Long Lost gave me too many opportunities for backstory bits, you guys had to know some of it was coming one of these days.
So. Let’s have a sad Demetrius scene.
Oh yeah. -thumbs up-
For those of you who haven’t read Long Lost/don’t know what I’m talking about, you can read it HERE, or just plow forward without knowing anything about everyone’s favorite insane time traveling historian. Either way works.
So here’s the story!
I woke up and I saw so many stars.
My dreams had been a mixed up, feverish jumble of memories spanning centuries. My back and limbs ached from sleeping on the rocks in the cave I’d found.
But out here alone in the Moroccan desert… I never thought I would ever see so many stars at once.
The clamor inside my mind finally quieted for a little as I craned my neck and looked up, taking it all in. I pushed off the wall for support and stumbled to my feet.
“How beautiful,” I breathed. It was odd, though. Looking longer, I could almost swear I had more than one memory of looking at a sky like this before. But it felt completely new.
The distant sounds of voices reached my ears and I caught the orange glow of firelight in my periphery. I blinked and turned my head.
A small caravan of traders sat around a campfire, talking with each other and laughing. Their camels rested nearby.
My heart leapt and I started towards them.
Other people.What I’d been looking for, ever since I came upon this desert path. I needed to…
My steps faltered as I grasped mentally for the end of the sentence.
I need to… to ask…
Ask them what?
Perhaps… directions? Though following the path seemed to be working out fairly well so far. A ride on a camel? Food? Advice?
It could have been any of those things.
I stopped and rubbed a hand over my face, blinking hard a few times. Perhaps I didn’t need to ask them anything at all. None of those things seemed to be ringing a bell. What was I even doing out here? Why had I come?
Didn’t I belong back in… in… was it New York? That little village in South America I remembered growing up in? A ship at sea, shouting orders to other men in blue coats? The place in Norway I remembered getting married in the summer and…
The memories came crowding to the front of my mind, like an entire classroom of children shouting a different answer to the same question. And somehow all of them seemed right.
I squeezed my eyes shut and pressed the heels of my palms to my forehead, trying to push back the dizzy, sick feeling that seemed to be coming so much more often these days.
Maybe I just needed to lie back down.
I didn’t need anything from the traders anyway. I’d let them enjoy their meal, and I’d enjoy my sleep. I’d watch the stars. That had helped before. Watch the stars until my mind quieted down and let me rest.
Then I’d go somewhere else. Anywhere else. I had my magical watch, after all. I couldn’t remember how I’d gotten it or how I even knew how to work it, but it would take me wherever I wanted to go, instantly.
Maybe if I found the right place, it would be completely quiet and the memories would stop bothering me. And I had all the time in the world to find it.
I swallowed and straightened my back, letting out a slow breath as I started back towards the cave.
One thought that wasn’t a memory kept buzzing persistently at the back of my mind as I walked, pressing the headache further into my skull.
There was something… somethingI was forgetting. It hovered just outside the edges of my mind and I could feel the vague outline of it, just out of reach and out of focus. If I just looked a little harder…
I unconsciously started patting down the pockets on my coat as I stepped back under the rock overhang of the cave. A piece of soft edged, slick paper hit my fingers and I gripped it almost automatically. Something important.I pulled it out of my pocket and held it up to the pale starlight.
A face smiled back at me from the grainy, black and white picture.
A woman. She was quite lovely. But why did I have her picture in my pocket? After all I was married and…
Then my memories of that face broke through the surface in my mind. It felt like a bucket of icewater had been dumped over my head.
My wife, Jane.
I…I’d almost forgotten about Jane.
That’s the whole reason I’m here in the first place it’s her it’s her I’m looking for her and I almost…
This whole time I’d lost so much else to the foreign memories taking over my mind, but never once had I forgotten what I was doing. My mission was my one constant. The one thing I was sure I’d never let go.
I’d never forgotten my wife before.
My hands trembled and my breathing hitched in my chest as my heartbeat sped up. I sat down hard on one of the rocks by the entrance of the cave. The already building pressure in my head spiked and I squeezed my eyes closed, gasping in the sandy-smelling, desert air.
I felt like screaming. I wished I could reach inside my head and shove away all the noise and all the images and experiences and memories that didn’t belong there. They’d muddled up everything else. I’d just… I’d been so sure that if I stayed focused on Jane, there could be one memory that would be safe from the sickness.
I thought the sickness would be so much more controllable. That I’d be able to ward it off somehow with worn out photographs and overconfidence in my own mental powers.
But I was getting worse.
Breathing hard, I set the picture in my lap and rubbed my hands over my face. My fingers touched a bristly beard I had no memory of growing and my heartbeat stuttered again.
I’m losing my mind. I’m… really losing my mind.
When I was at the society, I used to run over historical timelines in my head when I was worried and needed to distract myself. But the once straight line in my head was now a tangled snarl. Everything mixed together and just trying to sort any of it out made my head ache worse than before.
But it wasn’t the timelines in my mind I was worried about anymore. I wasn’t planning on being a historian anymore. I just needed to find Jane somewhere in that tangle of dates and then get us both back home. I was… I was going to be a husband. And a father.
And now I was losing that too.
I couldn’t forget again. I couldn’t forget her name. Had to make sure I didn’t…
My hands still shaking, I dug into my pockets again, fumbling through my things until I found a couple of old pens.
I set them off to the side and then worked on emptying the rest of the things in my pockets onto the rocks. The whole random assortment of belongings I had with me that I didn’t even remember why I had them. Everything I had. It all had to be a reminder.
So I sat there and worked. On everything that could be written on, I used the pen. And on everything that couldn’t, I scratched it out with a small knife I found in another of my pockets.
On the back of the photograph. Inside the gold cover of my watch. On every scrap of paper I’d collected. Everything I could find. Anything.
Jane Jane Jane Jane Jane…
I’m so sorry, love. I’m so so sorry I’ll never forget you again. I’ll find you. I’m still looking. Hold on.
Time passed. The night dragged on and I punctuated every second of every hour with her name. Muttering it under my breath, writing it on my skin.
Light spilled into the cave and found me blunting my knife as I carved it over and over again into the crumbling rock near the entrance, that I’d used to rest my head on when I first came here.
My breath still shuddered in my chest. I still felt a tiredness that ached inside my bones.
But I wouldn’t forget her name. Never again.
I sat back on my heels and swallowed, my throat feeling as dry as the sand all around me.
I slowly started putting everything back in my pockets, still chanting quietly under my breath. I got back to my feet and pulled out my watch, adjusting the dials once again. My hands didn’t shake anymore. And her name beat out a rhythm in my head as I continued on my search.
I dunno, I was just really happy with how that turned out, even if it is super sad.
Hope you guys enjoyed! And I’m taking suggestions for any other extra Long Lost stories you guys would like to see, if you have ideas. 😀
Have a great weekend, everyone!