I remember waking up in a strange and unfamiliar place; surrounded by strange, unfamiliar faces. I can’t recall much more than that. Even now as I wait to reach my destination, wherever that may be, I feel the farther away I get from the laboratory, the less I remember; the less I feel. I’ll never forget her, though. I can’t explain it, but she was different than the others. We connected. I know it sounds sad, but in a way, she’s the closest thing to family I think I’m ever going to know…
Her name was Dr. Noriko Masuda. She was an older woman, but her eyes were always young and full of life. If you looked really close, you could see a tinge of something darker; not sinister, just…regretful. Hers is the first face I can remember.
“Ah. So you’ve decided to join the living,” she would say. I was confused and afraid. I had no recollection of where I came from, nor could I recall my name. There I was, strapped to a hospital bed under a harsh white light, with a strange foreign pain all throughout my body. The doctor pulled out a needle from the small table at her side and flicked it a couple times. I tried to wrestle and break away from my confinement, but the needle had already punctured my skin. She must have seen the panic in my eyes. “Don’t worry, dear Evangeline. It’s only to numb the pain. You’re going to be awfully achy for some time, after all. As is the nature of surgery.”
Evangeline? Is that my name…? Somehow I doubted it. It didn’t fit quite right. And what did she mean by ‘surgery’? What surgery? I had so many questions, but so few answers. As I started to gain the courage to speak, darkness began to close in on my vision. Enveloped in the undeniable urge to sleep, I closed my eyes and drifted into the darkness once more. “Sleep now, Evangeline. The rest will do you good.”
I awoke a second time, but the harsh white light was gone and replaced by a faint glow outside the door across the room. My arms were no longer bound to my sides, but I could still feel constriction upon my ankles. Upon the small table at my bedside was a glass of water, two white pills, and a handwritten note. I raised my arm to take the note, fighting the feeling of pins and needles as my body protested against the movement.
Drink the water and take those pills as soon as you’ve regained consciousness. It should keep the soreness at bay. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I was skeptical, but even more so, I was parched. I reluctantly took the pills and downed the glass of water. Just as I set down the glass, there was a light knock at the room’s doorway. In it stood the doctor that had put me out the last time I recall being awake. She made her way to the side of my bed and pulled up a nearby stool.
“Smart girl; I know the pills aren’t the best-tasting things in the world, but believe me, you’d thank me if you knew what pain you would’ve been in for if you hadn’t taken the advice,” she smiled as she filled the glass with more water. I took the glass and shot it back without a second thought. I set it back down on the table as I found my voice.
“Who am I?” I asked. The question sounded more like a croak than an intelligible sentence, but she understood me somehow.
“Well, to be honest, those in my position don’t have access to that information.What I can tell you is that you were randomly selected to help our organization find and test new viruses and antibodies to benefit the medical world, and in turn, mankind. You should be very proud,” she explained with a half-hearted grin. The confusion in my eyes triggered a flash on concern in her eyes as her grin faded.
“I’m afraid I can’t tell you any more than that, Evangeline. I could get in a great deal of trouble,” she said with a frown.
“Why are you calling me Evangeline if you don’t know who I am?” I asked. She sighed and looked away, but in her gaze I saw a trace of sadness.
“You remind me remarkably of my younger sister. Her name was also Evangeline, but sadly, she passed away some time ago. Your resemblance is uncanny. I suppose you could call that bittersweet sentiment on my part.”
I looked away in silence, unsure of how to respond. The doctor rose from her spot on the side of the hospital bed and said, “I will let you get back to resting. You’ve got a long road to recovery ahead of you.” She walked out of the room and quietly closed the door behind her. I lay back in my bed, unable to sleep as I struggled to remember some shred of who I was. Anything about my past. Did I have a family? A life?
Hours passed, but my memory remained as hazed as it was when I woke up the first time. The frustration born of helplessness began to set in. I don’t remember falling asleep that night, but to this day, I desperately wish I never woke up to what was waiting for me when I arose in that laboratory for the final time…
(to be continued…)