Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Chapter One: "A Lost Memory"


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Please excuse any formatting issues this blog may have caused on this excerpt.

Chapter One

            Alley lay in bed in a strange room. Glancing around nothing was familiar.   Where was she? She sat up, a tingle creeping up her spine. What was going on? Anxious to get out of there, Alley yanked away the blanket and stood. Pain shot through her head, threatening to blow it apart. Her finger pressed her temple instinctively to ease the pain. She felt a bandage taped to her forehead. What has happened to me? Where am I? No longer able to withstand the pain, she lay back down.
            Drifting off to sleep, images of a young man filled her dreams. She didn’t recognize him, but he was handsome with six pack abs and long sandy blonde hair that brushed the top of his shoulders. But who was he?
            Alley come back to me. The man seemed to know her, but she didn’t recognize him at all.
            Alley was awakened by the sound of the door opening. She saw a woman standing in the doorway holding a ceramic bowl of water.
            “Oh, sweetie! You’re awake,” the woman said as tears rolled down her face. She wiped at them as she walked over to the bed.
            Alley stared at her not knowing what to say. Am I supposed to know this woman?
            “Oh, Alley, I know you’re confused, honey. It’s me, Mom.”
            Alley glanced around the room for answers but none came to her. “Mom?” she asked, puzzled.
            “Yes dear, you’ve been in a terrible accident and the doctor warned us that your memory may be fuzzy when you came to.”
            “An accident? What kind of accident?” Alley didn’t understand anything at that moment. She didn’t remember any accident.
            “Honey, don’t push yourself to remember right now. We’ll talk about this later. I need to call your doctor and get him over here to examine you at once.” She turned and hurried out of the room.
            Alley sat there more confused than she was before. She hoped the doctor would be able to shed some light on what was going on.
            She glanced around the room and saw an antique dresser with three drawers made from mahogany. In the corner stood a full length mirror.  The four-poster bed where she lay was draped in a sheer white canopy. Beside the bed was a small table where her mother placed the ceramic bowl of water. In the opposite corner sat a rocking chair with a red and white quilt folded neatly over the back. Everything looked neat and well taken care of, but none of it looked familiar. 
                      * * *
            A while later there was a knock at her door.
“Come in,” Alley called from across the room.
 The woman who claimed to be her mother was standing there with a man in a white lab coat.
            “Alley this is Doctor Monroe.” she said as they walked closer to the bed.
            Doctor Monroe carried his black medical bag and set it on the bed beside Alley. He removed the stethoscope to give Alley a thorough examination. He checked her heartbeat, pulse and blood pressure. Then he moved onto the bandage on her head. “Everything looks good Alley. I’m going to redress your wound and give you some pain medicine to help with the swelling.”
            “Doctor, I don’t know who I am. I can’t remember anything. I don’t even recognize my own mother. What happened to me? What kind of accident was I in?”
            Alley watched Doctor Monroe glanced up at  her mother who gave a slight shake of her head. 
“Alley, these things take time. Don’t bother yourself with all of these details right now. You’ve been in a coma for a week. We don’t want to overload your brain with all these details. Your memory will come back in time, and if it doesn’t then we will cross that bridge when we get to it.  For now I want you to take it easy. Get lots of rest and when you’re feeling better take a walk. It’s beautiful this time of the year and the fresh air will do you good.”
            Alley was more confused than ever now.  She thought that seeing the doctor would help her figure out who she was and what was going on, but instead he was no help at all. What are they hiding? I’ve been in a coma for a week, but I’m not in a hospital?
She watched as her mother walked the doctor to the door.
            When the doctor walked out, Alley said, “Mom, help me remember.”
            Her mother approached, a worried expression on her face. She fidgeted with a string on her shirt avoiding Alley’s eyes.  “Alley, you heard the doctor. We can’t push you.”
            “I know, Mom, but I want to know at least a few things about myself like what is my full name? For that matter, what is your name? Where do we live? What month is it? What year is it?”
            “Alley, slow down, honey. You’re going so fast that I can’t keep up.” Her mom chuckled. “Okay, I’ll help you a little, but we can’t overdo it. Your name is Allison Marie Anderson. You prefer Alley. My name is Catherine Anderson.  Its springtime and the month of April.” Catherine reached out for her daughter’s hand. “The doctor’s right, it’s beautiful this time of the year. When you’re up to it we’ll get outside and maybe something will jog your memory. As for the year it’s 2012, and we live in a small town called Rock City. Now, I really think you should get some rest. We don’t want to push you too fast.”
            “Okay. Thank you for filling in some of the blanks. My head is throbbing. I’m going to rest a little bit.”
            Catherine leaned down and kissed her daughter’s forehead, pulled the blankets up to her chin and turned the lamp off beside the bed. She turned and blew Alley a kiss as she exited the room.
            Alley quickly drifted off to sleep, but it wasn’t long before dream man re-appeared. Winter snow blanketed the ground.. She rode on the back of his sled going downhill after hill. She was laughing and had her arms wrapped around him. She was happy.  At the bottom of the last hill he faced her, gently kissing her on the lips.  They rolled off the sled, the man grabbed the rope and they started back up the hill to go again. Dream man put his arm around Alley as she snuggled in closer to him. She could see the love in his eyes. Who was he? The dreams felt so real.
            Alley come back to me. She heard him calling her. It wasn’t a dream. She could hear him plain as day, but it faded until she could hear it no more.
            “Who are you?  How do you know me?” Alley called out in her sleep, but got no answer in return.
            Alley’s eyes popped open to an empty room. Nobody was around and her dream man must be just that-- a dream. But why do I keep dreaming about the same man? Where have I seen him before? Maybe Mom knows.

                                         * * *

            The next morning Alley decided it was time to get out of bed and try to get her life back. She still had no memory of anything, but she intended to change that.
            She followed the smell of bacon and eggs down a spiral staircase with a dark cherry wood hand rail. As she got to the end of the stairs she stepped onto hardwood floors waxed to a perfect shine. The house was beautiful but looked like it was very old. She followed the smell to the kitchen where she found her mother standing at a mahogany table cutting fruit for a platter.
            “Good morning, Mother.”
            Catherine jumped. “Alley, you startled me. Honey, you shouldn’t be up walking around yet.”
            “I’m fine, Mom. I want to get back to my life. I want to do just as the doctor said. I plan to explore outside today. I may need a little direction before I get started.” She huffed out a short laugh.
            Her mother grinned at her as she finished slicing fruits. Alley admired the ripe, juicy strawberries, kiwi, and grapes. Her stomach growled.
            Catherine set the table and poured Alley a glass of orange juice to go with her breakfast.
            As Alley sat down she turned to her mother. “Mother. How old am I?”
             “Alley don’t worry so much. Your memory will come back, and if it doesn’t you’ll be fine. Head injuries are unpredictable, but to answer your question you’re twenty–two.”
            Alley ate her breakfast as more and more questions popped into her head. There was so much that she wanted and needed to know. “Where is my father? Do I have a father?”
            “Yes, dear, you have a father. He’s away on business and will return next week. He’s overjoyed that you’re awake and can’t wait to see you.”
            “Mom...thanks for putting up with all my questions. I’m trying to remember. I want to remember. I feel like there’s a big piece missing from me. I don’t feel whole right now.” Tears welled in her eyes and slipped down her cheeks.  She wiped them away and glanced out the window. The sun was shining bright. “I’m going to go for a walk. I think it will do me good to get out.”
            Catherine bit her bottom lip nervously. “Okay honey, if you’re sure, but be careful. You don’t know your way around yet. If you get turned around follow the fence. It’ll bring you back home.  All four thousand acres of our land is fenced in. So if you get lost just follow the fence. It might be a long walk, but it’ll get you back to the house.”
            Alley walked outside for the first time. She really had no clue where she was going, but she had to try and get her memory back. She wanted to know who the man was that she kept dreaming about. What did it all mean?
            As she walked away from the house she glanced over her shoulder. Behind her stood her home, she guessed, a beautiful white Victorian two story house with maroon trim. It had a wraparound porch with tall white columns. On the porch was a wooden swing with a maroon cushion. It swayed in the breeze, and she wondered if it was one of her favorite things to do. She was learning everything all over again.
            Alley walked across the open field, drawn to the small creek. It babbled through a shady spot, courtesy of some big oak trees, with a large rock off to the side. She climbed the rock and enjoyed the cool breeze against her cheeks.
            Alley, come back to me.
            Alley jumped and glanced around. Nobody was there. The wind must be playing tricks on her.
            Sitting by the creek watching the water flow downstream, Alley wondered who she was. The wind blew through her hair and the sun warmed her face. Alley brushed the hair away from her eyes as she lay back on the rock. She drifted off to sleep under the warmth of the sun.
            Images of a winged horse as white as snow entered her mind. It was the most beautiful animal she had ever seen. It pranced in a field of wild flowers. As Alley watched, a noise startled the majestic animal and it spread its wings wide flying off into the horizon. The scene struck her as familiar. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but she felt like she knew the place and the animal. Angel. Yes that’s it, but why do I know the name of an imaginary animal? Head injuries were very odd. Nothing made sense anymore.
            A noise off in the distance woke Alley from her dreams. Rising from the rock, she scanned the open field. No winged horse to be found. Did I really think there would be? That’s crazy. They don’t even exist. My mind is simply dreaming to help it heal.
            It was getting late so Alley decided to walk back. As she approached the house she heard voices.
            “You have to face the facts. Her memory may never come back,” Catherine said.
            “It may never come back as long as she is here. She has to come back to Majestic Falls.” A man’s voice said.
            “That’s out of the question.”
            “Catherine, you can’t keep her here under false pretenses. Her place is with me. I know you think you’re protecting her and in some ways you might be, but she has to come back home. Her people need her.”
            Alley had no idea what they were talking about or who the man was. In her eagerness to see him, she clumsily knocked over a flower pot that went crashing down the steps.
            Catherine came running out, but she was alone.
            “Is somebody here, Mother?”
            “No, Sweetie. I had the radio on in the other room. Nobody is here.”
             Why would her mother lie? She’d heard two people having a conversation. People don’t have conversations with the radio, but she knew there must be a reason that her mother didn’t want to discuss it. Alley ran from room to room looking, but found nobody else in the house.
            Alley needed to be alone. She went up to her room to escape into a nice hot bubble bath which she thought would help her relax. Maybe being alone with her thoughts would help her figure something out. She didn’t care what, but she wanted to at least remember one thing.
            She sank down into the hot steaming water letting it warm her entire body. Alley laid back and closed her eyes hoping to see the man she kept dreaming about, but he didn’t appear. Sadness came over her. There was something about the guy of her dreams. She felt like she knew him.  

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