The Horrorphiles, Part 23
By Stephanie Thompson, 1,656 words
Read any of the parts before this one:
More Horrorphiles Inspiration.
- Part 1
- Part 2
- Part 3
- Part 4
- Part 5
- Part 6
- Part 7
- Part 8
- Part 9
- Part 10
- Part 11
- Part 12
- Part 13
- Part 14
- Part 15
- Part 16
- Part 17
- Part 18
- Part 19
- Part 20
- Part 21
- Part 22
Chapter 22 (Seriously, no more asides), continued
When she woke up again, it was definitely daytime. The fluorescent lights were on and the activity in the hallway was noisy and bustling. Someone had adjusted her bed so she was sitting up a little more. She didn’t know if that’s why she was in more pain or if she was more awake than last time and just felt it more. Her room was empty, she could see that much. Maybe Becky had gone to get something to eat, or maybe she was at work. The tv was on but muted. The blinds on the window were closed. The board on the wall said the nurse for her floor was Trudy Jenkins. The clock beside that said it was 1:20.
She didn’t really know how to get someone’s attention. She tried moving again and immediately regretted it. Whatever was in her mouth last night was there again and she couldn’t form the words to actually call out.
Eventually she realized there was a call button in her hand and it didn’t hurt that much just to squeeze her hand. The button didn’t call a nurse but a doctor or maybe him entering the room was just a coincidence. She didn’t really care because now she was awake enough to want to know what happened for sure.
She wanted to know if her inability to move was permanent or what was her prognosis in general. She wanted to know when she could go home so she could figure out how to salvage The Horrorphiles and make amends with Adam and Mr. Peabody since she was sure now she’d acted like a madman when she’d left and wasn’t very professional.
But the doctor was taking his sweet time, looking at her chart, reading machines, and marking down measurements. She tried to talk.
“Just one moment, Miss Granger,” he said. “It looks like you were up late again last night and got through a few questions.” He looked up from his chart. “Now let’s see if we can get you through a few more. Open wide.”
He reached his gloved hand into her mouth, less gently than the nurse, setting her off coughing again. He didn’t offer her water.
“So, let’s see, how about something easy? Can you tell me your name?” he asked at the same time he shined a penlight in her eyes. “Try to follow the light with just your eyes.”
She followed the lights as ordered but still had a bit of dryness in her throat, a tickle that seemed to block her voice.
“Do you know your name?”
She finally cleared her throat. “Yes, I know my name, Jesus,” she said, her voice just as creaky as it was the night before. “Give me a minute”
“No reason for agitation. Go ahead, tell me your name,” he said. His condescension was different than the nurse’s of last night. She had sounded like she was just talking to a child, he sounded like he was tired of holding a conversation with a phenomenal idiot. The doctor sounded like Dan.
“Veronica Jillian Granger.”
“When were you born?” He continued down his checklist.
“March 3rd, 1983.”
“Good,” he said without intonation. “And where do you live?”
“Washington, DC. Do you want my address?” She could be just as condescending and bitter as he could.
“No, that’s fine. Do you know where you are now?”
And just like when she was sparring with Dan her own biting response had no effect on him. She was the only one getting more and more annoyed. When was she going to get back home, back to her life? Or had she run from one kind of hell to another.
“I’m in a hospital in North Carolina or maybe Virginia, I really don’t know. No one’s told me yet.”
He made some marks on her chart, flipped through some pages, then continued. “When were you admitted to the hospital? Do you know?”
“My best guess is like yesterday or last night. After the car accident. Unless I’ve been out for awhile, have I been out for awhile?”
“Miss Granger, how about we get through my questions, you give me your answers, and then you can ask me your questions and I can give you my answers okay? Do you know how you got to the hospital?”
“Presumably an ambulance. I don’t know.”
“What is the first thing you remember after the accident?”
She took a minute for this one. The first thing she remembered were the skeletons. She looked at the top of the doctor’s head bent over his clip board. His hair was greying, nearly white in some places and clearly thinning right at the top. This was not a man to mention clattering bowler hat wearing, judgmental, skeletons to. In fact, he was a lot like the clattering naked skeleton, the one arguing against her, the one who didn’t like her. No, she’d tell Becky the skeletons, the doctor only got to know the boring stuff.
“I woke up last night, like you said. My friend Becky was here and some nurse came, gave me water, and asked me some of these questions. Then I went to sleep. I was tired. I’m tired now too, by the way.”
“We’re almost done here.”
They weren’t almost done because she had her own list of questions to asked. And today she was more annoyed than tired.
“What’s the last thing you remember before the accident?”
Again she couldn’t tell the doctor exactly what she remembered, that’s something else for Becky, so she fudged the truth a bit, not that the doctor would knew the truth anyway.
“Um, I was at an event for this group I run. Beck texted me, she said there was an emergency, so I had to leave the event early. I remember driving but it was dark and foggy so I couldn’t see very well and then . . . Out of nowhere there were these on-coming headlights.”
The doctor wrote some more things down “Ok, this is the last question, do you know what today’s date is?”
“Well, as far as I know, it’s Sunday, October 20th, 2013.”
“Alll right,” he said slowly as he wrote more notes. Then he finally put her chart down, met her eye and smiled. “Good morning, I’m Dr. Bronsky and we’re at Good Memorial hospital (in someplace that sure as shit isn’t NC or VA). You were in a car accident on an icy bridge on Friday December 6th. Today is December 21st, a Saturday. Ok? Does any of this sound familiar?”
Sound familiar? She couldn’t even make sense of it. Dr Bronsky walked over to the window and opened the blinds. The sun shone in bright from a winter white sky. The bare branches visible from the window room were dusted with snow.
“I don’t understand.”
“There was a head-on colission with another car that had swerved on the icy. You sustained injuries from that impact, plus more from the impact of the car behind you, which pushed your car off the bridge. You weren’t in the water for long as a fire rescue truck was near by and an ambulance followed soon after that, but you’ve suffered a great deal of trauma.”
“I don’t understand,” she said again, this time with more energy, there’s something about what he was saying that wouldn’t allow her to comprehend. She could hear everything, understand the words individually, but not all together.
“This isn’t right, this is some kind of trick, a joke, like the . . . Like the . .” She couldn’t bring her to say it, just in case it was real, just in case the doctor decided she was crazy and needed to be locked up for good. “No, I need to go home.”
She wanted to do more, she wanted to push back the covers and push herself out of bed, even if she had to hobble out of the hospital, even if she had to push herself out in a wheelchair an inch at a time. But she couldn’t move without every muscle, every bone, every nerve felt like it wasn’t just protesting in pain but blood-curdling screaming in anguish. There was nothing she could do, she was stuck in this bed, stuck in this new nightmare.
“Now, now Miss Granger don’t get out of sorts, you might hurt yourself more. And we’ll be moving backwards instead of forwards. This isn’t the first time we’ve told you this information, this isn’t the first or second time you’ve woken up. Now I know it’s difficult to understand, even scary, but everything is going to be fine.”
The doctor wasn’t actually making her feel any better but she couldn’t move anymore, it hurt too much. She started to cry a little without meaning to and she couldn’t even wipe her tears. “When is Becky coming back? Or Jordan?” She asked.
Those weren’t the questions she was going to ask before but she didn’t want to speak to this doctor anymore. She didn’t want to speak to anyone but Becky or maybe Jordan. She didn’t really want to talk to Jordan either. She just wanted him near, she would feel better with him nearby.
“They will be here soon.”
She had a feeling he didn’t actually know anything about her visitors, where they were or when they would be back that he was just saying something to calm down a hysterical woman. He sat down beside her again, and put her hand on his, gently like he was trying to comfort her but comfort was the last thing she felt from the gesture. There was something worse. He was going to say something worse. She couldn’t imagine what the hell could be worse but he was going to tell her now.
“There’s one last thing I need to tell. It’s very important that you understand and don’t agitate yourself further, okay?”
Keep reading in Part 24
Thanks for Reading!