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Tied to a chair, in a dimly lit room, I waited.
The ropes were taut, and the metal chair was bolted to the floor. I could do nothing but wait.
I could remember nothing. I was nothing. My mouth was gagged, and I couldn’t even scream.
The room was closed off, except for a single black wooden door. I only remember hating that door, wishing it would open, so that I could be freed from the vice of loneliness.
Time stretched, and my mind wandered. Remnants of memories began to return to me. I remembered a screaming woman and a black helicopter. They meant nothing to me. I dismissed them as stray thoughts, figments of my imagination. I didn’t know how wrong I was.
Suddenly, the door opened. A man in a black suit stepped through and shut it quietly behind him. The single lightbulb in the room flickered weakly.
A featureless metal mask obscured his face as he turned his head to look at me. “Ah,” he said. “You’re awake.”
The man’s voice grated like broken bones scraping across each other. I shuddered violently. Why did I know that sound? What had I seen in the life I’d forgotten?
At that moment, I remembered my name, Mark Broderick. Memories of my life began to flow through my head. I was a student at Snow College. I was 19 years old, and my family…
The rush of thoughts stopped, leaving me wondering.
The masked man continued to stare at me. “You have something of mine,” he intoned. “and you are going to return it to me.”
I glanced down, and seemingly for the first time, saw myself. A green t-shirt, dark jeans, and an unzipped gray coat over it all. There was a pen in the front pocket of the shirt, and for a moment, I vaguely hoped that it was what he wanted. At the same time, a sinking feeling in my heart told me I was wrong. My hands were bound tightly together in front of me. I attempted to speak, to tell the masked man that I had nothing, but the gag did its job well.
A low laugh reached my ears, and I shuddered again. “You aren’t as intelligent as they said you were,” he mocked, reaching into a pocket. “No one speaks in my presence.”
I said nothing. Who said I was intelligent? Was I actually intelligent?
The man pulled out a small white card and began to turn it over in his gloved fingers. “Your memories will return, eventually,” he said, stepping forward, further into the light.
The mask was disturbing to look at. It was nothing but a flat surface, with a slight impression of a face on it. There were no eyeholes or breathing holes, yet I could hear his breath rattling inside it.
He held up the card to my eyes. It was a driver’s license, with a man’s smiling face on it, and it was stained with blood. I looked more closely, looking for a name and dreading what I might find.
There it was. Mark Broderick.
The masked man began to laugh again, throwing the card at me. It hit my coat, and the blood seeped into it.
“Mark,” the man said in that unsettling voice, “it is time for you to see who I am.” With that, he reached behind his head, and I heard a click.
He lowered the mask down, still laughing, and I saw his face.