Memories of a Freedom Lost – Chapter 4: Reconnect

Lilac wasn’t getting better.

Actually, she seemed to be getting worse.

No amount of help or encouragement appeared to be doing much for her. When she was addressed, she took to the comfort of her bed sheets. She spoke only when spoken to, and even then her responses were short and strenuously pieced together. When the doctor spoke about advancing her rehabilitation, she froze up near completely.

She didn’t show any interest or enthusiasm for getting better. Not when the doctor brought it up, not when Milla prompted her about it. From Carol’s point of view, she could hardly be blamed for it; the girl could barely even hold a pencil properly.

Days of attempts led to zero progress in the reading and writing category, and they seemed to have tried everything. And oh how Milla in particular tried everything. She tried having Lilac repeat sentences back to her. She tried reading one page at a time. She tried drawing letters and having Lilac trace over them. She tried holding Lilac’s hand while she traced over them.

But nothing changed.

Continue reading “Memories of a Freedom Lost – Chapter 4: Reconnect”

Memories of a Freedom Lost – Chapter 3: Distance

“She has what?!”

“Retrograde amnesia.”

“What the heck does that mean?!” Carol shrieked.

Doctor Quack signaled for her to lower her voice. Carol looked to the door that they stood outside of. It was closed tight, the blind pulled down over the window. Although her eyes could not see through, Carol knew that her voice could pierce that barrier, and the volume would only raise panic in her bedridden best friend. So rather than screaming further, she let her hyperventilation do the talking for her.

“It means that she’s lost her memories,” the doctor explained, moderate and gentle in his tone. “I’m afraid her injury was more severe than we had expected…”

“Lost her… Lost her…” Carol couldn’t bring herself to repeat the entire thought. She swallowed the lump in her throat and shook her head, refusing eye contact. “So, she just… can’t remember anything?”

The doctor hesitated before glancing back over his notes. “Well, she hasn’t forgotten everything, per say… She wouldn’t be alive if she had. That is, you see, she’s retained basic functions, breathing, eating, etcetera… We’re still testing, but she seems to at least mostly recall how to speak, and—”

“But her?” Carol cut him off, and he stared down at her uneasily. “Her, her past? Her friends? Who she is? It’s, it’s all just… gone?”

The doctor lowered his head solemnly. “I’m sorry.”

Carol pressed her palm against her forehead.

“I’ll give you some time.”

Continue reading “Memories of a Freedom Lost – Chapter 3: Distance”

Memories of a Freedom Lost – Chapter 2: Sirens

Sirens blared around the capital city of Shang Tu. Streets were cleared to make way for the ambulance carrying its top priority patient off to the city’s best hospital. Tailing behind was the motorcycle of Carol’s, which carried her and Milla just in the vehicle’s wake. Milla had her face buried in Carol’s back, wetting her shirt. Carol blinked her own tears away from her eyes, laser focused on the road ahead of her.

Upon arrival at the Shang Tu Hospital, Lilac was immediately removed from the ambulance and hurried inside on a stretcher. Carol looked on vacantly from the sidelines, patting Milla gently when she hugged her arm.

They weren’t allowed in the room while the doctors worked, much to Carol’s outrage. Milla was able to convince her that it wasn’t worth arguing, however, and they were sat in the hallway outside. Tension filled the air, the two taking turns glancing up at the glowing red sign over the door. Doctors and nurses passed in and out on various occasions. None were especially in a hurry. Milla kept breaking into periodic fits of sniffling and sobbing into her hands. Carol was too lightheaded to remember how comfort worked.

Hours passed (or at least what might as well have been hours; the clock was ticking unnecessarily slow) and Milla cried herself to sleep in Carol’s lap. Carol fended off her own exhaustion with pointed persistence, though she realized that she probably wasn’t helping herself by running her fingers through Milla’s hair. She stared up at the red sign over the door, glowing just as bright as ever. However, barely a moment later, it flicked off. Suddenly, Carol was wide awake.

The door opened, and all of the doctors and nurses who had been inside filed out. A couple glanced down at Carol and Milla, but each continued on with their own business. Except for the last one, that is. He was a tall, aging bird man with gray-blue feathers, dressed in a clean white coat. He looked to Milla, fast asleep, then turned his attention to Carol and smiled gently.

“Carol Tea, I presume?” he said quietly, and Carol nodded. “My name is Doctor Romedius Quack. I’ve been placed in charge of your friend’s care.” He reached down to shake Carol’s hand. “You made a good choice bringing her here. The treatment she received before she arrived may have saved her life, but her condition would have worsened had she not been left in our hands.”

“So she’s going to be okay?” Carol asked.

Quack’s smile weakened. “She’s going to live.”

Despite the two keeping their volume to a minimum, Milla stirred from her slumber. Her ears lifted somewhat as she gazed sleepily up at the doctor before her. “Can we see her?” she squeaked.

The doctor frowned.

Continue reading “Memories of a Freedom Lost – Chapter 2: Sirens”