A FREE short story by Colin Devonshire, read http://www.dark-novels.com or listen Anchor.fm

Who Are You? Who Am I?

A gentle click and a kittenish hum accompanied Amy’s unladylike yawn. She looked around and apologised to no one, at least no one awake.

“It’s six o’clock, you asked me to call you,” as a lively nurse popped her head around the door. Amy checked her watch.

“Thank you, I’d better go,” Amy dabbed her eyes as she did every day. She twirled her engagement ring as she did on the hour. As she did every hour.

“Miss Amy, can you hold on for a moment, the doctor wants to talk to you?”

“Is there any change?” Amy asked hopefully.

The nurse ducked away without answering. Signalled for her to follow.

“But this is not the doctor’s office,” said Amy as they stood outside a door labelled ‘Dr Franks – Psychiatrist’. 

“Good luck,” the nurse whispered.

“Come in, come in,” said the good-looking man with his arm outstretched ready to shake. 

“Why am I here?” asked Amy.

“Please sit down. The staff thought it would be helpful if we spoke.”

“But why?” she repeated.

“You’ve visited your boyfriend daily since his eh, accident. Every day, you come at the same time, you leave at the same time.”

“So what? I am a teacher, therefore I finish work at four, is it not normal for me to arrive just after that time?”

“Yes, I guess it is. The professor wanted me to ask you something, can I do that?”

“Yes, depends on what it is. Anything about me, fine, including OCD.”

“Oh, you know about the obsessive-compulsive disorder, have you seen someone about it?”

“No, I don’t need to. What do you want to ask?”

“We all feel we need to improve your life.”

“And how do you propose to do that? Bring Jake back to me?” 

“Jake has not changed in months, his doctors all agree, sadly, he won’t.”

“Are you planning on turning off his life support?” tears appeared as she studied the man’s eyes.

Rain hammered the window pane, cleaning weeks of accumulated dust. The summer had been the driest for years. A distant rumble made Amy shake her head.

“Amy, you are not his next of kin, his father is,” he stopped speaking as Amy fumed.

“His family doesn’t care about him, I’m the only one who cares. You will not turn him off.”

“We all understand, but,” again he shut his mouth as Amy put her finger to his mouth. 

“I won’t hear of it!”

She turned and fled back to her boyfriend’s room.

Thunder crashed above the hospital’s roof. Lightening flashed, instantly brightened the dull lights.

As Amy burst through the door, a shattering blast from the clouds rocked the building, so loud it seemed an earthquake had hammered London. An even larger blast shattered glass, windows splintered inwards as a lightning bolt crashed into the roof. 

The power failed as Dr Franks rushed after her. The only light now came from sparks raining from power points around the room.

“Don’t worry, the emergency generator will kick in,” he said.

“What about Jake?” she wailed, shaking the dead wires attached.

“Saves me a problem,” thought Dr Franks, immediately cursing himself for the idea.

Amy’s scream echoed as the temporary power flicked on.

“Oh, God,” shrieked Dr Franks. His fingers shook as he hammered his mobile.

Jake was sitting. His eyes blinked, Amy hugged him, gently at first, then with all her might.

Puffs of smoke escaped from tubes as he pulled at them, throwing plastic tubes and wires away from his body.

“Jake, Jake, oh, you’ve come back to me,” Amy cried as she clung to him.

His voice croaked drily as he asked, “Who are you?”

Amy drifted, agony and joy. Should she laugh or cry?

“Who am I?”

Nurses and a doctor dashed to the bedside as Amy and Dr Franks were shoved aside.

Jake collapsed backwards as they wheeled him to an emergency ward. He turned to a nurse, “You are expecting a son, a lovely boy,” he whispered in her ear.

The newly married girl grinned, pushing the bed ahead.

“I doubt that,” she mouthed to him. 

Dr Franks put his arms around Amy trying to quell the panting of her breath, the quivering of her limbs as her knees buckled, Franks led her to a chair.

“He has been comatose for ten months two weeks and three days, suddenly he sits up. What just happened?” she stammered.

“That is as close to a miracle you’ll ever see,” the stunned psychiatrist panted.

“Will he be alright?” she asked.

“As soon as I’ve got you settled, I’ll find out,” Dr Franks said as he led her to a private room.

Amy sobbed quietly and waited to compose herself. The time dragged, not realising Amy had not twirled her ring, nor had she checked the time. She was about to ask for a nurse when Dr Franks knocked and entered beaming.

“Tell me,” she asked.

“Incredibly, he is fine, his heart is strong. All the tests they performed shocked the medical team. We expect him to get back to normal, but he’s likely to be exhausted.”

“Can I see him?” she begged.

“You can come with me.”

Amy’s heart was pounding like a steam engine as she entered his room. Nurses moved aside as Amy rushed to the bed.

“Oh, Jake, darling Jake, I love you so much.”

“Thank you, for the lovely thought, I’m sure I could love you too. But, who are you?”

Amy lost her smile. She stared at Dr Franks.

“Don’t worry, it’s quite normal to lose your memory temporarily,” said Dr Franks.

Jake raised his hand, like a naughty schoolboy, “Who am I? You called me Jake, is that my name?”

Looks bounced between Amy and Dr French, then between Amy and Jake.

“What do you remember?” asked Amy.

“All I know, I was in a better place.”

That comment stunned Amy. Her ring untouched, the diamond was on show. Its sparkle forced a smile.

“Better than with me?” she asked smiling down at him.

“I was a wisp, floating through time and space. The lights of a billion shades twinkling calling me nearer.”

“Calling you nearer what?” asked Dr Franks.

“The endless chase, what else?” answered Jake.

Amy and the psychiatrist gaped, lost in their own minds.

“Did you hear anything?” asked Franks.

“Sounds floated, opera, violins, and indescribable noises, so beautiful you want to embrace them.”

Amy held his hands as asked, “Can you remember meditating in our bedroom? You were sat on our light blue carpet, you were listening to your old CD player, Thai monks whispering a chant. I was tidying up around you. Dressed and ready for work, I bent to kiss you goodbye, as I did every day. But this time you were cold to touch. I could not feel a pulse and immediately called for an ambulance. Do you recall any of that?”

Jake took what seemed a millennium. He looked at her unknowing why, but sure somehow he would hurt her before he answered, “I don’t know you.”

Dr Frank put his hands on her shoulders, “Come on, we had better let Jake rest. He may remember more after relaxing.”

Amy looked up, staring deep into his eyes, “I am at peace.”


If you enjoyed that, try a full-length novel amazon.com/author/colindevonshire

Or The Glass Kingdom, by Lawrence Osborne.

The Glass Kingdom: A Novel by [Lawrence Osborne]

Escaping New York for the anonymity of Bangkok, Sarah Mullins arrives in Thailand on the lam with nothing more than a suitcase of purloined money. Her plan is to lie low and map out her next move in a high-end apartment complex called the Kingdom, whose glass-fronted façade boasts views of the bustling city and glimpses into the vast honeycomb of lives within. 

It is not long before she meets the alluring Mali doing laps in the apartment pool, a fellow tenant determined to bring the quiet American out of her shell. An invitation to Mali’s weekly poker nights follows, and—fueled by shots of yadong, good food, and gossip—Sarah soon falls in with the Kingdom’s glamorous circle of ex-pat women.

But as political chaos erupts on the streets below and attempted uprisings wrack the city, tensions tighten within the gilded compound. When the violence outside begins to invade the Kingdom in a series of strange disappearances, the residents are thrown into suspicion: both of the world beyond their windows and of one another. And under the constant surveillance of the building’s watchful inhabitants, Sarah’s safe haven begins to feel like a snare.

From a master of atmosphere and mood, The Glass Kingdom is a brilliantly unsettling story of civil and psychological unrest, and an enthralling study of karma and human greed.