Tell me who I am.
“I done told y’all. You can’t have her yet,” Rusty said between bits of a chocolate chip muffin as he twirled a red stethoscope in the other. “You should be used to that by now, right Kimosabe?” the EMT said smirking at the detective scowling back at him. “You know, waiting on a woman?”
“I think you got me confused,” Detective Blackfoot said the frown line between his dark brown eyes deepening. “Don’t you mean Tonto? I mean if you’re going to be a racist at least get your references correct, okay?” he said as he towered over the smaller man.
One of the officers stepped between the two men, but neither backed down. “C’mon man,” he said reaching for Blackfoot’s shoulder but the detective shrugged him off. “He’s just busting your balls that’s all,” the officer said trying to diffuse the situation.
“Who you calling racist, man?” Rusty said ignoring both the young officer and the difference between him and Blackfoot’s height and strength. The enraged EMT stood his ground.
“Shut up and walk away,” the officer said to the EMT his words slow as if he were talking to a toddler. He was trying to save the pipsqueak but it was as if the man had a death wish and no sense of self preservation. Blackfoot tried to push past him to get at Rusty, but the officer, who considered himself a friend of the detective, even if Blackfoot didn’t, refused to move out of the way. He breathed a sigh of relief when he spotted a familiar face running through the crowd. “Bout time Officer Taylor.”
“Hey, hey, hey,” the tall wiry man looped an arm around the back of the EMT’s neck forcing him away from the confrontation. Taylor had a big smile on his face, but his eyes were cool. He waved for the young officer to take Blackfoot away as he deftly maneuvered Rusty out of Blackfoot’s eyesight.
“You need to do something about your boy, Taylor,” the EMT exhaled loudly. Despite the man’s big words, Taylor saw a sliver of relief on the smaller man’s face but he had no sympathy for him. From experience he was sure whatever Blackfoot wanted to pummel Rusty for was well deserved.
“No, you need to stop pushing buttons you can’t handle,” Taylor said. The last thing he wanted was another Blackfoot meltdown especially over some idiot trying to bait him. The detective had too many strikes against him as it was.
“No, your boy needs to get a life,” Rusty said loudly, “and a muzzle.”
Taylor stared at the arrogant EMT until the shorter man looked away. Just as he knew he would. Blackfoot’s temper was legendary, but he was a good guy. He’d just had a string of bad luck lately. Truth was Taylor wanted to punch the little man himself, but he knew better. Then again, he didn’t have the little runt poking him with a stick every chance he got either. They all wanted to put this shit stain of a case to bed ASAP but they couldn’t as long as Rusty and his ego stood in the way.
“All I’m asking for is for you to cut him some slack,” Taylor said, “and let us talk with the woman. Five minutes?” he added but Rusty shook his head. “Fine, fine,” Taylor said. “It’s late, you’ve been with her all this time. She said anything at all?”
“She’s pretty shaken, shock maybe,” Rusty said still frowning but his demeanor was a fraction less antagonistic, “but we’re taking her to the hospital for more tests.” Rusty said. “You and your partner’s burning questions are gonna have to wait, Taylor,” the EMT said his chest puffing with self-importance.
“C’mon man,” Taylor said his trademark smile never slipping, “give me something.”
“Look,” Rusty said leading Taylor further away from the group of officers. “I’m not shitting you. She’s been through a lot and from what I can tell the two geniuses that jumped her weren’t playing around. It’s a wonder she wasn’t hurt worse. Two against one?” In a low voice he added, “They had to be cracked out to have tried this with her- here of all places.”
Taylor agreed, but he didn’t say anything. Rusty looked back to the semi-conscious woman still lying on the ground shaking his head.
“Truly, she hasn’t said a word to any of us since we got here. A little out of it, but she’s lucid. She’s just not talking. Which is not like her, at all,” Rusty said smirking. “If you know what I mean?”
Taylor shrugged. He had no idea what Rusty meant. He’d heard the victim was somewhat of a local celebrity but he was new to the area.
“You met her before?” Taylor asked. The little man giggled which made Taylor hate him even more, which he didn’t think was possible.
“Let’s just say she’s always been a very friendly girl,” Rusty said winking, “if you know what I mean. In fact, she’s been friendly with several of your officers and one of my EMTs.” He said wagging his eyebrows suggestively, before turning to supervise the techs.
Taylor took the information he’d been given with a grain of salt. Everyone knew what an ass Rusty was. The man knew his job but he just didn’t play well with others.
Blackfoot was going to be pissed but there wasn’t anything he could do about it. Attempted robbery in broad daylight in a bookstore? Stuff like that just didn’t happen here, but if drugs were involved it changed everything. If that was the case, Taylor was thankful a knock on the head was all that happened. It could have been much worse. He’d seen people do crazy stuff when they were high.
Still his intuition told him there was more. He and Blackfoot just had to figure out what it was before the case blew up in their faces.
Liza tried to stay as alert as she could. The onlookers were corralled behind a wall of officers, but it didn’t make her feel any safer. The cops had arrived but she knew if someone her, they could slip through the yellow tape easily. Hell, they didn’t even have to do that much. She hadn’t completed her mission, which meant she’d have to deal with Central now.
“Remember,” she thought furiously. Why couldn’t she remember? She didn’t want to call Him, but if nothing came back to her soon, she wouldn’t have a choice. For now, she had to just let it play out. She was too weak to run, and not ready to deal with the police especially the big one with the scowl. Blackfoot was what the red-haired guy called him. The permanent scowl on the dark man’s face was nothing to play with. She needed to get her story straight, or better yet get out of here. That one, would not settle for any BS. There was no way anyone could know who she really was, but what made it more complicated was Liza didn’t know who she was supposed to be.
She was no match sitting out in the open like this. She still didn’t know what made the man pause. Why hadn’t he shot her? He had the jump on her. Why hadn’t he used it? They’d wanted her purse- that she knew. They could have had it and been gone, but he hesitated. Why?
Liza clutched the purse with both hands. One of the EMTs had tried taking it earlier, but she refused until they gave up. There was no way she was letting it out of her sight. Every time she tried to remember; Liza’s head spun like a tire on ice that couldn’t get any traction. There were so many questions that she still couldn’t answer. The rules she’d lived by had been flipped by two amateurs she’d never seen before and it shook her more than she cared to admit.
Central hadn’t made contact yet. She was alive still. The Mastermind had to have something to do with that. Being one of his first gave Liza a little grace, as much as any Watcher could possibly have. It could mean only one thing- her mission wasn’t complete. How much had she forgotten? Liza replayed everything that had happened prior to her waking up outside this morning as the techs worked around her.
The last thing she remembered prior to that morning was Morocco. That gig had lasted about two weeks. Central gave her the order to obtain and deliver- which she did. She passed the package, a laptop that held top secret intel to the government in a neighboring country. Once she made the drop, she destroyed all evidence of Ade Imonje, her last cover, and taken a plane to Greece then to Paris then finally to London. She’d checked into her hotel, but that was where everything stopped. Everything afterwards was a blank. That was six months ago.
Liza remembered Morocco, she even remembered before Morocco, but after she got to London it stopped- everything. Every time she tried to remember what happened between then and waking up in the field a couple of hours ago, she hit a wall.
Through half closed eyelids Liza watched the officers standing in the café. There was Blackfoot again. The man could never be a Watcher. He stood out too much. She guessed because he looked so different than the rest. He wore a sports jacket instead of the black uniform the others wore, paired with a white shirt and dark denim jeans, but she knew instinctively he was a cop. His stare was too alert. She knew that stare because she’d grown up around that stare. Learned at a very young age to avoid being on the receiving end of that stare. She recognized him because like her, his job was to notice the small thing. The only difference was he watched to restore order, Liza watched to disturb it.
He was dark all over. He had dark brown skin, black hair. He was tall and broad shouldered with an obnoxious amount of stubble. He had high cheekbones and broad forehead that hinted of some Native American ancestry somewhere in his DNA. Altogether he was a handsome man, but it didn’t matter as long as she didn’t have to talk to him. One look told Liza talking to him right now would be very bad. He looked just as put out as the other officers forced to stand on the perimeter but angrier. She wasn’t scared of him, but she was scared of what she might say, or do. Central couldn’t know she’d lost her memory, and until she figured out more about what happened to her, talking to the police was the last thing she intended to do.
“Pick a side,” the EMT said to her. The back of her head still hurt like hell, but she settled on her left side on the gurney so she could keep her eyes on the cops.
“Well what do we have here,” a voice said from above. “She’s bleeding.”
“No shit Sherlock,” the EMT said roughly.
“Fuck you Watson,” the redhead said pushing the younger EMT out the way. “When were you going to let me know.”
Liza winced at the EMT’s touch.
“You’re bleeding,” he said as his fingers passed roughly through the tracks of thick hair. “I have to check it out.” It was tender, but Liza tried to ignore him even though he kept poking at it. She watched the big cop step out of the café coming closer. His eyes were unwavering as he stared back at her.
“How’d this happen?” he asked confusion in his voice. He was beginning to irritate Liza with all of his questions.
“Blackfoot,” an EMT whispered as warning when the big guy moved away from the pack of cops stepping closer to them.
Rusty shoved a bloodied piece of metal in her face. “How’d this happen?” Liza blinked at the piece of pellet then back at Blackfoot.
Rusty moved to crouch in front of her, blocking her view. He looked down at her expectantly, but she didn’t speak. She didn’t know how the damn thing had gotten in her hair let alone that it was there. Until about an hour ago she’d barely remembered her own name but she couldn’t tell him that either. Liza’s body started shaking. she felt nauseous. The darkness was returning but this time she didn’t even try to stop it.
“You mean to tell me you don’t know how you got this injury on the back of your head?” Rusty asked undeterred. Liza reached for the back of her head, but didn’t make it before the EMT pulled her hands away and placed them back on the stretcher. She was too weak to fight him.
“Either you are the luckiest person I’ve ever met, or the stupidest,” Rusty whispered as he wrapped a white bandage around her head.
“Thanks,” Liza said swallowing, “Asshole.” She heard one of the EMTs chuckle, but everything started to sound far away again.
“Darling you need to kiss your hairstylist’s ass because that is one helluva weave they gave you.” The lone female tech said as she placed an oxygen mask on Liza’s face.
“Load her up,” Rusty said, and then everything went black again.
When Liza woke again it was to the sound of the ambulance sirens as the techs sitting in the cab chattered away.
“Don’t listen to my partner,” the woman said sitting next to her. “He’s got a bug up his butt more about those cops breathing down his neck than you. He just hates reality shows, like really hates them… but I love them,” the woman added in a whisper.
The ambulance lurched to a stop and then they unloaded Liza. There was a small crowd at the door to the ER, but they pushed her in so fast Liza couldn’t distinguish between any one face. The room started spinning as she watched Rusty hand off some papers to a guy in a white coat.
“Watch out she’s gonna blow,” Rusty said before the belts were removed and Liza was rolled to the side of the bed with a trash can placed beneath her. After she finished vomiting, they laid her back in the center of the bed her head swimming worse than before. There was a loud commotion at the door followed by bright flashes of light and people running. Liza looked to see a man holding a camera pointed in her direction.
“Get him out of here,” one of the nurses shouted as Liza covered her eyes. The curtain was pulled for privacy. There was some scuffling the other side of the curtain then it quieted down.
When the curtain was pulled back again the man was gone and Liza was whisked into a private room. The new room had glass doors, but a nurse came in and pulled the curtain thankfully shutting the rest of the ER out.
The nurse avoided Liza’s eyes as she slipped the cuff on her arm then clipped something on the finger of her free hand. She shoved a thermometer in her mouth
“Put it under your tongue,” she said. Holding her stethoscope to the crook of Liza’s elbow she pumped a black rubber bulb with the other hand. Liza hissed when the cuff started pinching her arm.
“Aw,” the nurse said one thinly arched eyebrow raised. “This tiny thing can’t hurt you.” Seconds later the nurse twisted the silver knob on the side of the bulb causing the cuff to deflate. “I’ve seen you take on much worse than this.”
“I beg your pardon,” Liza said rubbing my arm once she loosened the band. The nurse gave Liza a strange look before slipping out when the doctor came in.
“Well, it looks like you’ve had a pretty spectacular evening. I bet you weren’t expecting this type of reception?” the doctor said cheerily as she put her clipboard down and rubbed antiseptic on her hands.
“Not exactly,” Liza said. Her movements and her words felt slow and she could taste the dull metallic taste of blood in her mouth. She wanted something to drink or at least rinse out my mouth, but she said nothing.
“Your blood pressure and heart rate are perfect, considering,” the doctor said as she wrote on her clipboard. “Do you still run?” Confused, Liza nodded, and the doctor pulled back the covers to begin her examination.
“Let me take a look, eh?” the doctor said. Wielding a pen light in one of her hands, she shined the bright light in each of Liza’s eyes giving her a quick check over just as the EMT and the nurse had done earlier.
“Okay let’s get this cleaned up and take a look at what we’ve got going here,” the doctor said as she unwrapped the bandage on her head. As the cap was loosened, Liza’s head began to throb again. She knew the doctor was talking to her, but it was hard to focus on her words as she cleansed the area. The past few hours kept replaying over and over again. It was a confusing loop in her mind that kept zigzagging through the attack and then to the hospital. Then it jumped back to the field but that was it- there was nothing between that and Morocco.
It was like there was a wall after Morocco and before this morning. The past six months was nothing but static like on a television screen when the cable was out. Liza knew the basic stuff like where she was, what date it was, who the president was, but anything else- nothing.
She didn’t understand it. She knew Central wouldn’t understand it either. They couldn’t find out she’d lost her memory. It would be deadly if they did. Therefore, the hospital staff couldn’t know, and more importantly the cops couldn’t know.
“Not on any medications I see,” the doctor said. Liza shook herhead.
“I feel better already Doctor Tran,” Liza said reading the doctor’s name tag. The doctor smiled at her. She looked more like a kindergarten teacher than any ER doctor she’d known. She had a sweet face, and demeanor. She trusted that she would do her job, but that was good and bad. Liza needed to be well enough to leave, but she doubted that would happen unless she could answer her questions. That was something she wasn’t sure she could do.
“Well, let me be the judge of that,” she said.
Liza felt the doctor’s latex covered hand brush her bare arm and she jumped. She relaxed, but Liza tensed again as the doctor’s last words finally caught up to her.
“What did you say?” Liza said. Her voice sounded harsh even to her ears, but she needed to know. Liza saw the doctor look towards the door for a second a worried look crossing her face.
“I said did you have anyone you wanted to call?” the doctor said clearing her throat as she disposed of her gloves.
Liza shook her head. “No, what did you call me?”
“Trina?” the doctor said her smooth brow scrunching into a frown. Clearing her throat, the doctor moved away her eyes suddenly chilly. “I apologize. Ms. Davenport, if you prefer,” the doctor said in a much cooler tone.
Everything went still as another piece ticked into place. “No,” Liza said clearing her throat. “There is no one.”
“Are you sure?” Dr. Tran said frowning as she reached for her tablet.
“Yeah, I’m sure,” Liza said. “I just can’t wait to get out of here.”
Dr. Tran nodded. “Well, I see no reason not to release you into the care of your family or…friend, after we do a couple of tests on that head wound of yours, of course. Luckily, there’s no active bleeding. Head injuries are the trickiest though. They can bleed a lot and it be nothing, or it could be no visible blood but still have a brain bleed. That wouldn’t be good. So, we’ll get you admitted and I’m going to send the nurse in to check on you until we can get you cleared with Radiology, ok?”
“Sure thing,” Liza said, and then minutes later she was transported to a room. She lay on the hospital bed silently until the room cleared.
Liza now knew the name of the person she was supposed to be but that was all. She had no idea who Trina Davenport was, or what brought her to Mississippi. She’d forgotten her cover. It was a Watchers worst fear, but she had to keep it hidden.
Central couldn’t find out. Liza didn’t want to think about the possible consequences, if Central thought she was defective or worse a liability. What they would do to her if they found was a fate worse than death. She’d seen what happened to Watchers that cracked, the really good ones were never terminated. They were sent to the dungeon where they worked in the tunnels until the skills, they’d been recruited for were no longer accessible. It could take weeks, months, or even years. There was no way she could let that happen.
No, she would make her way out of here. After all, that was her specialty.