“He’s conscious,” said a voice.
“Who said that?” I heard myself saying.
“It seems your test was a roaring success, doctor,” said another, more sarcastic voice.
“Why can’t I see?”
“Careful now boys, he’s beginning to struggle,” said a third voice. Struggle I did. I couldn’t see, I had no idea why I hadn’t been speaking for a few days. I couldn’t remember where I’d been the last few days. My last memory was… gone.
“Push him down!” I felt strong hands push my shoulders back onto whatever hard surface I lay on. I smelled old spice and hand sanitizer.
“Why can’t I see?!” I was beginning to panic. “Where am I?! What’s happening?!”
No one answered. I lay still, and the hands loosened, but kept putting pressure on me. “Where am I, and why can’t I see?” I asked as calmly as I could under the circumstances.
No one responded. All I heard was breathing and the scratches of a pen. “Hey, I’m talking to you!” I yelled in the pen’s direction.
“Give him this,” someone said, sounding disappointed. “We’ll just have to try again with somebody else.”
“Why are you ignoring me?!” I screamed at the voices. Something pierced my arm, and I became very tired, very quickly.
“Two years of development down the drain,” said a sad voice.
“Hey, don’t worry, doctor,” said someone else, “Soon we’ll cure ‘em.”
“We were so close…”
“Don’t worry about it. At least we got him talking.”
“What’s happening?” I mumbled, and then dozed.
I woke up again in a public hospital, where they were treating a head injury I had sustained about a week ago. I was still blind. I was diagnosed with some sort of specific amnesia that had a special medical name, plus the blindness, which they said might return in time. Things began to return to my memory now and then, but none as strong as my dream of my time in the desert.
I never told anyone about my dream, even though I remembered every detail as well as if it had actually happened.
I was finally released a couple weeks later, into the care of some people who claimed they were my parents. I had no idea who they were, but I am told they had the right documentation and baby photos, so I went along with it. Dinner is a very awkward affair for us, but we’re getting to know each other.
Neither of my parents have mentioned that the fact that I speak now is an irregularity, so I came to the conclusion that my silence was in the dream alone.
About a year after I was released, I heard a news story about the military having developed a new weapon that rendered enemies blind, sowing discord among the troops.
“That’s just like those scientists,” my mother had said, “spreading disabilities instead of curing them.”