I looked at her for a long time. There was profound familiarity in her appearance and scent, but I was confounded when trying to raise a memory of her – save the fact that she had been ahead of me in the queue back in The Institute’s lobby.
“Who are you?” I said.
“You don’t remember me?” she asked with a clear hint of disappointment.
“I’m sorry. No. You seem familiar, but I’m having difficulty with my memories.”
She breathed a laugh. “That’s what The Institute does,” she said and moved over to sit at the end of the bed.
“So why am I feeling like I don’t want to remember?” I said.
“That’s what The Institute does as well,” she added.
“This is all so bizarre. What’s with the man who lives here?”
“He just helps people like us. Individuals that changed their mind during the process.”
“During the brainwashing procedure?”
“Does he still work for The Institute? I mean, why’s he living so close.”
“He isn’t close – you were running for a very long time.”
“Oh,” I said and frowned. “So who are you?”
“I was a friend – at The Institute. We became close. Do you remember at all why you volunteered? Do you remember what you said to me about coping with pain?”
“I genuinely don’t remember anything. The man that lives here said the answers will come back in time and that I set myself up for this.”
I stared at her again for a while. Her light brown skin. Her green eyes, extremely attractive yet not sufficient to dissuade me from the pressing matter at hand. “What are you here for?” I said.
“To escort you out of here and help you get back your memories. In the hopes that I will retrieve mine as well.”
“So. Um. Where do we go first?” I said, feeling again this bizarre trust for a person I didn’t even know.
“We’re actually going to have to move fast.”
“Because we’re going to have to go on the run from The Institute.”