“There is a funny thing about paranoia and amnesia,” Wilson said as he flipped through the channels, “you know they are following you, but you don’t know who they are. Not so funny after all.”
Wilson packed his bags and made his way to the car looking suspiciously around. He drove all night and into the daylight the next day. During that time a hundred or so images reeled-off in his head like thumbing pages in a book of pictures; before one was able to be grasp another appeared soon to be replaced by an other and an other and so on and so on. Finally at the end the page was blank.
“If only I could get one image to stop,” Wilson thought, “to pause it for a fraction longer. I see something and it’s gone, but I know it’s there. It’s just covered, covered by other events that are covered by other events.”
“Medication,” Wilson murmured as telephone poles passed by. “Could that slow it down? Maybe that’s what sped it up to begin with.”
It was past noon somewhere in Nebraska Wilson pulled off the side of the road. He had been rubbing his eyes and drifting from one side of the lane to another. He dropped the seat back and relaxed. Sleep came quickly.
There was a dream. Who knows where dreams come from, but things unrelated to other things show up like unexpected, unwanted, or uninvited guests. They stay for a while and later left to wonder, why did they show up? I haven’t thought about them in years. I hardly knew them.
There was a man in the dream, a young man, short, muscular; a hard working and hardy man.
“Do you remember me?” he said.
“Yeah,” Wilson said, “it’s been a long time. Aren‘t you Mathias Winthrop?”
“That’s me,” he said.
“The army, right?” Wilson said.
“I think I can help you,” he said.
“Didn’t you help me another time?” Wilson said.
“Yeah,” he said.
“I saw it today in a vision,” Wilson said “It went by so fast I couldn’t make it out.”
“You remember it now, don’t you?” he said. “It was jungle training and you got lost. To tell you the truth I was lost too. Between the two of us we really got lost.” He chuckled. “But eventually we found our way and made it through without being captured by the aggressors.”
“Yeah,” Wilson said, “I forgot about that.”
“You forgot a lot of things,” he said.
“Yeah,” Wilson said. “I could sure use some help now.”
“That’s why I’m here,” he said.
“How can you help?” Wilson said.
“Do you remember where I’m from?” he said.
“Some place in South Dakota,” Wilson said. “Where?”
“I’m not telling you everything,” he said. “I’m going to make you work for it.”
“Yeah,” Wilson smiled. “That’s the way you were. You never gave anything to anybody they didn’t work for.”
“That’s right, Gentry,” he said. “Think, where am I from?”
Wilson woke. He looked at the clock on the dash. “1, 2, 3, 4,” Wilson said, “12:34, that means something. Hecla, Hecla, South Dakota, that’s where Mathias Winthrop came from.”