I open my eyes slowly, returning to my conscious plight. The world around me is pitched black, as if my eyes were still closed. I breathe in the stale air around me and grimace. I turn over from my back to my stomach and stretch out all my limbs. I crawl eight paces to my right and feel a cold wall. I could stand on my legs if I wanted to, but I don’t like to walk because it expends too much energy. I reach out and touch the cold wall. A shiver slowly courses through my famished body. I knock loudly on the wall three times and put my ear to it after a second. I hear shuffling and scratches through the wall.
“Amanda?” I ask in a loud whisper. More shuffling, and then, a cough.
“Hey, stranger.” The tired voice gently coughs at me thorough the wall.
Hearing her voice, always made me feel good. Given the less than pleasant situation that she and I have found ourselves in, she always seemed to be perky and upbeat; Although, recently, she has started to sound a lot more morbid. The hope and optimism she once sung through these stony walls now sound tired and helpless. I found myself waking up every day so I could talk to her, just so I can have some type of interaction with another being. The change in her voice signaled fear and panic in my system.
“Did you sleep well? How are you feeling?” I ask her. She sighs a little, fed up with the monotony of our empty life.
“I couldn’t sleep last night. Stranger, I’m scared. I don’t feel anything anymore. I don’t—“ Her voice trails off and a feeling of anxiety shoots up my spine.
“Amanda! What can I do? I’ll do what I can to make you feel better! Do you want another story?”
I hear her scoff and I frown.
Ten minutes of eternity pass by in silence. I hold on to the wall, my breath being my only company.
“Stranger.” She finally says.
“Yes, Amanda!?” I ask anxiously, willing to do whatever I could to bring normalcy back to my friend. I swallow hard, my throat parched having not drank water in a long time. Such a long time I had forgotten what it even tasted like.
“Stranger, are you willing to tell me your name now?” She asks. I shake the thought of nourishment from my mind and I think about my name. Name, name, what is my name? I thought I told her. This should be an easy question. I have a name, I’m almost sure I do. I mean, I have to have a name, right?
“You don’t remember, do you?” She asks after a moment of silence.
“Well, yeah. I mean I have to have a name. Didn’t I tell you once before?” I ask her genuinely.
What in the hell is going on? Why can’t I remember anything? I know I have to have a name, and I have to have drank water. I wouldn’t be able to survive otherwise. I can’t even remember the last time I ate, or even when I met…
“Stranger, you couldn’t hold on, could you? They took everything from you.” Amanda asks rhetorically. “How long have they kept you here?”
I swallow hard, again, and shake my head.
“I don’t remember, Amanda. What’s going on? I can’t remember anything!”
I hear her shuffle away from the wall and gasp.
“Amanda?” I ask the wall. I close my eyes tight and hold my breath, trying to hear something, anything, through the wall. I hear more shuffling and then I hear a moan. She was crying.
“Amanda, why? Why are you crying?”
She starts crying harder, louder. The clumsy cry of my neighbor pulled at my heart and brought it up to my throat. Tears began to well up in my eyes and it became impossible to swallow. My jaws clench and I try to speak.
“A… Amanda.” Ekes out from my tightened throat. I clear it and try again. “Amanda, why are you crying?”
She ignores my question and gets louder. I sit back from the wall, her voice loud enough for me to hear without my ear being pressed up against the wall. Each painful breath she takes and moans out is like a stab in my already panicked chest.
“Stranger.” She cries out through her teeth. I perk up and listen. “Stranger, I’m starting to forget things too. And I can’t let that happen. If it wasn’t for you saying my name I would have forgotten it by now too. God, how could they do this to us?”
Who did this to us? What did they even do? I don’t remember a thing. I put my hands on my head and I try to remember. I try to remember anything.
Amanda suddenly gasps again and stops crying.
“Stranger. I think I’m going to escape. I’m going to leave the only way I know possible.”
Escape? I think to myself. These walls encompass everything, we can’t escape. She can’t escape. She can’t leave me.
“Amanda, what do you mean? How would you even leave?” I ask her.
“There’s always a way, stranger.” Her voice steeped in regret and sadness.”Escape with me, please. Before it’s too late.”
I think hard to myself, wondering how we could escape. She should be happy about escaping, why does she sound so sad?
“How Amanda? How?” I ask to the weeping woman.
I close my eyes again, thinking, and then it hits me. It hits me with the force of a tank. My mouth drops and I become breathless, I shake my head in stark disagreement.
“No… No please. Please don’t do that Amanda!” I beg her. “Please no, we can figure this out.”
“I won’t let them take my identity. I can’t.” Her voice becomes cold like the wall that separates us. “I, no, we have to do this. This is the only way, stranger.”
My stomach drops and I knock on the wall in faulty plea.
“Amanda please no, we have to figure this out. Don’t do this!” My voice croaks out and tears begin to stream down my face. I might not be able to remember anything about my past, but I knew that she was my present and my reason for living. Without her company… I couldn’t even imagine.
“Stranger, it was nice meeting you.” She starts.
“NO, PLEASE AMANDA! Please don’t leave me alone! I don’t want to be alone again! God please don’t let her go Please!” My words go through the wall but hit deaf ears. Her mind was already made up.
“Goodbye. Forgive me, love.” She knocks at the wall twice.
“AMANDA!” I scream through tears. “Amanda!?”
I bang my fist on the wall. The force breaks my fingers and pain erupts through my hand. I bang my other fist and get the same results. I keep banging the wall, crying out to the only one I felt I had left to love in the world. I don’t know how I ended up imprisoned or even how long or by who, but I knew the only person that mattered to me was her and she’s gone now. I face the wall and try to drive my head through it, to stop the pain coursing through my body from heartbreak. The blow knocks me to the ground in a daze.
How could she leave me? She was all I needed to function, what do I have now? I pick myself up clumsily from the ground and run full force into the wall, head first again. The blow flattens me to the ground and I see a bright flash of brilliant light before I lose consciousness.
“Damn it, I tried to get it before that last hit. These being are quite peculiar.” A giant being in a hazardous suit picks the body of the man up out of a darkened container. The limp body is barely breathing and the head is bleeding from severe trauma.
“Yes, they act on a very strange impulse. They are quite the social beings.” A second hazardous suit wearing being says as he begins to sanitize the container the man was just taken out of. “Take him to the recovery vat, we will need him again for another series of tests. The girl can be disposed of, we will introduce another captive as soon as he wakes up.”
The being carrying the man drops him into a clear liquid and goes about his business.