I wake on a hill, the sun’s rays piercing the black. The grass is soft on my bare arms as I turn my head slightly to observe my surroundings. It seems I’m in a meadow of sorts, with little yellow flowers dotting the landscape. The golden light of the dawn falls upon the serene grassland.
I swivel my head to my left and find another face of a young man, sleeping as I was. I then came to the realization that I was clutching something.
I sit up quickly and find I am gripping this strange boy’s hand. He is about as old as I was though I am not exactly sure what age that is. In fact, I have no memory of how I got here.
I let go of the boy’s hand and pull my knees to my chest and press my face against them, a sad feeling settling in the pit of my stomach.
It had happened again.
I throw my head back and groan, complaining to the heavens, though I doubt they hear as they’ve never listened before.
“Why?” I utter.
I would tell you my name but I don’t know that either. But whoever I am, I live in the world of Anamnesis, that much I know. In this land, we are under a cruel curse. Every year, on the last day of Summer, we forget everything.
Every person we knew, every experience we had, and every moment worth remembering. However, knowledge of this curse plagues us no matter how many times we forget.
We try to make the best of things, however, as much as one can. We meet people that we have probably met before and explored the landscape and the kingdoms around us once again.
I don’t know how long this world has operated this way. I don’t know how old I am or how many times I’ve forgotten but somehow, myself and others alike since its been this way for a long time, further frustrating us.
Long ago we would hunt and search this planet for answers. We dreamt of a day when we could remember. But when we turned up empty-handed and the sunset on the last day of summer once more, we grew tired and gave up on our questions being answered.
Now we rise on the first winter morning and try and seize as much as we can with the time we have. My people build one year long kingdoms and empires but they all eventually fall away. So the kingdoms Anamnesis fight wars and siege each others castle for what else can they do? Can we not enjoy the next year since it is all of no worth since we are incapable of remembering? What other purpose is there?
I smooth the edges of my sundress and look a the position of the sun as it rises higher into the sky. I glance down once more at the figure beside me before moving to stand. I probably knew him at one point. In fact, if I spent the last day of summer with him, he must have been special to me. Too bad I didn’t remember.
I quietly began moving away from him. It was easier this way. Now to find a town or a kingdom to-
“So you’re just going to abandon me?”
A whirl around as I’m greeted by the sight of the boy sitting up and smiling at me.
“Why not?” I say, shrugging dismissively. “I don’t know you.”
“Not anymore I guess,” he said turning his face towards the sun and holding a hand to shield his eyes. “Such a shame.”
“A shame indeed though it hardly matters, does it?” I say as I begin to fiddle with my loose, amber hair.
A breeze lilted through the meadow, rustling the boy’s hair.
“It can matter if we want it to,” he said, getting to his feet. “I’d introduce myself but-”
“I know, you don’t have to bother explaining,” I turn my head and search the horizon for a sign of a building or a person. I didn’t usually find myself this secluded. I was pretty certain that the other times I’ve woken there was a town or kingdom nearby.
“Well, there’s no use in us not being able to address each other,” The boy was still talking.
“I guess not,” I say, staring at him blankly. Why was he still here? Just leave, it doesn’t matter!
“Good! Glad you agree! I guess it’s up to me then!” he says, his smile growing wider.
“What’s up to you?” I query.
“To give you a name!”
“What?!” I exclaim. “I didn’t give you permission to-”
“How about Rebekah?” He offers.
“You’re right, to outdated,” he puts a hand to his chin and squints at me. “Hmmm… you don’t look like a Natalie,” he speculates.
I cross my arms, giving him a skeptical look, but remain silent for the moment. I’m actually curious as to what he’ll come up with.
“Ah! I’ve got it!” He announces. He then bends down and plucks a small yellow flower from the earth. “Chrysanthemum!”
I consider it.
“I don’t haaate it,” I tilt my head slightly in thought. “Though it is a mouth-full.”
“Fine, then we’ll just call you Chrys for short!” He says, placing his hands on his hips proudly. “Now your turn!”
“Yeah! Give me a name!” he beams.
“Do I have to?”
“Pretty Please?” He begs.
“Fine,” I concede. Then I look him up and down thoughtfully. The gears in my head begin to turn, thinking of the possibilities.
He is rather tall, with slightly curly and unkempt brown hair. He is pale and his skin is speckled with light freckles. His eyes, as far as I can tell, are a greenish hazel color. He is in simple commoner clothes with a white tunic and brown breeches. As my gaze reaches his feet, I realize, to some surprise, he’s barefoot.
“Judging by your attire, you weren’t anyone of great importance,” I think aloud.
“Oh, that hurts me,” he says in mocking offense. “It really does.”
“I’m just saying to don’t exactly look like a King Rupert,” I explain.
“Well, I’m not getting any younger,” he says as he begins to tap his bare feet against the earth. “At this rate by the time you decide, we’ll forget again.”
“Haha,” I say in a monotone voice. “Now hush so I can think.”
I pause a moment more before saying, “Emeric.”
He mulls the name over for a second longer before saying, “Could be worse.”
“Okay, now that you’re satisfied, can I go?” I don’t even wait for an answer as I turn and start off to… wherever I’m going.
“But where are you going?”
The voice comes directly from behind me and I turn to see Emeric right behind me.
“Why do you insist on continuing to bother me?”
“I just wanna tag along,” he says, feigning innocence. “Besides, you don’t know where you’re going and neither do I. Why not walk together?”
“Want me to provide you a list?”
“Must be short considering you don’t know me,” he mumbles.
“That’s at the top,” I tell him.
“Yeah, yeah, your loss,” he continues to trot behind me, seemingly unaffected by my protests. “You must have been a whole lot nicer when you knew me.”
“And you must have been a lot less insufferable,” I retort.
“Being insufferable is part of my natural charm,” He informs me with a sniff. “You should consider your past self lucky!”
“You know, we could have been just good friends,” I suggest, avoiding eye contact.
“Somehow I doubt it,” he huffs. “But, as you said, it hardly matters.”
We continued walking and came to the edge of the meadow. Here it met the treeline of a thick forest with tall clustered trees.
We halt for a moment, eyeing the thick foliage.
“Onward I suppose,” Emeric says.
I glance down at his bare feet.
“You sure?” I ask.
“It’s sweet and all that you’re concerned for me but I’ll be okay,” Emeric remarks snarkily before striding into the forest.
“Idiot,” I murmur before beginning to trek behind him.
“You know,” He says, pushing a branch from out of his face. “You don’t have to walk behind me.”
“I prefer to so you can knock down all the spider webs,” I say with a grin.
“Hey-ack! Phbbbtt,” He begins to spit and gag and a let out a loud laugh, the sound echoing throughout the once silent wood.
“So what do you think you’ll be this time around?” I call up to Emeric, trying to strike up a conversation.
“Who knows,” I can see him shrug with a quick movement of his shoulders. “Pastry chef, stable boy, fisherman,” then he looks back at me grinning. “Maybe even a king.”
“Good luck with that,” I smile.
“How about you?”
I think for a moment, the only sound to be heard is the crunching of leaves and branches beneath our feet as we continue walking.
Then I speak, breaking the silence.
“I don’t know,” I say truthfully. “I haven’t the foggiest notion of what I was so I’m pretty much am working with a blank slate.”
“That’s not necessarily a bad thing,” Emeric points out. “Just be thankful you didn’t wake up in a jail cell or something like that.”
“I jail cell might be preferable compared to waking alongside you,” I tease.
“Harsh words, little girl,” He laughs. “Better be nice to me, or I won’t give you a job in my bakery or my castle?”
“So you’ve narrowed it down? King or pastry chef? Choose wisely.”
“Oh, I will,” Emeric gives a low chuckle. Then he suddenly stops in his tracks, causing me nearly to collide into his back.
“It seems we’ve reached the edge of the wood,” Emeric says to me. “And our destination is just in sight.”
I walk over to his side and look. Before us lies a valley, green a lush filled with a kind of purple wildflower. I can hear bees buzzing as they go from flower to flower. A stream runs no more than a few yards away, trickling deeper into the valley. And, just barely visible against the blue horizon, houses.
“A village,” I say. “At long last.”
“It’s not too far off,” Emeric says. “And its all downhill from here.”
“Praise the Gods,” I huff.
“But, looks like we’re going to have to get a bit wet,” Emeric eyes the stream. “But nothing we can’t handle.”
“Well, come on then,” I say, striding forward. “Our future awaits!”