Hurting and cold, she looked down at her bloody hands. The skin had broken open, blood was still flowing unhindered and her fingers felt so stiff she didn’t believe she would ever be able to move them again. It hurt. How had she gotten these wounds again? Her mind was blank, no information to be found there.

She looked around, hoping to know where she was. There was a forest to the far left and a river closer to her to the right. She could wash her hands off there before finding the nearest town. Besides her no one else seemed to be on this stretch of road, but far up ahead and a little to the right she thought she could see a village.

Her whole body screaming in protest she reached the river, shocked to see her own reflection. A pained gasp escaped her to see her mirror image. It wasn’t just her hands which were bloody. Her entire body was covered in blood, some of which had begun to dry and more yet which was still gushing forth. Pieces of clothing had been wrapped around her cuts, but she could not remember how long they had been there or who had put them on. Her head swimming with all this missing information, she slowly waded into the shallow water, hissing through her teeth as the icy liquid flowed around her wounds mercilessly. It hurt terribly to clean herself, but she was not about to wander into a town  looking like this!

To take her mind of the sharp pain flooding her consciousness, she decided to plan ahead. The town looked a long walk off, but it was something at least. Something she could walk towards to. But then what would she do? As far as she could tell she had no money. All she would be able to tell them was that she was- was-

Feeling defeated she sank fully into the river, her nose barely above water level. She could not even remember her own name. What was it? Ai- Aish- No. That was all wrong.

She sighed, giving her arms a last pained wash before getting up and leaving the icy safety of the river. It was still light out – should it be dark by now? – if she walked fast she would reach the village before sunset.

Many hours would pass before she reached the gates. It would give her enough time to make up  a name, at least. A reason she was out here, covered in bloody rags and cuts which were already beginning to bleed again.

Maybe someone there would know who she was. There had to be a reason she had been here when she had woken up – if she could call it that. She hadn’t been lying down when she had regained consciousness, but rather she had already been walking. How far had she come before she realised where she was? Would anyone in the far-away town know?

Something told her she needed to get there, see someone. Until her memory returned, it was as good a hint as any.

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All of my 10-Minute stories are improvised, unplanned, and unedited apart from spelling and grammar mistakes. The idea is to kick-start the dreaded Monday with a short, creative exercise without thinking about it, and simply writing for the sake of writing.

For all other 10-Minute shorts, take a look here.

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