You will find that I use Lewis and Mark in this story for the name of the same person. This person has memory failure after a short series of traumatic events. He does not know his real name and asks to be called Mark.
When the narrator refers to him, he is Lewis. When addressed by the new people in his life he is Mark
Toward the end I indicate where the story stops being narrated and becomes first person. Obviously a person with no memory has a difficult time telling a story well.
It is nice to think you would be able to function in a certain manner when confronted with an event you find to be traumatic. In reality, you may respond in a completely different way than you want to/might have imagined you would. Nobody really knows their capability to be able to control fight or flight.
This is why the military, doctors, police and so forth train all the time ... so that flight is removed as an option.
Life was good for Lewis; he was married 4 months ago to a woman he truly adored. They had dated for two and a half years before taking the plunge.
There were no relatives to attend the wedding. Both sets of parents were gone; he had no siblings or any other relatives to his knowledge. She had one sister, who was in the service and on deployment. They invited as many friends as they could. About a dozen showed at the party to help celebrate.
He worked as a clerk at one of the largest insurance companies in the area; just a few more courses and he could take the test to become an agent. After that he would be in the big time.
Marie was a surgical nurse at the hospital. She was well on her way to becoming a physician's assistant; she had to finish one more semester before her tests.
Lewis usually got home a little before she did, so he would start dinner as he studied. It was usually something simple; pop a tray into the oven or warm a large can of whatever.
Three nights a week she was off to school soon after eating; two off those nights he went to his classes. The other night he spent working on his dream car; a 1957 Chevy. He had restored Josephine from the ground up. He chose that name because it seemed to suit the car; and he knew no one by that name. He hoped to have her ready to drive in time for Marie's graduation in about a month, it would be close.
The weekends were theirs to do as they pleased, usually not getting out of bed until the late morning or early afternoon. This was their time; time for loving, time to make up for all the demands of the week. They were always exhausted by the time they did get up.
It was a Tuesday, one of the days they did not need to go to school. As he pulled into the driveway he hardly noticed the car parked in front of the house; the neighbor kids always had visitors who parked all up and down the street. He dropped his cases on the table in the hall and went upstairs to change. Halfway up the stairs he almost heard a little squeak. His mind immediately brought up a picture of his wife as they made love. He smiled as the thought crossed his mind.
At the top off the steps he noticed the guest room door slightly ajar; it was usually closed. Not really thinking about it, he reached to pull it closed when his life as he knew it came to an abrupt end.
Eighteen hours later he stopped to use the facilities at the rest stop. He had no idea where he was; he didn't care either.
As he pulled into a parking space, the scene he saw as he closed that door returned. It had haunted him off and on, mostly on, since he left the house. His Marie was lying on her back with a huge black man between her legs, he was pumping away faster than he ever thought possible. His Marie, the one who gave him her virginity only four months before, was pumping right back with equal abandon. She was making the same small sounds she made for him. Now it appeared as if she was going to have to be someone else's Marie
His only thought was to leave; he could not live with a woman who would do this.
He picked up a piece of mail and quickly wrote on the back: "If this is what you want you can have him. I won't have a cheating wife. You pay for the divorce."
He threw his ring on it and left it on the hall table on top of his bags. He was out the door and on the way down the road soon after.
He had stopped three, or was it four, times for gas; each time grabbing a couple of cokes and something light to eat. Most of it was on the seat beside him still. His bladder was overfull.
After thinking about the problem for a while he decided that he needed to go back and confront Marie, he was not the type to run from a problem. Besides, he had worked too hard to get to this point his life to throw it all away. He called work and told the recorder he had to take time off for a family problem; he would be back on Monday.
It was between dawn and sunrise when he finally managed to pry himself out of the car, as he stood up the first punch hit him and knocked him out. Two men threw him onto the hood of the car and continued to beat him, without mercy, as he lay there. He was lucky he did not feel the rest of the beating. The men drove off in his car with all the contents of his pockets. They found it to be funny that he wet himself then proceeded to soil his shorts soon after.
One of them commented on how " ... they really beat the shit out of him." He was still on the hood as they drove off; to their continued amusement he slowly rolled off the hood of the car as they backed out. He bounced off the curb and lay still. As they left the rest area they rudely toasted him with cokes he had purchased before.
Ten minutes later a trooper pulled into the parking lot to investigate the report of some disreputable looking characters at that location. He found nothing to be concerned about until he returned to his car and saw a badly beaten man fifteen feet beyond where he parked. Had he been at any other angle he might have missed the feet that showed under the trash can.
Lewis died two times on the way to the hospital. He was revived both times. He was near death again as they wheeled him in.
But, Lewis was a fighter, he survived. After ten days in an induced coma they began to bring him out. He was asked many questions; the blank looks he gave in return were not a good sign. He almost whispered "Cheating bitch." and soon screamed "NO!" really loud, and he moaned something about the love of his life being over. Everything else was incoherent moaning and sobbing.
The third day he was awake the doctor asked what he wished to be called. "I feel like I am known as Mark" he replied. The doctors pushed gently for a last name, but he said nothing else. So he became Mark, which in truth was his middle name.
The damage to his body was healing but his face was malformed, surgery made him look normal again.
Soon it became apparent that he was going to continue as he was for the duration. When the hospital could do no more for him he was sent to a psychiatric rehab hospital. A nurse named Nancy was able to befriend him and get responses to some questions, but he could not remember anything about his life before the beating. He still had the same terrible dreams; just a large black man rapidly pumping into a willing redhead. There were never any faces and many times the bodies were barely in focus. Much of the information revealed was recorded from mumblings as he slept. It was just not enough.
The day his room's air conditioner stopped working he revealed another clue. James Jones, the residential engineer, was a smallish black man. When James entered the room to make the repair, Lewis tried to climb out of his chair. The entire time he was screaming "You can't have my wife you son of a bitch. Get out of here and leave us alone!"
James made a hasty retreat from the room.
The staff had to sedate Lewis to calm him down. Over the next couple of days his nurse, Nancy, listened to the story about his dreams and managed to eventually convince him that it was not James who was in his dreams. The description of the man Lewis told her about, with his wife, was just too different to be James.
The next week Lewis asked if he could speak to James. "I 'm sorry for the way I treated you the other day. I realize I was wrong about who you were and what I said."
"It's OK" was the only response.
The two men sat for over an hour and talked about a lot of things. James had to go home to care for his child, so his wife could go to work. They parted as friends.
On the way out of the building James stopped to report that everything was now good between them. As a last remark, one he almost didn't make, he reported that Lewis seemed to watch one redheaded nurse every time she passed by his room. The staff kept a close eye on him and saw it too.
They asked her to walk into his room and see how he reacted.
Nancy was there with him as she entered the room Lewis sat up straight and looked very angry. The redhead moved closer to him a little at a time, until he suddenly spoke. "How dare you come into my room after what I saw you doing with that man? GET OUT and leave me alone. I never want to see you again!"
The nurse turned and left as quickly as she could.
The entire episode was recorded by the closed circuit camera in the corner of the room.
He sat in his chair and wept great big, sobbing tears of pain.
Nancy soon asked "Mark, who was that woman?"
He simply responded "That was Mary, the slut." He almost got the name correct.
"Are you sure about that? She looks like a nurse who works here named Lucy to me."
.... There is more of this story ...