He awoke for a second time, now without surprise, but an immediate interest in his surroundings. He looked upwards and there was some sort of shelter above him. Flakes of ancient paint were curling from the surface. He raised his head a little and looked around. He was in some sort of dwelling. All around were scattered items, most unrecognisable to him, but he understood books and these were in abundance, stacked horizontally in piles all around. The light in the room was dim, and through small windows shone strong beams of sunlight with dust dancing in their glare. He slumped back onto his back and lay listening to the sounds of the forest outside, the wonder of a new environment outweighing the normal response to query where he was. He was starting to remember many things, the world around him was making sense in the way a jigsaw does, and piece by piece he was gradually revealing the whole picture. At the moment though it was all still a jumble of thoughts, with words that appeared in his mind naming objects he could see, and suggesting a vast array of items he could not yet perceive.
There were footsteps outside. Someone was coming, moving with purpose outside towards where he lay. There was a scrambling at the wall outside and a door opened inwards. A human form silhouetted by the bright sunlight outside. It stood motionless for the moment. He knew he was being observed, but at this stage was beyond any response. He lay there returning the stare in silence. After a short while the person moved fully into the room, shutting the door behind them and once again he was plunged into half darkness. As his eyes slowly adjusted to the new light he could see the newcomer was a woman, she had turned to the corner of the room, where she was unloading items from a bag. She turned back to face him, this time a resolve on her face as if she were preparing to confront some troubling issue.
‘I see you are awake’ she said softly, ‘how do you feel?’
He looked back at her for a moment, he understood the words, and more were forming in his own mind, but he had not spoken before, and this was all very new. After a short while he attempted a response;
‘I am awake’, he said, ‘and I feel…..’ a few more moments elapsed as his mind scrambled for an adequate word or phrase. This was a strange sensation, conversation, and he was not ready for it. He tried again, ‘I feel lots’ he finally replied.
She looked back at him, various emotions crossing her face as if she were attempting to rationalise his reply, as if, she were fighting back an extreme fear that had been tormenting her inside. She seemed to find a resolve and her body stiffened as she prepared to talk again.
‘I’m going to make this very simple. This morning I was driving back from town in my truck, enjoying the warmth of the day and minding my own business when I see a naked man standing in the road. If that was not bad enough, he goes and faints in front of me. If I had thought about it I should have just driven on and called in the local police, but no, I go and stop and haul his heavy body into my truck and drive him home where I had to physically dragged him inside and laid him out on my bed.’ She paused and looked at him as if expecting a response. None came so she continued, ‘I really don’t make a habit of bringing home strange men, particularly naked unconscious ones. I don’t know who you are or where you came from and I am here miles from town with you…. I just need to know if I am safe. Do I need to be worried?’
The man watched as she fought these words out, the realisation that she was afraid becoming quickly apparent to him. He had been afraid; there was a time before here where he had been very afraid. Whilst he could not perceive the risk in this room, he understood for her it was very real. ‘You do not need to be worried’ he said, ‘I mean you no harm at all.’
The woman relaxed noticeably. There was something about his voice. No his disposition that implied absolute honesty. It was the aura of a young child, inexperienced in deceit, merely taking a joyful pleasure in everything that was new. It was more than that, she couldn’t quite explain it, but she could see there was no need to fear him, there was just genuine warmth that seemed to pervade out into the whole room. She knew she could trust him, why was still not clear, but she would never fear him again.
She now noticed him properly for the first time, he was tall, with dark hair and a muscular physique that was natural not forced. In most ways he was almost perfect, lying there beneath the thin sheet on her bed. Only, his skin was so white, like a newborn baby when it emerges from the womb. She had noticed as she had moved him how smooth his skin felt, how unblemished it was other than a few recent minor scratches. She knew this was all wrong, there was much more to this situation, but he seemed right, he felt safe, all initial fears eroded by the calmness of his voice and the purity of his disposition.
‘You must be hungry’ she ventured. ‘I’m going to cook some food. There’s some water by the bed of you are thirsty.’
It was a statement not a question so he smiled and let her get on with things, watching with avid interest as she pulled things from bags, chopping and stirring. He took the glass of water and slowly emptied it, the motion coming naturally to him. He was thirsty, but not as before, she must have given him water whilst he was out. He remembered how dry he had been out on that road in the sun.
Before long a series of aromas started filling the air which had the effect of heightening the pangs coming from his stomach. He understood that he needed to fuel this body, and food would be the solution to this, but he had not eaten before and with these smells coming from the cooking he felt a shudder of excitement at this new experience before him. He sat up and swung his legs off the edge of the bed. He put his weight upon them and stood up. The dizziness was gone, he felt fine again if extremely hungry. He turned towards the woman who was standing, staring, a wooden spoon in her hand looking across at him.
‘We are going to have to find you something to wear,’ she said.