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I stared up at the inky indigo sky, streaked with gold, red, and rosy hues. Dawn was stretching her arms and her little fingers of sunlight reached tentatively through the trees around me. I stared in wonder, noting how the pines and the firs swayed gently in the warm breeze. My chest rose with each breath, creating a soothing rhythm as the sweet air filtered into my sleepy body. My clothes felt damp, my skin was chilled by the dewy grass on which I was reclining. I was in the middle of a clearing and I'd just woken up without any clue as to how I'd gotten there in the first place.
I sat up and slowly loosed my muscles, letting the tension leave with each shift in my posture. I surveyed my area, letting my eyes linger upon the diamond crusted blades of grass and the smooth wilderness in which I'd found myself. It was wonderful to behold; a beauty only nature could attain.
I stood and brushed myself off, letting my movements stay slow and unhurried so I would concentrate less on the why's of my being here and more on the being here itself. My breathing was deep and relaxed, and when I found nothing else to occupy myself with, I began to inwardly panic.
First, categorize the information: you are not home, you are in a strange place; you do not know how you got here; you do not know where you are. Then, do some problem solving: these woods are familiar, your cabin must be nearby; you occasionally sleep walk; what is the last thing you do remember? Then answer the questions. I remember the moon, grinning at me. I remember feeling like Alice as I stared out the window panes at the Cheshire cat in the sky. I remember…seeing a light in the forest. And then I remember no more.
I stared around me, trying to see if there was a path. To my right I found one, a familiar path. I rejoiced; glad to find a way home at last. Something tangible that would lead to my known reality. And, subconsciously, I began to forget. This was a dream world and a dream. I'd not woken in a forest; I'd not seen a light outside my window the night before. I was walking back to my cabin and there I would wake to the sane day. And by the time I'd gotten home, I did just that. I lay down in my bed and closed my eyes; I drew the covers around me. I woke up; I forgot.
I was in my kitchen, stirring a cup of tea, when the door opened. A man walked in; he was like a lumberjack, the modern-day Paul Bunyan. He had raven colored hair that grew wildly along his face and crown. He was tall and broad-shouldered. His features were rough and strange to me; I did not know this man. And, yet, he was in my house. The man stood about a foot taller than me and was dressed in jeans, work boots, and a red plaid button up. I should have felt afraid, but I wasn't. Most likely because he was looking at me like I was the terrifying one. His face had gone deathly pale and his hand shook. He continued to stare.
"Morning. And your name is?" I felt the need to be cordial, though I've no idea why. He could have been a burglar, a thief and a scam, a serial killer. But I expected to exchange pleasantries anyway. The man squeaked in reply. Then he cleared his throat.
"Uh, Manson. And, uh, you?" His voice was like that of thunder; deep and resonant. Mine was that of a weak man's in comparison. And still, he quivered at the sight of me, although it was much less noticeable now.
"Well, Manson, my name's…" I felt my voice lilt off. And then it seemed inconsequential to tell him my name. What did it matter? Name's do not matter. Little did I know that at the time I was refusing to acknowledge one simple, dreadful fact. My name; I could not remember it.
"Why are you here?" I left the tea forgotten and faced him. He gulped, his eyes bugged out and he gaped like a fish.
"I…was, hiking? And, um, I got lost in the forest. And I found a path, yes! I found a path and I followed it. Then I found myself here and I opened the door because I figured that no one lived here, and…" he trailed off, his thunderous voice dying in this throat. He seemed unsure at first, but became more convinced as his declarations toddled out and spilled over one another. His story was like a child; lacking in much but full of triviality. I decided not to pry, or judge.
I welcomed him to my table. He watched me cautiously, suspiciously, before sitting down. We talked. I don't remember what about. But I offered him a shower and food, a place to rest until he felt the need to leave. He offered, almost like he was being forced. But I know not what would force him to stay with a total stranger…
I was staring out my window. A week had gone by. There was a half moon outside my window, lunar beams fell upon the path. There was no light in the forest and the man, I'd forgotten his name, lay cold upon his bed. His breathing was shallow. He sweat and tossed, turned and moaned.
"Not alive…not possible…how not…forgot…" He mumbled that last one a lot. Forgot, forgot, forget, forgotten; I sat and watched him and I was not in the least bit worried that my eyes never closed or felt the urge to. In the mornings I cooked him breakfast and didn't think it odd that I craved none myself. I showered and couldn't feel the water, my body was not touched by the droplets, but my memories washed away anyway.
Another week, and another had gone by. I was forgetting more often. Who was I? Where was I? What did I need to survive? Was I surviving? One day I went outside and stared curiously at a tree; I found it a most odd object. I looked at the tree and I couldn't recall what it was. I didn't know the term "tree". My brain was a cloth and holes were being torn out of it. The only thing I recognized anymore was the man. And he was becoming stranger.
He mumbled and flinched when he saw me. His eyes scanned my face with an almost delirious hunger, and he'd give me the maddest smile. Maybe he was a murderer. It was a possibility. I knew next to nothing about him, just that he existed. I voiced my concerns one evening.
He'd been smiling at me, a wolfish smile. His hand stroked his long beard and his eyes gleamed. He mumbled to himself. For some reason, I wasn't scared.
"Are you a murderer?" His smile widened. His eyes caught fire.
"Yes." His teeth glinted in the candlelight. I wasn't afraid.
"Who did you kill?" I had no fear.
"Guess." He giggled. A high pitched, absolutely insane giggle. I shook my head. Guess? How? I knew nothing. Nothing at all in the world.
"I'll give you three chances." He said in a sing song voice. He twirled his matted hair and leaned forward.
"I don't know. I don't know anyone." He pouted.
"Your no fun." He smiled then and stood. He leaned really close and breathed. His breath was stagnant and foul. I waited.
"I killed…" his voice became a whisper, "you."
"You're already dead! I killed you in the woods! I found you and I killed you and I took your money! I came to your cabin, and guess what I found?" His laughter was devoid of anything but insanity.
"I found you! Like a game, hide and seek! You died, you died, you died and you are dead. You. Are. Dead." He glared at me. I woke up.
The sky was an inky indigo. Roses bloomed next to receding stars and the clouds rolled in. I lay on the grass, raised my hand to stroke the sunlight. I watched Dawn as she peeked over the horizon. I closed my eyes to the dew and the rainbows and the beauty. I ignored the pool of blood that stained the diamond crusted grass. I closed my eyes. I forgot.