Sort of a writing exercise for my actual novel. Hopefully it turns out.
I thought I had seen the end. After all, wasn't white supposed to be the color of death? Didn't the Chinese fear the color because of its morbid association? Wasn't that how heaven was supposed to be- all white clouds and golden harps? And was it so wrong to assume that I hadn't survived the...the thing in the first place?
The whiteness was omnipresent at first. No one shape came into my vision. Besides the white light that surrounded me, I could faintly sense something else. There were voices; none that I recognized of course, but they were there, sometimes gentle and sometimes harsh. Eventually shapes began to form and condense themselves into solid units and I could see. White walls, white sheets, white faces carrying worries expressions. This was not heaven.
I blinked a couple of times, ignoring the voices that floated around me. I couldn't concentrate. I could only see. What was I seeing? A hospital room? A prison? I looked down at my right hand. Buried in my wrist's flesh was an IV needle. I followed the drip cord all the way to the IV bags that hung on a little rack. I squinted my eyes as I inspected the little markings covering the clear bags, unable to make sense of any of it.
Something warm touched my elbow. I turned my head in surprise to find another human questioning me with his eyes. At first I was frightened. This man was so close. In fact, he was too close. Leaning over her bed, I could see the stubble on his chin, the grey in his hair and the tear blurred eyes that darted all over my face. I gently moved my arm so he wouldn't touch me anymore, uncomfortable with the stranger's proximity.
"Linda?" The words came rasping from his mouth. I still couldn't comprehend what the guy meant.
"Linda? Are you alright?"
The question caught me off guard. Was I not supposed to be alright? Was this strange man supposed to care? Was I called Linda? I frowned, finding it difficult to use my voice. "I'm fine," I managed.
The man sighed, leaning back and away from me. "I was so worried you couldn't hear me."
It was then that I finally noticed the girl sitting in the corner. She had her fine brown hair tied up in a bun on her head, her knees tucked to her chest and dark circles under her eyes. The teenager smiled weakly.
I only stared, blinking. Another person came shuffling into the room. This woman smiled. Doctor, I thought. The woman had a clipboard resting on her hip. "It's nice to see you awake," the woman said good-naturedly. "How do you feel?"
How did I feel? I felt fine. No, that wasn't the word. I felt...confused. Yes, that was the word. "Confused."
All three people frowned at this word. Maybe I had chosen the wrong word. Maybe I should have said 'confessed' instead? I realized, however, that it wasn't that the word that was wrong, merely that it was strange. I shifted, adjusting my weight on the white pillows.
"Would you like to explain?" the doctor suggested.
I furrowed my brow. "I'm... I don't know. I don't know. I don't know anything."
The doctor nodded grimly as she turned to the two others. "Would you two please excuse us while I run some tests?" Her politeness was infuriating.
The other two stood up to leave, but the man lingered. "Is she going to be okay?" he asked in a quiet voice. The doctor only shooed him away.
"What's wrong?" I asked. "Is something wrong?" I began to panic. I knew I should have said 'confessed'.
"I just need to run you through a few tests," the woman said, her voice excessively sweet. "Can you look up for me?"
The doctor ran me through physical tests, all of which I aced. I began to relax. There was nothing to worry about. I was fine. This woman was, although annoying, nice enough. I could trust her.
"I'm going to ask you a few simple questions now," the doctor explained. "Are you ready?"
"Yes." How could I not be ready?
"Can you tell me your full name?"
I thought for a minute. "Linda," I answered, wavering.
"How about your middle and last name?" the doctor urged on. I was suddenly extremely annoyed. What middle and last names?
"I don't know."
"Can you tell me your home address?" the woman continued, marking something down on her clipboard.
The doctor nodded then and marked something else on the clipboard. This was frustrating.
"How about your husband's name? Can you tell me that?"
"Husband?" I began to panic again. Suddenly I was filled with so much uncertainty. Was she suggesting I had a husband? The nurse stared at me long and hard before moving on. What did that mean? Was I failing?
"Alright, answer me this. What is a dog?"
I racked my brains. Surely these were trick questions. Surely this was some sort of useless piece of trivia I had learned sometime before... before...
"Can I have the next question?"
"I don't have any more," the doctor answered. I could feel the pity in those sticky words cover me like...like something sticky.
"Just ask me more," I pleaded. "Please. I know I can answer you some things."
Her sympathetic look was irritating. "Why are you here?"
I burst into tears. For all I knew, I was dead. Or perhaps I was born. I didn't know the real answer either way. I knew that I should have known the answer. Why was it gone? Why was this doctor not telling me what had happened? Why? Why? Why?
The doctor left me to my tears. She was talking to the two other strangers outside the room. They were grave, their voices hushed. I looked around. Surely I died. Surely I was reincarnated into some sniveling hospital patient. I cried and cried, snot running down my upper lip, and I had no idea why. That was just another mystery. What were the tears for?
Suddenly all three strangers were back in my white walled room. The doctor took a firm stance at the end of my bed. She looked at me with sad eyes. God, why was she so empathetic?
"Linda, I have one more question for you before I can explain," the doctor said in a low voice. I set my jaw. Let the questions come as they may.
The doctor waited for a response before she realized none would come. She sighed and continued.
"Do you know what retrograde amnesia is?"