First there is pain, and then light. The light is pressure, is also pain barely blunted by closed eyelids. I know that when I open my eyes there will be more pain. I also know that when I open my eyes I will have absolutely no idea where I am.
I am right. As my abused body comes slowly to tingling awareness, I scan my new surroudndings. My focus is off, the room is a dense fog. But the fog recedes and objects announce themselves from the murk: a table, a lamp, a wide-cushioned chair. laying across the chair and onto the threadbare rug is the splayed out form of a woman . Her skirt is hiked high onto her thigh – did that happen when she slipped from the chair? Her form and her face are completely unfamiliar to me. I know I have never met this woman,
I stand, and papers fall from my lap. I bend over to pick them up, and I don’t recognize them either. They are covered in dense writing, printed haphazardly. As I pick up the papers I know, with no doubt in my mind, that I am already not safe being in this room, and I need to leave immediately.
The woman is breathing slowly, shallowly. I still do not recogniz her face. I don’t know if she’s safe here or not. I know I can’t carry her. I don’t even know what’s happened to her, or what’s happened to me. It’s time to leave. She stays.
The papers go under my shirt. There is dried blood on my shirt, my hands, and my head.. My jacket is on the back of a tired wooden chair that gives me a splinter when I take the jacket. It almost covers the blood. My hat on my head, I sweep into the unkown streets. It’s dark, and it feels very late. After five blocks I find a familiar tram line. I step into the humming car, the doors swishing neatly behind me. A flash of the card, a seat near a window and away from the few other riders. I don’t want to look at them. They don’t know what it’s like to have it take you away, to come over you like that. To have the bugs busy in your skin warning you that it’s coming it’s coming it’s coming. Nothing to do but wait, and let it happen. But this time something happened that hasn’t happened before. It may not even involve the woman, she may be a side effect. But something happened, and the fact that I have no memory at all leaves me suspicious.
Thinking these thoughts, I bring the papers out of my shirt. They are warm in my hands from my body heat. One last glance around the car to see if I can spot the one of Them that is surely watching. I have a few ideas, but with no further data the only thing I can do is read my papers, and try to figure out just what happened.