It's really...bizarre, being alone. Like, standing outside and listening and knowing without a doubt, 100%, that you're alone.
It's especially weird if you're in a suburban area. There's roads everywhere. There's fences. There's streetlights. And yet it's like...everything is just gone.
It's even weirder when you realize that you can't remember anything from...ever.
I look around, feeling my lips naturally pull into a nervous smile, and there's one word on my mind.
Something's weird. Something's really really weird. I can't remember my name, I can't remember where I am, and there's like...nothing around me anywhere, except for this house.
It's not a bad house, necessarily, but...
...but where the hell is everybody?
There's nothing really to do inside. There's a bookshelf. That's about it. Before I can give into my primal impulse to start sprinting across the fields until I find a sign that says where I am, a person who can tell me WHO I am, I grab a book and throw myself into a chair.
It feels strangely new. It smells strangely new. For some reason that makes me want to curl up in a little ball, but I can't.
If I can't know who I am, I am going to have to be oblivious for the sake of my sanity.
As the sun starts to fade and I start to get to the end of the crappy romance novel, I hear my doorbell ring.
A little peek out my window, and suddenly my heart is pounding.
There's someone here. There's someone else in this town. And he's got...a pizza?
I nearly rip the door off the hinges and stumble down the stairs. "Hello?!"
"Whoa!" He whirls out of my way with a grin, barely keeping the pizza balanced on his hand. "Easy there, Gen. You'll run me over."
He chuckles. "Here's your pizza."
I don't know why, but I start smiling too. It's like that's my default emotion or something, especially when that's all he's giving me. It's freaking me out.
"Uh, thanks, but I...I didn't order one."
"Dude, c'mon, you never order a pizza," he murmurs, quirking a brow. "What's wrong with you? This is your weekly pizza. I brought it to you. It's what we do every week. Did you like hit your head or something?"
I put the pizza on the stairs. My hands are shaking so badly that I think I'll drop it otherwise. "So I-I...I know you?"
"Gen. I'm serious. Quit this shit. It's confusing the hell out of me."
I don't feel like smiling anymore. I feel like crying. "I don't know you."
"Stop calling me that!" I stamp my foot on the ground. "I don't know my name, I don't know your name, I don't know ANYTHING."
"Hey. HEY. Calm down!"
I don't want to calm down. I'm going to lose it.
"There. I knew that'd chill you out."
I suck in a shaky breath. "Can you...can you just-"
"C'mon, let's go inside. That pizza's gonna get cold."
He forces me to eat a slice of pizza. Says it's good for me if I've experienced a shock or something. "All right. So tell me what you wanna know."
"Do you know me?"
"Yeah." He smiles kindly as he settles into the chair at the end of the table. "We've been friends for years."
"Okay." I stare at his face. I try to place it, but it's like I've never seen him before in my life. "What's your name?"
"Benedict. Benedict Brier. But, uh, you normally just call me Ben. Easier that way."
I nod and take another bite of the veggie-covered pizza. No meat to speak of. I chew thoughtfully. "What's my name?"
"Genevieve Johnson. You always preferred Gen, but, I mean, if you don't like that now, I can start calling you something else."
For some reason, that touches me. In all those movies that you see, in all the books that you read, no one really thinks much about the person who's got amnesia. It's all about turning them into the person they were before, not who they might be today.
But I nod carefully. "Gen's fine for now. Genevieve sounds like...a real tongue-twister." I can barely say the word myself. It's freaking weird.
When we're done eating, I can't keep to my seat. I stand up and start pacing. Ben follows.
"Where's everyone else?"
Ben grins again. "What d'you mean?"
"I mean, where are they?"
"Gen, this is how life is in Appaloosa Plains. It's always been like this. Don't you remem- ...I mean..."
I look away.
"That was insensitive of me." He rubs the back of his neck with a wince. "I'm sorry."
"No, it's fine. Just tell me what happened."
Ben charges into this huge explanation that I can't even really comprehend. It's all about war, accidents, aliens, monsters, all out of a science-fiction book, and I stare at him with huge eyes. I'm pretty sure that most of it went in one ear and out the other. That's how ridiculous it all was.
"You're shitting me."
Ben shakes his head, and for once there's not a drop of humor to be found on his face. "No. No, I'm really not."
"Then why...why am I here? With this house? When no one else is? And why are you bringing me weekly pizzas?"
That's when the really sympathetic look comes across his face. "Look, everyone else is still stuck in that warzone. It's about twenty miles out of here, give or take, but...I had to get you out."
My cheeks flush. "Me?"
"I really care about you, Gen. You're like..."
"Like a sister?"
"No." He locks eyes with me, his gaze turning warm. "No, nothing like that."
All I can think of is that he's really attractive and that we've apparently got this history between us that I'm not even aware of. I can see it in the way he looks at me. And all this traumatic stuff, it's really just...it's bringing me down.
I don't really know why I do it, but I feel compelled to lean in.
"Shh," I whisper in his ear, feeling the skin on my shoulder light on fire when he touches me there. "I don't wanna hear anything anymore."
He turns his head just enough for the brim of his hat to tap my ear. "Gen, do you even-"
I decide to shut him up.
There's something clunky and awkward about the way we meet, so it's clear we've never done this before. But at the same time, my lips shape perfectly against his, molding with this strange sort of intelligence, like I'm a natural at this whole kissing thing or something.
And I can't deny the way my stomach suddenly flip-flops.
He pulls back first. His eyes are huge and he's staring at me like he's never seen me before. "Gen..."
I bite my bottom lip. "Was that...wrong?"
"No." His response is quick, before I've even finished my last word. "Just unexpected."
I wrap my arms around myself and shiver, looking away. It doesn't matter how warm I suddenly am inside. This place is still infinitely foreboding to me.
Ben touches my arm for a second and I gasp, looking down at his hand. His fingers flinch back. And then he clears his throat. "I should...I'm going to put up the pizza. I think you should go lay down."
"But I'm not tired."
"Trust me. You will be."
And so I waddle to my room and crawl into bed and the second my head hits the pillow I feel drowsier than I think any human being can possibly feel. I'm dead to the world.
My last thought right before I slip into my dreams is "What's Ben doing right now? Is he going to stay?"
I don't have a clue. But I really hope he did.
Here we go!
I hope ya'll enjoy my take on this challenge. 8D It's the first time in a long time that I've had a rather convoluted plot, so hopefully all will make sense in time.
Ben's explanation to Gen about the incident that destroyed the land's population, buildings, etc., was intentionally vague. Poor girl's been through a lot! We'll be going more indepth as time and chapters go by.
For now, my chapters will probably show up weekly or bi-monthly either on Tuesdays or Thursdays, so keep an eye open and feel free to subscribe!