When I woke up that God awful morning, my wrist was burning. I had no idea why it was burning, and when I sat straight up with a cry to look at it, I was shocked to find a list of names that weren't there before.
I had no clue who any of these people were, and why the hell their names were now on the inside of my left wrist. I stared at it, then lifted my head and looked around my room.
...At least I thought it was my room. Now that I looked around, I don't think I recognized anything. It's like I woke up in a stranger's bed. I slipped out of bed just to make sure I was still me, and when I saw my reflection and recognized myself, all pale skin, green eyes, and hair the color of red velvet, and I only grew more confused.
Who's house am I in?
"River? Are you up yet?" I recognized my mom's voice calling me.
"Yeah... be down in a few minutes..." I called back and checked what day it was and what the time was. Did I have school? Was I in school?
Mom came up to my room and stood in the doorway. "You're not going to be late on your first day, Riv."
"No, yeah, I know." I nodded and turned to my dresser and got out just a normal pair of jeans and a T-shirt. She left me to get dressed, and I saw a bookbag, and that told me that I did go to school, apparently. When I dressed and got my bag, mom gave me directions, and I sort of just thought deeply as I walked to school.
I don't know who I am. My name is River, as that's what my mom called me. I know what I'm supposed to look like... But why don't I have memories? People have memories, everyone has memories. The last thing I remember is waking up this morning to look at my wrist (which was now covered with gauze under my jacket sleeve). Why didn't I have memories from my childhood? From last year? Shit, from yesterday?
I found the school and got my class schedule, and soon found the class I was supposed to be in. I was introduced as River Jourdain and did my best to remember my last name. I got a seat next to this blond guy who seemed pretty quiet, so I was at least thankful for that. I had shit I needed to think about.
So I pretty much zoned out all class period long, shit, practically all day long. And I was growing increasingly frustrated as I couldn't think up a single thing about myself.
What was my mom's name? How old am I? When is my birthday? What's my middle name? Do I have a dad? Do I have siblings? Where even am I?
When the day ended, I walked back home and felt like I was being followed. I actually really didn't care, as I was close to tears from my frustration.
"You okay?" A voice asked, and I looked behind me and saw that quiet guy from school.
"Peachy." I nodded and kept walking.
"You don't look peachy to me. What's up?" He got closer. Damn, wasn't he bold?
"It's really nothing." I shook my head.
"Doesn't look like nothing. Come on, talk." He said, and I peeked over.
"You'd think I'm crazy." I shook my head.
"I promise I wouldn't. Here." He pointed to a house, the huge one right next to mine. "I live right there. It's totally safe, promise. Judgment free zone."
I was then a little amused. "I don't even know your name."
"It's Tate." He nodded with a boyish little smile. "Tate Langdon."
My lips parted in shock as I stared at him. "Sorry, what?"
"What?" He looked confused.
I let my hand come up and hold my head. "Okay, now I believe I'm crazy..." I breathed.
Tate took my sleeve and pulled me in and up to a room. "What are we doing here?" I asked.
"You got me curious. Why would you think you're crazy?" He tilted his head slightly at me where he sat on his bed.
I bit my lip, feeling like bursting at the seams, but I didn't know how anyone else would take this.
I stood in front of him and pulled up my jacket sleeve. He saw the gauze wrappings and held my arm.
"Did you hurt yourself?" He asked softly.
"No," I shook my head and undid the wrappings. "When I woke up this morning, my arm was burning, so I looked at it and there was this," I said and showed him the list of names.
"Langdon, Tate. That's me..." He breathed, and he ran his thumb along the skin beside the black letters.
"I don't know any of these people..." I shook my head slowly.
"Well, James March, he was a serial killer." Tate started, pointing at the name under his own. "He built this hotel not too far from here. It's filled with fake rooms and tricks he used so he could kill people."
Tate then looked at me. "But he died back in nineteen twenty-six. Oh, and uh, Kit Walker is an accused serial killer. Turns out he was innocent. That was way back in the sixties, though."
"How do you know this?" I stared at him, wondering if I should be scared right now.
"Killers are kind of my thing." Tate gave a little shrug and just stared at me. "I don't think you're crazy."
"That's not the worst of it." I sighed and let my arms drop as I turned to look at the floor. "I have no fucking idea who I am."
Tate didn't say anything, so I kept going. "I woke up this morning, and I felt like I woke up in a stranger's room. What's more, I don't know my middle name, my birthday, my mom's name... I don't know anything about myself."
"Okay... that's a bit weird." Tate nodded in agreement.