Cycle
ImagineGal

Chapters

1. A New Beginning
2. Insanity
3. That Was His Name
4. Escape
5. Not Just You
6. Page One
7. Forgotten Wonders
8. Smaaaaash!
9. Advice
10. Tricks
11. Former Friends
12. Revelations
13. Distortions
14. Mental Roller-Coaster
15. A Two-Day Journey
16. Lessons
17. Touch of Evil
18. The Ride of Your Life
19. Losing the Feather
20. Epilogue


Another day, another visitor. Ness sighed. Would it be that lady again? If it was, he sure had some questions for her. Then, when she'd answered them and made no sense whatsoever, he'd say 'Whatever, just get me the hell out of here,' and that'd be it.

He hadn't remembered anything beyond that one memory about his name and hometown. Where was Onett, anyway? Was it far?

Someone walked in. Ness looked up, and it wasn't the woman. Instead, it was a man with blonde hair and large, thick glasses, wearing a nicely pressed shirt and tie, and black pants. He looked very businessman-like.

The man looked at Ness a moment before smiling and holding out a hand, "Ness," he said, "Jeff Andonuts."

Ness didn't shake his hand.

Jeff withdrew his hand and shrugged, "Suit yourself." he began walking to the other end of the table.

"You said my name," said Ness before Jeff had sat down, "Does that mean you're friends with that lady?"

"Paula?" Jeff asked, sitting down, "We're acquainted." he smiled vaguely.

Ness sighed, "Whatever. Have you come to get me outta here, too?"

"I have." Jeff put a briefcase down on the floor. "And I know why you're here."

"Of course you do. Everybody in the freakin' world knows why I'm here."

"No. I mean I really know why." Jeff said. "So does Paula."

"Why?"

Jeff laughed a bit, "If I told you and they heard, they'd have me locked away in this place. You wouldn't understand, anyway."

Ness smiled, "At least someone is beginning to make any sense around here."

"So you remember nothing, do you?" Jeff leaned back in his chair.

"Well, actually, I just remembered something yesterday," Ness said.

"Your name?" Jeff guessed before Ness could go on.

"Yeah, I- How'd you know?"

"You knew that I had said it." Jeff smiled, "Whereas when Paula visited you, you didn't even look up when she addressed you by it."

"You think you're pretty smart, huh?"

Jeff shrugged modestly.

"Listen," Ness said, leaning on the table, "You seem to be the only person in ten damn years that I've been able to understand in the least bit, so I think I'll level with you here- There is no way you're gettin' me outta this place. I'm a scientific curiosity; there's no chance of them letting me outta their sight."

"Perhaps." Jeff shrugged and leaned forward as well, "But perhaps they can yield with the right persuasion..."

"What are you talking about?"

"My father happens to be a very revered scientist." Jeff was speaking quietly, so Ness, but not the men outside, could hear him, "After he's through with them, they'll let you go."

"And just how is this going to be accomplished?" Ness asked.

Jeff just grinned before getting up out of his chair. "Fear not, my friend," he said, "You will be free before the day is out..."

*

Ness entered the hotel room, followed by the old man who had come to pick him up. A very odd old man indeed, and Ness could only assume he was Jeff's father, the redeemed scientist. He was completely baffled at how his escape had been accomplished. When he inquired, the great doctor replied that it had indeed taken quite a bit of persuasion. He had had to sign all sorts of papers after saying that he needed Ness for an experiment.

"Which, actually, is not very far from the truth." said a voice. Ness turned. It was Paula. She was leaning against the dresser. "Remember me?" she asked.

"Yes and no." Ness answered a bit darkly.

"Sorry," Paula said, walking forward, "But a little humor is needed in a time like this, y'know?" she turned to Jeff's father, "Thank you for doing this, Doctor."

"My pleasure," Dr. Andonuts said, holding his hand out and forcing Ness to back up against the wall in the small area. "I'd do anything for a cause as noble as this."

"I'll keep that in mind." Paula smiled. "Thanks again."

"Good luck." Dr. Andonuts said, and was gone.

Ness watched the doctor leave, then turned to Paula, "All right." he said, "I guess I should thank you for getting me out of there..."

"You're welcome."

"-but what did he mean 'a cause as noble as this'? What have I got to do with you or that guy with the big glasses?"

Paula didn't answer, "Jeff said you remembered something last night."

"Well..." Ness rubbed the back of his neck, "...yeah. Two things. My name. And where I used to live."

"What is it?"

"Ness."

"Where?"

"Onett. Wherever the hell that is-" he added under his breath.

"Good." Paula said. She realized they were still standing in the small area between the entrance and the main part of the room. "Um... come in?" she said, a but unsure.

"Don't mind if I do." Ness walked past her, then flopped down on the bed, "Ah, man, this sure beats that stiff old cot. I've been sleepin' on that for..." he paused, "...as long as I can remember." The last part of the sentence had an almost sad quality to it.

"I know." Paula sighed and sat down next to where he lay. "You remembered nothing else?"

"Nope." he said, staring at the ceiling.

"All right," she sighed again, then stood up, "I think I know of something that can help jog your memory. Jeff, Poo and I are going to try and find it, and you should come too. But you have to promise to stay with one of us at all times. Okay?"

Ness sighed. He didn't like the idea of this lady bossing him around, but she and that nerdy friend of hers- and his dad- had certainly gotten him out of the insane asylum for some reason. He figured he could trust them until he found out what that reason was.

"Sure," he agreed, sitting up and looking her right in the face, "I'll play along."

"Good." she said, "Now c'mon. And you may wanna brace yourself..."