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(With the help of Sofia H–look her up in teen ink!)
All I remembered of that day was the strange man pulling a gun out from nowhere, and the pop of the gunshot. Of course, I do remember tackling the man and feeling like a candle had just burned through my hip. That’s where my memory goes blank. Day after day, I would replay the action in my mind, searching through my memories to find just one more elaboration of the scene. Sometimes I would get very frustrated that the next event that day was just so capricious to me. But then, a sheepish nurse would just walk in, carrying a dozen pills and three shots for me. She and the majority of the other doctors and nurses at the hospital thought I’d gone crazy. Sure, my “memory” clicked into place a bit, because my parents were dead like the memory clarifies very obviously, but the doctors all say that I never came into the hospital to fix the wound on my hip from my memory.
So, I spent most of my days being very unsocial -except for on Tuesdays. On Tuesdays, my best friend, Haley, would come visit me. The only problem with that was that she believed I was crazy no matter what I told her. And whenever I talked to her, I felt like she had a secret she was keeping from me. I could see it in her eyes- not metaphorically. There was a little green “flame” that flickered inside her eyes whenever the light hit them. I had some reason to believe I was a teeny bit crazy...
Then, every Saturday, when they had nothing else to do, my odd Aunt and Uncle would visit me. This strange feeling would swell inside of me when I was with them, like they were some old friends of mine that I had never actually met, although I had known them before my accident. Unfortunately, they believed I was loopy, too.
One night, after my lukewarm dinner of lumpy meatloaf and dusty mashed potatoes, I dozed off in my unneeded wheel chair. I dreamed of my parents, and although I had a very weak memory of them, I could see them flawlessly now. But then the same strange man from my “memory” appeared, and my parents waved goodbye with pained looks on their pale faces and floated into the darkness. The man kept coming closer and closer to me, until I could feel his breath on my face. I screamed, and his hands locked around my neck. I couldn’t breathe until I swallowed, and his hands jerked away from me. I shuddered and woke up.
I felt relieved it was only a dream. But it was like another memory of mine; the frantic feeling I felt in my stomach all the time had built up, just like when I thought of the horrifying scene.
I winced at all this action, and I realized I must really be crazy. I actually did need my wheel chair: my legs were always so tensed up from being frightened all the time. I would never be able to walk unless these scenes I always saw behind my eyes would stop.
I rolled my way over to my desk, and started drawing elaborate pictures of my “memory.” I had been doing this for about a year after what I thought was my accident, although no one believed I had one. I didn’t actually hate the people who believed I was crazy; I just felt that they weren’t very open-minded. Now, I’m sure that sounds hysterical, but I really didn’t think they were think-outside-of-the-box kind of people.
The next night, after dinner again, I was reading late at night in bed. The door cracked open slowly, and an eye popped up, staring through the crack, piercing, and a brilliant blue color. This time, unlike Haley’s smooth, calm, blue eyes that occasionally had that little green flicker in them, this eye had a faint gold spot in the corner of the iris. The eye looked as if it were churning, mixing, and swirling around, although the pupil stayed still.
Suddenly, the door opened, only to reveal that a silhouette of a man tiptoed inside. I recognized him from somewhere- I soon noticed he was the same man from my memory, or he was pretty close to him. He saw that I was awake, muttered something under his breath, and disappeared into the darkness.
I jumped up, but I was in a different room than the one I had just been in a second ago. I yanked the covers back and slipped out of my bed and into my slippers. It was hard walking, but I still could. I shuddered at the thought of the man waiting for me just outside the door. Yet when I pulled open the door and staggered back to my bed, no one was there. I bit my lip and hobbled back over to the door and peeked hesitantly around the black hallway. I took advantage of the rule that I wasn’t allowed to go out into the hallway, and relaxed and closed the door. Maybe it was just another dream.... maybe not.
Pondering about what I had seen, I hopped back to my bed. My back ached from the hospital mattress; the squeaky old springs were annoying and uncomfortable. I decided to take out my flashlight and make a tent under my bed. I grabbed my flashlight and crawled under. Then, I hung my blanket on my bed so that one side touched the floor. I found this to be much more comfortable than on my bed. I sighed and started making designs by moving the flashlight back and forth. Then, I began to write things on a piece of notebook paper I had found on the floor with my stubby pencil. I ended up describing what happened in my memory, so I stopped.
The frantic feeling I felt in my stomach all the time was swelling again, and I tried to distract myself by memorizing the patterns of the springs I could see when I looked up at the underside of the bed. When I memorized the whole underside of the bed almost not deliberately, I gave up on distracting myself. I kept writing until that whole piece of dirty paper was completely filled up. Then I read over my sloppy writing. Chills swept up and down my bony spine and it felt as if cold fingers had swept across the back of my neck. I lay down on the coldish floor and closed my eyes. I drifted into an uneasy sleep, haunted by that cerulean eye with the little gold spot.
The next morning, a mousy nurse roused me from my sleep by prodding my shoulder with two long-nailed fingers, peering under the blanket with a disgusted look on her face. I sat up, quickly crumpling the paper in my hand and shoving it into my hospital gown pocket. I edged out from under the bed and sat awkwardly on the hard floor. The nurse helped me to my shaky feet and helped me into my waiting wheelchair. I sat, feeling the quiet crinkle of the ball of paper in my pocket, as the nurse readied a metal tray with assorted pills and needles. She smiled at me when she noticed I was staring at the shots. Her smile was more like a grimace, probably because she had to be the one to take care of the kooky, ugly girl this morning.
She whispered into my ear, “I’ll be back in a few with the doctor, but you have some time. When we come back, get in bed, because we have to give you your daily vaccinations and medications. Okay, sweetie?” I looked up into her small face, with prominent cheekbones and pursed lips. Her eyes were a shocking, dazzling, and kind of vomit-like jade color, but I could see more. The irises were icy and delicate looking, but you could tell there was something behind them, like looking through a frosted window. An emerald flare, much like Haley’s, was present, flickering and dancing like fire.
I figured that since everyone already thought I was crazy, speaking what was on my mind seemed perfectly reasonable. So I decided to speak.
“Nurse... Dorothy. Your eyes are such a flattering shade of green; they match your personality. But have you ever looked into a mirror and saw what swims behind those glassy little eyeballs?” She really must have thought I was really, really crazy now, because she gave me the strangest look I’d ever seen: she rose one brow, turned up her top lip at one corner a little bit, and then rolled the eyebrow that was up until the wave caught the other brow. I had to stifle a giggle. She must not have realized that green in her eyes matched her personality meant that she, herself, was kind of sickening. She gazed at me one minute more with her eyebrow up, and then stuttered a reply.
“I... well... I’ll just go get the doctor to do the injections, then I’ll have you swallow these pills, and then you can just go to sleep. Okay? Okay, okay....” Her voice trailed off, but she kept muttering to herself, “Okay, okay...”
I wondered if maybe she was reassuring herself that I wasn’t going to shoot lasers out of my eyes or catch her on fire with the flick of my wrist or something witty like that. Suddenly, I was inspired. I wheeled myself over to my desk and got my pencil out of my pocket that also held my crumpled paper. I loved my oak desk that had once belonged in my bedroom back home. It was my most prized possession, besides my little stuffed tiger, Lorelei. The doctors had asked me if I wanted anything from my house when I first arrived at the hospital, and all I could utter, besides all my clothes, was Lorelei and my desk with all its contents. I pulled a piece of loose-leaf paper from my desk drawer and started to write.
At first, it was a story about a girl in a school where everyone was mean, so she would pay them back by shooting lasers and catching them on fire. Slowly, though, it morphed into my recent encounter with Nurse Dorothy, detail for detail. My stomach rumbled and churned when I got to the part about her eyes swishing around and flaming up. I was hungry, but there was something about that sudden description of what I had seen that had made me a little uneasy. I hadn’t intended to send my pencil flying across my page, it just happened. So I set down my pencil and wheeled down the hall towards the elevator.
My room is on the 13th floor (they call it the 14th floor because everyone skips 13), which is an eerie coincidence; my birthday is October 13th, and I was born on FRIDAY the 13th, which also coincides with my mom almost dying in child labor. Also the date of my “accident” was Friday the 13th. I pushed these thoughts out of my head as I wheeled into the waiting elevator and pushed the button for ‘ground level’. There were two other people in the elevator with me: a male nurse hat got off at level 12, and a teenaged boy about my age with black wiry hair and stubble on his chin. Also, he was wearing jeans and a hospital gown. He was holding a book, ‘The Magyk’, and his blue eyes seemed distant; he was staring at the wall.
“Hi. I’m Lauren. Lauren Daur. I’m in here because a murderer with a gun killed my parents and everyone thinks I bonked my head. What’s your name?” I looked down at my hands folded in my lap. The boy looked up and grunted, before realizing I had asked him a question. He started from his “trance” and looked at me.
“I’m Blake Fluky. I’m in because I was in a fight with my father, and he broke five of my ribs, three of my vertebrae, and chipped my pelvis with the handle of his pocketknife. I can walk around, but I can’t move my fingers in my left hand. They can’t find out why.” He smirked.
I smiled and held out my hand. He slipped his book into his frozen left fingers and shook my hand. I gazed into his eyes, and almost fell out of my wheelchair. They were the eyes that had appeared at my door, with the same golden speck, churning and swaying. Except something was different about them. Instead of bright, piercing blue, his eyes were a mellower, gray-green-blue. Something sparked my attention in them. I kept gazing, and I didn’t let go of his hand for a few minutes. A little red spark was appearing next to the gold speck when Blake looked into my face. His eyes were darting around like crazy, but his head didn’t move a millimeter. I realized that my holding his hand must be a little awkward, so I hastily let go and let out a nervous giggle.
The next day, I was bored beyond wits. The sky was a cloudy, boring grey, the sun not wanting to come out. Blake had to stay with his assigned nurse all day, because he had caught some sort of illness. I tried playing solitaire, but I had remembered that the day my grandma had taught me how to play, I had been sulking about something, and didn’t pay any attention. At one point in this terribly boring day, I asked my nurse if I could go outside. She wheeled me outside, onto the large, front patio, painted a tacky beige. I remembered that the minute the ambulance drove me over to this patio that I could not think of how anyone could make beige look tacky.
My nurse, Dorothy, wheeled me past lots of wilted, yellow and purple flowers, and turned a corner onto the over-watered front lawn of the hospital. I insisted that I was fine and could wheel myself around the lawn to have some “fun,” and, although she stopped pushing my wheel chair for me, briskly followed me around, tail-gating me lots of the time.
“Um, do you think I could just kind of, oh, explore a little bit? You know, around the hospital? By… myself?” I asked, trying not to offend her, yet also making sure she would be convinced I would be careful.
“Well, if you take this,” she said nervously, handing me a monitor that had a small, red button I could press in case of an emergency. “And if you are extremely careful, yes, you may “explore.” It made me a bit mad how she said ‘explore’ like it was something little kids liked to do. I considered myself an adult now, because I hadn’t started that stage where everything is awkward, which some people call, ‘teenage-hood,’ but I also was tremendously mature for my age, my personality, yet not my body.
I unhurriedly took the monitor with a shaking hand, thanked her, and headed vigilantly over the grass, feeling the nurse’s eyes on my back.