Here's a short piece I entered in a contest months back that was judged by the fabulous Lauren Oliver. It came in second place.
Do You Remember?
You hear them before you can see them. But who are they exactly? You don’t know.
“What if she never wakes up?” a voice asks.
“She will. Trust me, I wouldn’t let her die.”
You wonder what that means. You try to think back to the last thing you can remember. But everything is fuzzy, like how a television breaks up when it rains. The things you remember don’t make sense… there’s always a missing piece.
Your eyes open, but your vision is glossed over. You blink a few times, gaining your bearings. You realize that you’re alone. Getting up from the cot you’re on, you see that you’re trapped in a padded oval room. The color white surrounds you.
A word pops into your head, and you realize what this place must be. An asylum. How did this happen? I’m not crazy, you think. But how can you possibly know for sure, considering that you can’t remember anything.
You wish there was a bathtub nearby; baths always cleared your mind.
That’s a crazy thing to wish for. Maybe I am insane.
When you hear footsteps, you should be scared, but you aren’t. Frankly, you’re too shocked to be scared.
You decide to situate yourself in the spot furthest from what you thought to be the door. A moment later the door creaks open.
From the corner of your eye, you see a man. He's tall, stocky, and his facial expression is scary. Scary, because you can't decipher it.
The man speaks.
“Where is he?”
Confusion sweeps over you.
“Where is who?” you ask.
“Don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about. Where is Sam? You know what our deal was. You’re the one who came up with it."
“Deal…?” you wonder. “What are you talking about? Who are you? What have you done to me?”
He grabs your shoulders, shaking you. “Don’t you see? Sam did this to you! He changed you! Your mind, it’s different. You don’t remember me? Not even one bit?” he asks. He lets go, and you stagger backwards to the wall.
Your head is pounding. You don’t believe this man for a second. You love Sam. Sam wouldn’t do anything to hurt you.
“Why would I remember you?!” you cry. “I’ve never seen you before in my life! And I’ll never tell you where Sam is. I love him!”
The anger in his eyes is taken over by pure hurt.
“I never would've believed that you could be changed this quickly by those people. What have they done to you? You’re delirious. I never would’ve let you gone if I knew…”
He lets out a frustrated scream, punching the padded wall. Then he put his hands over his face and collapses to the ground. He’s unstable, even more so then you are. You think that if anyone should be locked in this padded cell, it’s him.
But then he looks at you, and a memory rushes back.
“Caleb?” you whisper.