“You’re not losing your mind, it’s being stolen.”
“I’m sorry, what? Who’s this?”
A terrible night out, some shitty-ass drugs, and a weird phone call. At least Giles now had an explanation for the weird flashing images he’d been seeing.
“I’m Leyla. I’m with the government. We’ve been following—”
“Hey, no man. Leave me out of this. I didn’t do nothing.”
“We don’t care about the drugs. Something worse is happening. More importantly, your life is in danger. You’ve been seeing clear visions of your memories, yes?”
“Um… yeah,” Giles said. The images were getting to him, to be honest. Ecstasy wasn’t supposed to do that.
“And you thought you were getting molly, yes?”
“How do you know this?”
“There’s no time. We have one hour to get the drugs out of your system, and hopefully get some clues on who’s doing this. Walk out across the street. There’ll be a black van. Get in so we can save your memory. We’ll need it.”
“You’re crazy, woman. Don’t call me ever again.” Giles hit the red circle icon and stuffed his phone into his pocket. It’d been a really weird night. That woman knew an awful lot about him. But there were some pretty intricate scams going on these days. Yet…
Giles walked back into the club and dashed across the dance floor, making his way past the poles and into the dimly-lit VIP section.
“Mike! Hey Mike!” Giles yelled. He pushed past the bouncer, who promptly stiff-armed him. “Let me in, man. I got a pass.”
After seeing the circular glow on Giles wrist, the bouncer reluctantly stepped aside.
“Mike! Hey look here!” His friend’s eyes were rolled back into his skull, and it took a couple of takes before Mike seemed to recognise Giles.
“Hey man! This is some pretty good shit!” Mike said.
“Where did you get our stuff from, man? Do you remember the dealer?”
“Huh? Man I’m so high right now. I love you, bro!”
“Listen to me. Things seem a little dodgy—hey, let me go! I told you I have a pass!”
The bouncer from earlier had a firm grip on Giles’ tricep, one that felt impossible to shake off. The large-set man leaned in, almost as if he wanted to whisper to Giles, but then he proceeded to speak into the microphone on his jacket.
“Yes ma’am. I have him right here. I’ll bring him out,” the bouncer said.
“What are you doing man? Hey Mike! Tell him to lay off. Mike!”
Then the lights turned on—or at least they seemed to—and for a moment it was Katie, his girlfriend, who was holding his arm. What the fuck?
“Why do you always have to go out with Mike?” she asked. They were in his room. He was dressed up, ready to go out, and she was in her pyjamas. “He’s nothing but trouble. And you, you promised me you’d stay in today!”
“I do whatever the hell I want!” Giles yelled. His memories again. This happened just a few hours ago. Every time he had a flashback, it was as if he was transported right back there. Even his acid trips from before were less vivid.
These were memories, not hallucinations, because no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t change the course of his actions. It was as if his life was on replay, and he was just a first-hand observer.
He wanted to stay. Going out was a huge mistake, but the events continued to unfold out as they’d happened. He didn’t want to say what was coming next: “You’re just a bloody drag, do you know that? You’re nothing but a nuisance in my life!”
The look on her face, those tears—his heart ached the first time he saw them. It ached even more now.
Giles slammed the door behind him, leaving the image of a hurting Katie—arms to her chest, hands scrunching her shirt, lips quivering—behind. The slammed door turned into a car door.
“I’m sorry we had to do this, Giles. We had to act quick.”
A lady in a button-up shirt and slacks sat before him. They were in an SUV of sorts, the seats facing each other.
“Wha? What’s going on?”
“I’m Leyla. You’re losing your memories, bit by bit. We’re here to help. I’m going to need you to trust me.”
“No. No, let me out! What’s wrong with you people? I’m not going anywhere with you!”
Giles reached for the door and yanked at the handle. Locked. That didn’t stop him from trying again. Recognising the futility, he finally resorted to pounding on the tinted windows, yelling his lungs out while at it. Leyla didn’t do anything to stop him as the vehicle sped off. He pounded, and pounded, and pounded.
“You gotta pound it right here,” Giles said, as he hammered his fist on the vending machine. “Sometimes it acts up, but I know how to get around it.”
The lady beside him giggled. Giles had had his eyes on her since she walked into the convenience store. He never believed in love at first sight, but one thing was for sure, he’d found the love of his life that day.
Honestly, this was his first time even seeing this damn vending machine. But when nothing came out after she’d stuck her dollar bill in, he knew that there’d never be a better chance to get to know her.
“Well,” she said, “looks like I’m never getting my soda.”
“Um, yeah. By the way, has anyone ever told you that you have the bluest eyes in the world? No wonder the sky’s so grey.”
The stranger continued smiling. That was a good sign.
“Terrible pick-up line,” she said, “but I’ll bite. Name’s Katie. What’s yours?”
“The name’s Gi—”
“Paging for Denise Smith. Paging for Denise Smith. Please come to counter number four, I repeat, counter number four. Your son’s looking for you.”
“Paging for Doctor Richards! We’ve got another one!”
White lights blinded Giles’ eyes, and he’d made the transition from moving car to moving stretcher with no recollection of anything in between. In his lapsing consciousness, all he could make out were masked faces and fluorescent lights zipping past him.
“Mister, Davis? Giles Davis?”
“Yeah, that’s me. Where… where am I?”
“You’re fine, Mister Davis. We’re gonna need an emergency contact. Do you have anyone we can call?”
“Katie. Katie Wils—”
“Giles? What happened? Are you all right?”
“It’s me. Are you okay? Are you hurt?”
“I… I don’t know.”
Giles turned around. He stood outside a duplex unit and it was dark out. He was Giles Davis, he went to Dougherty Valley High School, and graduated from the university of California. That’s all he knew, for now.
“Let’s go home,” the woman said.
“Where am I? Who are you?”
“Giles,” the look on her face turned dour. Somehow, it felt like he’d knew her for ages. “Giles, it’s me, Katie. Someone called me to come get you, said you were in trouble. Giles, are you all right? You’re scaring me.”
“I’m sorry… I really don’t know who you are.”
“Giles…” tears streaked down her cheeks.
“Your eyes though… they’re so blue. No wonder it’s so dark out.”
The woman cried even harder, much to Giles’ confusion. But one thing was for sure though—he’d found the love of his life that night.