It had been weeks since Serena sustained the concussion that took away her memory. Slowly but surely bits and pieces of her life came back to her; all but one thing. The memory of her attack eluded her. While she had brief moments of fear and often saw shadows that frightened her, she could not string all the pieces together to paint a picture of the event.
Eventually, Serena made her way back into rotation at the hospital. After a while, she picked up the routine and put most of the experience behind her. Still, she found herself suspicious of many of her colleagues. Consequently, all but her closest personal relationships suffered.
Because Serena couldn’t provide the police with any more information about her attack, they eventually dropped her case. They promised to consider reopening it if she remembered something they could use in the future.
After awhile, Serena could no longer stand the uncertainty and the pressure of the fear that surrounded her. She sought the assistance of a psychiatrist to try and help her remember.
“There’s no guarantee that hypnosis will work, Serena. I need you to understand that. The mind is a mysterious thing. It can have a strong will when it perceives a threat to our survival. You may not remember because your mind thinks it will hurt you to do so.”
“I have to try. I’m losing half my friends. I don’t trust but a handful of people. That isn’t good when your work depends on your believing in those with whom you work.”
“All right then. Let’s give it a try.”
Taking out a crystal, he held it in front of Serena. “Focus on the lights inside the crystal Serena. See how the sun catches them and reflects the colors all around. Look deeply into the crystal and try to find the source of the light.”
Serena nodded, focusing her attention as advised. “I see it.”
“Keep watching it. Move deeper and deeper into the center. As you go, your body will become more relaxed. You will feel safe and at ease.”
Serena nodded again. Her body physically relaxed.
“Now, when I count to three, you will be totally relaxed. Remember that you are safe. Nothing you see in the crystal corridor can hurt you. Do you understand? It is just a memory; a reflection.”
“I understand,” Serena mumbled.
“One. You feel safe and secure. Two. You are ready to remember the night of your attack. Three. Where are you Serena?”
“I’m in the storage room near the ER. I’m inventorying supplies to make a list for reorder. I’m anxious to finish so I can go home. It’s been a 36 hour shift.”
“Is anyone with you, Serena?”
“No, I’m alone.” Suddenly Serena’s face clouded over. “Wait, someone just came into the room. He makes me uncomfortable.”
“Can you tell me who it is, Serena? Who entered the room?”
“I don’t recognize his face. He is dressed as a doctor. He’s wearing blue scrubs and a white coat. He has a stethoscope around his neck. But I don’t know him. I’ve never seen him before.”
“Is there a name tag on his jacket?”
“Can you read the name? Look closely, Serena. It is important. What is the name on the jacket?”
Serena’s body tensed. Her fists closed and her eyes grew tight.
“The name tag says Dr. Carlton, but it is not Dr. Carlton.” Serena’s voice began to panic. “I know Dr. Carlton. The man is not Dr. Carlton.”
“Serena, remember that he cannot hurt you. He is just a memory. Relax and tell me what he looks like.”
Serena’s body released part of its tension but still seemed to be alert.
“He is about 6′ in height; roughly 200 pounds. He has dark curly hair and brown eyes. His skin is dark; Asian perhaps or Indian. I’m not sure. His face is angry. He’s looking at me with hatred.” Serena began to shake visibly. “Why does he hate me? I don’t even know this man.”
The psychiatrist tried to calm down his patient but nothing seemed to be working. “Serena, release this memory. Find your way back to the crystal corridor and head back home. You will be safe. The man cannot harm you. You will, however, remember his face so that you can describe it to a police artist. Do you understand?”
“Yes, I understand.”
“I’m going to count backwards from three. When I reach one you will open your eyes. You will not be afraid. You will feel refreshed. All you will remember is what the man looked like. Nothing more. Three. Move into the crystal corridor. Two. You feel refreshed and relaxed. One.”
Serena’s eyes snapped open. “I remember his face. I don’t know the man who attacked me but I know what he looked like.”
“That’s a start, Serena. We will try to retrieve more of your memory next time. How do you feel?”
“I feel good. I’m glad I have something I can pass on to the police finally.” Serena looked down at her hands. “However, I don’t understand. Why would someone I don’t know want to hurt me?”
“Let’s not think about that now, Serena. You’ve made progress. I think we’ll be able to retrieve the rest of your memory if that is still what you want.”
“I do,” the pretty doctor returned. “I need to understand what happened to me.” Then she looked up with hope in her face. “At least I know that it wasn’t one of my colleagues. Maybe that will help alleviate some of my fear.”