The light were harsh and machines piped a constant background noise into the room, but he awoke to them so gradually that even the most artificial of circumstances felt perfectly natural. His vision blurred at the edges, but even that felt right. This was the only reality that he recognized in the moment, the only thing he felt certain of. Even his own name seemed to elude him as he awoke to the unfamiliar environment.
In the distance of his vision, a figure almost like that of a human loomed as a dark blur. It moved and seemed to grow an arm as it gestured back and forth to him and others. His eyes drifted shut, and someone touched his skin, shaking his gently. He listened to the sound of his own breath and drifted away from the moment.
Against, his eyes opened. This time the figure was close, and he could almost make out human eyes. A squeal like that of a bat shattered his ears, and he tried to burrow his head into the pillow. Someone grabbed his arm, and when he blinked again, he thought he recognized the silhouette. He pursed his lips together, attempting a word, then even dared to move his body. He couldn't accomplish either, but he thought that he managed to twist up some muscles in his face. The blurry figure above him, the one with the blue eyes he was starting to think were familiar, made another noise, and he tried to keep himself awake. Still, some deep exhaustion or deficiency seemed to pull at him, and before he could even make another attempt at speaking, his eyes were falling shut.
There were no lights this time, but the beeping was still there, and he could just make out the sound of someone else breathing rhythmically nearby. He didn't try to move again, but he mimicked the breathing as well as he could. In and out and in again as he stared at what must have been the flattest ceiling he had ever seen. This he could manage, and it went on for much longer than any of his other stints of being awake. Alone in the dark, he had a moment to breathe, and it felt like several minutes before the world faded out again.
Someone was touching him.
That was his first coherent thought as he opened his eyes. He could feel someone pushing in on his arm, and though he wasn't quite awake enough to recognize the feeling of latex, he knew that they were not touching him with their bare skin. He wasn't just experiencing things this time, he was actually thinking about them, and even as the world spun around him, he felt as though this time would be different. This time, he would make it past a few seconds.
"Look who's up," said the woman whose hand was on his arm. It took him a long moment to process the words that she was saying, but he did manage to process them. Lights were solidifying into images and sounds were forming words that he knew. He still couldn't bring himself to move, or even speak, but he was starting to feel like himself again. Even his mind was clearing, and among the memories that came rushing back was the knowledge that his name was Andrew. More than his name, he remembered who he was, and how his life had been.
What he didn't remember was how he had ended up here, and as the nurse looked down on him with a solemn expression, he got the definite feeling that he wasn't going to like the answer.
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