It had started when he remembered his name. That was the point at which the pieces of the puzzle started to snap back together.
That was the problem with amnestics, though. Echoes of memories still wafted through your head at times. Smells were the worst. A cookout at Site-14 had a woman who’d been laughing and smiling crying suddenly. The smell of a steak on a grill had triggered something… but he’d never found out what. That would have been, after all, classified information. And he wasn’t supposed to have classified information.
It had started when he remembered his name. It was such an odd thing, too. He’d been reading, sitting in the mess and staring out the low bay windows at the world that he was becoming more and more surprised was still there, when he’d heard someone yell.
“Hey! Jere! Where are we going after lunch?”
Maybe it was the sandwich. He’d been eating a pretty good sandwich too, and he was certain that the taste was familiar, but he couldn’t… he just couldn’t place it. But ‘Jere.’ That felt right. That felt… disturbingly right.
“Colton,” he said.
It wasn’t a question. It was a statement. The other half of the puzzle piece sliding back into place, curves locking together. And it had started.
The next piece was a birthday party—he still wasn’t sure whose, maybe his, maybe someone else’s—at a pool, and there was this rosebush there that was just… perfect. He’d seen a similar one in the botanical garden, walking with Sophie. He frowned slightly, his hands not feeling quite right after he’d… But the rose bush. It had been another piece. Snapping into place.
That’s really all it takes. Make a connection, and things start to come back together. Things start to change. For some people, being able to remember means you can’t do your job. For him? It just meant he started to do his job harder. He had a little girl out there. A wife. A family, with parents and grandparents who loved spoiling… damn.
He sighed, concentrating and trying to bring her name to his mind, but… No. The heaviest memories were the ones that sank the deepest.
It was coming, though. All the pieces were starting to fit back together again in his head, and that made the tiny, nagging doubts in the back of his mind fade again. Soon. Soon, things would be different. Soon, he’d have his memory back.
The prophet had written his lamentation. The temple was fallen. Soon, not even the wailing wall would remain.
“Forgive me?” he asked the room. None of the corpses responded.
He stepped over three and five, working himself past eight and out of the bunker, taking a deep breath. So much to do. So little time.