Every Time I Die

Image of RRRadan

RRRadan

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Swerving, screeching, screaming
A crash and burst of pain
Darkness absolute and total silence reign
Jolted into consciousness, heart racing in fear
Surroundings slowly settling and then becoming clear
Nausea rolls over me as I slowly sit up straight
An unsettling sense of déjà vu, as I wonder how I earned this fate...

"Oh, thank God you're awake!" I hear and find myself enveloped in a smothering hug. These people call me their daughter, Sarah, and I am confused; surely my name is Anna and I am an orphan. I ask them if the person in the other car is okay and they counter with, "What are you talking about? You were in a ski accident and not a car accident." The doctors comfort my ‘parents' with the assurance that time back at home will help me recover from my amnesia.

I say nothing but I know that they are wrong. How can I have amnesia when I can remember everything about my life up to the car accident?

Later, I get to explore my home and learn about my life with the Flint family as my ‘parents' take me through a bunch of scrapbooks. Nothing is familiar, but I don't have the heart to tell them when they are so happy to have me in their home. I only remember being Anna and as an orphan, this feeling of family was all I ever dreamed of. So I stayed silent and over the next six years became the Sarah they had always known and loved.

***

Shaking, stuttering, shrinking
A crack and burst of pain
Darkness absolute and total silence reign
Jolted into consciousness, heart racing in fear
Surroundings slowly settling and then becoming clear
Nausea rolls over me as I slowly sit up straight
An unsettling sense of déjà vu, as I wonder how I earned this fate...

"Darling, you are finally awake!" I hear and find myself enveloped in a bone-crushing hug. The man calls me his wife, Fiona, and I am confused; surely my name is Sarah and I am single. I ask him if they caught the thief that shot me and he counters with "What are you talking about? You were in a rock climbing accident and not involved in a robbery shooting." The doctors comfort my ‘husband' with the assurance that time back at home will help me recover from my amnesia.

I say nothing but I know that they are wrong. How can I have amnesia when I can remember everything about my life up to the robbery?

Later, I get to explore my country estate and learn about my life with my ‘husband' George as he flips through photos on his phone. Nothing is familiar, but I don't have the heart to tell him when he is so happy to hold me close. I only remember being Sarah and as a young college student finding a loving husband I could grow old with was something I had always dreamed of. So I stayed silent and over the next sixty-six years became the Fiona he had always known and loved.

***

Swearing, sobbing, strangling
A crash and burst of pain
Darkness absolute and total silence reign
Jolted into consciousness, heart racing in fear
Surroundings slowly settling and then becoming clear
Nausea rolls over me as I slowly sit up straight
An unsettling sense of déjà vu, as I wonder how I earned this fate...

"Prisoner 666 is finally awake," I hear and find myself prodded by a nurse. No one calls me by another name and I am confused; surely my name is Fiona and I live with my husband on an estate. I ask them if they caught the person who tried to kill me and with an odd look, they say, "What are you talking about? You tried to commit suicide after the family of the woman you murdered refused to let the court serve you the death penalty." The doctor mumbles to the nurse about how my amnesia may help me be less suicidal as I continue to serve my life sentence.

I say nothing but wonder if they are wrong. Can I really have amnesia when I can remember everything as Fiona up to being attacked?

Wait, that's not true. I remember being Fiona only as far back as waking up from a rock climbing accident. Although, as I recall, I had been in a robbery shooting incident at college, and wasn't my name Sarah? I reflect back on my life with the Flint family but my memories hit a dead end when I think back to waking up from a ski accident. Except that I remember it being a car accident while taking a road trip with my foster family, who knew me as Anna.

Later, as I lay alone and forgotten in my cell, I read through some newspaper clippings in a scrapbook to get my mind off my aching bones, chest pains, and sore throat. The first is an article of a drunk-driving incident that killed a young orphan girl and her foster parents. The second is an obituary for a college student shot in the chest by a bank robber for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. With mounting horror, I read the third article about an elderly mother and grandmother strangled for her wealth and the murderer sentenced to life in prison.

Suddenly my memories shift and reorient themselves from the perspective of the victim to the realization that I am the perpetrator. My whole life and the poor choices I've made begin flashing before my eyes in a seamless stream building up to the current moment where I am sitting in my cell. Everything is now familiar and I realize that in a sense I'd had a kind of amnesia. Even though those experiences must have been a dream born of guilt, my body seems to carry the pain of my victims into the present, including the heart-wrenching feelings of a life of happiness shattered in an explosion of agony. I wish I could forget the person I truly am and pretend I was Anna, Sarah, or Fiona who had lives full of potential and dreams. I wish I could at least provide some compensation or apology to those I had hurt to relieve the mounting pressure I feel, but I know it's too late.

So I stayed silent over the next 13 years and accepted my well-earned fate.

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Abigail Haworth · ago
Oooh I love this. A really cool mystery! And an interesting ending