The woman woke with a start. She opened her eyes and a flash of pain went straight though her head. She closed her eyes again and it subsided fast. Slowly she opened them up again. There was a ceiling above her. She didn’t know that ceiling. She didn’t know what has happened. She felt terrible. As if she had been chewed on. But she couldn’t remember anything. Nothing at all. Not even...her name.
A face came into view. It looked at her with concern, then the lips parted and the doctor spoke. It was a man in his best years, his voice soft and warm, pleasant.
“Please do not be alarmed. You were brought in by the gatekeepers. Can you tell us your name?”
The woman thought about that. She tried hard. But there was just empty space where her memories should have been. She shook her head, slowly and with growing fear.
“Oh...well, that will probably pass. For the time being, let’s call you Yamada. Hanako Yamada. At least this way we won’t have to call you ‘the woman’.
I guess then you don’t remember what has happened either, Yamada-san.”
Hanako shook her head again. She began to realise that her body didn’t feel like it should be. She couldn’t say how it really should feel, but she knew there was something off. Suddenly she knew she would see something terrible when she would look down, but she dared not.
“Well, the injuries were quite severe. but you seem to have a measure of spiritual power in you. You will be fine, your recovery is coming along quite nicely. When you’re fit enough we will see what we can do about the arm.”
Now she had to. She had to look down. She lowered her gaze, searched for her right arm. It was no longer there. Her arm was gone! Panic began to rise in Hanako. Where was her arm! What has happened!
She closed her eyes, pressed the eyelids together until she saw colored sparks appear. This was a dream. It had to be a dream. Oh god, please let me wake up.
Sato opened her eyes. She sat in her hospital bed, upright and wide awake. She held her right arm pressed to her chest. She was confused for a moment. Memories of a dream tried to slip through the fingers of her mind like water. But she managed to catch some of them. Hanako. A name. Who’s name?
Then she remembered Elyss calling her by that name. Why did she know a name from her dreams?
Slowly and cautiously Hanako stood up. She was only clothed in one of those thin hospital gowns, one of those easily removable ones. Her clothes were in a wardrobe in the corner of the room. When she stripped of the hospital gown and reached for her underwear she noticed that the pain in her back and head had receded to a dull throbbing. Uncomfortable but not too bad. She must have been incredibly lucky to survive an attack like this virtually unscathed.
In the matter of a few minutes she had dressed and was out of the door. The corridor was empty, since it was late in the night, except for one nurse that happened to make her round in this very moment.
“Detective Sato, you shouldn’t be out of bed” she cried out and came running, as soon as she saw the tall figure come out to the corridor.
“I feel fine.” Sato said.
“Nonono, the doctors said you have to stay over night and that they have to run tests in the morning. You were badly injured and…”
She stopped, only now realising that the detective did indeed look too well for a badly injured person.
“You...you are Ameko Sato, aren’t you?”
“I guess so.”
“Then...please, go back to your room.”
“Not going to happen. I have work to do and I need a cigarette. If anyone asks, say that I sneaked out or seduced you or something.”
The last words were already said over her shoulder, her having walked away from the nurse, before she could call reinforcements.
“That doesn’t make things any better…” Sato heard the nurse call shortly before the doors of the lift closed and cut her off.
A few seconds later Sato was in the empty entrance hall of the hospital, walking towards the exit. Through the glass doors she could see that it was raining. Heavy drops poured down, but the hall was eerily silent.
“Haaaa~...naaaa~...koooo~...” she heard a voice whispering, faint, as if very far away, and it was to her as if she could see tall and dark tree trunks out there in the rain.
But when she opened the door the rushing of the rain drowned everything else out and there were no trees, only rain and darkness.
A short while later Elyss’s doorbell rang. The sound of the bell hadn’t even faded away when there was an impatient knock. A muffled voice could be heard through the door.
“Elyss, open up, please. I need to talk to you.”
No name was given, but the woman standing outside was sure beyond a doubt that the red haired student would be able to recognise her by voice alone. And if she would open the door, outside was detective Sato, drenched and dripping, shivering in the cold rain. But her eyes were awake and she would look directly into Elyss’s eyes, hoping to find the same confusion in there that she was feeling herself. As soon as the door was open, she would speak:
“I need to know...why did you call me Hanako back then. Where have you heard that name?”
Coding Altered From: [The Frost]