Melted By The Lion

By: Amira Rain


With a great gasp, I woke up burning. Reflexively, I began flailing at the flames I was sure must be enveloping me, but my wrists were bound or caught somehow, preventing me from being very effective. Everything was bright. With my sight strangely blurry, I didn’t even know exactly what everything was, but it was too white and it glinted too much.

A woman, who I could only see as a light, hazy form, hovered over me, seeming to be the person holding my wrists. She now glanced over her shoulder, speaking to someone I couldn’t see. “Get Dr. Moore. Her fever’s only getting worse. Let’s give her a sedative shot first, though. We don’t want her to hurt herself, or us. This one’s strong.”

Not understanding anything that was happening, I struggled to free my wrists, trying to kick something that felt like a sheet off my legs at the same time, but the woman who held my wrists had a steel grip. And within seconds, I felt a sudden sharp jab in my right upper arm, and soon after that, everything went black.

When I awoke again, the flames that had seemed to have been surrounding me earlier had been extinguished. I was still warm, though, and a bit sweaty, I could tell. But more than anything, I was thirsty.

“Water. Please.”

My words had come out in a gravelly croak, and it had taken real effort to move my tongue and mouth. So much effort, in fact, that I hadn’t been able to spare any to even open my eyes yet. I didn’t need to see, though. Immediately after my request, I felt the tip of a straw against my mouth, and I heard a woman’s voice telling me to go ahead and take a sip.

“Sit up a little more first, though, if you need to.”

I didn’t. I seemed to be partially sitting up, maybe in some kind of an adjustable bed, with what felt like a stack of pillows behind my back. I pulled on the straw deeply, suddenly so thirsty I didn’t even care if my positioning made me choke on whatever I was about to drink.

It was cool, crisp, fresh-tasting water. Still not opening my eyes yet, I filled my mouth then swallowed, over and over without a pause, slowly beginning to feel my urgent thirst abating. Finally, when I pulled in only air through the straw, I opened my eyes, relieved to find that wherever I was wasn’t as bright as it had been before.

I was in a smallish sort of room filled with quietly beeping machines. A small lamp on a side table to my left was the only source of light. Beside the bed I was in, which did seem to be an adjustable-type hospital bed, like it thought, a woman of about fifty, with dark hair and eyes, stood holding an empty glass.

Drawing her chocolate-brown brows close in concern, she offered me a small smile. “How do you feel?”

I wasn’t quite sure. With my body not burning up anymore and with my thirst now quenched for the most part, I didn’t exactly feel bad, but I didn’t feel quite right, either, in a way I couldn’t easily describe, even to myself. I was only able to answer after several moments of thought.

“Maybe I could use a little more water, but I guess I feel okay.”

My voice was still a little croaky, and I cleared my throat before speaking again.

“I don’t know where I am, though.”

That had been what hadn’t felt quite right to me, and I hadn’t even realized it until I’d said it out loud. And now I realized another thing that also didn’t feel quite right.

“I don’t know who I am, either.”

My mind felt completely empty, blank, in an extremely odd sort of way. Not as if I’d just awoken from a long nap and just needed a second to gather my bearings, but in a way that made me feel as if there were no bearings for me to get.

The woman at my bedside opened her mouth to speak, but before she could, I did, having a sudden thought that seemed somehow critical.

“All the animals, are they okay? I have a feeling I’ve been asleep for a very long time, and I hope someone’s been able to give them food and water.”

The woman fixed me with a frown, knitting her brows. “Now, what animals are you talking about?”

I didn’t answer right away, thinking. “I don’t know. I-I don’t know what animals I mean. I guess I-I don’t know anything, really.”

The woman set the water glass on a nearby tray table, then gave me another small smile I knew was meant to be encouraging. “It’s okay. You have amnesia. Many young women who are thawed struggle with it, at least for a short while. It’s usually the kind of amnesia that’s classified as retrograde, meaning, you can likely still recall general knowledge, things like vocabulary, and things about your country, like the president, and random things, like what a toothbrush is. But as far as specific memory, things specific to yourself and your life, that is, you might be drawing a blank for a while. Don’t worry, though. It only very rarely lasts for long. Now, why don’t I go get you some food? You hungry?”

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