The ringing of church bells caught the woman’s attention as she snapped out of the sleep that had been holding her hostage. Sitting up, she turned toward the sound, her pale face confused and frightened.
Where did the sound originate? She shook her dark hair, allowing a few premature gray hairs to peek through. She had no answer to the question. She couldn’t place a church near her surroundings, but then she couldn’t place her surroundings either. Serena Templeton didn’t know where she was.
Looking around, she scanned the tree line and examined the wild flower strewn grass. She took a big sniff of air hoping for a scent that might give her a clue. There was nothing but the smell of gardenias.
Brown eyes looked at hands and feet, trying to place them. They were obviously hers but to whom did they belong? The woman didn’t know who she was, where she was, why she was there or how she got there. Fear loomed large, overpowering her small frame and making hot tears form in dirt brown eyes.
Standing up, the delicate featured female began walking toward the sound of the bells. She figured they would lead her somewhere. Maybe there she could find some answers. Eventually she came across a bike path. She began to follow it. Several bikers passed her along the way. One stopped just behind her.
“Serena, aren’t you going to say hello?” The voice was female, soft and regulated. It appeared angry.
“Is that my name?” Serena tilted her head as she turned to observe the biker. “Who are you?”
“That’s very funny, Serena,” the well-toned African American woman returned without smiling. “I’m not in the mood for one of your little jokes.”
“It’s no joke,” Serena whispered, her voice trembling. “I seem to have forgotten who I am.” Reaching to touch the back of her head, she made a face as her fingers touched a huge lump. “I’m guessing this egg has something to do with it,” she finished.
Simone got off her bike and moved forward. She put her hand where her friend advised. She too felt the growing lump. Her fingers were tinged with red when she finally withdrew them.
“You need to get to a hospital,” Simone commanded. “You probably have a concussion. Memory loss is possible under the right circumstances. Come, get on and I’ll take you.” Simone pointed to the bike.
Serena hesitated. “I heard church bells,” she muttered.
“Of course you did. They came from the university chapel. We are close. There is a clinic nearby too. You work there,” Simone pressed. “Come on Serena. We have to get you looked at.”
Nodding her head, the weakened woman mounted the back of the bike. Simone turned the vehicle around quickly and began peddling as fast as she could. It was long before the two women pulled up in front of the university hospital. “Come,” she said with authority.
Part of Serena wanted to resist. There was something about the hospital that frightened her. She wasn’t sure what it was.
“You say I work here?” She asked the question of her friend.
“Yes. Come, Serena, now!” Simone’s voice raised an octave to express her concern.
Together, the girls walked into the building and headed for the ER.
“Serena, you aren’t on duty today.” The words came from a male resident who happened to be heading down the hall as the girls passed by.
“No, she’s a patient,” Simone explained. “She hurt herself somehow. She has a big lump on the back of her head. She doesn’t even remember who she is.” Simone’s face clouded as the words came spilling out. “You need to examine her.”
Barking orders at the nurse sitting behind a nearby desk, the resident grabbed a wheelchair and forced Serena into it. “Let’s get you to x-ray.” Turning toward Simone he advised. “Get the paperwork started.”
“Do you remember what happened?” The question was expected but it still unhinged Serena.
“No, I woke up in the grass not too far from here. I didn’t know where I was; who I was. I still don’t.”
“I can help with that somewhat,” the man returned as he began positioning his patient for x-ray. “Your name if Serena Templeton. You are a resident here as am I. We work together.”
Serena turned to examine the man more closely. There was no hint of recognition. “I’m sorry,” she mumbled. “I don’t know you.”
“It’s okay,” he returned. “Right now let’s just concentrate on getting you better.” Then he barked more orders as the x-ray technician shot film.
“Does it hurt?” The question was a stupid one. A lump the size of a goose egg was bound to hurt and it did. “I can give you something for that once we rule out certain possibilities,” he comforted.
Serena nodded. “I’m tired. Can I lie down and take a nap?”
“Sorry, that’s the one thing you can’t do,” the resident stressed. “Not until be rule out a concussion.”
“But,” the woman began to argue until blackness claimed her a second time. When light once again made its way into her eyes, it was Simone’s face above hers.
“You scared us half to death,” the woman whistled. “You have to stop doing that, Serena,” she pleaded. “We wondered if you would wake up again or not. You have a bad concussion. You have to stay awake for a couple of hours.”
“I’m not sure I can do that,” Serena started. Suddenly a shadow caught her out of the corner of her eye. She screamed and grabbed on to her friend. “Who is that?”
“Who is who?” Simone’s face grew more worried. “There’s no one here but you and I,” she insisted.
“But I saw him,” Serena insisted. “He was right there.” She pointed to her right.
“Serena, there is no one there. I promise you,” Simone said with a firm voice.
“What about that doctor? Where did he go?”
“You mean Charlie? He has other patients to tend to. He’ll be back when he can.”
“Then it wasn’t him,” Serena mumbled still shaking with fear.
“Serena, could it be a memory of what happened to you? You need to try and remember if you can. The police will be coming to question you soon.”
“I don’t know,” the woman admitted. “I guess it is possible.” Suddenly another flash crossed her vision. It was that of a white coat. Grabbing Simone’s hand, Serena held it tightly.
Another flash made her think dark hair. Somehow that comforted Serena. Charlie had blonde hair.
“Are you starting to remember?”
“Maybe,” Serena returned. “But I’m not sure that’s a good thing.”
“Why?” Simone’s eyes questioned.
“I think I was attacked here at the hospital,” Serena whispered. “I also think my attacker was a colleague.”