(Page 2 of 2)
Plagued Memory by Samuel D. Kirby
In my struggle, I see a face within the fire. But it is not my brother's face in the fire; it is 'me' who is dead. I abandon the ship, leaving it to burn."
"My recovery was a long time ago, and I don't remember knowing much at all from before I woke in the infirmary at the Institute. The magic of the magus had cured my sickness, but the plague had already dislocated my memory. Names, faces, places, all known to me even then, but none correlated.
"I was found wearing this coat, and it was inside a pocket that a magus discovered the letter of acceptance to study at their Institute. A letter addressed to Joseph. So they had called me Joseph and I assumed them correct, so Joseph is who I became. I doubt that now.
"I remember the coat never fitting me. It was too big then, and I don't know why I have kept it for so long. There was no sense too; you know it's too hot here for such a heavy garment."
His laugh was halfhearted and soon broke down to tears. Davorkja could not even smile.
"By the time I fully recovered, the lessons had started. Even though I had retained my thinking ability, it was a grueling task for me to write the first letter home. With aid, I finally wrote to my parents and told them about the tragic death of their son, William."
"Oh, how I feared to meet my parents. I feared I would not recognize them, so I told them not to worry of me. They wanted to come to me, but I told them not to, giving false but convincing excuses about the demands of my study. When our son was born they insisted and I did not withstand."
"Reuniting with them on the docks, my plagued memory started its resurface. You remember how elated I was-- I recognized them! It felt astonishing to believe, but when mother called me William, I did not at first make the connection. I corrected her, and now even she believes I am my older brother.
"Do I continue this deception?"
"I have been the man Joseph for longer than I remember being the boy William. If I am William again do I rob Joseph of his accomplishments? Will it cause my family to grieve again, this time for the loss of their older son?
"If I stay as Joseph, then is William truly dead? It was Joseph who was to attend the Institute, and I was intended only to accompany him for a short time until he settled. Is a name only a name?"
"Davorkja, Should I continue this deception?"