As predicted, my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) output has slowed considerably in the last few days. The following is what I’ve come up with since my last post. It’s incomplete and in need of serious revision, but… here it is…

“I want you to see Doctor Peterson,” Fiona said as she led Doug over to a small group of doctors busy triaging the dead, dying and wounded amusement park patrons. “He’s absolutely the best doctor we have.”

Doug hesitated at the sight of all these dedicated healthcare workers. He didn’t want to disturb them in their grisly work—especially not when he was perfectly fine. Okay, fine, he was missing memories, but that was a problem these doctors wouldn’t be able to help with anyway. Besides, he couldn’t shake the feeling that he and his disintegrated escape capsule were to blame for all of the misery and death in front of him. It hadn’t been his intention to cause any of this, nor was it now his intention to draw the doctors away from those who really needed the help.

There was also another issue steering his decision making process. As tempting and easy as he knew it would be, Doug couldn’t continue to trail after Fiona like a lost puppy. Already, after only five minutes acquaintance, Doug had noticed within himself the urge to meekly follow Fiona and do exactly as she suggested. And he would have a good excuse for following her guidance: he was an amnesiac. He didn’t know any better. He wasn’t currently equipped to handle things on his own. But somehow the easiness of that excuse urged him to abandon it and go prove himself.

That’s what prompted his poor decision to slink away into the darkness when Fiona’s back was turned to him. He regretted leaving Fiona; she was a beautiful girl, after all. But beautiful girls were plentiful in stories like his. Somehow, Doug felt certain that there would other girls to take her place.

Once out of Fiona’s sight, he started running. Despite all he’d just been through, he found he could move surprisingly fast for someone ten minutes recovered from a space ship crash.

He could hear Fiona calling out for him in the darkness behind him. “Doug? Doug? Mr. Meyers? Where are you? Where did you go?” 

 Doug didn’t look back. Looking back would have been weak.

Instead, he made his way to the street and hailed the first cab he found.

“Take me home to this address,” he said, showing the cabbie his home address.

Forty-five minutes later, the cab pulled up in front of a respectable, but not especially notable high rise apartment building. Doug paid the cabbie and stepped out of the car.

“Hey! Buddy, your money’s no good!” the he cabbie said, calling Doug back to the car.

“What do you mean?”

“It’s counterfeit!”

“Don’t be silly!” Doug objected. “It’s perfectly legal tender.”

“Word to the wise, buddy. When you counterfeit money, it’s always best to use real faces. I’ve never even heard of the man on the bill. Who in the world is Andrew Jackson?”

Doug couldn’t confirm or deny the legitimacy of the twenty dollar bill he’d given the driver, so he took back the bill and handed the man one of the credit cards from his wallet. “Try this.”

The driver looked at him and his card with suspicion before accepting it and running it through the car’s card reader. It took twenty or thirty seconds for the machine to process the card. Finally, the machine chirped and burped out a receipt. The cabbie grunted grateful acknowledgement and drove off without another word.

Doug was alone again. Perhaps this normally wouldn’t have bothered him, but it did tonight. After what he’d just been through, it had helped having people around to distract him from his many questions.

The building’s front door was locked. Doug almost turned away in defeat when he remembered the keys in his pocket. He fumbled about in his pocket before finding the two keys. The first key didn’t work, but the second one did.

He exhaled a deep breath and went inside. It took him several minutes of wandering up and down three flights of stairs and back-and-forth through the halls before he found the right door. The hunt would have gone much more efficiently if the apartment numbering system had been laid out upon some more comprehensible scheme. 1-32 might seem like a logical solution on paper, but not so much in practice.

Doug fit the key into the lock and opened the door. He walked in, expecting to find a fully furnished, well lived in apartment, hopefully complete with people who knew him and could tell him who he was. Instead, the apartment was empty, or near enough so as not to make much difference. There were two suitcases, three large brown boxes and a stack of books sat beside a tan sofa to disrupt the emtpiness. Two chairs sat in the corner, keepings a small wooden table company.

“This is it? This is everything?” Doug exclaimed in bitter disappointment.

“I know it’s not much, but the moving van is still unloading the rest.”

Doug turned to find an older balding man smiling back at him. The man’s smile quickly turned into a look of surprise when he saw Doug’s face.

“I beg your pardon sir,” the old man said taking an involuntary step backward. “I thought you were the new tenant.”

Though he didn’t say it, the man’s face and body language politely asked, “Who are you?”

“New tenant?” Doug repeated, as poisonous fear began to settle into the pit of his stomach.

“Yes. A young man just out of college,” the old man explained. The question that had been on his face now came out of his mouth, “And just who the heck are you?”

Ah, yes. That question. In the back of Doug’s mind where rational thought still had a foothold, he wondered how soon that question would get old. Not long, he suspected. Not knowing what else to do, he silently held out his drivers license to the old man, pointing at the address on the card.

“You slow, fella?”

Doug shook his head. Only then did he notice the man’s look of disbelief. “Not slow. Just confused.” He pointed to his head. “Head injury. Not remembering too good. Just at present.”

“Oh. Sorry about that. What can I do for you, fella?”

“You don’t remember me?”

The man shook his head. “Sorry, no.”

“I think I live here. Or maybe I used to live here. I’m really not too sure right now.”

“What did you said your name was?”

“Doug Myers.”

Hilton and scratched his head speculatively. “Huh. Can’t say I remember ever renting to a Doug Myers here.”

“I have a key,” Doug said, holding up the key as if it were proof.

The man nodded in recognition. “Yeah, you certainly would need a key to get in here. I know I locked the door on my way through here just five minutes ago. But that still doesn’t mean you didn’t steal it.”

“I would never do that,” Doug said.

“Uh huh,” the old man grunted.

“Did you know the last tenant that lived here?” Doug asked, edging carefully towards the door.

Doug was drowning in a sea of confusion, fast losing his last grasp on the certainty he needed to hold himself together. Only now that he had lost it, did he begin to appreciate the value of identity.

“As a matter of fact, yes I did know them. Lovely older couple,” the old man confirmed. “The husband, Frank, just died, God rest his soul. His wife couldn’t keep up with the place any longer, so she just moved in with her daughter.”

“How sad,” Doug temporized. “And how long did they live here?”

The old man regarded Doug with a speculative eye. “Long enough that you would’ve been in preschool when they moved in, I suspect.”

Doug abandoned any pretense of covert action, and fled from the room.
He wandered the streets of New York long into the night. The good and bad thing about being a New Yorker was that he was never alone, or at least never truly alone. Spiritually alone definitely, but physically alone, never. There seemed no place for him to go that wouldn’t force him to confront questions he didn’t know the answers to. Finally, around midnight when he could go no further, he caught sight of a low rent motel proclaiming available rooms to rent.

He stopped and pulled his wallet from his back pocket. In addition to his drivers license, there was a small assortment of credit and club cards. Perhaps the motel would except one of them, giving him a chance to pull himself together and try to figure out who he was and what he was doing?

There was only one way to find out.
Doug awoke in an uncomfortable bed in a smelly dark room twelve hours later, stiff, sore and disorientated. For five blissfully frightening seconds he couldn’t remember how he had gotten there. He remembered nothing of the space station or his jarring arrival back on earth. And then of course it happened: memories of the night before started to come back to him in an unwelcome rush.

Unfortunately, this rush of memories was limited to the day before. He still had no idea how he had gotten on that spaceship, or what those other people have been doing there.
Doug thought back to that moment when the radiant being appeared in the room in front of the thieving thieves. What kind of person could that of been.? The image was not unlike what he would expect God to look like. In fact, was that God? No. That person didn’t convey to Doug the feeling of omniscience and power and incorruptibility that he associated with the divine. Maybe this light creature was some sort of fallible angel?

Sigh. Either way he tossed it, these speculations were not of prime importance at this particular moment. He still had more pressing questions of identity and purpose to establish. Even more immediate than that, and he had to think about the most basic necessities of life: Food and shelter.

Still afraid of admitting to the police that he was incompetent to take care of himself, Doug went to the public library and sat down in front of an open computer. It was time to do some research on himself.

The results of his research were disappointing to say the least. There were three Douglas Myers on record, none of them looked that interesting or promising.

One Doug Myers was a high school student in Maine. Apparently he had won second-place at the state pole-vaulting competition three years ago. Looking into the mirror, Doug suspected, no Doug was sure that he was 10 years older then that person.

There was even less information for the second Doug, just an address in Akron Ohio. Doug set this record aside for the moment.

The third, and most promising search results, was a Douglas Myers from Lawrence Kansas. This Doug had gone to school in Utah, and had gone into the military. There wasn’t much to go on besides that,. Information on file it was at least five years old. There was no telling what this particular Doug had done in the meantime. However our hero had every hope and expectation that this Doug might indeed be him. The records mentioned parents living in Kansas 10 years prior, so Doug did a web search for Mitchell and Debra Myers. Maybe could find them and find out if he might be there son.

It was at that point, halfway through the search, when Doug realized he should have been searching his own records. He had been carrying plenty of records in his pocket all long after all.
He typed in his name and address and hit search. Nothing came up. The old man had been right or it seemed the old man heading right to say that Doug had never lived in that apartment.