A M N E S I A 




Prologue—“Kitchen Dances”

I REMEMBER A MOMENT before the days were cloud­ed by Amne­sia. I remem­ber the day my father mar­ried anoth­er woman. I remem­ber my mother’s grip becom­ing tighter, so tight that I was afraid she would crush my fin­gers to dust just like that. I remem­ber how, when he promised him­self to some­one else, her hands lost mine. I remem­ber look­ing at her … a beau­ti­ful, stub­born woman with such big, dark eyes. She pressed her long fin­gers against them with­out mak­ing a sound. It was just a sec­ond, just the flash of a moment.

I REMEMBER SITTING IN HER LAP THAT NIGHT. I was young. I was an eleven year old girl who couldn’t under­stand her pain, but some­thing about the way my moth­er had pressed her hands against her eyes stuck with me. She stroked my hair when I soft­ly mut­tered her name. She smiled at me. I lift­ed my small hand and slipped it into hers. Her lips trem­bled ever so slight­ly as she replied, “In some things, the end is already in the begin­ning, my girl. And some­times that’s what makes things so beau­ti­ful: Their mor­tal­i­ty.” I remem­ber how she took me into a tight embrace and how her heart­beat echoed so loud­ly inside me that I thought it filled me com­plete­ly. “Our love was extra­or­di­nary because it was doomed to die, and if I had the choice, I would live it that way again.”—“But what if it hurts?” I object­ed. “It is worth it,” she whis­pered. “It’s called liv­ing.”

I had spent my life won­der­ing whether bro­ken love could be mend­ed when I saw my par­ents drift apart, from secret dances in the moon­lit kitchen to becom­ing strangers, vio­lent­ly and abrupt­ly fight­ing for divorce. I dreamt of my par­ents find­ing their way back to each oth­er like a glued-up vase. I refused to see it then, but a frac­tured vase still expos­es its porce­lain fragili­ty even after it has been reassem­bled. Even with the finest glue and the hands of a ceramist, it reveals the truth in the cracks between the pieces. And the whole world could pre­tend the vase pre­served its shape and call it a vase, when it had become both lack­ing and abun­dant of its own shape. A love returned can nev­er be what it was when it first blos­somed. For some­thing hap­pened to it that changed its face and cracked its skin. Love now has his­to­ry carved into its surface—replacing the inno­cence of its incip­i­ence. Occa­sion­al­ly, how­ev­er, we would get lucky enough to be fused with gold. Once in ten life­times, our fates weave us into one like kintsu­gi, a Japan­ese tra­di­tion which hon­ours the re-join­ing of bro­ken parts for their incom­plete­ness, their change, their fragili­ty. But when love runs through our hands like sand, how do we know whether we are an ordi­nary vase or Japan­ese ceram­ics? How do we dare to leap?

All my life, I had dreamt of love:
to coa­lesce, with the poignan­cy of kitchen dances;
to burn up a sun just to prove my devo­tion.
I gave myself to him before I even knew him.
In the shad­ows, love was but a blow to the head,
a blade to bleed by
lust­ful­ly crav­ing for an a m n e s i a of the heart.

One—“The End of the World”

The world col­laps­es in on itself and I have nev­er seen any­thing more mag­nif­i­cent. Here I lie, on rain-soaked asphalt. My hair is wet and dot­ted with leaves. My eyes numbly stare at the sky explod­ing above me. Blue crash­es into red. I watch the flames assault my lungs with sting­ing fumes and burn my flesh with their heat. Every piece of burnt skin, every bone char­ring, every frag­ment of me dis­solv­ing into ash exudes puri­ty and nov­el­ty. Every sec­ond that holds its breath, on this col­laps­ing plan­et where time no longer flows, seeps into my flesh and runs gen­tly over my skele­ton. I am the junc­tion where space and time con­verge. It starts to rain, but the flames rage on unim­pressed, sweep­ing over the hous­es and the forests, burn­ing all life they find. Deer scream and cats whim­per, peo­ple cry, and all around me I feel the pat­ter of feet, of all the crea­tures run­ning about in con­fu­sion, in a des­per­ate attempt to escape the end of the world. 

Yet, … me. Peace­ful­ly I lie there on a steam­ing road, and the world still col­laps­es. Against the odds, I find this spec­ta­cle so hyp­no­tis­ing that my gaze locks onto the illu­mi­nat­ed sky, regard­less of the rain­drops gath­er­ing on my eye­lash­es. My lips are slight­ly part­ed, I hard­ly breathe. It is silent around me. I feel only the vibra­tion of sounds, but do not hear the sounds them­selves: every­thing is so still, as if I were watch­ing a mime. Strange, I think. Actu­al­ly, the end of the world is just anoth­er day. No angels and no dev­ils, no armies of heav­en to car­ry me away on their white steeds. No big last words. No des­per­ate thoughts. The end of the world is just a day like any oth­er, when the world’s anato­my chose to turn itself upside down. No rea­son to pan­ic. Even in the end there is beauty. 

The image flares. It is not because of the flames. 

I feel a del­i­cate crack run­ning through this world. Some­thing that has its ori­gin in me and spreads out in waves from my body. A crack that splin­ters the world. How is it that I can­not feel any of this? Shouldn’t I be scream­ing in pain, shouldn’t my heart be quiv­er­ing in pan­ic, shouldn’t I be dying? The images shift more and more as my heart remem­bers these words. “Even in the end there is beau­ty,” and the emo­tions slap me in the face, they over­run me with their shields and their swords, they are invin­ci­ble, unas­sail­able as they slaugh­ter me, I gasp for breath, I see a mouth brush against my shoul­der, mut­ter­ing an apol­o­gy, I see the flash of blue, and still lie on my back, now with my eyes wide open. I see the rain pour down on me, and sud­den­ly every drop hits me like a hur­ri­cane. I see fire­balls fly­ing. I hear the explo­sions, they make my ears bleed. I lift my burned hands, attached to burned arms, and I see the blood drip­ping from the holes the flames had carved into me. I look down at myself and I’m drenched in blood. Some­thing about this sit­u­a­tion I can’t understand. 

And in the midst of all this noise, I hear the big clock strike twelve and shred the world into a thou­sand pieces. 

In the moments after the end, I wit­ness the world rear­rang­ing itself. Mat­ter falls apart, finds its way back, forms itself into new pieces, I see a thou­sand puz­zle pieces solid­i­fied in the air, sparkling tiny dia­monds of things long lost, and they begin to move, swirl, cling to each oth­er. The sun shines through black clouds and reflects in even black­er waters, it ric­o­chets off my encrust­ed arms. I am dead, I must be. Puz­zled, I straight­en up and gaze into black alleys, past black hous­es and mat­ter untouched. Every­thing is new, wait­ing to be inhab­it­ed, like a can­vas wait­ing to be paint­ed. Noth­ing has exist­ed before this moment. A hand touch­es my cheek and, dazed, I look down at my bloody fin­ger­tips. I am back in the vac­u­um, where noth­ing lives but apa­thy. I try to stand up, but the rapid move­ment makes me dizzy and I feel a sharp ring­ing vibrate in my ears. It seems to be the sound­track of this world. The lament of a world that has yet to be lived.

I don’t ask how I got here or why I am the only wit­ness to this spec­ta­cle. There’s glit­ter and sparkles every­where and if I didn’t know any bet­ter, I’d think it was all so beau­ti­ful that I could ignore the goose­bumps on my arms. Because I’ve nev­er seen any­thing like it—because it must be a dream—because blood means I’ve been hurt…


It is only a whis­per of a word, but the sky vibrates from it. The sky vibrates and the feel­ing spreads to the hous­es that sur­round me. It’s just a voice, but it ignites every bone in my body and it suf­fo­cates me until my heart starts to race fran­ti­cal­ly, and I know, I know that I am react­ing to some­thing that is only just begin­ning at the edge of this world. Born in a dis­tant place, but anchored deep with­in me. My heart races and sud­den­ly the earth thun­ders. I spin in cir­cles, in con­fu­sion, des­per­ate­ly try­ing to hold my breath, but my heart keeps pound­ing and, gasp­ing, I brace myself against the pil­lars of an old build­ing. I look down at the black floor, I stare into a pud­dle in which I am not reflected.

As if I did not exist.

Skye,” four let­ters and my whole skin is on fire and I’m in flames and a mil­lion storms are rag­ing inside me and some­thing breaks, so qui­et­ly it screams and I shat­ter and I scream and sud­den­ly the world starts to shake and when I look up I see the stone crum­ble to dust under my hands. Cracks start to spread from my hands across a wall and in rhyth­mic sync with my heart the build­ing starts to col­lapse. I kneel on the ground and touch the earth with both hands and the ground beneath my feet just breaks away. I jump to the side and watch a deep hole open up in front of me. I start run­ning, star­ing at the sky, wait­ing for him to say the word again. I am  wait­ing for that voice to tell me who I am. Why is this world so emp­ty? Why do I leave noth­ing but destruc­tion in my wake? I walk through silent, grey streets that frac­ture where I had just been, a mil­lion par­ti­cles of dust just float­ing in the air, while I duck to avoid falling stones. I turn a cor­ner and I stop, root­ed to the spot, and my heart stops for a beat. I could swear the world went pitch black for a sec­ond. It’s like some­one just turned the light switch off. And then my heart starts beat­ing again, slow­ly, del­i­cate­ly, and it becomes bright around me again. I walk slow­ly towards the stat­ue that is in the mid­dle of a huge square in front of me. The sky is still vibrat­ing and it is get­ting loud­er. Like divin­i­ty in a heart that con­tracts and recoils—pulse after pulse after pulse. I walk past shat­tered win­dows of crum­bling build­ings, shat­tered win­dow panes that reflect every frag­ment of this beau­ti­ful, dead world, except my face, except me. My fin­gers leave no imprint in the inch-thick dust that cov­ers the sur­faces. I come to a stop in front of the stat­ue. Tilt my head. I walk around it once. It is a detailed image of myself. In the dis­tance I hear thun­der and it seems to beat in rhythm with my anx­ious heart. It comes clos­er. My world seems to implode as I try to under­stand why an image of myself carved in stone stands in a lone­ly place in a lone­ly world.

Skye.” I am try­ing to locate the source of his voice, but it seems to come from every­where and nowhere. It seems to vibrate with­in myself, and at the same time sit in every ele­ment of this world. “Skye.” I spin once in a cir­cle and jump back­wards, star­tled. I almost brush against the back of a boy or young man. He is kneel­ing in front of the stat­ue that looks so much like me and has placed his hands on hers. He doesn’t seem to be both­ered that I bumped into him—in fact, he doesn’t even seem to notice. Maybe I real­ly don’t exist.

Skye,” he whis­pers again, and some­thing in me rears up, scream­ing I am here, I am alive, I am HERE, LOOK AT ME, LOOK

He puts his hand on her heart and the stat­ue sheds a tear.

I think my vision deceives me, but as I get clos­er to it, I see the stat­ue weep under his touch, it cries silent, qui­et tears and a sigh seems to escape it and I


I kneel beside him and place my hand on his back, when I notice the tat­too of a tree sprout­ing flow­ers. It stretch­es down over his right shoul­der along his shoul­der blades. He does not react to my touch.

I stand up and take a few steps away from the scene.

I bury my hands in my hair and scream. I scream as loud as I can, no words, no sen­tences, just screams that pierce my own heart. No response. I can’t see his face. I don’t even know your name.

If only I could see his face—

Just once—

Sud­den­ly a wound inside me blazes and bleeds as if swords had pierced me. The pain suf­fo­cates me, tak­ing my voice, blur­ring my sight. I clutch my heart and the thun­der in the sky grows loud­er and loud­er and I sink to my knees and I exhale. Every­thing around me goes


and the world. The world becomes incred­i­bly silent.

Two—“Patient Delta”

I awake in a white, ster­ile look­ing room. The bright­ness blinds me. My eyes zoom in and out of focus and I lose all vision. The room seems unre­al. I glance at my hands. Unblem­ished, blood­less and clean, yet clawed tight­ly into the white bed­spread. In my ears I hear a con­stant ring­ing that lies beneath all noise. Apart from that, every­thing seems unnat­u­ral­ly qui­et, as if I was wrapped in cot­ton wool.

As if I were breath­ing in a vacuum.

Shad­ows flick­er through the door­way, a silent spec­tre of fig­ures that scur­ry past my room with­out reveal­ing them­selves. With­out sound, with­out image. Unde­fined … imagined?

I fight the pan­ic inside me. But it nests in my heart and derails my think­ing. I try to recall the facts: I remem­ber a bat­tle­field; blood; hor­ri­ble screams and numb­ing silence; death and life; a decay­ing world that glis­tens so beau­ti­ful­ly it dwarfs every­thing else. I am in a room so bright that even the cor­ners and edges flow seam­less­ly into one anoth­er. Every­thing is black pri­or to these memories.

I can­not trust my own judge­ment. Is one a dream, the oth­er real­i­ty? I am a crea­ture out of time and space, once again with­out con­text. I could be just as unre­al now as I was in that strange, dis­in­te­grat­ing world. Maybe it’s just anoth­er inter­pre­ta­tion of the same scene, just the dupli­ca­tion of a state­ment whose words some­one erased in me. My brain is fever­ish­ly try­ing to make sense of the tex­ture of real­i­ty as I lie on my back star­ing at the white, immac­u­late ceil­ing. A space so strange­ly per­fect and at the same time so strange­ly plain, as if it con­sist­ed of the world and noth­ing­ness, just the breath of a dream lived too long, or the dying of a moment, or maybe just the exhale of a per­son whose face you can’t remem­ber. I feel like this is how hours go by, spent between non-stop think­ing and mean­ing­less absent-mind­ed­ness. This room must be remote­ly iso­lat­ed from the world outside;

if there is still a world out there;

if this isn’t anoth­er sick dream. Who I am is lost to me in the ocean of obscu­ri­ty. All I have are snatch­es of images that make no sense. I try to scan my mem­o­ries, but there is noth­ing there, as if today was my first day on this plan­et and noth­ing before that ever exist­ed. Can you wake up after so many years and realise that it was all a lie? But how do you iden­ti­fy a lie when you have noth­ing to mea­sure sin­cer­i­ty by?

I flip back the cov­ers. My skin looks sick­ly and sur­re­al, as if no one had ever touched me. There is not a sin­gle blem­ish on my legs. No bruis­es, no scars. Nor on the oth­er parts of my body. My skin seems like a blank can­vas that some­one for­got to fill.

There are no mir­rors in this room. Noth­ing to tell me who I am.

I look at my toes and wig­gle them back and forth. The move­ment feels like it is thou­sands of years old. I look at my palms. I place my hands on my chest and feel a faint echo inside me, some­thing that tells me at least that I am real­ly alive and that this is not the dis­tort­ed, absurd ver­sion of my per­son­al hell. I place my index fin­ger on my lips and trace their shapes, then close my eyes and gen­tly feel the imprint of my fin­ger­tips on my eye­lids. I run my fin­gers through my hair. It must be shaved mil­lime­tres short because I can bare­ly get a grip.

I must have nod­ded off again. This time I saw no images, noth­ing that stuck in my mind. As soon as I open my eyes, the steady buzz in my ears inter­rupts and after a short fre­quen­cy of sta­t­ic, I hear a male voice. “I see you are awake, patient Delta. How are you feeling?”

I open my lips but no sound escapes them. I have for­got­ten how to speak. And I have for­got­ten what I want to say. I have no rec­ol­lec­tion of what I want to say. How am I feel­ing? I don’t know? I’m lying in a white room, with white ceil­ings and white walls, every­thing is so white that it buries me under­neath, and my head is so, so empty.

After a few sec­onds of just star­ing motion­less in front of me, I hear the voice in my ear again. “Are you feel­ing tired or exhaust­ed, Patient Delta?”

“Why do you call me that?” I whis­per. My voice sounds shaky. Weak. Broken.

There is silence for a few sec­onds, then the beep­ing noise is back. I close my eyes and take a deep breath.

“Well, what would you like to be called, Patient Delta?” I open my eyes and stare at the pris­tine white wall. “Any preferences?”

“What is this place?” I burst out weakly. 

He ignores my ques­tion. “I’m sure we’ll find a name for you.” The voice waits for a response, but I just nod apa­thet­i­cal­ly. And nod. And nod. Then, very qui­et­ly, I say, “Yes.”


I stare until my eyes begin to flick­er, then I clear my throat and speak into the beep­ing, “Can I get up?”

The beep­ing dis­ap­pears instant­ly and the voice replies, “You must be very tired, Patient Delta, I sug­gest you sleep.”

“I’m not—I just need to know what is going on. Please.”

“Look around you, dear.”

Care­ful­ly, I turn my head to the right. I see appa­ra­tus, the only thing in this room that breaks the white pat­tern. Met­al stands, so sil­ver it almost caress­es my eyes. I fol­low the tubes from the machines. They end up inside me. In my arm, at my neck. Under my snow-white nightgown.

“You’ve been asleep for a very long time,” the voice says almost ten­der­ly. “We promise you that you will be able to get up soon. Just not now. Not yet.”

The machine makes a loud hiss­ing sound and at the same time I feel some­thing being pumped into my veins that makes me dizzy and sleepy. I sink back onto my pil­low and very slow­ly allow my eyes to fall shut. 

A voice whis­pers soft­ly in my head, “Wel­come to the first day of your new life, Patient Delta.”


What do you do when you are locked in a room, far from any con­cep­tion of space or time or world, in a place where there seem to be no bound­aries, but at the same time the infi­nite white is a sin­gu­lar boundary?

You lie on your back on the bed, forc­ing your­self to think. In my case, I lie on my pris­tine white sheets in my state of supreme con­fu­sion, try­ing to remem­ber details from the dream I had before I first woke up in this room. I fail. I feel like if I could just grasp what hap­pened, I could find my way back to myself. I do not know who I am. My iden­ti­ty is as naked as my body and just as blank. I don’t even know my own name. But there’s an echo. A man, cry­ing: “Skye.” Am I Skye? Either way, I refuse to see myself as Patient Delta, what­ev­er that means.

I refuse to let cir­cum­stances make me into some­thing I am not. But now as I open my eyes—it could be day, or night—I notice move­ment on the oppo­site wall. Where I was sure I was just star­ing at flat white plas­ter, dig­i­tal num­bers flicker.

p a t i e n t   d e l t a
d a y  05
s t a t e: s t a b l e

Dumb­ly I stare at this infor­ma­tion, unable to process it into any­thing that makes sense. Actu­al­ly, I am unable to process any­thing about my sit­u­a­tion into log­i­cal con­clu­sions or mean­ing­ful infor­ma­tion and I am not quite sure if that is inten­tion­al. Who am I to be left in the dark? How dan­ger­ous can a medi­um height, medi­um weight girl with raspy short hair be that she can’t know about herself?

A flick­er in my ears, and the room is filled with a voice.

“Good morn­ing, Patient De—”

“No,” I whis­per, press­ing my palms firm­ly into my sheets. “No.”


“No. Where am I? In a hospital?”

After a moment’s hes­i­ta­tion, the voice replies: “In a refuge of a kind. No one here is unwell. Our job is to make sure you are com­plete­ly com­fort­able in your new life.”

In your new life?

“What do you mean, in my—”

“My dear, I am sure this must be a unique expe­ri­ence for you. I must ask you to trust me.”

“Trust? A dis­em­bod­ied voice in a com­plete­ly sur­re­al space? Who are you?”

“Can I show you some­thing to gain your trust?”

I hes­i­tate. Then I nod. “Yes.”

“Do you see the dig­i­tal dis­play on the oppo­site wall?”


“Con­cen­trate on that, please.”

I stare at the flick­er­ing let­ters that com­pact my entire exis­tence into a hand­ful of words. Sud­den­ly, the wall behind them seems to change. It trans­forms into a shiny sur­face that reflects some­thing. But not me. Rather, I can see through it.

I see what looks like a large din­ing hall. Long rows of bench­es full of peo­ple sit­ting oppo­site each oth­er, laugh­ing, liv­ing, look­ing so alive that it sends a shiv­er down my spine. I see warm light and I want to join them. I want to feel what they feel. I bend for­ward and raise my hand to wave weak­ly. But none of them look in my direc­tion. It is as if I do not exist, again. I stare at my feet. Then I flip back the duvet. “Can I—?”

“No,” the voice says abrupt­ly and just as sud­den­ly the wall changes back to an imper­me­able white sur­face. “It’s not the time, yet.”

I turn and stare at the wall with­out windows.

“You are strong. Nor­mal­ly it takes a longer peri­od of time for indi­vid­u­als to heal. But you … you heal faster. That’s why I’m sure you’ll be able to move soon. But it is too ear­ly for that. We are not tak­ing any risks.”

“I … I don’t under­stand,” I inter­ject. “Please, what …”

“Be patient, patient Delta.”


And he puts me back to sleep. 

Read Part II (Chap­ters IV—VI| Read Part III (VII—IX) com­ing soon


A M N E S I A is a three-part short sto­ry and will be released as a paper­book and e‑book in late 2022 / ear­ly 2023. More infor­ma­tion on and on Insta­gram (@snkllrpublications).

Mer­cy Fer­rars is a MA grad­u­ate in phi­los­o­phy and writes fic­tion, poet­ry and non-fic­tion essays. She is mad­ly in love with Scot­land, dogs and Bojack Horse­man.

𝕴𝖒𝖆𝖌𝖊 𝖔𝖋 𝖆𝖓𝖆𝖙𝖔𝖒𝖎𝖈𝖆𝖑 𝖍𝖊𝖆𝖗𝖙 𝖆𝖓𝖉 𝖑𝖚𝖓𝖌𝖘 𝖇𝖞 𝖈𝖍𝖆𝖓𝖓𝖆𝖗𝖔𝖓𝖌𝖘𝖉𝖘 𝖔𝖓 𝕱𝖗𝖊𝖊𝖕𝖎𝖐