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The Choices We Make
“Geez, Jessi. Hurry up. We don’t have much time.” Baylee said to her friend.
“I know, I know. I’m moving as fast as is humanly possible.” Jessi replied through gritted teeth.
Baylee sighed as she ran her fingers through her frizzy mass of wavy black hair. She knew Jessi was moving as fast as she could, she just wished humanly possible was a tad bit faster.
They were on their way to the mall for some big sale that was going on. Baylee couldn’t wait, she needed some new clothes.
Jessi turned left and Baylee remembered that from where they were, they only had two more blocks before they would reach their destination.
It was just their luck to catch the red light.
Baylee glanced around Jessi’s head to look out of the drivers’ window, looked away, and then almost at once looked back. Baylee blanched as she realized what she was seeing.
“Jessi…” Baylee said, her voice shaking.
“I know, Bay. I need to hurry.”
Baylee started to shake her head, slowly at first and then gaining speed with each swing, her black hair flying everywhere.
“Bay?” Jessi said, looking worriedly at her friend. “What’s-”
Jessi got no farther as another car slammed into her side of the car.
The last thing Baylee saw was the windshield, breaking into hundreds of pieces that all seemed to be flying towards her face, the sun glinting off of them making them look as if they were shooting stars.
* * *
A lone voice was all Baylee heard as she blinked her eyes. She had no idea where she was, and, judging by the way the place was decorated, she wasn’t likely to find out anytime soon.
From the walls to the furniture, including the bed that she was laying on, everything was white. It didn’t have any windows or light fixtures that she could see, and she wondered where all the light was coming from.
Baylee closed her eyes against the sheer whiteness of the room, it being so bright she could barely look around, and sat up. She had a headache that, if she wasn’t careful, she knew would turn into a migraine.
Opening her eyes, she found that a face was so close to hers, if it had gotten any closer, they would have been rubbing noses. With a gasp and then a surprised scream, Baylee tumbled backwards out of the bed.
“Who are you? Baylee asked shrilly, her voice going higher with every word she said.
The other person laughed and said:
“Who I am or am not is redundant. All that you need to know is to keep your mouth shut so I can tell you what you need to know.”
“Well exCUSE me MOM. What are you gonna do, ground me if I don’t listen?”
The other person, whom Baylee had privately dubbed Stranger, glared at Baylee.
“This is why I don’t like to work with younger people. I told them that, but do they listen, nooo of course not.”
Baylee opened her mouth as if to set off another smart comment but was immediately cut off.
“No. No more interruptions and no more smart mouthing. I can only say this once so you better listen up. You and your friend Jessi have just been in a car accident. Jessi is in critical condition and totally out of it at the moment. Her life is hanging on by a thread.”
“You, however, are in a coma. At least for the moment. You hit your head pretty hard when you flew through the window. Aren’t you supposed to wear a seatbelt?”
When Baylee made to answer she was interrupted again.
“It was a rhetorical question. There is no need for an answer. Anyways, you are getting the chance of a life time. You have the option of going to another place, to escape the pain. More specifically, you have the option of going to 1692. Oh, and should you choose to go, you will have the power to cure all diseases. Any questions on that?”
Baylee stared at Stranger, her mouth open in disbelief. “1692? Really. And a super power? It must be my lucky day.” Baylee said wryly.
“Really. So yes or no. You don’t have to stay forever, at least not at the beginning. You have three days to choose whether you want to stay permanently or not.”
“Okay.” With a flash of light, Stranger disappeared. Not one minute later, the room started to spin. Baylee barely managed to crawl onto the bed before blacking out.
* * *
Baylee woke sometime later in a feather down mattress, dressed in a nightgown she had only seen before in museums.
“This is actually kind of cool,” she said aloud.
She got up and walked to the closet. It wasn’t that different from what she was used to, but it didn’t look like a closet normally did. Opening the doors she saw only three dresses, one for each day she was going to be there. There was a blue one, a red one, and a green one. She pulled the blue one out to wear for the day, and decided to wear the pink one second, and the green one third.
Baylee got dressed as best as she could, having only a little trouble when she got to the corset and the petticoats.
Looking at herself in the mirror she tried to think of a way to do her hair so that she would fit in, and finally decided on French braids. She proceeded to do her hair and then tied a handkerchief about her face. With that final touch, she knew she was ready.
Opening the bedroom door, she was immediately assaulted with the horrible stench of rotten food, medicine and the unmistakable smell of rotten flesh. Covering her nose with one hand, she wiped her eyes, which had started to water, with the other. She did her best to ignore the taste that the smell had left in her mouth, not knowing what to do about it.
Looking around, she realized she was in a medical examination room of some sort. It was actually clean looking, although the smell could prove otherwise.
Right at that moment another door Baylee hadn’t seen before opened and a young girl walked through it. “Oh there you are,” she said to Baylee. “Your running really late today, we already have a full room in there.” She pointed to the room behind her. “Ready for the first one?”
“Sure,” Baylee said slowly.
Baylee had always wanted to be a doctor, so she figured that chatting and checking on the patients would be a good opportunity for her to see what being a doctor was all about.
Baylee was busy with patients all day, not having a chance to eat anything at all until the day was through. She barely managed to make a small dinner and change before falling into bed exhausted.
She woke early the next morning to take a bath and then dressed in the pink dress, the process much easier after yesterday. After that she made a really quick breakfast and started to work with the feeling that it was going to be one of the best days ever.
She was way, way wrong.
There were broken bones, cuts, scrapes and just about any other injury you could imagine. Had she been in her own time, the most time a few of them would have taken would have been a few hours. Without all the new technology and scientific discoveries, everything took four times as long as she was used to.
Baylee used her powers on everyone that day, falling into bed without dinner and still in her pink dress.
When she woke up on the third day, she took a bath and the day started out much like the first one. Until right before lunch time and every hour after. It was worse than the day before had been.
People were in there multiple times, for multiple reasons. Some yelling, some crying their eyes out, and others that were so quiet it was downright scary.
At the end of the day, she felt as if she might die.
Just as that thought entered her head, there was a flash of light and Stranger appeared.
“So, she began, “are you ready to go back to your own time?’
Baylee collapsed at Stranger’s feet, hitting the floor with a loud thud. Tears were coursing sown her cheeks. Baylee wrapped her arms around Stranger’s legs and wiped her tears on the other lady’s pants.
“Yes!!!” she wailed. “I’m ready. I’m done being here. I just wanna go home!”
With another flash of light, Baylee blacked out once again.
* * *
Baylee woke up in the hospital, coming out of a coma. No one besides Stranger was in the room with her. Once again, before she could say a word Stranger started talking.
“I don’t have that long. I just have to tell you one more thing because I didn’t tell you before you left and I was beginning to feel guilty.”
“Spit it out already.” Baylee managed to get in.
“I didn’t tell you that had you chosen to stay, Jessi wouldn’t have made it.” Stranger said really fast.
“You mean if I hadn’t said I was coming back Jessi would have died?!?!?”
“Why you insolent monster! I can’t believe you almost let me practically kill my friend what is wrong with you?!?”
“I don’t know but I got to go. Bye.”
With a last flash of light, Stranger disappeared. That was the last time Baylee saw him.
* * *
“Hey Jessi!” Baylee said greeting her friend with a hug and a smile. “It’s been a while. How are you holding up?”
The girls hadn’t seen each other since the accident and they had been nonstop busy ever since getting out of the hospital.
Jessi hugged her friend back and laughed. “It’s good to see you too Baylee.” She turned serious. “You know…I actually don’t remember much about what happened. While I was in the hospital, I mean. One minute I was off in la-la land, and the next, I wake up in a hospital to my mothers’ smiling face.”
“I don’t know Jessi; it might have something to do with the choices we make even if we are off in ‘la-la land’ as you so delicately put it.
Jessi was quiet for a minute. “If that’s true Baylee, than I’m glad we decided to come back and live.”
“Me too, Jessi. Me too.”