She wandered with no direction or purpose. She had no memory of who she was, where she had come from, why she was walking along a totally unfamiliar street - nothing she saw or heard was familiar. As clean as an erased flash drive, her mind contained no data.
She was a young woman of perhaps nineteen or twenty, with blonde hair and blue eyes. She strolled along a sidewalk in the downtown section of a small city, past little stores and other places of business. People she passed stared at her. A few held their noses and backed away. She stared back at them, wondering what it was about her they found offensive.
A policeman noticed her and parked his patrol car by the curb. He got out and walked toward her. He was young, in his early twenties, with brown hair and eyes.
"Are you all right?" he asked.
"I don't know." Her voice sounded strange to her, weak and hoarse.
"Do you know where you are?" She shook her head, and her eyes began to fill with tears.
"What's your name?"
"I don't remember." It was almost a whisper.
The young man took her hand and said, "Come with me." He helped her into his patrol car, fastened her seat belt, and drove her to a hospital, where the nurse on duty weighed her and took her vital signs.
"Your blood pressure is extremely low," the nurse told her.
She took a blood sample and told the girl to sit in a chair and wait for the results. When they came back, the physician on duty stared at them with bulging eyes as he gasped.
"Well, it's no wonder your blood pressure is so low! You're severely anemic. So much so that I frankly can't understand how you could be up and walking around. I'm admitting you immediately and putting you on a hemoglobin drip."
With assistance, the girl removed her clothing, then was given a bath and helped into a hospital gown. Although everyone else was dressed warmly, she felt strangely unaffected by the emergency room's frigid temperature. She lay down on the examining table as she was told and accepted the offered blanket, although she didn't really feel she needed it. After some difficulty, the nurse found a vein and started an IV.
A few feet away, a nurse wrinkled her nose as she gestured toward the pile of clothes the girl had removed and, so as not to be heard by the girl, whispered, "Those really should be burned; they smell like someone was buried in them."
"And not very recently either," another nurse agreed with a shudder.