Remember jamie baker, p.1
REMEMBER JAMIE BAKER, p.1Kelly Oram
by Kelly Oram
Also by Kelly Oram
Cinder & Ella
If We Were a Movie
The Jamie Baker Series:
Being Jamie Baker
More Than Jamie Baker
Remember Jamie Baker
The Science Squad Series:
The Avery Shaw Experiment
The Libby Garrett Intervention
The V is for Virgin Series:
V is for Virgin
A is for Abstinence
The Supernaturals Series:
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Published by Bluefields Creative
Copyright © 2016 by Kelly Oram
Edited by Jennifer Henkes (www.literallyjen.com)
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
This one’s for you, Dad. Because you’re my Superman. (And I have the pictures to prove it!)
I am not a patient person. I’d suspected this for a while now, but as I sat in a tiny, freezing doctor’s office watching the minutes tick away and holding my breath for the most important news of my life, my suspicions were confirmed. I hate waiting.
At least they’d let me change back into my clothes from that awful cotton gown. Is it really a gown when the entire backside is missing?
I hopped off the hard cot—the crinkly paper stuck to the backs of my legs as I jumped up—and pulled a tiny spiral notebook from my purse on the counter. The booklet serves as a journal I carry with me wherever I go. I write down all the things I learn about myself in it as I discover them.
Everything I know about who I am is written in that notebook, because about six months ago I woke up in the Nevada desert with absolutely no memory—no idea of what happened or who I was. Age, birthday, likes, dislikes…nothing. It was all gone. Even the name I use is made up.
There were many things I could do—like read and tie my shoes—that I didn’t have to relearn because even though I couldn’t remember how or when I learned them, I still had the rudimentary skills. But I couldn’t tell you what songs I’d liked or what movies I’d watched prior to my accident. I couldn’t even tell you what songs or movies existed if I hadn’t heard about them in the last six months. Most pop culture and history references are wasted on me.
I’d just flipped to the section of my notebook reserved for personality traits when the doctor finally came back. Dr. Rajeet was a small man with a heavy Indian accent and a thick mustache. At my same height of about five eight, he was right at my eye level when he stood face-to-face with me. His almost-black eyes were very direct, which had creeped me out at first, but now they were filled with so much compassion I couldn’t help softening toward the man a little. He held up a manila folder and said, “I’ve got your results, Miss O’Neil. Why don’t you have a seat?”
He waved toward a chair in front of his desk instead of at the cot I’d just hopped off of. As I sat, I took a pen from a jar on his desk and turned my attention to my notebook again. Dr. Rajeet watched me add impatient to the bottom of my list and chuckled. “I’m sorry to have kept you waiting for so long.” He took a seat behind his desk and set the folder between us. “I admit I got caught up in your test results from your MRI and your EEG. I’ve never seen brain activity like yours.”
Great. “Happy I could entertain you.”
“It wasn’t entertaining, Miss O’Neil. It was puzzling. You are a mystery. An impossibility.”
He opened the folder and handed me several pictures. I picked up one of the scans and frowned at the rainbow of color exploding from it. I had no idea what I was looking at.
“Your case is simply fascinating.”
The doctor laughed again and pointed to my notebook. “Do you have sarcastic written on that list yet?”
I was in a horrible mood, but I smiled at that. “It’s at the top.”
“What about smart? Do you happen to have a genius IQ? Photographic memory, maybe? With the way you use your brain, even an extrasensory perception wouldn’t surprise me.”
I stiffened. All of my physical senses were extra perceptive, but my doctor wasn’t supposed to know that.
My boyfriend, Tony, says I’m special. Like, should-have-my-own-comic-book-series gifted. I have a whole truckload of superpowers. He says my powers are the reason I have no memory, and that people knowing about my abilities is how I ended up with amnesia.
Tony’s special, too. He’s telekinetic, meaning he can move things with his mind. I guess there was this evil research company who held us as prisoners because of our abilities. They did all kinds of experiments on us and eventually took things too far. I caused some kind of superexplosion that helped us escape, and now I can’t remember jack.
Tony said the company believes we’re both dead, and that’s the only reason we’re free right now. He insists Visticorp would snatch us right back up if they ever learned we were still alive. Needless to say, I keep the superpowers thing to myself. “Extrasensory perception?” I asked.
“A psychic ability.” The doctor looked sheepish for a moment. “No such gift has ever been proven, but I’m not a skeptic. The human brain is certainly capable of a lot more than we understand, and you, Miss O’Neil, use more of yours than anyone I’ve ever met.”
I relaxed. Of all the freaky things I have to deal with, being psychic isn’t one of my quirks. “Sorry, doc. No psychic abilities that I’m aware of, and if I’ve ever had my IQ tested, your guess is as good as mine.”
I was joking, but the doctor was serious when he answered me. “It wouldn’t surprise me if you have above-average intelligence. There have to be some kind of side effects from having your amount of brain activity.”
“What do you mean? What’s wrong with my brain?”
“Not wrong, Miss O’Neil. Extraordinary.”
Dr. Rajeet handed me a long strip of paper with a bunch of squiggly lines on it. It looked less like test results and more like someone had let preschoolers loose in a pen factory. If this weren’t Johns Hopkins and the entire wall behind Dr. Rajeet weren’t filled with framed degrees and plaques of excellence, I’d have thought he was trying to pull a fast one on me.
“What exactly am I looking at?”
When Dr. Rajeet smiled, his dark eyes lit up with excitement. “That is a printout of your brain activity. And this”—he slid a different set of squiggly lines in front of me—“is an example of a normal EEG result.”
The second set of scribbles still looked like gibberish, but my results were definitely the cracked out version of this test. I shifted uneasily and handed both papers back to the doctor. “So what does it mean?”
“I have no idea,” Dr. Rajeet admitted. “At first I thought the machine was faulty, but we ran the test twice and used two different machines. We got the same results. Your brain is functioning at a much higher rate than any other person’s I’ve ever seen. I’d love to run some more tests, if that’s all right with you.”
The smile fell from the doctor’s face, and he let out a heavy breath. Whatever he was about to tell me was going to be bad news. Really bad news. I braced myself.
He pushed one of the colorful pictures in front of me. “Your suspicions were correct. Your amnesia is not psychological. Do you see those dark spots on your MRI?” He pointed to several black dots among the colorific picture of my brain. “You have an alarming amount of damaged tissue in your brain.”
“I have actual brain damage?”
Dr. Rajeet nodded. “Damage unlike any I’ve ever seen. It’s as if your brain was…cooked.”
I snorted. “The way my boyfriend tells it, that sounds about right. But why was it just my memory that was damaged?” All the dark spots seemed to be limited to the one section of my brain.
“To be honest, I have no idea how this could have happened to you. The damage is somehow mostly limited to your medial temporal lobe, but you must have other side effects than memory loss.”
“I don’t dream,” I offered. “You’d think I’d have nightmares about what happened, but I’ve never had a single dream since, that I can remember. My boyfriend says that’s not normal.”
Another look of awe washed over Dr. Rajeet’s face and he scribbled more notes.
I glanced back down at the picture of my brain. “Why was it just this one area of my brain? Why wasn’t the whole thing fried?”
Dr. Rajeet’s gaze slipped from my face down to the tests scattered on the desk between us. “Just another part of the mystery. It’s truly baffling.”
“Best guess,” I pushed.
Dr. Rajeet shook his head, bewildered. “The only thing I can think of is that the damage concentrated on the section of your brain that was most active at the time of your accident. It’s possible you were accessing memories at the exact moment the damage was done. Perhaps you feared you were about to die and were reflecting back on your life.”
“Are you telling me that my dying act was to remember my life, and now because of that, I can’t remember it at all?”
The doctor sighed. “It’s just a theory.”
Well, that was kind of ironic. In the suckiest way possible. I moved on to the next problem—there was no use dwelling on the why. “So I have brain damage. That means my condition is physical. That means you can fix it, right?”
His eyes came back to mine, boring into me with a frightening amount of pity and sympathy. “I’m sorry, Miss O’Neil. I can’t treat it. Your condition is permanent.”
The lights in the room flickered in response to my out-of-control emotions.
One of those powers I mentioned having is the ability to manipulate electricity. (Totally awesome.) But I lose control when I get really emotional. (Not awesome.) Finding out that I was never going to get my memory back was pushing me toward massive-meltdown territory.
That’s another thing—temperamental is the second word on my personality traits list beneath sarcastic.
Permanent. The word echoed in my head, mocking me. I took a deep breath and tried to calm down before I caused something to explode. “There has to be something you can do. Some kind of treatment or surgery—radical, experimental, dangerous. I don’t care. I’ll do it.”
“I’m sorry. There is no such procedure.”
“But you’re the best neurosurgeon in the world. That’s why I came all the way to see you. I waited three months to get this appointment.”
The doctor looked pained, as if he genuinely felt sorry for me and hated that he could do nothing to help. “The damage in your brain isn’t going to heal. Those dark spots are dead tissue. I can’t bring dead brain cells back to life. I could operate and remove all of the dead tissue, but that would be a risky surgery and would in no way reverse your symptoms. You’re memory isn’t blocked or damaged; it’s destroyed. I’m sorry.”
He was serious. He couldn’t help me. My memory was never coming back. I would never know who I was.
My emotions finally burst through my control and I screamed at him. “Do you have any idea how awful it is to not know who you are?” The lights above our heads flickered again. “Or why I’m like this?” I fisted my long, green ponytail and yanked on it. “People don’t just grow hair the color of a neon-green glow stick. And my eyes! What kind of brain damage turns a person’s eyes yellow?”
The doctor studied me again. I’d listed my hair and eye colors as symptoms when I first came in for my appointment, and I’d never seen a man more baffled than Dr. Rajeet had been. He didn’t believe my appearance was natural until he’d done some tests. But it is. My hair is neon green, and my eyes are the color of lemons. Tony thinks my looks are hot, but I hate them. I look like a freak.
Dr. Rajeet waited a moment for me to calm my temper before he cleared his throat. When I looked up, he rubbed his neck nervously and said, “I know it’s unfair of me to ask since I haven’t been able to help you, but your case is so unique. I know you don’t want to do any more tests, but with your permission, I’d still like to share your medical records with my colleagues. I would love to study your condition further and possibly publish the findings. Your brain is miraculous. I believe there is a lot we could learn, and maybe someday, if I can figure out what your brain is doing, I could find more answers for you about things like your hair and eye color, and any other unique symptoms you might have.”
Symptoms like my superpowers…?
It seemed far-fetched to me that he’d ever find answers, and Tony would have a conniption if he found out I let someone study me, but if there was a chance he might find some clues as to why I was different, I was willing to risk it. With my memory gone forever, my physical differences were the only clue I had left to figuring out who I was. “Yeah, sure, whatever.”
The doctor tried to keep a solemn face, but his eyes beamed. “Thank you, Miss O’Neil. I promise: If there are any answers to be had, we’ll find them.” He handed me some papers that he’d had waiting beneath my brain scans. “I’ll just need you to sign these release forms.”
Before I picked up a pen, I looked at the doctor again. “You’ll keep my identity secret, right? No one will know whose funky brain they’re looking at, will they? I don’t want a bunch of doctors or scientists or whoever calling me or showing up at my house asking if they can study me.”
Dr. Rajeet nodded gravely. “You have my word, Miss O’Neil.”
I wasn’t the most trusting person in the world, but I was desperate so I took his word for it. I hoped he had enough pride in his career that he would take his patient confidentiality seriously.
As I leafed through the stack of papers, signing on all the right lines, Dr. Rajeet scribbled something down onto a prescription pad. Once I was done signing my privacy away, he tore the prescription off and handed it to me. I rolled my eyes at the website he’d written out for me. “An amnesia support group?”
“There are others who understand what you’re going through. It may help to talk to them.”
Sure, it would. Hearing other people’s sob stories wasn’t going to get me my memories back.
I accepted the paper in an effort not to be rude—I had my suspicions about insolence being one of my qualities, too—and shoved it in my purse. “I guess that’s it, then,” I said as I stood up. “Thanks for trying anyway.”
Though I was in no mood to fight with Tony—he was going to be furious that I went to see a doctor—I forced myself to go home. Sulking had never been my style. At least, I didn’t think it was.
It was time for plan B. Plan A had been the genius brain doctor. Obviously that was a bust, and that only left me with one other option. A desperate solution that was too far-fetched to even be considered a long shot. But I was now desperate. My condition was permanent. My memory was gone forever.
Bracing myself, I
“April!” Tony’s arms were around me in a tight hug before the word was finished leaving his lips. His relief didn’t last long. As soon as my safe return registered in his brain, he pulled back from the embrace and glowered at me. “Where have you been?”
Strong and defiant was definitely the best approach. He wasn’t my father. He didn’t own me—no matter how much he acted like it. I gave him a shrug and fell down to the couch. “I went to see a special neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins about my amnesia.”
He’s so predictable. Ignoring the outburst, I leaned my head back and shut my eyes. My head hurt. “I needed answers. Don’t worry; I didn’t say anything about my powers or the accident.”
“It doesn’t matter!”
He looked crazed, as if he was contemplating strangling me. His anger might have impressed me if it were on a different face. Tony has the curse of being adorable. When we’re not fighting, he’s this cute little lovable geek that I adore. He’s no taller than me, and kind of skinny, but he has nice, dark Italian features. His dark eyes are beautiful and his black hair is thick and shiny with a nice wave in it, but his best feature is his dimples. They’re so big they swallow his face when he smiles. They’re also the reason he’ll never be hot. Or scary. Boyishly cute and slightly geeky with adorable dimples does not an intimidating guy make.
“We have no idea what your body is like, April,” he continued to rant. “They could have realized something was different about you.”
I decided not to tell him about the funky brain activity that had Dr. Rajeet so excited. Instead, I said, “I was right, by the way. My amnesia isn’t psychological. I have brain damage. The doctor said it’s permanent. I’m never getting my memories back.”
Admitting it out loud caused my chest to cave in. I met his angry gaze, and my voice cracked when I spoke my next words. “There’s no more hope. I’ll never know who I am.”
REMEMBER JAMIE BAKER by Kelly Oram / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes