by Lee Hulme
A gaunt young man staggered down the busy street, a small circle of space around him. Looking around wildly, he reached for an arm, only to be shrugged off. He reached again, and the arm shook him violently away.
The young man took a few more steps, shaking his head and muttering.
An elderly lady stepped in front of him, bag of shopping hitting the floor as she put both hands up to stop him running straight into her.
The young man allowed himself to be stopped, and he raised red eyes to meet hers.
“Here now, what’s the matter?” the woman asked.
“Do-do you know me?” the young man asked.
“What? You don’t recognise me when you’re not making me coffee?” the woman asked with a smile.
The man shook his head and frowned, “Do you know my name?”
“Of course I do, it’s…er. Well now, I always greet you with it. Seems to have slipped my mind for the now. Oh dear, I am sorry…” the woman shuffled uncomfortably.
The young man began to cry, “I don’t remember either.”
“What don’t you remember, love?”
“Me,” the man sobbed. “I don’t remember me.”
In the hospital, a student nurse frowned down at the young man as she checked him over. He looked back up at her, blankly.
“What’s the first thing you remember?” she asked.
The man shrugged, “Being on the street.”
The young man smiled a little, “Really? That’s an odd name.”
The nurse chuckled, “You’re right there.”
“What’s your name?”
“Samantha, or Sam.”
“Nice to meet you Sam. I guess I’m Septimus.”
“Nice to meet you,” Sam smiled. “I can’t stop at the moment, but buzz if you need anything and one of us will come over,” she motioned to the call for help buzzer.
Septimus nodded and turned to stare out of the window.
Sam nodded to Ty, a nurse and her mentor, who shook his head a little.
“It’s odd, sure,” Ty shrugged, “But it happens.”
“Ever heard anything like this befre?”
Ty shook his head, ”Nah, but that doesn’t mean anything.”
Ty nodded and looked at the clock, “Whoops, gotta go. Later Sam.”
Sam nodded absently, frown creasing her brow.
She found herself drawn, again and again, back to the ward where Septimus Rasmus lay. Across the way in the female wards, she knew, there was also a Vevila Croft. No suffix to that one but still, surely a family name, and with the same amnesia.
“Stop it,” Sam scolded herself for the hundredth time, gaining a confused glance from a passing doctor. “
But, getting home as the winter dawn arrived, Sam made for the computer rather than the bed. Trying to avoid the worst of the conspiracy theories and Utilitarian philosophy, Sam hunted through link after link, rabbit hole after rabbit hole, looking for…something. Eventually sleep could not be put off any further, and she dozed in bed, dreams troubled by vague monsters wielding Men in Black neuralyzers.
The obsession grew steadily over the next few days, as the amnesia patients were visited by family and friends, none of whom were remembered. It was a comment from Vevila’s granddaughter which led Sam to the right place – telling her she had reached out on Facebook, looking for someone who could help.
Sam had been hunting websites and news sites and medical forums, but searching social media had never crossed her mind. She clawed her attention back long enough to make it through her shift then raced home, keywords running through her mind.
It didn’t take long, now she knew where to look. In minutes she was reading through an increasingly desperate number of posts from an Anton Campana, begging for help, for shares, for anything to spread the word and find help for his wife, Rukhsana, found wandering lost, some weeks ago, with no memory.
Reading the comments revealed another, connecting over sudden and inexplicable amnesia in a loved one.
Sam sat back, deep in thought. That made 4, that she could find. How many more? And for how long?
After some thought, she sent a text to Ty.
Hey Ty, odd q, you know anyone specialises in history of weird patterns of illness?
A few moments and the phone buzzed with a reply.
Like anmesia, ymean 😉 I’ll ask around.
With nothing more she could immediately do, Sam dragged herself over to her neglected bed and slept.
End of part 1
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