Friday, December 11, 2015

Part 24

NaNoWriMo 2015: The Horrorphiles, Part 24
By Stephanie Thompson, 1,691 words

Gotta Read 'em All:
See more Inspiration on my Horrorphiles Board.
Chapter 22 (Seriously, no more asides), continued

She didn’t answer him, she just stared at him, tears still rolling down her cheeks. She tried to control her crying because this wasn’t a man she wanted to share her emotions with. She was scared, she was upset, she was confused and he was  going forward like a bull in a china shop to tell her something even worse than what he’d already said. Maybe he wanted to heal her, give her life back to her eventually, but in the meantime he was not compassionate. He was just another in a line of old white men telling her the worst news of her life in the same stern, nearly robotic, voice.

“It’s not 2013, it’s 2015. It’s December 21st, 2015.”

She didn’t know what to say or how to feel. Again she simply couldn’t understand what he’d said.  She understood the individual words but her brain wasn’t comprehending.

“I don’t understand.” Maybe that was going to be the only thing she’d ever say again.

“Your car accident was on the evening of December 6th, 2015 and you arrived at the hospital on the same date. You were in a coma for approximately a week, then you were in a vegetative state, occasionally waking or moving. This is the most conscious you’ve been for the entire time.”

“Why…why?” She was trying to ask why she didn’t remember two years of her life. Why was her last memory some random weekend two years earlier? But trying to say more than the one word made her lips tremble, made her eyes feel like releasing a torrent of tears. She couldn’t say more.

“You have suffered a great deal of trauma and we can’t be entirely sure of the full extent of your brain damage without more time and tests. Let me get a nurse for you, okay?”

And with that, and without much change between settings, his comforting and compassion duties were over, so much as they were, and he left her room. The room.

She sat there for she didn’t know how long staring at the lump at the end of the bed that was her feet. The doctor’s words kept running through her head forwards, backwards, maybe upside down, she didn’t even know. Brain damage. Brain damage. Braindamage. Braindamagebraindamagebraindamage.

The sun was beginning to set, changing the color in the sky, when she woke up. The clock across from her said it was 4:30 but she couldn’t remember what it’d said when she saw the doctor. Or if it was even the same day. 

“Ok, Veronica, both your friends are on their way. But you can only see one at a time. Who would you like to see first?” She spoke as if they were in middle of a conversation. Maybe they were.

She erased the white board with the floor nurse’ name on it and wrote a new one — Monica.

“Whoever. . . Whoever gets here first,” Ronny said eventually.

Her throat was dry still or again. She started coughing again.

“Here let’s get you some water.”

She had a couple small sips before Monica started with the questions.

“Can you tell me your name?”

“Please, don’t ask me those questions again. I’m too tired.”

“I know, sweetie, but I have to ask because you went to sleep or unconscious again, since the last test. It’s real important cause it let’s us know about the damage in your brain.”

Brain damage? Hadn’t the doctor said something about brain damage? 

“Veronica Jillian Granger.”

“Good. And your birthdate?”

“March 3rd, 1980.”

“And where do you live, honey?”

“Washington, DC”

“Look at you, doing so awesome. Do you know where you are now?”

“I’m. . .I’m in the hospital. In. . .in . . .”

She was sure she’d been told but she couldn’t remember. She remembered the doctor told or she thought the doctor told her. Maybe it was Becky, last night. She was sure where ever she was it wasn’t where she was suppose to be, where she thought she was.

“I don’t know.”

“That’s ok. How about . . .do you remember when you were admitted to the hospital?”

She was suppose to know this too. Someone had told her.

“I don’t know. . . I think. . .”

Again she knew the answer she wanted to give was wrong. If she wanted to say yesterday she shouldn’t say yesterday.

“It’s ok honey don’t stress yourself about it. The last time I asked you these you went back out after the first one, so already you’re doing much better than then.”

“I’m really tired now. I really… really don’t feel like answering any more questions.” She was tired but she was mostly scared. She didn’t like the very fact that she had to do this and she was terrified that if she got an answer wrong, it would indicate some kind of horrific and irreparable brain damage, like she’d suddenly start speaking in tongues or say fork when she meant television.

“I know, I know. Your friends will be here soon. Let’s just try to be as quick as we can. Do you remember how you got to the hospital?”

She shook her head a tiny amount no. Her neck hurt too much to do anymore.

“What’s the first thing you remember after your accident?”

“I woke up here, last night. Becky was here and a nurse, a different nurse. She gave me water. Asked me questions.”

“What is the last thing you remember before your accident?”

“I remember driving, on a road not a bridge,” she stopped because she didn’t know why she added the last part. Nobody had said it was a bridge had they?

“Um . . . And there was fog. . . And then. . .” She remembered it clearly. She knew she could remember it exactly like this but at the same time, like everything else, she knew it was wrong. She could hear tires squealing like they were skidding too and she knew that hadn’t happened before. The accident she remembered clearly involved no squealing tires. This other thing, the “not on a bridge” accident, that’s what the tires were from but it was all she could remember or what she made up to remember. But she didn’t ask about what she remembered of the accident just the last thing she remembered period. And before the skeletons, it was headlights. (This is super long and awkward and awful, try again)

“And then there were headlights. And I was here.”

“Ok. So just one last question and then you won’t have to talk to me anymore if you don’t want to ok?”

She nodded and even in up and down mode her neck still screamed against the movement.

“Do you know what today is?”

Again, she knew her answer would be wrong, she could see out the window with the last light of the day that she was wrong. The trees were dry and bare, no autumn leaves clinging, just snow and ice dusted across them. “I think. . . I think it’s October 20th 2013,’ she said. “But, I know. . . I know that’s not right.”

“Ok, Veronica, I’m going to tell you some things and I don’t want you to get any more upset, even though it might be confusing or scary, ok? Today is December 21st, a Saturday in 2015. We’re at Good Memorial hospital in Vermont. You were in a car accident on an icy bridge on Friday, December 6th. You were brought her in an ambulance with a severe concussion, broken ribs, a broken leg, whiplash, a smidgen of hypothermia, and a few other injuries but you’re going to be just fine. Ok?”

She nodded again because if she opened her mouth to say something she knew she would start sobbing and that would hurt so much more. And even though she was in the hospital bed with little to no apparent memory and a severely broken body and mind, she still thought that straight sobbing wouldn’t be appropriate for a thirty-three year old. Or thirty-five year old. 

“Now I believe there’s a young man here to see you. Is that ok?”

She nodded again tears already slipping out.

Monica motioned someone in from the hall and met him just inside the door. She spoke to him in a low voice but Ronny’s hearing was just fine.

“She wants to see you, she could really use some company right now. Some positive company. She’s more coherent than she has been before but she’s having a difficult time accepting the news of her situation. The other young woman is on her way too and what Veronica definitely doesn’t need is the two of you fighting again. So if any of that nonsense starts, I’ll have you both of you escorted out of here faster than (some folksy aphorism).”

Yes, I understand,” Jordan said throughout at the appropriate times.

He looked just as he had when she saw him at Greyson Manor. Long hair pulled back into a bun. A full but short beard. Her wore a heathered pine green long sleeve shirt with five buttons, the top two undone. His jeans were slightly baggy and dark ash grey. Plaid suspenders hung down from the waist band. His boots were half unlaced and untied like he barely threw them on in a rush to get to the hospital. 

“Veronica, remember you can push the call button any time you need me, ok?”
She painfully nodded again and tried not to think about the actual likelihood of remembering vs. not remembering. Monica shut the door behind her. Jordan pulled the one chair in the room to the head of her bed.

“How are you doing today, Ronny?”

“I . . .I don’t know. . . I don’t know, Jordan.”

She wanted to cry into his chest, breathe deep the Christmas smell of his body, feel him pet her hair, and listen to his voice vibrate in his lungs as he told her everything was all right. But she didn’t know, couldn’t remember what they were. Had they gotten back together in 2013, after Greyson Manor, or did it not work out? Would he come all the way up here if they were broken up still?

Find out what's next: Part 25

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