His mouth opened and closed a few times before he finally mumbled an answer.
“Uh…” Great! Was that really all he was able to come to? Apparently the young girl had thought the same thing.
“Your face is funny, you really look like a fish… I like fish!” She said laughing a little at his astonished face. He swallowed with difficulty and hastily closed his mouth.
“Sorry.” He said as he sat on the chair besides her, glad that she wasn’t too frightened by his presence. “It’s just I wasn’t expecting you to be up… You seemed to be sleeping so well earlier…”
“So it was you earlier!” She exclaimed, before explaining this sudden outburst as she saw surprise creep along his face once more. “I was just pretending, I’m not tired. But I was scared you were a monster, I don’t like monsters…” Zachary laughed slightly, a small smile spread on his lips.
“Nah, I’m not a monster. Though, to answer your question from earlier, my name is Zachary. As for where we are i have no idea, I kind of hoped you would know…”
“I would know?” Repeated the girl with genuine surprise, which indicated to Zachary that she was as surprised as him to be there. “No, I don’t know… I woke up earlier and I was alone, I got scared and I heard footsteps so I hid back in my bed and pretended I was sleeping.”
“Oh, well that’s no problem if you don’t know. I was just wondering, no biggie.” He added with a gentle smile to cheer the little angel as she seemed down all of a sudden. “But, i told you my name, now it’s your turn to tell me yours.” He added. The little girl looked at him for a moment, not sure if she should trust this strange man that looked like a fish when he was surprised but she quickly decided to trust him.
“I’ll tell you if you give me one of those.” She stated, crossing her arms after she pointed at the chocolate bars the young man was holding in a bag. “I’m hungry.” He chuckled, not knowing what to think of this child. She seemed so innocent and yet mysterious.
“Okay, okay.” He surrendered to her demand, extending the bag to her so she could choose. “But you drive a hard bargain you know…” He teased her. She looked up at him, visibly not understanding what he had just said. “Never mind” he added. “So, what should I call you young lady?” She took a bite of the chocolate bar she had just opened before answering.
“I’m Amelia, Amelia Brown, just like my hair.” She replied with a smile.
“Well, I’m happy to meet you Amelia. I would like to introduce myself too but i don’t really remember much, just that my name is Zachary.” The young man greeted her with a sad smile. She nodded her head in acknowledgment and took another hungry bite before speaking again.
“You don’t remember how you got here either? Because I was in my house with Billy, Billy’s our dog, and then everything went black and when I woke up I was here in the bed…” Zachary nodded.
“No, I don’t remember how I got here. I woke up in a strange white room and had some trouble getting out. But I have no memory of anything before waking up there… Nothing at all…” He relied, curiosity and a certain sadness in his voice. “It’s really weird…”
“I’ll help you if you want!” Exclaimed the little girl with a big smile.
“Huh?” He asked, surprised.
“To get your memory back, I’ll help you!” She explained, her smile getting even wider if that was possible. Zachary noticed she was missing a tooth, the top right canine. It was quite cute to see her smile with that hole in the middle.
“Oh!” He could only muster before she spoke again, her smile disappearing this time.
“Unless you don’t want me to help…” The young man saw her eyes get humid and sensed that she might start to cry, he immediately felt guilt take over him although he hadn’t done anything wrong.
“Oh! No! I mean, yes! Of course you can help me!” He replied quickly. A bit too quickly even as he realized that her smile was once back and that any trace of imminent crying had left her face. Damn! She know how to get what she wants! I have to be careful!He thought, mentally slapping himself. “I just meant that it might be more difficult to get my memory back than you think, that’s all…”
“Don’t worry!” she grinned again. “We’ll manage!” This sweet and innocent grin almost made Zachary forget about all he had gone through in the last hours. But suddenly the image of the clown on the TV screen popped back in his head. He looked around and noticed a TV screen on the upper part of the wall opposite to the bed.
“Um, say Amelia…” He started, the young girl’s head shot back up from her chocolate bar that she had almost finished, and looked at him curiously. “When I woke there was a TV in my room and a clown’s face on it, did you see something like that?” The brunette seemed to think for a few seconds, her brows furrowing deeply, then she smiled again.
“Nope, my TV was turned off the whole time and I didn’t see any clown, though I like clowns! Don’t you?” She asked excitedly.
“Uh, yeah, yeah I like clowns. Just not that one, he wasn’t very friendly… But don’t worry, it’s not really important, I just wanted to check.” He replied as she finished her bar and nodded.
“Do you feel like walking?” Zachary finally asked, wanting to go look around some more but not to let the young girl all alone again. She nodded and he helped her to get up on her feet, noticing that strangely she was dressed in casual clothes under her covers and not in a hospital gown like he had imagined.
“What is your favorite color?” Asked Amelia, not taking notice of Zachary’s exasperated sigh. She had begun a game of ‘I ask, you answer’ almost as soon as they had left the room and had started asking question that seemed pointless to Zachary but that seemed to interest the young girl deeply.
“I don’t know, maybe blue…”
“Oh! I like blue too! But I really prefer red. Blue is cool but red is pretty!” She shouted excitedly as they walked through another desert corridor. There really is nobody here…Thought the young man once more. He decided to go down the stair and explore the other floors or simply get out of the building.
“What’s your favorite animal?” Asked the young girl, trotting besides him to keep up.
“Uhm… I don’t know…A bear maybe? I don’t really remember anything before I got stuck here so I can’t be sure of anything you know…” He replied, his voice sounding a bit depressed at this thought. Why couldn’t he remember anything? That was something he would have given anything to know. Who was he? And how had he lost his memory? It was all so weird…
“But… if you don’t remember anything before waking up, how can you know all this?” She asked innocently, the question echoed in Zachary’s mind. She had, without realizing it, uncovered a valid point. How could he remember all those insignificant things but not who he was? The young man was sure he had heard this sometimes happened somewhere in the case of patients suffering from amnesia, but he still couldn’t understand how the most important part of his life had been wiped out.
“I don’t know Amelia…” He answered sadly. “All I’m sure of is that my name is Zachary.”
He knew he was about twenty something and had deduced that he was probably American from his accent. His blood type was B and he liked ice cream, but apart from that he knew no more about himself than he knew about the little girl following. Yet, strangely, he was trusting her and she was trusting him.
“So, where are we going then?” Asked the said girl.
“Downstairs if that’s okay with you. I would like to check the other floors to see if there are other people here.” The girl hadn’t really asked directly but Zachary had told her that he had seen no one since he had woken up. She had asked about the windows, even going to check if they really could be opened, but had quickly accepted the fact that they were stuck with artificial light. Even smiling when he had asked her if she wanted some sun cream. She nodded to that, replying with a simple “Okay”, and they walked into the staircase.
Zachary found it pleasant to have a companion and someone to talk to, even if that someone was barely half his age and kept asking pointless questions. He thought that he would go mad if she didn’t stop but he knew that if she hadn’t been there it would’ve been even worse. At least now he knew he wasn’t the last human on earth, and despite the craziness of their situation it reassured him a bit. Probably more that his presence reassured her he thought as he chuckled internally. They went like this through half of the third and fourth floor, calling out to see if anyone else might have been hiding in a room, but found nothing else. They were on the second floor when they finally encountered the first real sign of life, so to speak. As they entered a large room they heard the beeping of machines and their hope went up for a second. Only to be deflated again when they noticed the bed from where the machines beeped regularly was empty. Whoever was there had apparently woken up and unplugged themselves before going out. A half drunk glass of water was still standing on the counter near the bed. Zachary also noticed that one of the machines, the one closest to the bed had been completely smashed and reduced to a thin sheet of metal and electronic scraps. It still somehow kept beeping and sent little sparks to fly from time to time.
“Was someone here?” Asked the little girl, hopeful.
“Yes, apparently so… but not anymore.” Zachary was about to add something when he grabbed the young girl and yanked her back before she could touch the smashed panel.
“Woah there princess! Don’t touch that, it dangerous!” He exclaimed as she looked at him inquisitively as he put her back on the ground.
“Geez! I’m not a little child, I can take care of myself you know! I wasn’t going to touch it anyway…” Amelia replied with a pout. She then proceeded to laugh at her friend as he looked at her, apparently taken aback. “I may be little but I’m not stupid Zach.” She added, still giggling. He frowned before scoffing lightly at her.
“Of course Lady Amelia, I’m sorry. I was just worried…” He replied in an exaggerated tone accompanied by a reverence. “So, what did you want to do if not touch it then?” He asked after getting back up. The young girl carefully approached the destroyed machine and unplugged it.
“This. So that everything doesn’t catch fire.” She replied simply. The young man was impressed by her but he didn’t show it to her, he was sure she would have boasted all the time if he did. So he simply nodded, swearing not to underestimate her ever again as she was much more intelligent than she appeared. He looked around and noticed several impacts on the wall and dents in the rest of the material around him, as if a struggle had taken place there earlier. Strange, he thought, keeping it to himself so as not to alarm his little friend. As they were leaving the room he noticed a piece of red cloth on the ground and picked it up. He inspected it more closely and it took him a few seconds to understand that the cloth was originally not red but white and had been completely tainted. He tucked it away and quickly followed the brown haired girl out of the room, trying to get that creepy feeling out of his head. Unfortunately it wasn’t that easy and deep inside he knew something wasn’t right with this place. Definitely not right… But he couldn’t quite place his finger on what it was that made him uncomfortable exactly.