“Can you hear my voice?”
The sound was like an angel calling out in the vast darkness. Every direction he looked, pitch black void met his eyes. No sight of the angel, nor the heaven it called home, just that sweet sound, humming through the abyss.
“Are you in there?”
A pinpoint of light formed in the distance, not over the horizon that didn’t exist, but far off in the darkness, a distant star blinking in a sea of numb. He began to move toward the light even before the woman asked him to come forward, to follow her voice. He felt not like a man but a pair of floating eyes drifting through the void. Sure enough, when he tried to look at his hands he found he had none, the same with feet or legs or body. He was pure and hollow, a memory of a dream of a thought, a formless being drifting through the ether; drawn to a sound.
“That’s it,” she encouraged, “that’s it, keep it up.”
The pinpoint grew and grew until it was a glowing tunnel of light that drew his bodiless form further in, the speed increasing as its warmth whispered into him, the glow overtaking his vision and thoughts and all other sensation. The light became all that he was and all he’d ever known. As he moved further inside it, the light changed from pure yellow-white to an entire spectrum of dazzling colors that mixed and danced along with a funnel of swirling sound. Then the colors began to separate, morphing into differentiated shapes with soft but distinct lines, and the noise, too, became unique, beeps and hums and voices discussing him as if he weren’t there, until everything drew into focus and the light that had drawn him in became the light being shone into his eyes by a see-through man.
The room was too bright. He squinted painfully, barely able to open his eyes. A woman called for the room to be dimmed. A moment later the light was cut in half, enough to make out the woman in a white lab coat. He turned his head looking for the see-through man who had held the light in his eyes. Instead, he found he was lying on an inclined medical bed in a room full of screens, observed by a young guy and an even younger girl.
“Well, hello,” the woman greeted him. She had a warm smile, her blue-green eyes bright and sparkling clear beneath bright red hair. “I trust you slept well.”
He tried to ask her where the ghostly man had gone, but no sound came to his lips. Not even a whisper or a grunt.
“Don’t try to talk. Your vocal cords are still waking up.” She checked a panel of light next to his head. “Along with the rest of you. Don’t be alarmed if you feel a little…tingling in certain areas.”
The young guy glanced at the young girl. The girl smiled.
“Keep it together, you two,” the woman in white warned. They both wiped the smiles from their faces.
She returned her attention to the display, where soft beeps accompanied the dancing lights. “Your circulation looks excellent, as do your muscle and bone densities. Body temperature has climbed to ninety-six. Respiration rate is approaching normal. You’ll have to test out your excretory system on your own. I’ll assume it’s functioning properly unless you tell me otherwise. The same goes for your reproductive functions.” She shot another look at the young girl and guy as she tapped her finger on the light panel. “Endocrine levels are slightly low, as is immune response, but that will improve. As for your nervous system…”
Something jabbed the bottom of his toe. An electric tingle shot up his leg, causing his entire body to jump against the smooth bed. He hadn’t realized until that moment that he was being held down by three, white straps stretched from one side to the other. His muscles strained against the tight fabric.
The woman in white smiled down at him. “You appear to be a slightly ticklish, but otherwise healthy man.”
At the press of a screen the straps released him, withdrawing across his naked skin to disappear inside the bed. He sat up, suddenly wanting to be off the bed more than anything. But the quick motion made his head swim. The woman rushed forward to hold him up as he nearly doubled over to the floor.
“Calm down,” she said. He looked down at her warm fingers on his cold arm, suddenly realizing his groin was barely covered up by a thin band of material. She withdrew her hand and brushed the hair over her ear. “Take your time. It’ll be a little while before you’re yourself again.”
There were so many questions he wanted to ask, questions he was just finding the words for, starting with what the hell had just happened to him on that medical bed. Again he tried to speak, taking a breath and pushing the air back out. “Hhh..whhh…who,” he managed to ask.
“Sorry, I should have introduced myself. I’m Doctor Hannigan.”
He shook his head. She straightened, realizing what he’d meant.
“Total memory loss. Sunn really did do a lot of work on you.” She made a note on the screen before turning back to him. “Just relax for now, I promise this will all make sense soon.” She checked the display on her wrist. “I’m sorry, I have to be going. There are some clothes for you over there.” She motioned to a series of lockers. “One of the Psych Doctors will be here soon to perform their evaluation.” The woman in white walked to the door, pressing a button which dilated the door open for her. It moved so smoothly that it barely made a sound. The young girl and guy were lost in conversation as they shut their systems down and gathered their things.
Ignoring the inane chatter coming from the two young ones, he turned back to the woman already halfway into the metallic hallway. “Wh-where am I,” he asked hoarsely. She stopped and glanced back, giving him one more smile to warm his cold skin.
“You, my friend, are back in the land of the living,” she replied. Without another word she disappeared around the corner, down the metal hallway.