I wake up cold; which is strange ‘cause I don’t feel cold.
I lay there on… something; not a bed, a pallet, or a table. Aw heck, maybe it was a bed, but it wasn’t like any bed I ever slept in before.
I lay on my strange bed, thinking. “Something’s not right,” I whisper in the dark. I think about the last thing I remembered… concentrating on one singular memory. After nothing sparks, I explore my mind for any memories, thoughts, ideology… anything from my past; but I see nothing but a vast emptiness that once housed a lifetime of memories. I can’t explain my feelings, or rather my lack of feelings. Shouldn’t I feel sad or scared at least, but I feel… relieved; except that I can’t remember anything.
‘Maybe I should simplify the process,’ I think slowly. ‘If I think about the mundane, everyday things, perhaps then my elusive memories will come back.
‘What if… I don’t want them to come back’, I think, but dismiss it immediately. Somehow, I know that my old life was great. ‘So… why can’t I remember…’
‘My name,’ the thought rang in my head. ‘Of course I can remember my name.’ I focused hard. ‘My name… my name is… my name is…’ My heart thudded in my chest and my head hurt. “My name is…” I say out loud, hoping to invoke the answer.
A pathetic moan escapes my lips; I say ‘pathetic’ because that is exactly how I feel as I realize that I can’t remember who I am. Angry tears sting my eyes.
‘I’m not a baby, I will not cry’, I try to convince myself as I swipe the moisture from my cheeks, but I can’t help it.
I look down and gasp at the sharp smell of blood emanating from the pink liquid on the back of my hand.
Okay, I admit it, I’m really scared and try to sit up. I’ve got to figure out who I am and what happened to me, but I can’t get up. I strain with the effort, but my arms are all I can move.
“Hold up boy, you’re gonna hurt yourself,” a stranger’s voice calls from across the room but all I see is a faint luminesce above me. “Where am I?” I try to say, but all that came out was another pathetic moan.
A pale face with black circles around deep set black eyes and stringy black hair appears over me, “Be still Caleb, you’ve been mostly dead all day,” he chuckled. “I love that line,” he snickered. “Can you guess the movie it’s from?”
Did he think he was funny? First, I know I can’t remember my name but I know it is not Caleb; and second, if I can’t remember my real name, how can he expect me to remember a line from a dumb movie?
I try to shake my head but it still wouldn’t move. I close my eyes again, this time as tight as I can to fight back a fresh onslaught of tears.
A cool hand rests on my cheek and I open my eyes.
“Your name wasn’t Caleb, but it is now,” he answers like he read my mind, “and the movie is ‘The Princess Bride’.” He leans close and I could smell his rotten breath – it actually smelt rotten, like he ate something dead. It’s really, really gross. “But I don’t suppose you would remember that would you? You can’t remember much of anything right now, but don’t you worry, it’ll come back… well, most of it anyways. It never all comes back…” he quickly looks up and backs away, “not all of it.”
The creepy guy’s face replaced by another not so creepy guy, with a face as beautiful as it was perfect. I don’t know how a guy can be beautiful, but it’s the only way to describe him. The face leaning over me is flawlessly ovoid. His eyes are like polished mahogany with thick, black eyelashes. I’m not sure about anything I saw or heard after that; I couldn’t see past his eyes, everything around me disappeared. I tried to smile, but apparently my face muscles aren’t working either.
His full, blood red lips part, “Good, it seems as though our newest brother is waking. Has he spoken yet?
The clear tenor of his voice is both beautiful and frightening; the phrase is melodic and forceful. My heart shrinks and I’m glad the power of his voice isn’t directed at me.
“No Master, barely a moan from him is all I could hear.” Creepy guy answered.
Wait… did he just say “master”? What the heck? “Why did he call you master?” I try to ask, but again, my voice came out in a monosyllable moan – how frustrating.
A pale, delicate hand caresses my cheek and he speaks tenderly, “Don’t worry, brother, your voice will return.” Love fills me with the sound of that voice. I look into the deep mahogany eyes and sigh. I love him. I don’t want to sleep with him or nothin’, that’s not the love I feel. I can’t describe the complete devotion I feel, it’s kinda like I would do anything, and I mean absolutely anything, to hear his voice again, or to feel his touch. I feel sad and empty inside as he pulls his hand away.
I reach for him, but he evades my touch. Tears sting my eyes again at the thought of his rejection. I can’t help it; I guess I’m just a big baby after all.
He frowned and brushed the tear from my eye. “What is this?” he turned to Creepy and showed him the glistening wetness at the tip of his finger. “How old is he?”
“I don’t know Master; he was brought from the club with the others.” A pungent odor emanated from El Creepo. I don’t know how I knew it was the smell of fear, but I do.
“How old are you?” he asks while staring into my eyes. I want to say nineteen, that’s what I told everyone in my dorm, but actually I’m only sixteen – a very mature sixteen, almost seventeen. I started college early. I’m thrilled at the memory, but I can’t remember why I started early. I guess I’m really smart… yea, that had to be it.
I try to state my age, but all that comes out is a sad “ssssss.” I sound more like a snake than a kid.
“Sixteen!” The Master’s sharp whisper reverberates across the room.
His whisper makes me tremble in the darkness. “Why… am… I… here?” I slowly wrap my mouth around the words. The sheer effort of talking drains me and makes my head pound harder.
“I am so sorry,” The Master smiles sadly. “We have laws…” He shook his head, scowling at Creepo. “We cannot keep you…”