Under Cover of Night
She didn't know who she was, or were she came from. All she felt was pain, searing pain. Pain that made it feel like her brain would burst. She didn't know what had caused the pain but she did know that it hadn't been there for very long.
There was the sound of some thing gurgling and bubbling near by, and she thought she had gone blind, for it was so dark that she could see nothing. She was enveloped in blackness so deep that there was no light. No light that is, until she turned over. As she turned, the pain crashed against her head making her curl into a fetal position. While lying on her side, she felt a grainy, rough surface under her cheek. She explored it with her fingers and found that it was individual little grains that ran through her fingers as she separated them.
As the pain subsided to what it had been, she realized that the dark had changed slightly. Putting all her will into it, she slowly uncurled and turned the rest of the way over so she lay on her back. Immediately, little fireworks were set off in her head, though not as intense as before. Silently, she groaned and squeezed her eyes shut. It hurt. Real bad.
When the fireworks dispersed, she slowly opened her eyes. As she looked up again, she thought she saw little lights twinkling at her from above. The sky, for that's what it was, was void of anything but these twinkling lights.
What are they? She wondered unable to look for a moment as her eyes got used to the faint light of the shiny masses. They weren't some figment of her imagination, she decided, because when she looked back up at them, they were still in the same place.
As she looked at them, she thought she heard a high pitched, beautiful, strangely piercing sound like singing. Peace stole over her. Even though she didn't know where she was, what was going to happen to her, or what had happened to her, she knew, somehow, that there was something up there, with those singing lights, that was going to take care of her.
When the pain had subsided to a dull ache, she decided that no matter what she had to get away from where ever she was. She mentally evaluated her body. Every little bit of her ached. She felt bruised all over. One of her shoulders was on fire and, as she found out by feeling it gently with her fingers, was swollen. Still, she decided to give it a go.
Slowly, with her good arm, she pushed herself into a sitting position. The pain in her skull was awakened once more, like a sea monster rising above the surface of the waves, angry at being roused. The pain caused her stomach to heave and she found herself retching uncontrollably on to the surface beside her. Slowly, the retching stopped, leaving a burning sensation in her throat, and her head stopped spinning.
Holding her head in her working hand she willed the pain to stop. But, her will wasn't strong enough. Her head throbbed mercilessly. However, she was in a sitting position.
So far so good. A thought pushed through the fire.
After the sea monster slept again, she dared to look around. By the faint light coming from above, she could make out a huge, towering object. Thinking she might be able to lean against it when she tried to stand, she started to slowly inch herself towards it by pulling with her good hand and pushing with her legs.
As she made her way to the object her hand encountered another surface, not exactly prickly, but not exactly soft either. She stopped and slowly lowered her head until her cheek was laying in it. She wondered what it was. Angry that she couldn't remember, she searched her pounding skull.
Remembering that she also didn't know what the lights were she crawled the rest of the way on to this new surface and then gently lowered herself onto her back. In her head, the sea monster stirred as if to remind her that she should move gently. As she looked up at the lights, once again she heard the beautiful, yet heart-piercing music. She was certain now that they were singing, and yet she was not amazed, for she could not remember a time when these lights had not sung.
She closed her eyes and tried to conjure up any memories she might have had that would tell her what or who these singers were, but she could not remember anything. Every memory was burning, burning, burning, in the fire in her brain. A memory would show itself slightly and disappear before she had time to truly know what it looked like. There was nothing except fire in her brain.
And yet, here came a tune. There were words in it. She had never heard the tune before but the words seemed somehow familiar.
Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. It said. The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish.
As if answering these words of affliction came words more beautiful still. This song came from outside her head though. The singers were answering her thought.
Shout for Joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.
Immediately, the peace that had been there in subdued quietness, flooded back with overpowering reassurance. She felt ready to do anything and go anywhere.
Quickly, she sat up-and immediately regretted doing it so fast. The fire roared within her and she shivered uncontrollably. As the fire lowered, she crawled towards the towering object she had seen in the first place. When she reached it she sat back against its rough surface and closed her eyes.
She listened to the whisper of leaves above her.
Her eyes flew open as she realized that she had remembered what she was leaning against.
It was a tree and those were leaves above her.
Her eyes filled with joy and tears ran down her face.
"Thank you," she whispered into the night. "Thank you for giving me at least one memory back."
Now that she was at the tree, the next thing to do, she decided, was to try standing. By leaning against the tree, she was able to pull herself to her knees and then to stand. She cried out in pain as she put weight on one of her feet.
In order to walk, she got back down on her knees and crawled around looking for a stick on which to support her weight. When she found one, she got to her feet slowly, using the stick for support and hobbled around the tree a few times.
Looks good! A thought jumped over the flames in her head.
She decided she had spent enough time in one place and hobbled off into the night.