WITH the recent debut of the novel INDUCED AMNESIA, readers have mentioned sequel – will there be one? – already! The bigger question for me was – could there be one? This is such a unique novel plot – if you’ve read it, you understand what I mean – that it begs the question, could there be a sequel that can bring on the same effect, and still deal with similar consequential issues that initiate it? Hmmmm……..well, it got me thinking.
Believe it or not, I went to bed thinking about it – and woke up saying: “Yeah, I think I might have it” after a dream. And so – here’s the beginning – let me know what you think…
“The stream of thought flows on; but most of its segments fall into the bottomless abyss of oblivion. Of some, no memory survives the instant of their passage. Of others, it is confined to a few moments, hours or days. Others, again, leave vestiges which are indestructible, and by means of which they may be recalled as long as life endures.” ~William James
INDUCED AMNESIA 2: Indestructible Vestiges
I drop into the water back first, with a grand splash. Waves extend nearly the length of my body over the surface, up and away, and from where I’ve dropped, I don’t know.
The collision with water jolts me awake, and suddenly I’m aware that I am cradled and sinking in water and I can hear, even in muffled sound, the spectacular swoosh and splash the water is making in response to my body and its impact.
It feels like the water is circling its arms around my entire frame, pulling me in to itself, my arms and legs swipe back and forth in desperate attempt to connect to anything solid when just as instantly, I feel firm ground beneath me and in turn, my feet level to it. Finding footing, I’m now forced right back up, and in another dramatic splash, my head and torso escape the water with urgency.
I’m confused. A moment ago, I was dreaming. I’m sure of it.
Now, standing in what looks to be a shallow river with water to my waist, I look down and water’s dripping liberally from my long blondish hair, face and even the tip of my nose. I’m breathing heavily, more due to the sudden waking impact. My mind is reeling. It’s like a dream – I’m not even really sure who I am, and that pales to my wondering where I am.
I look up. Maybe because I’m a girl, an intelligent number to describe the depth of the valley I’m in eludes me, but it’s huge. I’m in a canyon filled with water from edge to edge, and the only ledge I could’ve come from is many stories up, and the sides of this chasm stretch straight up, ragged and rough.
I bend over, resting my hands on my knees beneath the water and cough, then inhale and exhale deeply trying to quell panic that’s creeping in. Water is still dripping quickly from my face and hair. It takes several moments and a bit of a fight to get my breathing even. My chest expands broadly and then collapses, over and over. I cough once more and then, I stand straight and look up.
None of this makes any sense.
I turn and look down river behind me. Then I look ahead up river. I’m surrounded by nothing but dark mountainous stone and rock cascading straight up with a little dirt thrown in from the looks of it. If I want to escape the water, it seems my only path is up the canyon side.
I wipe the water from my face and then turn left and start walking. It’s slow going trying to walk through the gentle current of the river and I use my hands to push water to the sides as I go. My movement is slightly more restricted too because my clothing – jeans and a red and navy long-sleeve buttoned-shirt – cling tightly to my body. When I reach the side, it’s as I suspected: there’s no shoulder or shore – just straight up. I tilt my head back and try to assess what I have to cope with, and then I look up and down the canyon once more. There isn’t any one place to start that looks more suitable than any other. There’s no other way but straight up.
I reach as high as I can, grabbing a large rock, I pull on it a few times to be sure it’s solid. It is, so I begin to hoist my water-laden body out and up. My feet scrape on the sides below the water trying to find something jutting out and when my right foot finally gets something solid, I push up. It’s tedious and slow repeating those same first steps over and over, but it begins to work – my entire body is out of the water and dripping profusely. The extra weight of the water in my clothing isn’t helping, but what can I do but try to ignore it and push on. At one point about a third of the way up, looking down, I realize I’m wearing black square-toe cowboy boots. I still have no clue how or why I’m here, but one thing is certain – I didn’t have a chance to dress for the occasion.
At the halfway point, I stop and rest. I try my best to slide as close to the gorge side as I can, leaning into it. I need to catch my breath and rest my hands. I even press the side of my face into the dirt and rock, and then I try to recall again – something – anything– yet there’s nothing but haunting confusion. All I remember is hitting that water with force – and nothing prior.
I look up. Where in the world could I have come from? There are two large black birds flying in circles, but I can’t tell if they’re eagles or vultures. I look around. I had to have come from the top. There just wasn’t any other option.
Taking a couple of deep breaths, I carefully position my body to start again. As I start to pull myself up my hand slips, wincing, I grit my teeth and try again. Some dirt and a few smaller stones scatter past me, echoing as they tumble off the canyon side before landing in the water with a bevy of plopping noises. I don’t bother to look. Something quiet tells me if I do, my fate may repeat and I’d be left to start all over again. Focus where you want to go.
I pull up, hoisting myself with more difficulty now. Gravity is not my friend at this moment. Every move I make is slow, made with precision, and as a result I’m nearly there. I can see it. I reach for a another rock, gingerly testing it as I have been and when I put some weight on it, the rock shifts. I drop a bit as my boot slips from its support, but I don’t let go of the loose rock. I can’t. If I do, I’ll fall. My hip is pressing hard into the rocky side as I carefully move my foot and try to secure it again. The loose rock in my hand shifts again and this time some dirt falls, clipping the side of my face before it disappears down the chasm side. I quickly close my eyes and mouth to save them from the dirt as I pray the new footing holds, then just as suddenly the rock gives way and it’s a good size. I tuck my head in to my chest, wincing again as even more debris scatters over me. I feel the rock graze the side of my face before it hits my boot on its way down the canyon, descending in a series of loud bangs as it bounces off the gorge side. My foot shifts as pain shoots up my leg, straining, I press my hip until it also hurts and I frantically scramble with my now free hand, hoping to secure it to anything. My muscles are now aching as I manage to steady my hand into a crevice and after a few deep breaths, I begin the ascent once more.
Methodically, I continue, testing each foot and hand hold before pushing up, when before I know it, my hand is able to extend up over free space. I made it. A soft warm breeze blows over me and my hair moves gently with it. I push, trying to stand as tall as I can while trying to secure my arm over the top ledge. When I manage to get my elbow level with the solid ground, I close my eyes and use every bit of force I can to ease my body up. Then I get my other arm up and on to the solid ground that awaits me, and quietly praying I use my elbows to crawl on the ground, pulling my dangling legs up after me. Once my entire body is on the solid top edge, I crawl away from it several feet before rolling onto my back with a heavy sigh of relief.
My body hurts and I’m feeling a little dizzy. I just don’t want to move for a little bit. When I open my eyes for a moment, I see the large birds still circling the sky above. And I still can’t tell what they are. I don’t care. I just want to rest, so I close my eyes again. The sun feels intense now that I’m here on top, but it’s a good feeling; and then suddenly, the realization that I’m alone, lost and without any memory hits me. I don’t understand what’s happening to me, or why.
I open my eyes and sit up for a moment and the realization sinks a little further. It looks like desert, fluffs of tall grass patches with lots of dirt all around me and not a sign of humanity anywhere. Suddenly whispers start taunting me – where are you, how did you get here, is anyone looking for you…
Closing my eyes, I drop back again and my hands clench at the dry, sandy earth beneath them. I try instead to focus on my breathing while I try to think. It seems like a better plan than starting to panic. I just have to get up and start walking. There’s nothing else to do. And if I was thrown into that gorge by someone who wanted to do me harm? There was nothing to be done about that right now either.
Regardless, I take my time to rest, dry a little more and just simply enjoy the heat of the sun, when at some point I doze off, but only briefly, I think. When I open my eyes I’m startled by a silhouette, jumping, I quickly sit up. There crouched beside me is a girl, perhaps a few years younger than I, in her teens I guess. Her skin is black and her hair is twisted in a braid down her back, but her eyes are the thing I notice most – they’re brown, but a light, hazel brown that stands out. It’s an unusual color for anyone, but incredibly so for her ethnicity.
She smiles. “Hello.”
I say hello quietly as I quickly shuffle to stand, and she stands with me, followed by several silent moments as we look at one another.
“It’s okay to be startled. I didn’t mean to sneak up on you.”
I nod, trembling a little, and wonder why. There’s nothing concerning about this girl – she has a drawing smile, dressed simply in a modestly short jean skirt, t-shirt and leather antique motorcycle boots with the laces undone – she’s just a little shorter than I and is looking at me patiently.
“My name is Opal,” she says. “What about you?”
Looking around, I shake my head and then clear my throat, “I don’t know….I don’t know my name.”
Opal frowns. “You don’t know your own name?”
I shake my head again.
“Where you from?”
“I don’t know that either.”
“Okay, you get you’re out in the middle of nowhere, right?”
I nod and rub my hands together to shake off the dirt clinging to them.
“Well, why do you look wet?” Opal asks.
I point. “I just climbed up outta that gorge.”
She laughs. “No you didn’t. You crazy?” Opal walks over to the ledge and looks down then she looks back at me. “You are crazy. No one’s climbing up that.”
“I just did.”
“With that outfit?” She looks me up and down.
“Those are nice boots, but they ain’t seen no horse, ever. And they sure ain’t mountain climbin boots either.”
“So….what is your story then?”
“I dropped into that river down there, and that’s as far back as my memory goes. I don’t know how I got there, where I am or who I am. And somehow I managed to slowly climb my way up. I didn’t see any other way of getting out of that gorge.”
She stared at me for a moment as though she was assessing whether to believe me or she simply just didn’t know what to say.
I stare down at the ground. “I know it seems insane. And now I need to figure out where to go from here.”
“Well then,” Opal says walking close and taking my hand, “this is your lucky day lost girl. I know someone who might be able to help with that lost mind of yours.”
Find out more on INDUCED AMNESIA @ https://www.amazon.com/author/tyinckrysset
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