The jangling of the bells gradually seeped into Garret’s unconsciousness and began to nudge him into a little clarity. He listened for several moments before trying to open his eyes. When he finally lifted the heavy lids, the light seemed blinding and pain shot through is head at the entrance of that light. He immediately shut his eyelids again and groaned.
Unfortunately, the groan itself caused more pain in his head. He was lying flat on hard ground, and he tried to lift his right arm to touch his head and see if he could determine what was wrong. He did manage to get his arm up, but it felt so heavy, he didn’t bother to take it all the way to his head.
The jangling sound was coming closer, and he wondered why the sound itself didn’t cause him more pain. Maybe because it was very low-toned and rhythmic. It reminded him of something, but he couldn’t think what. In fact, he felt as if he couldn’t think much of anything. That scared him, but before he could delve into that problem, a gentle voice spoke to him, and a soft hand touched his shoulder.
“Mister, are you alive?” The voice sounded young, but masculine. He opened his eyes again and, in spite of the pain, managed to roll his eyes to the side enough to see a young boy — perhaps twelve or thirteen — kneeling beside him on the ground. He spoke again. “Oh, you are alive. Thank goodness. Can you move?”
Garret put all his strength into slowly moving his head toward the boy and forcing out the words. “A little.”
The boy heaved a sigh of relief. “You’re not far from my house. I’m on my way home with our cows now, and I will tell my father. He will come for you and help you.”
Garrett gave a small nod of his head, but stopped immediately. Too much pain. So he croaked out his thanks and closed his eyelids again. The young boy patted him on the shoulder and rose, calling to his cows. As he did so, the jangling sound, which had been intermittent during the conversation with the boy, now began its rhythmic music again as the herd evidently obeyed the boy’s command.
During the wait for the boy’s father, Garrett slipped in and out of consciousness, but his periods of lucidity were longer now and more clear. The pain had dulled a little, and when he heard an engine approaching, he took heart and even lifted his head slightly to look that direction. Pain seared him, but he took courage when he saw the old truck.
The farmer had his young boy with him, as well as another grown man. They stooped down and the second man spoke. “I was a medic in the army, sir, and I’m going to try to check you before we try to get you up.”
“Thanks,” Garrett managed to whisper. The young man began to feel Garrett’s arms and legs and press on his abdomen, checking for broken bones or internal injuries. As he worked he reported that he was fairly sure Garrett had a concussion, and that one leg was broken and a shoulder dislocated. But with the help of some splinting materials he had brought along, he felt it was safe to get Garret up and into the truck. They had already phoned the doctor before leaving the house, and he’d promised to come out to the farm when he was finished with hospital rounds.
During the transfer to the truck, Garrett lost consciousness again, but when he was finally lying flat and had a cold cloth on his head, he came to. “Can you tell us your name, Son,” the farmer asked, as he sat beside Garrett in the truck bed for the trip.
Garrett opened his mouth, but nothing came out. He couldn’t find a name — no name at all. He couldn’t find any identity in his conscious mind. He turned fear-filled eyes to the farmer. “No sir,” Garrett said. “I don’t know my name … I don’t know who I am ….”