Awakening

He burst out of the darkness with a crash. Something was pulling at his arms, something else over his mouth. Panic welling up in him, he ripped at the tubes strapped to him, spraying liquid all over as he fell. The floor was hard, cold and unforgiving. Metal. It was metal. Slowly, so very slowly, everything was coming into focus. There were tanks…or…something. Something like tanks. Or pods. He pulled himself to his feet, trying to remember anything. He was naked and wet, but he could feel something against his chest. Reaching to grab it, he found that it was hanging from a chain around his neck. Dog tags. The word leaped unbidden into his mind and he looked at them, hoping for some clue to the mystery. B32053. Grade 5. Type AO. That was all it said. He let them fall again and looked around. Slowly, he walked to one of the pods and looked into it. It took a moment for his eyes to process fully what he was seeing. Another person. A woman. And she was asleep inside the pod with her eyes closed. He put his hand on the window and heard a loud click. Leaping back, his hands went up defensively. The door of the pod opened and there was a puff of mist. He was shaking now, fear and adrenaline running through his system. Then her eyes snapped open. She took a few staggering breaths and then looked up at him.
“M-Mason?”
She started moving towards him, relief clear on her face. The tubes held her back and she looked at him again.
“Mason, what’s going on? Where…where are we?”
He cleared his throat slightly, not moving more than to let his hands drop.
“Who…who’s Mason?”
It was as though all the hope in her eyes just vanished like a light had been snuffed.
“Mas… It’s… You’re Mason.” She glared down at the tubes and the wires and ripped it all out with two fierce tugs. “Your name is Mason Ross. Please, please remember.”
She closed the distance between them and he took a half step back.
“I’m…I’m sorry.”
His expression was bleak and scared and lost. He looked almost like a child in that moment. She took a deep breath, looking him over and then seemingly made a decision.
“I’m Wanda.”
She held her hand out to shake and he took it, uncertainly.
“I…guess I’m Mason.”
He smiled tentatively and she returned it.
“You said…Mason Ross, right?”
“That’s right.”
“And you’re Wanda…?”
He let it trail off, clearly questioning. Her eyes dropped to the floor and she didn’t answer right away. When she did, her shoulders slumped just slightly.
“Ross. Wanda Ross.”
For a moment, they both stood there in silence. Then Mason started to cast around.
“Do you know where we are? How we got here?”
She shook her head, tears forming in her eyes.
“Last I knew, we were at home getting ready for bed. I…I can’t remember anything after that. But…we’ll figure it out. Alright?”
He nodded, his eyes on the metal hatch at the end of the large room. Maybe the answers were beyond there.

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