Earlier chapters can be located on the Fiction Page
He had no idea how long he drifted in and out of sleep; or what was real and what was a dream. When Bruce opened his eyes he found that the sun was shining in through a window covered with horizontal wooden blinds. He could see that there were curtain around the window in a pale blue gingham print that had been tied in the middle. As his eyes scoured the room he saw that the walls were also a soft shade of blue. He went to lift his arm and discovered that it did so easily. Had he just dreamt that he had been chained to a bed?
“Good morning, sleeping beauty,” he heard. Focusing his gaze on the area where he thought the sound had come from her found himself staring right into the greenest eyes he had ever seen. “Do you want to tell me who you are?”
Bruce tried to answer the question, but again all that came out was a squeak. He tried again with the same result and settled back into the pillow.
“That’s okay,” the green eyes said. “I’m not sure how you got here or how long you were abandoned, but I am figuring it has been a while since you spoke to anyone. It appears as if your vocal chords have atrophied, or lost all their muscle tone, which is why you cannot make any sound. Do you understand what I am saying?”
Bruce vigorously nodded his head up and down.
“Do you think you can write the answers to my questions on this board?” She asked handing him a small white board and a marker.
Again, Bruce nodded vigorously.
“Great!” The green eyes were firmly embedded into a heart shaped face of olive complexion. Her pert little nose sat squarely in the middle of her face and she had two long braids trailing down either side. Her mouth formed a perfect “o” when she started to speak. Bruce was mesmerized by her lips and watched as she spoke. “Let’s get started, shall we?”
Bruce nodded and grabbed the pen.
“First, let’s start with who you are. Do you know your name?”
Bruce nodded and wrote, “Bruce Patterson.”
“Ok, that’s a great start. Do you know where you are?”
“Do you know what the date is?”
“Do you know how you got here?”
Bruce stopped writing and just shook his head back and forth.
“Okay, Mr. Patterson, do you know how you happened to be in the middle of nowhere when my men picked you up?”
Bruce picked up the pen again and wrote, “Ship wrecked. My mom and I were the only survivors.”
“Yes! She is still there! We need to go back and get her.”
“Calm down Mr. Patterson!”
“Bruce!” he wrote and continued, “Mr. Patterson is my dad and he is dead.”
“Did you kill him?”
Shaking back and forth vehemently he wrote, “No! He died during the storm.”
“Yes, the storm that destroyed the boat and took us completely off course. We lost radio contact and both my sister and father died.”
“And when was this?”
“Of what year, Mr. Patterson?”
The woman hesitated before she said, “Mr. Patterson, today’s date is November 11, 1999.”
Bruce closed his eyes. Had he really been stranded for seven years? How long had it been since he had seen his mother? His brain felt like it would explode. He picked up the pen and wrote, “NO MORE QUESTIONS!”
The woman left the room and Bruce was again left in a barren room with no one around. He began to think that his life was destined for solitude and there was just no escaping that. How could he have been on a deserted location for seven years and not realize that all that time had passed? What had happened to his real life while he was gone?
The only thing that Bruce knew most certainly inside himself was that he needed to go back and get his mom. Nicole had been left alone and Bruce felt responsible. No matter what cost or effort was needed, he had to go get her.
People brought food and water in for him and he was allowed to get out of the bed and walk around the room or use the bathroom as necessary, but no one ever said a word to him. He had no idea what he looked like as there no mirrors anywhere.
One night, when a young male nurse brought him his dinner he wrote on the board, “Can I please get a mirror?”
The man looked at the message and quietly responded, “I will ask.”
Bruce tried to say “Thank you,” but what came out of his mouth was “Th.”
“You’re welcome,” The man responded and swiftly left the room.
The next morning the woman with the green eyes entered the room. “Good morning Bruce. How are you feeling?”
Bruce said, “Good.” But all that came out of his mouth was “G.”
“Very good,” She replied. “I am ordering a vocal therapist to come in a visit with you for four hours every day. Hopefully that way we can get you speaking again soon.”
Bruce reached for the pen and the board and wrote, “Thank you.”
“Now, I understand you asked for a mirror?”
“I will have one brought in for you this afternoon.” And with that she turned around and left the room.
The mirror was brought in and installed in the bathroom while Bruce stared out the window and stared at an open field that was surrounded by riding trails. He had never seen anyone on these trails but assumed he was somewhere in horse country.
Hesitantly he entered the bathroom to view himself. What he saw staring back at him horrified him. He saw an unkempt beard growing on a tragically thin face. His eyes had sunk into his head as he could actually see the bone structure surrounding it. If he had been a child, this face would have spooked him for years!