The Horrorphiles, Part 25
By Stephanie Thompson; 1,628 words
Read all of Ronny's journey:
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Chapter 22 (seriously, no more asides), continued
She bottled it up the best she could, which wasn’t that great. She cried but didn’t sob. She kept talking as normally as she could, trying to act like she didn’t notice, like it wasn’t happening at all.
“I can’t. . . I don’t know. . . . The nurse said it was 2015 but my mind is stuck in 2013. Um, so I think I’m two years younger, I guess that’a plus.” She tried smile even laugh a little but failed, she simply cried more instead.
“Hey, now, it’ll be ok. Just do what the doctor’s say and you will get better.” He paused like he wasn’t sure he should say the next part. “And I’ll be here for you, if you need me.”
She wanted to ask about their relationship, to explain more about what she didn’t remember. But the lump in her throat only produced more tears instead. She stopped trying to say anything. She just let Jordan pat and squeeze her hand until the tears finally dried up, in silence. Where was Becky, it was only Becky she could talk, only Becky who would know everything and tell her without trying to hush her up and make her get some rest. And Becky would know what to do.
Neither of them heard her come in but like right on cue, Becky was there.
“What are you doing here?” She said.
Jordan didn’t let go of her hand or look away. He spoke softly like he was still talking to Ronny and not Becky at all. “She asked for me.”
Becky looked like she always had which was a comfort all by itself. Her long, almost mid back length hair, dyed a severe jet black, was pulled into a sloppy bun, practically completely undone like it looked at the end of a work day, and her bangs formed a harsh straight line just above her black penciled in eyebrows and dark rectangular prescription RayBan glasses. She had thick black eyeliner on her upper lid and a smudged black liner underneath. Her dark brown eyes sparkled in between like she’d been crying in the car. Her lips were painted bright red, always, she never left the house without lipstick even if she skipped the brow and eye pencil she still had her lipstick. She drew more attention to her mouth with by having her bottom lip pierced with two silver thin rings. She wore all black all the time right down to her mid calf combat boats. She had ear piercings all the way up her left ear and only two in her right. She worked at a bookstore downtown and pretty much hated everything and everyone except horror movies, her cat RayRay, and Ronny. She was just the kind of friend to get tossed out of a hospital while her friend lay comatose and just the kind of friend to block the numbers of ex’s after cursing them out. She was just the kind of friend she needed right now, the kind of friend she’d always needed.
“Well, they’re going to get pissed again, if we’re both in here. How much longer do you plan on being here?”
“How ever long Ronny wants me here,” he said tersely.
It was obvious they didn’t like each other but Ronny didn’t know if what was recent, whatever had gotten them thrown out of the hospital while she was . . . Sleeping, or if it was a long time on going feud.
“It’s ok, Jordan. I’d like to talk to Becky for a bit now. I’m sort of tired so, I don’t think I’ll be awake much longer.” She squeezed his hand for the first time since he arrived. “If you could come back tomorrow, I’m sure I’ll be even better than.” She didn’t sound like she believed a word she said. She tried to smile to back up her verbal optimism but she failed once again.
“Yeah, sure, Ronny. I’ll be back tomorrow.” He managed a smile, his dimples shone briefly as he patted her hand again. Her heart sung out for him like it had when they first met, and ached for him like when he left. Did that mean they were still broken up? That they broke up again? Would she ever remember it right?
When Jordan left her attention, such as it was, went back to Becky who was watching her with astonishment.
“That’s the most coherent thing you’ve said since…”
“Yeah, well, I guess I was. . . I don’t know. . . Out of it.”
She snorted. “That’s putting it mildly.”
No one said anything for a moment. Veronica was very, very tired again. She hadn’t felt so exhausted just a moment ago. It was all she could do to keep her eyelids open.
Becky set at the head of the bed in the same chair vacated by Jordan. “I’m kind of pissed at you,” Becky said with a half smile.
Up close her eyes looked tired and bloodshot like she hadn’t slept in days and instead had spent the whole time crying. That wasn’t like Becky.
Veronica didn’t say anything for a moment. Her mind was sort of swimming, like she couldn’t pin down reality. Was she dreaming? Sleeping again? Or awake?
“Yeah, I figured,” she said.
“What do you mean?” Becky eyed her suspiciously.
She wasn’t sure herself. She had something in her mind a moment ago. She sort of remembered Becky being weird, sort of arguing. But when? How?
“After those texts,” she remembered. “You wanted me to come home and I didn’t. I should have just left when you wanted.” Her lids were half closed like they were moving of their own accord and she was too weak to fight them off. But they were opened enough to see Becky’s expression change to concerned.
“What texts?” she said.
And they were open enough to tell she was feigning her ignorance, lying. Becky had a tell tale lip chew when she was lying and right now she was chewing off the heavy bright red lipstick from one side of her bottom lip.
“A-ha,” Veronica said weakly. “I knew it was all true.”
Then she couldn’t fight off her eyelids anymore and Veronica was asleep again without dreams.
Chapter 23 (la-di-da-di-da)
When she woke up again the white board told her Fred was the floor nurse. The clock said it was 930 and the light from behind the blinds and the activity in the hallway let her know it was am. Jordan had his socked feet crossed at the ankles resting on the corner of her bed. The bed, she corrected. She wasn’t going to get too comfortable here either.
Jordan was wearing different clothes than the last time she saw him. But the last time he saw him, they were at a party, not a hospital. She paused. Was that right?
She wanted to wake him up but she remembered it hurt too much to move. Because she was in an accident, she’d been injured. But she wasn’t sure how? On a bridge? No, a fog, driving in a fog.
She went to speak but whatever thing they kept putting in her mouth stopped her from moving her tongue properly but she was sort of getting use to it and she was able to manage something that enough sounded like Jordan for him to wake up.
“Hey, you’re up. Let me get a nurse.”
He was up and out the door before she could figure out how to say anything else.
Fred the nurse came in, took out the plastic tube, gave her some whatever and they played a round of 20 questions where Ronny still got most of the answers wrong. She knew they wrong though she just couldn’t remember the right answers, so he told her she was doing better. He told her it was the 23 of December 2015, a Monday and she was at Good Memorial Hospital in Vermont. She didn’t know what the hell she was doing in Vermont other than getting in horrific car accidents it appeared. After all the question and answer with nurse Fred, she was bored, annoyed, confused, and scared.
“You had me worried again, Ronny,” Jordan said after nurse Fred left.
“What do you mean?”
“The last time you gave conscious answers was Saturday,” he said. “It looked like you were slipping away again.”
She didn’t know how to respond to that. She really didn’t know what was going on. Why couldn’t she remember anything? Why couldn’t she stay awake? Was she really doing well or was everyone saying that so she wouldn’t freak out when they turned her her brain turned jello or swiss cheese and she actually didn’t have long to live.
“But that’s ok, you’re obviously doing well now,” Jordan said when she didn’t say anything for a long time as if he was reading her mind.
He moved the chair closer to her head and took her hand gently. Her hand and her face were probably the only parts of her body that didn’t hurt. And her hair. Her hair didn’t hurt.
She didn’t look at Jordan afraid that she would burst into tears. She kept looking at the white board. Tracing the letters in her mind. The Floor Nures Fred. The Date December 23, 2015. Patient Name Veronica Granger. Two of the questions on the brain damage questionnaire they kept asking her were on this stupid board. She could read it it just fine, she remembered the alphabet, obviously. Was her brain so damaged she couldn’t remember the date even when staring right at it? Was this what it was like to die? Had Aunt Wanda forgotten the date in her last days? Thinking it was August of 1979 instead of October 1999? What about her parents?
Keep Reading in Part 26
Keep Reading in Part 26
Thanks for Reading!