NaNoWriMo 2019 Chapter 1
Disclaimer: This is a NaNoWriMo attempt where quantity trumps quality. This will also be a long piece, so if you’re looking for a quick read, I would recommend checking out a different category like Short Stories.
~Chapter 1 Waking to a New Beginning~
She wakes to a room as blank as her mind.
“Ah. You’re awake.”
She turns her head towards the voice to find a lady sitting at a table beside the bed she’s in.
“Just give me a few moments,” the lady says as she quickly writes something down in her book. From her angle, she can’t see what the lady is writing, just the frown of concentration on her side profile. Finally, the lady closes the book and sets her pen down. When the lady swivels her chair over to face her, the frown is gone and replaced with a polite smile.
“Hello. My name is Julia. I’m the guild medic. What’s your name?” asks the lady, Julia.
She reaches into her memories for the answer, but it’s like standing over the edge of a cliff. There’s nothing beyond the edge but emptiness.
“I…” Her mouth is dry and her words choke in her throat. Julia quickly fills a glass with water from a jug on the table.
“Excuse me. I’m just going to help you sit up,” Julia says as she slips an arm under her back and carefully sits her up.
She is alarmed at how her body trembles with exertion from the simple act. Even afterwards, as she sits propped by a pillow behind her back, her hands shake. Julia takes one look at her and holds up the glass to her lips rather than let her hold and maybe drop the glass of water on herself. She rasps a quiet thanks and drinks until she can speak properly.
“What happened to me?” she asks.
“That’s what we would like to know. Corvus brought you in two weeks ago, injured. Does any of that remind you of anything?” Julia asks.
She shakes her head.
“What do you remember? We can start from there,” Julia suggests.
She tries once more to reach for her memories, but all she finds is a yawning hole in her mind. “I don’t remember anything. You asked me earlier what my name is. I don’t even remember that.” Her breath hitches.
Julia reaches out and rests a hand on her shoulder. “Don’t worry about it. Focus on getting back on your feet. You can stay here with us until you recover your memories, or not. Until then, you can think of a name for yourself. Not everyone gets that opportunity.”
With brisk professionalism, Julia gives her a health check. Julia’s voice is calm and the medic steers away from any personal topics. She gladly follows the medic’s lead.
By the end of the check, she is exhausted, and it takes her no effort at all to slip back into sleep.
The next time she wakes, her memories have not yet returned, and there is a different person sitting by her bed.
“Hey. I’m Lucy. How do you feel?” Lucy asks with a smile.
“I’m fine,” she says.
“Julia said that you lost your memories. Is that true?” Lucy says.
“Are they back yet?”
She doesn’t know if she should feel annoyed or perplexed. She decides on something neutral. It won’t do to antagonise the people who have offered to help her. “Not yet.”
“Nothing at all?”
Lucy’s lips twist in unhappiness. “That’s a shame. We’re dying to know what happened to you. Boss doesn’t pick up strays often.”
She eyes the new girl warily. Is Lucy trying to upset her? Because it’s starting to work.
Abruptly, Lucy changes the topic. “So what name have you decided on?”
She stares, caught off guard but the sudden question.
“I haven’t thought of anything yet. I just woke up,” she says.
“You can’t take Lucy. That’s my name,” Lucy says immediately.
“I won’t,” she agrees easily.
“Julia won’t be good either. We already have a Julia so it’ll be too confusing,” Lucy says seriously.
“I won’t,” she agrees again with a nod, “What other names should I not choose?”
“Not Jessica, she’s in the guild too. Not Amelia either,” Lucy says and rattles a long list of names she ‘can’t choose’, often with elaborations on why so and so would not be appropriate because of this and that. She lets Lucy ramble on, letting the names pass her by as she waits patiently for the green-eyed girl to stop.
And Lucy does stop. Eventually. After running out of her list of friends, acquaintances, and what feels like anyone she has ever met more than once before. The long list does not help her with ideas on what to call herself, but who says she has to be the one to come up with the name to call herself?
“You know a lot of good names. Why don’t you suggest one for me?” she asks diplomatically.
That turns out to be the perfect question, because Lucy already has a name in mind.
“There’s a story about a girl with really long hair. Her name’s Anastasia. We were already calling you that while you were asleep and I think that’ll suit you perfectly,” Lucy says.
“Why? What makes you say that?” she asks.
“Don’t you know?” Lucy asks with a quizzical tilt of her head. She reaches out and lifts a handful of black strands off the bed.
One end of the black strands curl beyond her knees. The other end stretches behind her ear beyond her sight. She raises a hand to give the strands a tentative tug. An answering twinge replies from her scalp.
That’s… her hair.
“So? What do you think of Anastasia?” Lucy asks.
“Anastasia sounds good. Let’s go with that,” she says.
“Great. Let’s start again. Ahem.” Lucy lets go of her hair and straightens in her seat. An enthusiastic smile lights her face and she says, “Hi, I’m Lucy.”
She returns Lucy’s smile with her own more understated one. “Hi Lucy. I’m Anastasia.”
~End Chapter 1~
Read chapter 2 here.
Chapter word count: 983
Total word count: 983