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Part 2

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"Um, miss. Miss."

She jumped awake, senses alive and adrenaline pumping. Her heart was trying to break through her rib-cage and make a jailbreak, and the rest of her body was certainly on the verge of making a break for freedom, or safety, or...looking around she realized that there wasn't any danger at all. She was still in the cart of hay that she had curled up in last night to sleep. But the sun was shining now and she could feel where the man had poked her in the ribs. Man!!

Adrenaline began coursing through her for a moment again as she realized that she had fallen asleep in someone's hay cart.

Just going to close your eyes for a few minutes huh? she mentally chided herself. I wont fall asleep, I just need a little rest before I go to find a better place to send the night, you said. Now look! Someone came across you sleeping!!! What if he had been a man with bad intentions, or what if it had been a wild animal?

And all at once she remembered the man who had been poking her. Realizing that she had done nothing but bolt upright and start making strange faces she figured she had probably taken a few years off of the man's life. She looked over to apologize and was momentarily stunned. The man standing before her was not what she had expected. The rugged land around her had set her to think that the man would be some hick farmer, probably chunky, several teeth rotting, acne all over and basically resembling a hog. The man before her was nothing of the sort. His rugged features draped with a simple outfit of woo pants and shirt. He wore no shoes and his clothes certainly showed signs of wear. But it was his face that really stopped her in her tracks. Short cut hair framed strong cheeks and chin. His mouth seemed to have a natural smile etched into it. Where she had expected rotten teeth were straight, strong teeth. Certainly not pearly whites, but in good health nevertheless. And his eyes. She found herself having a hard time looking at anything but his eyes. Even in shock they seemed to be smiling, royal blue gleaming in the sun.

"Um, miss, are you ok?" asked the man.

"Wha-huh. Oh!" she exclaimed realizing she had been staring and was still sitting in his hay cart. "I'm so sorry, goodsir. I didn't mean to-I mean I wasn't planning to-what I mean to say is..." she trailed off realizing she didn't even really know what she was trying to say. And now he looked like he was about to start laughing. "What's so funny?" she glared, jumping out of the cart and marching up to glare at his chin. Darn my short height. she thought, but it wouldn't stop her from glaring.

"My apologies, miss, but watching you stumble over your words so much just for sleeping in my hay cart...well it's not something I see everyday. My name is Mark, and I have no problem with you having slept in my hay, but next time please ask and we will gladly find you a bed to sleep in. My name is Mark. Mark Delanar. A pleasure to make your acquaintance miss..." he trailed off.

As she realized that he was hoping for her name that creeping panic began to return. What is my name? The question echoed around in her head until the pause got awkward. But still she was unsure of what to say. Should I make up a name? Or do I just tell him I don't know my name. That might offend him if he thinks I'm just making up an excuse not to tell him my name. But if I tell him a false name and fail to maintain it then it could be even worse.

Mark cut off her thoughts. "It's ok, I understand. These are becoming dangerous times, and it is increasingly dangerous to simply trust strangers. If you do not with to tell me your name that is fine. Are you from one of the major cities? I would guess so since I've never seen any clothes like that before."

Looking at herself she forgot about the dilemma of her name for a second. Mark was right, she was wearing funny clothes. The didn't look anything like wool, and they were much tougher too. "It's not that I do not trust you Mark," she began, deciding that the truth was better than the risk of being caught in a lie, "but I honestly don't know what my name is. For that matter I don't even know where I'm from. To be honest, I don't remember anything before last night. I woke up in a forest a ways down that road," she said, motioning towards the path she had come in on, "and saw this village in the distance so I cam here. I don't know why I was in the forest or how I got there or anything."

Mark stared at her for a few long moments, no emotion showing on his face but the slight twinkle in his eye that seemed permanently attached by equal parts mirth and mischief. "Good one, miss." He stated, proud to have figured out that she was joking. "You had me going for a second there. Well I hope even people that don't want to tell us their names are still willing to eat our food or you are going to be awfully hungry by lunch time."

"But I'm telling the truth," she said, stamping her feet in frustration and emphasizing each point with a fist pounding nothing but the air in front of her. She was actually a bit annoyed that he hadn't believed her. Apparently it showed.

"I'm sorry, miss." said Mark. He quickly made a small bow with his head. "I didn't mean any offense, I just have never heard of someone with a story like that before. I normally wouldn't believe that it was possible, but you really look like you're telling the truth so I'll believe you. Why don't you come inside and get something to eat, I'm sure my mother will be glad to help."

Mark put down the pitchfork that had been slung over his shoulder the whole time and headed towards the nearest house. As he was about to round the corner he looked back and noticed that the stranger hadn't moved.

"Um, miss, the food is this way. Please, follow me."

She was shocked, one moment he didn't believe her and the next he was inviting her in for food. Her instincts about the situation were torn. One half of her said that she should be wary of him, that she never knew what he might be planning. But the other half of her was only concerned that she wasn't already close on his heels. Not knowing any reason why not to follow him in she quickly caught up to him and followed him inside.

The house was mostly made up of one large, open room. What little of a kitchen that they had was in on corner and the rest of it had been turned into dining room and living room arrangements, both seeming to blend into each other. There were two rooms off of it in the back, apparently they were bedrooms.

"Mom, we have company," said Mark. "This is the-mysterious-stranger-who-has-no-name-and-no-memory-and-slept-in-our-hay-cart. I told her we had food she could eat before she starved to death."

Mark's mother was a pretty lady. Probably not enough to be called beautiful by anyone but her husband, but certainly pretty enough. Straight, black hair hung just past her shoulders and Mark certainly had her eyes. Her simple woolen dress continued to make the stranger self-conscious about her own clothing.

"We can certainly get her some food. But we can do more than that. Please, come in, miss. Have a seat, get comfortable. You poor dear, lost all your memory. Even your name?"

The stranger merely nodded her head.

"Ah. How terrible! Well we can fix that."

The stranger's headed, which had been drooping, shot up in an instant. "You can?" she asked, hope glittering in her eyes.

"Sure," was the response. "We'll just give you a temporary one," said Mark's mother, matter-of-factly. "Now I was only blessed with one child, and that boy behind you is him, but I had always wanted a girl. I was going to name her Sarah, but I guess I'll just give it to you instead."

"Sarah," repeated the stranger. She mulled it over mentally and audibly, playing around with the name for a goodly while. "Well, alright. I don't think that's what my name used to be, but it will work for now. Thank you for your generosity and your hospitality, ma'am." Said Sarah.

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