(Not as edited as I'd have liked, but that's what happens on midterms week ;-; --also maybe a part two)
She opened her eyes to see weak light filtering through the dark green forest canopy, pine trees perhaps. Sitting up, she brushed the leaves from her hair and wondered how she had ended up lying on the forest floor. She tried to remember what she had been doing last, but it was blank, and with a shock, she realized she didn’t even remember her name.
It felt like it was on the tip of her tongue, just sitting there, but she couldn’t quite spit it out. A dark cold fear began creeping in, but before it took a great hold upon her, she realized that she recognized the forest. Gazing about, she saw a rather large boulder off to her left, and then suddenly, a memory floated to the tip of her mind. She had walked past this boulder before!
Emboldened by the recollection of a memory, she hopped up and started off in the way that she had remembered. As she trekked through the trees, following anything that looked familiar, new memories appearing as she continued on her way. Maybe once she made it to civilization, it would all come back to her.
To pass the time, she inspected the clothes she was wearing. It looked like a white dress, with long sleeves and nearly touching the ground. Strangely enough, she was wearing hiking boots.
“An odd combination. Also a dress while hiking? I’m sure I had more sense than that.”
She thought to herself, although she couldn’t be sure, considering the fact that she remembered absolutely nothing besides waking up and now these odd deja vu feelings she was blindly following through the forest. It bothered her that she could remember basic fashion rules, and names of trees, but not who she was and why she was here.
“Just like me to remember the useless things.”.
But was it like her? She didn’t know. She nearly screeched in frustration, but forced herself to calm down, and focus on the parts of the forest she remembered. She had turned here at the fallen tree with the mushrooms growing on top. As she continued, stopping occasionally to look for familiar landmarks, she decided she needed to call herself something since it didn’t seem she would be remembering her identity anytime soon.
Just then, a name came to her mind, sounding eerily familiar.
“Forest,” her mind whispered to her.
“Oh, come on, is that really my name?” she said aloud, annoyed at the irony, but the more she thought about it, the more familiar and correct it sounded.
“How uncreative.” Forest grumbled. But then again, her only memories were about this forest, so maybe there was actual meaning behind the name, but of course, she couldn’t remember.
Forest sat down on a stump that she remembered sitting on previously. When she had sat on it before, she had no idea. Suddenly she noticed scars encircling both her arms. Earlier she had rolled up her sleeves to alleviate some of the heat from wearing a full dress, but she hadn’t noticed the scars until now. Forest was fairly certain she hadn’t had those before she woke up in the forest, and yet again she couldn’t remember.
Shaking the thoughts from her head, she focused on what she could remember.
Ah yes, after this stump she had stood up, done a little spin jump off of it and continued in the direction she had been heading before she stopped.
“A spin jump, how childish.” She scoffed to herself. Yet as she stood up and thought to move around the stump, it felt wrong. Forest had to do a spin jump off the stump. The thought of not doing a spin jump felt so wrong it almost disgusted her.
“Fine, I’ll do it just this once.” she grumbled, doing a halfhearted spin jump, which oddly mirrored her memory of the one she had done before this one.
After another half hour of following her memories that seemed to appear one right after another as she moved forward, Forest began to worry. What if her memories were of her getting lost in the forest before she fell asleep, and she was going the complete wrong way?
No, that doesn’t make sense, because if I’m remembering, that means it’s in the past, and I’m going back the way I came.
Then again she contradicted herself.
But then again I never made it back to where I came from, because I woke up in the forest, so how could I know how to get back?
It felt like two Forests arguing in her head, but she decided to let them have at it, because there was simply nothing else she could do. One asked questions, and one answered them.
Or, you could have come here more than once, and you’re remembering a time you got back before.
“If you’d been here before, then when you had woken up, wouldn’t you have remembered two paths? Because I’m fairly certain that you wouldn’t have hiked all this way in a dress just to sleep in that particular spot in the forest, so logically, you fell asleep in the middle of the forest on the way to somewhere. Not to mention in your memories you’re wearing the same outfit which means-”
Forest cut off the train of thought from the Question Forest. How her thoughts had gotten too complex to understand was beyond her. All she knew for sure was that she remembered going this way, and for now, that was the only thing Forest was going to trust. She wouldn’t mull on her doubts right now. If it turned nightfall before she found any sort of civilization, she gave herself full permission to tell herself that she had told herself so.
As the sun sank lower and lower into the sky, Forest’s doubts began to seem more and more relevant.
“I suppose I thought I wouldn’t have wandered so far away from where people are” she thought, then laughed. Why would she assume something like that if she didn’t know jack squat about herself?
“I know my name though.”
Then a thought occurred to her. She had remembered her name when she had thought about naming herself. Maybe if she thought of other things, it would come back to her!
“My parent’s names are Jack and Diane, I live on Mulberry Street in London, England.” she thought, just pulling random names and streets out of her head. At first it sounded completely wrong, but as she sat there, it started to feel more familiar just as her name had. It was almost as if she had thought about this basic information as she walked along this same path.
As Forest continued to remember walking along, she remembered her thinking about how Jack and Diane were her parents, and she did live on Mulberry Lane in London, England.
She continued to think about her parents, and her past, and for some reason, it felt as if Jack and Diane were from Kansas or something, but that wouldn’t make sense if she lived in London. Perhaps they had moved. Yes, that was it, they had moved. Forest remembered thinking about it as she walked along this exact ground.
Just as the sun was slipping behind the tree line, making the forest start to dim, and shadows grow longer, Forest suddenly spotted a warm light in the distance.
Laughing in relief, she ran towards it. Her memories had been right. She was going to be okay. As she approached the light, she saw that it was coming from a cabin.
Wait a second, I remember entering this cabin. Have I been here before? Perhaps I’m on vacation?
The thought solidified in her head with every step she took towards the cabin. With confidence, she strode up to the door and walked right in. It had a nice cheerful light, and the basic cabin aesthetic with the cheery brick fireplace, wood paneling, and antlers mounted on the wall.
But this wasn’t the first thing Forest noticed. It was the man on the couch who was staring at her, face pale, jaw slack. He looked like he might faint. He stood unsteadily, and with his eyes never leaving her, he stumbled over the couch and various pieces of furniture to get to her. He acted as if he took his eyes off her, she would disappear. When he reached her, Forest allowed him to take her hands, because for some reason he seemed very familiar.
“Renee?” he whispered shakily, hope filling his features. Forest whirled. This man recognized her. But he had not said Forest, he had said Renee, and he was smiling relievedly. The name sounded foreign. She was certain her name was Forest. She remembered.
“My name is Forest.” she told him. This caught the man off guard.
“No, it’s Renee.” he said, his shock leaving him for a moment. He seemed so sure.
“No, it’s Forest, and my parents are Jack and Diane, and I live on Mulberry Lane.”
The man laughed, almost hysterically.
“Renee, those are just fake people from songs!”
“That’s not true,” she said emotionlessly, “I remember.”
“Do you remember me?” he suddenly asked, staring into her eyes. Forest could almost feel him willing her to remember.
His face crumbled. “I’m Jeremy. Your husband. This is our honeymoon.”
“Ha.” she scoffed despite the truthfulness in his expression. Once she saw him she would’ve remembered. “I don’t remember that. When I see things I usually remember things about them.”
“Like what?” he inquired despairingly. He seemed to be holding in tears.
“Like how I’ve walked in the forest from where I woke up to here. I remembered that. I remembered this cabin,” Forest thought for a moment, looking up to the ceiling and a new memory floated into her mind” I remember you making me a sandwich.” she recalled, slightly surprised.
As she looked down, she saw Jeremy frozen, with his hand outstretched to the bread on the counter.
“I was just about to make you one.” he said, dazed.
“Please do I’m starving.” she told him promptly. “Walking in the woods takes a lot out of you. Especially in a dress.”
“About that Renee..”
“Forest” she corrected him.
“....Forest. We were here for two days, before you went missing, and you never went out into the woods. We were at the lake.” he paused and gestured to her clothes. “And you weren’t wearing...that.”
“Did I have these?” she showed him the scars encircling her arms. Jeremy gaped.
“No! Oh God no!” he stumbled back, running both his hands through his hair. “Oh God, how could I let this happen?! Oh God. Someone hurt you.” Stepping toward her cautiously, he brushed his fingers gently along the scars.
“Your father gave you away to me less than a week ago and this is what happens. Renee what are we going to tell them?” his absentminded tone and familiarity with her life was strange to Forest.
When he tried to wrap his arms around her, she shied away, and the hurt was so prominent in his eyes, she almost beckoned him back. “Are you sure you don’t remember?” he asked pleadingly.
“I told you what I remembered.”
Jeremy thought about this for a second.
“Did you remember anything strange...or did anything strange happen when you remembered something?” he questioned.
“Yes, now that I think about it. I was sitting on a stump, and I was thinking about getting up, and I remembered doing a jump spin off of it, and I thought that was stupid, so I wasn’t going to do it, but I felt like I had to, so I did.”
Jeremy didn’t say anything for a few moments.
“Renee…. I think you’re remembering the future.”
It was Forest’s turn to laugh.
“Think about it!” he said excitedly, “When you ‘remembered’ you had to do it! And when you were thinking about your parents, it probably sounded strange at first, but as you were trying to remember, you saw the future, of you thinking about them, so it sounded familiar.”
“No, no it can’t be.” Forest shook her head.
“You ‘remembered’ me making you a sandwich, right as I was about to make you one!”
“So-everything I remembered wasn’t real?” the deep powerless feeling she had felt from the very beginning was slowly creeping in again. The one that had been held off by the supposed “memories” she had been having.
“Well technically you made it real.” Jeremy pointed out.
“How did you figure that out so fast? That my memories were from the future?”
“You know that I’ve always been fascinated by the future and time travel, space travel. Science fiction-y things.”
“Actually, I don’t remember.”
He shook his head trying to shake the idea from the head.
“I keep forgetting that,” tears formed suddenly, “I know you’re Renee, you look like her, talk like her, and you have the same habits and quirks as her, but I can tell you’re different because of the way you look at me. As a stranger.”
“It’s ok. I understand. I still love you.” the profession of love made Forest uncomfortable, and Jeremy noticed.
“Do you trust me Renee?” he asked quietly.
“My name is Forest,” she wanted to say, but then realized that what she had originally thought of it as being uncreative was actually true. It was hard to think of herself as Renee. Perhaps it would be better to call herself Forest, and if-when she got her memories back, she would go back to Renee.
He relaxed visibly. Forest felt strangely guilty.
“Ok we need to figure out what happened somehow.”
“Can’t we just go to the police?”
“No, no, no. Once they figure out what you can do, they’ll take you away.” Jeremy shuddered and growled. “I’m not letting anyone take you away from me again.”
It scared Forest to see such strong emotions towards her displayed from someone she felt like she barely knew. She paused, thinking about what he had said, and an idea blossomed in her mind.
“If I can see the future, or remember it… can I alter it, manipulate it?” she asked.
“Then what if I think about people coming back and giving me my memories?”
“Do you remember what they look like?”
“Then you probably can’t imagine them coming here.” Jeremy reasoned, then said, “Why don’t we do some tests?”
“Like what?” Forest replied warily.
“Like how far ahead you can remember the future.”
She thought, trying to remember. What was she remembering though? Forest decided to focus on Jeremy.
Closing her eyes, she started to remember, or see, she supposed. She saw him talking to her for a while, and she tried to push farther. It almost fast forwarded, with them zooming around the house.
“What do you see?” Jeremy asked. Forest opened her eyes. It was impossible to fast forward remember and have a conversation at the same time.
“You, and me, in this cabin for a couple days it looked like. There were some blank parts.”
“Hmm. That must mean that you can only “remember” the future you are in, so actually similar to memories.” he reasoned. Again, Forest was impressed, and slightly suspicious of his knowledge about the future and how it worked.
“Can you remember even further?”
“I was trying before you interrupted me.” she told him. He made a gesture for her to continue. Forest closed her eyes, again, and like she had before, tried to focus on Jeremy, and then fast forward. It felt like she was pushing her brain forward in a sense. Suddenly it started going so fast, it was just a whir of frames whistling through her brain. Frantic, she mentally hit the brakes. It halted, and played in what Forest assumed was real time. For some reason, there was no sound.
A bloodied Jeremy lay on the floor of what looked like a warehouse. Trying to push himself up, he yelled something, paused as if listening, but there was no sound. Then he pulled out a knife, stumbling towards something that was obscured by boxes. It was still silent, eerily silent. As he ran, screaming at the unseen threat, suddenly there was sound.
Gunshots. Loud and clear.
Jeremy jerked back several times before collapsing on the floor, his blood slowly seeping from his body. From inside the memory, Forest screamed, but there was still no sound.
Only the gunshots.
Forest opened her eyes to a curious Jeremy standing in front of her, his eyes filled with concern, excitement, and also love and care. Emotions she had probably once felt for him, but no longer remembered.
“What did you see this time?” he asked.