Made to Forget (Nepherium Novella Series), page 1
MADE TO FORGET
A Nepherium Novella – Part One
Made to Forget
Published by Samantha LaFantasie
Copyright © 2013
by Samantha LaFantasie
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transferred in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or by any information storage retrieval system, without the written permission of the author.
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transferred in any form, or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or by any information storage retrieval system, without the written permission of the author.
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Cover Art provided by Ida of Amygdala Design
Editing provided by Kris Kendall of Final-Edits and Rebecca Hamilton
This novella wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the tireless support of my husband and kids. They are my backbone, especially on days where I feel like all I’m putting out is mindless dribble. And also my very good friend M.Y. Your support helped to back up my husband’s comments during my darkest writing days.
The ever amazing internet deserves some love here as well. It’s sparked curiosity in more than one way and on several occasions. It has also helped me with nailing down the translations for Latin. I’m not worthy of a personal friend that has the know-how in this, so it has been my go-to resource. Also, the medical stuff.
M.Y., H.L., K.B., and K.H, my Betas, thank you. Your inputs are diamonds. Sparkling, sometimes rare, and always beautiful, but also incredibly valuable.
Lastly, to Charlie Santiago. Your support was unexpected, profound, and very lifting. Thank you for your mark in my life and the life of my mom. You’re incredibly missed. RIP.
Dedicated to all those who never stopped doing what they loved, no matter who tried to stop them.
A Word from the Author
I tried very hard to ensure the accuracy of my Latin translations, but I can’t promise that I got it right in every case. Please forgive any errors in my interpretations.
Wichita is actually a very different place than what I described in the story. You’ll probably find some of the more well-known landmarks still visible in the story. For the most part, the Wichita I described is purely my fictional idea of what the city could look like in the future. My imagination is my greatest weapon. So, if anything I depicted in this story has angered or upset anyone, my deepest apologies. It wasn’t my intention to stay true to the city’s format. I kept a few details and let my imagination run wild with the rest. Please keep this in mind when you read.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
In the year 2452…
THERE’S NO WORSE FEELING than thinking you’re waking from a really bad nightmare, only to find yourself in the hospital with no memory of why or how you got there.
When I opened my eyes, I expected to find myself in the comfort of my own bed instead of wrapped in crispy sheets and a holey bedspread. My vision was blurred and my head pounded with an incredible headache. Something covered my head where the pain was centered. Lifting a hand, I discovered gauze taped into place. Touching it with slight pressure caused more pain, forcing me to wince. My uniform and gear were missing. Instead, I wore drawstring pants and a t-shirt made from thin material, covered in small, brown trees and tiny, green birds. A small box was taped in the center of my breasts. It chirped with each beat of my heart.
Panic filled the darkest depths of my soul as I struggled to remember what happened. I couldn’t remember anything. Just flashes of still frames–partial memories–like watching a movie with the most vital scenes blacked out. I took deep breaths, recalling what I could of my training, and then took in my surroundings, desperately seeking anything familiar.
The small, square-shaped room was adjoined with another small room that I assumed was the bathroom. The cream walls were dotted with a few blond-stained cabinets and drawers. Two burgundy chairs sat in the corner of the room in front of a row of sealed, vertical blinds. There was nothing that I recognized and nothing to suggest I had been compromised.
The irritating contraption in my nose pulled against the skin and formed a raw spot. Whenever I shifted my head, it felt like it was slicing through another layer of skin. I pulled the oxidizer from my nose and the heart monitor from my chest then slipped my sock covered feet to the floor. I was determined to storm through the door and find someone with answers—or fight my way out, if need be.
Apparently, ripping off monitors and running from my room freaking out set the medical staff on edge. They tackled me to the floor and gave me a bullet full of some sedative, causing me to wake up and freak out again later. The difference being, my wrists were cuffed to the sides of the bed. The top was raised slightly, allowing me to lie in a partial sitting position. I struggled with my restraints, then slammed my head to the back of the bed. They were treating me like some prisoner! A surge of dizziness and pain swam through me, bringing with it a bout of nausea.
A shadow from the corner of the room moved in my periphery. Without looking directly at the figure, I could tell it was a woman. She was around five-six or five-seven and thin, but the curves along her legs and arms were well-formed. I had no doubt she could hold her own.
“Who are you?” I asked, still not looking directly at her. I closed my eyes to force away the remaining effects of my fit.
“Jenna Malcom. I’ve been assigned to you.”
“Assigned to me? For what? By who?”
Finally, I looked at her directly. She was pretty—in the black widow sort of way. Her blonde hair was pulled into a long ponytail, situated dead center in the crown of her head. Her eyes glistened in the fluorescents. They weren’t an icy blue, but were rather bright and warm. Yet the feeling I got off her said otherwise.
“Someone who has taken an interest in your safety. Relax.” Her smile reached her eyes. “All will be explained soon.”
She removed herself from the chair with smooth, fluid movements then calmly sauntered to the intercom attached to the wall in front of my bed. She kept her gaze on me with a smile that would make any guy drool and every self-conscious school girl even more insecure. I know, because I was just like that. Always striving for that seemingly unobtainable perfection. At least until some point in my life, lost in my missing memories
Her attire left a lot of questions unanswered. She wore jeans, knee-high boots that clicked with every step, a grey shirt that went over the waist of her jeans, and a black jacket that barely covered the length of her long torso. Her appearance conflicted with the energy she gave off, like she was trying to project a façade that didn’t fit. As she stretched her long, graceful fingers to the button on the intercom, I wondered why someone with her superficial grace wouldn’t have a better manicure. Her skin was smooth and milky, with long, slender fingers, but the cropped nails looked like they had never seen a shade of polish. Definitely something that didn’t match the appearance she was clearly trying to portray.
I struggled–and failed–to get a definitive reading of her energy. Everything conflicted. I squirmed in unease. There was much more to the story than what I was seeing, like she somehow knew of my abilities and was purposefully trying to throw me off. My initial instincts warned me to not trust what she said.
A trickling beep sounded from the small speaker, followed by a cracked, feminine voice, “Ye-eh-es?”
“She’s awake,” Jenna responded. Her gaze lifted to mine, and she smiled again. I raised an eyebrow.
“Okay,” the voice said as it came through clearer, cracking with heavy static afterward.
“How long have I been here?” I asked.
She shrugged and walked back to her small chair in the corner of the room. She took a seat and crossed her legs and arms.
The blinds were pulled open, and the glass door was unlocked. The room overlooked a small courtyard complete with small ponds, rivers that curved in and out, and a small waterfall.
“Do you not remember me at all? Do I not look familiar to you in any way?” Jenna asked.
“Should you be familiar?” I asked, unable to hide the snide tone in my voice. My discomfort with her presence was rapidly morphing into irritation.
She smiled again. “Wow, they really did a number on you, didn’t they?” She chuckled softly then turned her gaze to the courtyard.
I considered letting a few more remarks roll off my tongue, but the door to my room slid open and shut with a soft hiss. Footsteps padded into the room, and before me stood a pseudo-brunette man in a long, white coat. He carried a D-File in the crook of his arm. His cold-as-stone grey eyes matched his plastic smile.
Immediately, I didn’t trust him. Of course, I never really trusted any medical staff.
He stepped to the side of the bed, slipped his hand into mine, and gave me a half-assed squeeze.
Never trust a person who doesn’t give you a firm handshake. I don’t remember where I learned that–or from whom–but it went along with my instincts, so I didn’t fight it.
“Good morning, Miss Ellery. I’m Dr. Barlow, your attending physician. I’ve been asked to monitor your progress and oversee all of your care. How have you been feeling?”
“Like someone had better start giving me answers and release me from these restraints.” I felt like adding an insult to his deficient façade but held my tongue. There was a time and place for that, and I knew right then wasn’t it.
His smile widened. “Let’s get you all checked out first, then we’ll see about the restraints and maybe some answers. Sound like a plan?”
I shrugged. Do I have a choice? No. Of course not. As long as I was chained up, so to speak, I had to play by his rules.
“Miss Ellery, five days ago you were in an accident involving a transporter. You’ve been in a coma until today. With the extent of your injuries, massive memory loss was expected. But we won’t be able to determine the severity or give a prognosis of recovery until we know how much you remember.” He moved around me as he explained, running a bio scanner over the length of my body, except for my head. Then he parked himself on the foot of the bed, moving the D-file to his lap, and looked at me expectantly.
“You want to know how much I remember.”
He nodded. “That would help tremendously.”
“Nothing. I remember nothing,” I admitted sourly.
“But you remember your name?” he asked.
“Your home address?”
I hesitated but nodded again. Was that unusual?
“Do you remember where you work?”
I shook my head, though it wasn’t entirely true. I remembered that I worked for the Aurora Vanguard, but not what I did, specifically. I remembered it was undercover work and very secretive. He nodded in return and removed himself from the bed, leaving the D-file at my feet.
“Do you remember anything from your childhood, like school, family, favorite places to hang out, first boyfriend?” he asked, taking out a penlight and shining it into both of my eyes individually.
I tried to think. Really I did. Only flashes of images would come. Things I recalled but with huge pieces missing. It was like thinking through Swiss cheese. I tried to remember a boyfriend or special someone, but no luck. Only a big blotch of nothingness.
“I remember things–memories from my past–but nothing as specific as what you are asking. It’s like a big, black blank.”
He pressed his lips together firmly, nodded again, then took the D-file into his lacking grip and laid it on my lap. He pressed the red button on the top and tapped a few places on the clear surface. The screen blacked out momentarily before a red outline of a human head appeared with tangled cracks covering the left side.
“This is the thermal x-ray scan of your body we did when you came in. As you can see, you sustained a very serious injury to your temple. There was no need for surgical repair, but you did receive ten stitches and a new hairdo.” He smiled.
I ignored his pathetic attempt at humor, sensing he wasn’t telling me the truth. “This level of amnesia is normal for this type of injury?”
“It’s possible. The severity of your memory loss is pretty rare, but you could gain more memories the longer you are out of the coma and once you resume your normal routine.”
Something about the whole thing seemed off. Way off. Then, I remembered what he said and how it was similar to what Jenna had told me. Perhaps there was a connection? “Now tell me, who was it that asked you to oversee all of my care?”
He paused, visibly stiffening, and glanced toward Jenna. She seemed to have an eerie calm about her as she sat in the chair and focused on the exchange between me and the ‘good doctor.’ He cleared his throat and returned his attention to me. “I’m afraid I don’t have an answer to that question. Just know that everything is being taken care of.”
What a liar. He knew damn well.
“Then who do I need to talk to in order to get these restraints off so I can go home?” I asked impatiently.
He gave another plastic smile. “Miss Ellery, please understand, we want to make sure that you are stable and well enough to go home. I have no doubt that things will start falling into place, piece by piece, once that does happen, but let’s take one step at a time.”
“And the restraints?” I asked, holding up my arms as far as they would go and giving them a little jiggle.
“I’ll get the keycard, so long as you promise not to leave until you are released.” He raised his eyebrows at me.
I smiled big and batted my eyes. A fake expression, but that was the best I could do. It seemed to work, because Dr. Barlow was smiling–really smiling–when he removed the digital file from my lap and turned it off. His gaze lifted to mine as he asked, “Would you like anything to eat? The food here is superb.”
“Whatever you think is best, doc,” I said with a shrug, figuring that being compliant would get me home sooner.
“All right then.” He turned to walk out of the room but stopped at the corner by the wall. He looked over his shoulder and gave Jenna one of his plastic smiles before continuing out of the room.
NOT LONG AFTER THE doctor left, I turned my attenti
“I can try to answer your questions, but I don’t know much more than you right now.” She gazed out the window as if she was less than interested in playing along.
“What do you know about this accident?” I asked, carefully watching her reaction.
She sighed, almost impatiently, but also sadly. “I know that it was a full transporter at takeoff, but you were the only one found.”
“I was the only one that survived?”
“No,” she said sharply, turning her gaze to me. “I said you were the only one found.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Neither do I,” said a man’s voice. Deep and luring. My guard popped up instantly, and a chill trickled along my spine.
I turned my attention to a tall brunette with dark eyes and a smile that looked more like he wanted me for dinner than he was glad to see me. Completely feral. He wore a long, standard military trench coat with black slacks and shiny, black shoes. He kept his hands in his coat pockets and leaned against the corner of the wall as if he materialized there. I definitely hadn’t heard the door open.
“Who are you?” I asked, attempting to keep my voice even.
“Do you not recognize me?” He smiled again. I swore I could see the venom. The dimple on one side of his face bothered me, like there should have been one on the other side. But even that wasn’t quite it. There was history. A dark history. My palms itched and my heart fluttered faster. I wanted to run or fight. Not engage in more banter.
“That seems to be the popular question for today. ‘No—I don’t—should I?’ is usually the question I ask in return.”
He chuckled quietly. “Yes, you should, but given the circumstances, I understand why you don’t.”
I nodded slowly. “Uh huh…”
“I’m Alexander Barabbas,” he said, then shifted his gaze to Jenna. “Could you excuse us for a few moments?”