The Oblivion Chronicles: Book 2 - The Answer's Call by JHarris15 | World Anvil Manuscripts | World Anvil

Chapter 26

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Chapter XXVI

Faded Memories


The chopper Charlie had requested landed on the manor grounds, where destroyed tents still littered the ground. Out of the helicopter steps a dwarf, four feet tall, with long hair and a short beard.

“Herfouck I presume?” Charlie said walking down the manor gardens towards the landed helicopter and its disembarking inhabitants.

“That’s right.” Herfouck responded, seeming a lot happier than her companions who were clutching at the ground after their long ride south. “Where is the patient.” She continued, not wanting to waste any time. Behind her two other dwarfs lifted a large white table with a cylinder standing up around the place where the head would lie. On the table itself a case rattled about.

“This way.” Charlie said and she along with the three dwarves walked towards the manor. She had first heard about the machine the two dwarves were dragging along behind her about a year into her job at Wolfrick Co. 

She had not originally believed the rumours but that had not stopped her sending a message to Normanguard to ask for help after Jack had first woken up. It had taken a lot of haggling but fortunately Alan had not been lying when he said he had maintained good relations with the north and its people and so they had managed to settle on a price for the use off and transport of the machine. Some twenty—five-thousand credits, enough to buy a sizeable property in The Imperial City. But as Wolfrick Co had refused to send help, even though it was their owners son who had need of the device, they had had little choice. And Alan had agreed, transferring the money to The mountain Kingdom as soon as he had heard about the deal that had been made.


Once they arrived at the medical lab, Jack sat bolt upright at the approaching dwarves, as they set the machine in place as well as a monitor right next to it, as Herfouck walked up to him.

“What the hell is that?” Jack said looking at the machine, as one of the dwarf’s opened up the metal case and produced a syringe of green liquid.

“Serokine. It will give us a good idea about what your brain is doing.” Herfouck said looking back at the syringe. Before returning her attention to Jack.

“You know my brain is fine.” Jack said backing up slightly, still looking at the contraption and wondering how mad they thought he was, as he had no intention of getting injected by that thing without knowing first what it was, or sticking his head inside that machine without knowing what it does.

“Then there is no reason for us not to make sure.” Herfouck said looking at the boy in a hard tone. “I get it young one. But we know what we’re doing.” Herfouck said in a much gentler tone of voice. This seemed to calm Jack down enough to the point that he got of the bed and walked over to the table. Despite being almost sixty years younger than the dwarf, he was at least a foot and a half taller than she was. Jack sat down on the table and lay down with his head resting in the cylindrical tube. As Jargamli one of the other dwarves walked up to him.

“We’re going to knock you out for five minutes kid.” Jargamli said producing another syringe containing a vile of clear liquid, before injecting it into Jack’s neck. He was out cold before his head hit the table.


Herfouck collected the serokine and lifted up Jack’s head so she could inject the green liquid into the back of the boy’s head. Before returning his head to the table gently.

“Start the machine.” Herfouck said and Jargamli flicked a switch on the side, and the cylinder around Jack’s head began to turn around and around. The monitor had also began working, it appeared to be mapping the serokine’s route through the brain, effectively creating a map of Jack’s brain. After a few moments the machine stopped, and the monitor finished it’s drawing and proceeded to print out the results.

“What are the results?” Charlie asked. As Herfouck looked down at the map that the computer had drawn for them.

“Everything appears to be in order.” Herfouck said continuing to scan the sheet. “Wait.” She said and causing Charlie to jump slightly. “There is slight damage to the hippocampus. Is the lad having trouble remembering things.” Herfouck asked.

“Yes.” Charlie said simply, whilst she was not entirely sure how much he remembered, all she did no was that Jack had huge gaps in his most recent memories.

“Yes, it hasn’t been damaged by the bullet that hit him, it’s as if it’s been burnt slightly.” Herfouck said taking a closer look at the scan, the area around the damage did indeed appear to be burned, but as to how, she did not have a clue as to how.

“Will it heal?” Charlie asked. She knew that if it didn’t then not only would Jack be unable to gain his memories back, but he would also be unable to from new ones in the future.

“Yes. It’s already starting to heal.” Herfouck said, indicating the healed areas around the damaged ones, indicating that it was healing from the outside in. And with that conclusion drawn, she gestured at her two followers, who nodded and lifted Jack up and carried him back to his own bed.

“What caused it, if not the bullet?” Charlie asked looking at the dwarven medic, but she seemed just as confused as to that answer as Charlie was herself.

“As to that I have no idea.” Herfouck said simply. As she started to help pack away the equipment. “If the lad doesn’t improve, send word to the mountain.” She finished and left the medical lab, along with her two companions hauling the machine between them. Leaving Charlie if not relieved, then feeling slightly better off.


“What the fuck was that stuff.” Jack said sleepily as he rubbed his eyes, he had unconsciously gone to rub his right, before the sinking feeling returned when he realised that it was no longer there. He sat up in the medical bed. Vernon has also materialised in the room as well. He looked around as Charlie walked up to him, at least he guessed that she had gotten closure as her voice was louder.

“Jack. What can you see?” Charlie asked.

“I see the medical lab.” Jack said, wondering what the point of all this was.

“Can you tell the distance of objects?” Charlie asked. “Can you tell how far apart myself and Vernon are?” She continued, not entirely hopeful, but having to cross this off the list of possible changes to the lad’s vision. Jack looked at the pair. If he turned his head just right, he could make out distances, but looking straight at them, it was impossible.

“Only at a sharp angle.” Jack said glumly.

“Right.” Charlie said making a note. She then took the pen and held it in front of his eye. “Tell me when this is in focus.” Charlie said and moved the pen further back, until after a meter Jack told her to stop. “Ok.” Charlie said and turned to Vernon. “I’m going to need your help on this one Vernon.” Charlie said.

“Sure, what do I do?” Vernon said walking forward.

“Watch his eye.” Charlie said simply and returned to Jack. “I want you to try and follow the pen.” Charlie said and Jack nodded. She began to move the object around and Vernon watched carefully. After a minute Charlie stopped and turned to the butler. “Was he able to keep following the movement?” Charlie asked.

“Yes.” Vernon said, as far as he could tell, the lad eye had followed the direction of the pen as if there was nothing wrong with it.

“Good. Good.” Charlie said simply as she places her notes on the table. “At least that’s something. One last question.” She continued and returned to Jack. “Do you know who I am?” Charlie asked, she wasn’t hopeful on this one, but it was worth a shot. 

Jack sat silently for a minute thinking, but nothing was coming to him. 

“A doctor.” Jack said, it was the best he could do, he knew that he should know who this woman was, but it was like a huge dense fog had come over his memories.

“Close enough.” Charlie said. “You’re free to go kid. But I want you back here for an hour a day, see if we can get your memory back.” Charlie finished looking at Jack, who only nodded, before getting off the bed and was halfway to the door when he turned around.

“Where’s mum?” Jack asked looking at the pair. Charlie looked over at Vernon, who took that as his question to answer.

“She’s out at the moment Master Jack.” Vernon said, it felt odd to continue to lie on the matter, but the old butler couldn’t really see any other alternative.

“Okay.” Jack said and left the medical lab. As Charlie turns to Vernon a tired look on her face, as she had hoped for the truth from the old butler. Thinking that aside from Alan himself, that Vernon was the best one to deliver the unwelcome news.

“When are you going to tell him?” Charlie asked, realising that it was only a matter of time before Jack worked out what had happened, the lad wasn’t stupid after all. And Charlie thought that it would be best that somebody told him before that point.

“I don’t know, but it will have to be soon now.” Vernon said, he had not liked lying to the boy about it, but he knew how badly Jack had taken it the first time and was personally in no rush to do it again.


Inside the cave Alan sits looking out at the waterfall that fell into the small lake below him, he was waiting on the results from the dwarven experiments. He had paid a small fortune for them to come down here and hoped that they could help. He was about to get up and walk to the medical bay to ask what in the gods name was taking them so long when Charlie walks up.

“Alan?” Charlie said timidly. Alan turns around in his chair to face her. By the looks of him he hadn’t slept in days, no wonder he had chosen to remain down here and let Charlie meet with the dwarves. There were deep shadows under his eyes, and he looked even paler than usual, even for an Imperial.

“How is he?” Alan asked.

“He's fine. I’ve discarded him. But I’m having him back every day for an hour to check on his memory recovery progress.” Charlie said, Alan sighs and turns back around to stare through the waterfall. As Charlie continues. “Alan, his cognitive skills seem intact. We've tested him extensively and I can see... No cause for alarm. Regarding the memory gaps... Amnesia is not uncommon with a serve brain trauma. There is a chance though that his memory will come back on its own.” Charlie said, this had been proven before with others with head trauma, and she hoped that it was also the case here, although none of those cases involved a gunshot wound. Although there were the slight burn marks in the brain that no-one could explain, but she chose not to mention it. As Alan gets out of the chair and walks over to the overlook, a place in the cave that has the best view of the nearby waterfall.

“What am I supposed to do?” Alan said not turning away from the waterfall.

“What do you mean?” Charlie asked slightly confused at what Alan was getting at.

“Huge chunks of his memory are now just... Gone. How do I deal with that?” Alan said turning around where a tear ran down his cheek. “How am I supposed to tell him his mother is dead? I can't go through that again.” Alan said finally breaking down. Partly because how Jack had reacted the first time around, but mostly due to the fact that he himself did not want to face that trauma ever again.

“There is another problem Alan.” Charlie said cautiously.

“Spit it out then.” Alan said, with a harshness in his tone that he didn’t intend to be there.

“Jack has lost the ability to judge the distance of objects and his depth of field is severally diminished. On the bright side he is able to track moving objects.” Charlie said. “Effectively he’s going to have to use his one good eye to do the job that it normally takes two eyes to perform.”

“The bright side that he can perform something that even the most stupid toddler can do.” Alan said, finding it hard to keep his anger at bay.

“Yes. The fact that he has retained that ability is. Well, extraordinary.” Charlie said. Alan looked apologetically at her immediately regretting the loss of his temper, when an idea came to him.

“What about project C. Surely that could help out?” Alan asked. Project C was part of the cybernetics division of Wolfrick Co, in truth Charlie had worked on the project for a brief time. It was designed for giving metal limbs to people who had lost body parts.

“Alan. It helped you yes, but you lost a leg, which is what the program was meant for. Jack has lost his eye, and whilst they are trying to get to a place where more complicated body parts can be manufactured, we are still decades away from that.” Charlie said, she didn’t blame Alan for clinging onto that hope one bit. Alan walked back and sat down in his chair and although she didn’t want to bring up the subject again, but she thought she had to, so she pressed on, with an idea she had had on the way down to the cave.

“When are you going to tell him Alan. When are you going to tell Jack that his mother is dead?” Charlie said.

“I was hoping that you would.” Alan said.

“Alan, at the moment I’m a complete stranger to Jack, you are his father.” Charlie said, before pushing ahead with her idea. “You said that you weren’t here the first time, that you were out west when you got the news.” Charlie said, she had to be careful here not to hit any power lines.

“Yes.” Alan said.

“Well. This is an opportunity for the both of you. You always said Jack never truly forgave you for not being there. Well, this is the perfect opportunity to mend that mistake.” Charlie said.

“I… Suppose.” Alan said, and the more he thought on it. The more sense it made, in some weird bizarro way. But it did make sense none the less.

“I would suggest that you do it quickly. Dave and Vernon won’t talk to Jack about what happened to Laura. But I doubt that Nick or Martin will be as careful.” Charlie said, not wanting to threaten him, only to tell him to get a move on.

“Yes. You’ve made your point. No need to keep digging.” Alan said smiling as he left the cave. After a long time, in fact too long a time, as Alan was in no rush too repeat the experience of five years ago.


He had come back from the west, almost two years away from finding the box with his family company’s name on it, to find his childhood home in mourning. He had hurried through the still open doors to find a much younger Vernon talking with a haggard looking doctor, who’s name escaped him.

“Ah Master Alan.” Vernon said turning away from the doctor, who left the building at the sound from the doorway.

“Where is she?” Alan asked looking intently at the old butler who had been more of a father figure to him than his own father ever had.

“This way sir.” Vernon replied, bowing his head, and leading Alan through the long dark halls, that had once seemed so bright, but now seemed so devoid of life. Eventually he was led into the small clinic that the manor had had, before being greatly expanded by Charlie, it comprised of a collection of cupboards, and a single bed; which was where his wife, Laura Wolfrick was now lying.

“What happened?” Alan asked, a tear appearing in his eye as he walked closer to the corpse of his wife.

“That we do not know sir.” Vernon replied, remaining in the doorway, despite his instincts to go over and comfort the man in front of him, he remained in his position. Which was right here, to let the man grieve in peace should he want to. “The doctors seemed to think it was some kind of infection. That’s why they took the babe too…” Vernon made to continue, but Alan interrupted him at these words.

“Where did they take my child?” Alan asked, fury in his eyes, and now realising why the doctor seemed to have been in a hurry to exit the manor upon his arrival.

“They took the boy to Metropolis General Hospital for examination purposes.” Vernon said, holding his hands and gesturing for Alan to calm down. “The manor’s facilities were not sufficient you see, and they fear…” Vernon continued, trailing off in his own thoughts now.

“Feared what?” Alan asked, regretting now not getting on that earlier flight more and more. He knew that he should have done, after all, all of his children had been born premature, but he had foolishly thought that that wouldn’t happen this time.

“The boy was sickly Master Alan, when they did the c-section he was struggling to breath. The doctors feared for the worst and called for an ambulance and it came a few minutes after Laura passed away.” Vernon replied, trying to make Alan understand exactly what had happened, and why the ambulance had not been able to prevent his wife’s death.

“Where are the rest of my sons?” Alan asked, dawning comprehension coming to his face as he realised that he had not seen them on his journey to the clinic.

“Master David is in his room. And Master Nicholas is with your mother, Mistress Eve.” Vernon replied with his usual confidence, but he was twisting his hands around nervously as he spoke. Waiting for the next question to come, and sure enough it came

“And Jack?” Alan asked, thinking, no, knowing that this was the reason that Vernon was acting so uptight right about now. But it wasn’t the butler who answered his question, but a deep gruff voice that came into the room next to him.

“We don’t know little bro.” Gerrard Wolfrick said, his lion’s mane of a beard and hair, making him sound more imposing than usual.

“What do you mean you don’t know?” Alan asked, his relief at seeing his older brother quickly evaporating at the news that he brought with him.

“He vanished a few hours after I delivered the news about what had happened. Fled into the old cave systems.” Gerrard said his gruff voice sounding anxious now. “He’s been down there for about a day now.” Gerrard finished as he scratched his long brown beard, something that both Alan and Vernon knew was a coping mechanism for him.

“Right.” Alan said as he stood by the entrance to the cave. He, like other generations before him, had along with his older brother explored these caves as a boy. But even so, there was secrets that the old manor still held, and most of them were in those caves. “This should be a relatively straight forward mission. Jackson is somewhere down in those caves. All we have to do is find him.” Alan finished turning to the motley search party that he had managed to gather up, consisting of his brother, along with aunt Elia, and his younger cousin.

“Don’t worry Al. We’ll find him.” Elia had said with the confidence she had always had whenever a problem rose its head.

Despite this, they had searched the caves for the remainder of the day, and had not found so much as a trace of Jack inside the caves. Reluctantly, Alan had decided to call off the search at nightfall. And had then headed down to the hospital to find out what had happened to his now youngest son. 

When he had returned, with a baby Martin in his arms, he discovered that Gerrard had found Jack during the night. The then nine-year-old had hidden in one of the cracks and had been missed by close only a few meters.

That had not stopped the onslaught of abuse that Jack had hurled at him after he eventually made his way up to his room the following morning. It was the first of many, and a horrifying foreshadowing of their relationship to come for the next four years. Only to be resolved the previous year during their argument in the very cave that Jack had hidden in all those years ago.


Back in the present, Alan found Vernon in the corridor outside the door to the bedroom wing which stood on the manor’s southern side, directly opposite to the cave.

“Is he inside?” Alan asked. Looking at the door to Jack’s room. In truth he was terrified of what awaited him on the other side of that door. But he steeled himself against the almost certain wroth that awaited him.

“Yes sir. I’ve told Jack you have something to tell him.” Vernon said, seeming to also be steeling himself. “Well sir. Good luck.” The butler finished leaving the corridor. Alan took a deep breath and wanting to get this conversation over with as quickly as possible. He entered his eldest son’s bedroom, where he found Jack sitting on his bed.

“Hey kid.” Alan said as Jack looked up to see who his visitor was, his bandage was resting on the desk next to his bed. Leaving the gaping black hole where his right eye had been. Whilst certainly far from pretty, at least the blood had been removed and the wound had been cleaned out by the surgeons. A merciful thing, as Alan doubt if his strength, already serenely weakened with the news that he had to deliver, would have lasted if the scene that had greeted him out in the grounds that night, had greeted him now.

“You wanted to see me.” Jack said looking up to see his father standing gingerly in the doorway to his room. A troubling sign if ever there was one, but he chose to ignore the danger signs that this action usually proceeded.

“Yes. It’s about your mum.” Alan said, trying to approach the subject as gently as humanly possible.

“What about her?” Jack said, his mood seemingly improving as a small smile came over his face, which didn’t make it any easier for Alan in the slightest. 

There was a pause for a moment where Alan thought about not telling him, to allow that happy moment that Jack had experienced to last a little bit longer. Before he realised that he would only be sparing himself if he did that. So, bracing himself for the worst, he just came straight out with the truth.

“Jack. She’s dead.” Alan said simply. At these words, the smile that had been there a second ago slowly disappeared from his son’s face. “And she has been for almost six years.” Alan finished. He didn’t know why he was being so honest in his answer regarding his comment on the amount of time that had since passed, but deep down he knew it was the right thing to do.

“How?” Jack asked looking more confused now than ever before, even when he had discovered that he had lost one of his eyes.

“From complications giving birth to your youngest brother.” Alan replied. There had been some rumours at the time of poison, but he had never believed in those tales, purely based on the fact that he knew no-one who would want to do his wife harm. Jack for his part, simply stared up at this dumbfounded, until he eventually found his voice.

“Why don’t I remember it? Why don’t I remember so much else? I see people that I vaguely recognise but I can’t remember where I’ve met them, or anything about them.” Jack asked quietly, looking up at Alan, and it struck him that despite all that had happened, how young his eldest still was. No where near old enough to be dealing with the shit that he had been thrown into.

“The gunshot damaged part of your brain, but you’ll get your memories back soon.” Alan said putting an arm around Jack’s shoulder.

“No. That’s not it. I know it isn’t, something happened recently.” Jack said scratching the back of his head trying to think.

“Ok.” Alan said slightly confused himself. “What is the last thing you remember?” Alan asked. Jack didn’t speak for a minute as he tried to recall.

“There was this woman, after I was shot and in a coma. She showed me stuff.” Jack said slowly, more to himself than to his father.

“Right.” Alan said trying to hide his concern.

“She had golden eyes.” Jack said. “But that’s all I can remember.” He finished turning around to see Alan still sitting there.

“Well, if you remember anything else, you know where to find me.” Alan said and he got up and walked over to the door but stopped halfway and turned around. “Are you sure you’re alright. I know it’s hard, loosing part of yourself.”

“Yeah.” Jack said looking up.

“And about your mum.” Alan said looking down at Jack.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be fine with that.” Jack replied and lay down on his bed, his hands pinching his forehead as if he was trying to recall something long forgotten. When Alan left the room, he too was puzzled. Partly on how easy that had been. But mostly on the new revelation that his son had given him. And walking downstairs he intended to ask Vernon on what this all meant as surely the old butler would know what to do.

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