One of the nurses pointed to herself and stated her name. John did not respond.
"Something wrong?" said the attending doctor as he rushed into the room.
A Nurse told him what John had accomplished.
"That's good." replied the attending doctor.
"He looks stiff." said Dr. Thompson.
"He hasn't used his muscles for a while, and there's a lot of calcifications and an odd tissue hardening. Almost like he was vary, vary old, but he is improving." the attending Doctor stated.
John then pointed to a nurse's cell phone she had been talking on.
"This. Oh, that's just my phone." she said.
John held out his hand, and she handed it to him. John slowly looked it over, and seemed truly fascinated with the way it lit up. He smiled and said something that sounded a lot like "interesting".
Dr. Thompson handed the nurse his phone.
"Call your phone. Show his how they work." ordered Dr. Thompson.
When it rang John dropped it out of surprise. The nurse showed him how to answer it, and she recited, "Mary had a little lamb".
"Wow." John said in a clear voice.
Those in the room clapped to show support. John then pointed to her watch. She told him the time, and he shook his head a little.
"It's July ninth two thousand and fourteen." said Dr. Thompson as he showed John the date on it cell phone.
John looked at the date on the phone and pushed himself to the end of the bed.
"No. No. No." John said putting his hands to his head.
John kept saying "no" for an several minutes. He then pointed to his room door where he could see part of a window, and he moved to get out of the bed. His movements were akin to a slow robot. The nurses helped him to the window. He moved close to the glass, then stepped back several times.
"No. No. No." John repeated again.
John focused on the cars in the parking lot.
"How. How." John said in a high-pitched strained voice with his hands covering his mouth.
"He's acting as though he has never seen a cell or a parking lot before. Maybe they spent a long time in prison, or escaped from prison and were hiding." a nurse said.
"Maybe he's from someplace remote. Alaska or some place." said an orderly
"Things will come back to him little by little. Like a puzzle." said Dr. Thompson.
Dr. Thompson asked John if he wanted to go outside using hand jesters and a soft low voice. John nodded his head, and had that grinning from ear to ear and surprised look that made his face look like a mask.
They put him in a wheel chair and wheeled him out to the flower lined lawn next to the parking log. John kept that grin and stiff body look as they slowly pushed his wheel chair by the flowers to the sidewalk of the parking lot. They pushed John around the parking lot twice. He wanted to touch every vehicle just like a kid in a toy store. When they got back to the flowers John got out of his wheel chair and stiffly walked over to some yellow tulips and sank to his knees to smell them. Then he laid down and ran his hand though the grass and began to cry without losing his grin. That made those around him shed a tear or two as well.
They let him walk around in the grass and fondle the flowers. When the sunset began, he lost his grin and began to panic. John's panic subsided once he was inside where it was well lit.
"Tomorrow we should take Mr. Smith out for a walk." suggested Dr. Thompson.
"Just a leisurely stroll with someone with a vicious personality who likes to bite?" asked Jewel who had just come on shift.
"Perhaps he is just scared. He might be thinking everyone is out to hurt him." said Dr. Thompson.
"Not likely. Wait till you see him go after someone. Perhaps you would like to try and feed him, or change his bed pan." Jewel replied with a scornful look.
"She's a bit bias. She's also not exaggerating. Mr. Smith is sly, aggressive, and a biter." said another nurse.
"Mmm." Dr. Thompson responded.
John spent most of the night staring through the door to see when it was day time again.
The next morning the doctors decided to wheel Luke outside like they did John, only strapped to his bed. Luke seemed to have pretty much the same surprised response to the cars, and fondness for the flowers. Still, everyone knew not to get close to his mouth.
Then they brought John out. As soon as he saw Luke he had an extreme panic attack, so they took him back to his room. They noted that John was still shaking three hours later, and decided to keep them separated.
Luke made humming noises, like to a song, when they held a flower to his nose.
"Mr. Smith, this is a flower." the nurse with the flower said.
"I know." said Luke.
The group responded with praise, but kept their distance.
"My name is Jewel. What is yours?" asked Jewel.
After a few moments Luke said in a raspy voice, "Luke. My name is Luke.".
That brought a few claps and a some vocal praise.
Over the next few weeks John was walking with two aids around the hospital grounds. Luke had the same progress, but he was wearing leg irons, cuffs, and a helmet.
A month later they were both talking in long sentences. Both could remember their first names, and neither said anything of having lived in the early eighteen hundreds.
Their ability to recall all the details of their previous lives were long gone, and did not care much. Just like in the cave they were in survival mode.
John no longer feared Luke as long as he was chained and wearing the mask they had built for him.
Robert Evan Howard