In The Desert Of Seth

By G. B. Marian

Memory

When I awoke three mornings ago, my wife and kids were gone. I thought she might have taken them to school, but then I remembered it was Saturday. The car was still in our garage, so they must have left the house by foot. I waited all morning for them to return, but when they didn’t, I took the car to see if I could track them down. No luck. I was going to call my wife on her cell, but all of my contacts had somehow been erased, and I couldn’t remember what her number was for the life of me. I returned home and waited for my family to show up a while longer; then I called the police. Two officers arrived and asked me to provide descriptions of my wife and kids.

To my horror, I couldn’t remember what they looked like. I couldn’t even remember their names.

The officers left, looking as if they thought I was crazy. To be honest, I couldn’t argue with them on that point. How could I simply forget my family’s names when my wife and I have been married for…well, I can’t remember that, either. I stayed up for most of the night after that, feeling lost and afraid. Even my own home seemed unfamiliar to me, as if I’d never been there before. I prayed for my family to return, but they never did. Sitting wild-eyed in a recliner I couldn’t remember purchasing, I eventually floated away into a troubled sleep.

When I awoke on the second morning, I was in a field in the middle of nowhere. I didn’t recognize any of my surroundings, and I stumbled around for hours before I finally encountered a woman driving in a car. She drove me to the local police station, where I asked for the officers I had seen the night before…but I couldn’t remember their names. I couldn’t even describe what they looked like to the man at the front desk. He tried to identify them by asking for my name and address, hoping to check who had responded to my call. But I couldn’t even give him that much information. That’s when I fell to my knees, crying and screaming and going out of my mind.

I was taken to a hospital after that. I spent the rest of the day explaining myself to the doctors, but I only made myself sound crazier. It occurred to me that the field in which I had awoken was actually my neighborhood, and that my house and neighbors had all disappeared during the night – just like my family. I cried myself to sleep in my room, hoping everything would be normal again when I awoke. But I couldn’t even remember what “normal” had been.

When I awoke on the third morning, I was in a desert. There was nothing but barren soil in every direction. My entire city had just vanished, and I couldn’t even remember what it was named. I traveled beneath the scorching sun for as long as I could, heading north and hoping I might arrive at one of my lost city’s neighboring townships. I found nothing at all; there wasn’t a single sign that anyone (or anything) else had ever existed. For all I knew, I was the last living thing on the planet – and I couldn’t even remember what I looked like.

As night fell, I finally collapsed to the ground, exhausted from going nowhere. I laid there upon the dead earth, shivering and wondering what would be missing when I awakened the next day. Would the planet disappear from beneath my feet while I slept? Would I be floating, dead in outer space? I was too tired to even care; I surrendered to oblivion.

When I awoke this morning, it was with my real eyes. I’ve already forgotten almost everything about the dream I was having. This account is all I have left, and I’ve tried to write it all down as quickly as possible…but as I read over the paragraphs above, I find it hard to believe I ever wrote them. I don’t even know what a “car,” a “cell” or a “Saturday” is; it sounds like make-believe to me. How good it is to be awake, to see with my seven eyes again…And to think that I could have been some hapless creature with only two arms and legs, trapped on some rock that’s far removed from my various mates and our countless spawn…

What a terrible nightmare…

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