..." I spouted, struggling to come up with a last name. Harper had been my grandmother's name, but... Then I spotted a book on the shelf whose binding read, Stanley Mason's General Guide to Herbal Treatments. "Mason!" I suddenly shouted, perhaps a little louder than I should have. "My name is Harper Mason, sir."
"Good, good. Now, Harper, can you tell me where you're from?" he asked without lifting his eyes from the clipboard. "And how you came across Castanet? You're certainly not a resident here."
Then came the panic. I desperately sorted through my brain to think of islands that were nearby, or fantastic stories of how I ended up unconscious on the beach—but instead, what came out was: "I don't remember..."
Beneath his cool and collected composure, Jin looked slightly shocked. "You don't remember?"
I was now sweating with fear—that is, until I sprouted an idea. Amnesia! That's it—I'll pretend I have amnesia! I didn't have any other choice at this point, unless I wanted to be sent back to that place. With a distressed expression plastered upon my face, which was now only partly real, I finally answered, "No, sir. I... I can't remember..."
Jin appeared to be faintly worried. "Oh dear, that's no good. You can't even tell me how it is you got here?"
I shook my head. "No, sir. I mean... It was cold, I know that. I don't remember what happened, but I remember feeling like I was going to freeze to death and thinking I was going to die. I was scared..." It took everything I had, every ounce of composure I could muster, not to smile. I had to pull this off—I absolutely had to. At this point, if Dr. Jin saw through my facade, he'd find me as a liar and a fugitive.
"It would appear you've developed some form of amnesia," Jin sighed, scribbling something down on his clipboard. "Most likely, dissociative amnesia. For now, it's probably best you just lie here for a while and rest up—regather your strength." He stood up from the black stool and picked up my now-empty cup of herbal tea, preparing to leave the room. Jin smiled something of a soft, caring smile. "Sleep well, Miss Mason," he said quietly before exiting.