“Can’t say I have.” Coles’s eyes were wide and his frown was burrowed, he wasn’t expecting such a query upon waking.
“Well, son, it’s out of my hands now, a couple of fellas will be down here this evening to pick you up, you seem to be of great interest to them. I wish you the best of luck.”
Cole remained silent as the police officer left. He wondered who on earth he must have been to attract this attention; he found utter frustration in his attempts to remember the events leading up to the day he woke up in the very bed he still laid in. All his efforts were met with disappointment; he could only remember this ward and his name.
Cole wasn’t sure what to do. He briefly considered trying to escape, but realised this would simply strip him of any potential innocence that he possessed. Besides which, the windows were fitted with steal bars (this led him to wonder what kind of hospital this was exactly?) and the ward was sure to be guarded by armed police if he was seriously considered as dangerous as the officer that spoke to him before had made out.
Staying raised other questions, if he was guilty, of what ever it was that he was supposed to have done, he would be punished, he may even deserve it, but it would seem unfair as Cole didn’t think of himself as a bad person, and surely that’s the kind of thing you’d remember, your moral compass is undoubtedly a sure way to guide that? Though what if he stayed and he was innocent? How could he possibly stand up for himself? They surely wouldn’t believe he was disposed to memory loss?
Cole opted to continue his nap, to rest his over active mind. So much seemed to fill such an empty space, and that empty space only seemed to burn more painfully than when it was filled, he needed answers, but didn’t know how to get them… Perhaps the government agency could help with something at least?
Later that evening the Jamaican nurse once more ushered in a visitor for Cole. A young female, pale and raven haired, timidly entered, her eyes were dark shiny blots. She looked as though she may almost cry.
Cole sat upright in his hospital bed, and looked on as his new guest came to a halt.
“Hi… Do you want a seat?” He offered redundantly, had she wanted to sit, she clearly would have already.
Her eyes glistened, she hung in the room awkwardly, hardly moving and with a silence so deep it seemed to infect the ward outside of Cole’s isolated room.
Around them the walls seemed to shake, tremulous as the last wisps of daylight spattered through the cliché hospital blinds, and steel bars outside. The shadows moved up the walls in deceiving patterns, kissing the white with shades of deep charcoal and ash.
His visitor remained utterly still. Her eyes not blinking, remaining transfixed entirely on him.
“Sorry if I seem rude, but may I ask who you are?” Cole felt uncomfortable in the silence, he felt more comfortable with the policeman that had told him that he was being ushered off some time soon to sit through an inquisition he had no answers to.
“It’s Emily” Her voice resonated through the air like a sea of wind chimes, crashing against each other in a tide of beautiful harmony. “My daughter is dead, Cole.”
Cole wasn’t entirely sure how to respond to this information. He must’ve previously known Emily – she knew him for sure – why else would he disclose this sensitive fact about her daughter to him?
“Oh… what happened?” He stuttered, he seemed to grasp the first thing that fluttered into his mind and went with it.
“We’re not certain. She disappeared. Can’t detect her.”
“Well, she might not be dead?”
“Wait a second… Look, I don’t know who you are, I don’t think, I don’t think I know your daughter and even if I know you both, I don’t remember you. I’ve recently had a slight bump on the head and as a result can’t seem to remember anything…”
“Where is your ring Cole?” She interrupted, her voice shrill and concerned, a complete contrast to her previous, melancholy tones.
“Your ring? Are you fucking with me Cole? This is serious.”
“Look, I honestly don’t know what is going on. I can barely remember anything beyond these four walls.”
“You’re serious aren’t you?”
“Deadly.” Cole twisted to the side in his bed, dropped his feet to the floor and stretched slightly before attempting to walk.
Cole had a headache, not only did the back of his skull still throb with a dull ache from where the blow had struck him, but all this confusing nonsense had his head spinning in circles, the room seemed to perpetually sway on a turntable.
Only now did Cole realise just how small Emily was. Cole wasn’t big, he was of an average height and build, perhaps slightly more athletic than most, but of no distinguishing proportion. Emily was short and incredibly thin, she looked almost anaemic with her violently pale skin and long black hair.
Cole’s eyes were piercing metal shards, silver, surrounded by a halo of cerulean flecks. His hair was a chestnut brown, thick, short and wavy, it had no discernable style, though he had been lying in a hospital for over a week with no intention to dress to impress.
“How could this happen?” Emily collapsed backwards into the solitary visitors chair that the policeman had occupied previously. She rested her head in her hands and brushed away a few potential tears, surreptitiously.
“Hey,” Cole put a hand on her shoulder, he wasn’t even convincing himself that he was comforting her, “I’m sure it will all be alright…” he instantly regretted his choice of words.
Emily, luckily for Cole seemed to completely disregard what he had said, she was stuck in her own track of thought, her dark eyes glimmering as she scrolled through the information in her head.
“I can’t believe she is gone…” her voice cracked under her words, her soft harmonies vaguely ringing in dissonance.
Cole felt helpless as this strange situation unfurled itself on his lap.
“What can I… what do you… what do you want me to do?” His voice stumbled over the right words, he spoke softly, his voice softening to a depth of sincere sympathy.
“Cole” She looked up at him, her eyes streaming “you have to come with me, I know you can’t remember me, but we have to fix this.”