Untitled Short Story

BethAnn Milbert lay with her eyes closed. She felt groggy and tired, as if she’d had too much sleep. She pushed through the fog of sleep trying to remember going to bed the night before. She couldn’t. The last thing she could remember was being out on her evening jog.

She had just turned onto Crescent Avenue. The bright evening sun blinded her as she made the corner, causing her to stumble a little. Before she could even get her feet steadied, she felt someone grab her shoulder roughly. Then she could only remember darkness.  

Her eyes snapped open. The ceiling above her was definitely not her own. It was the white tiles like in schools and office buildings. The kind full of little black holes. A fluorescent light above her was currently off and the room was dim, but she could see the ceiling tiles well enough. There seemed to be a dulled light coming from somewhere nearby.       

She tried to look around to see what else she could make of her surroundings and found that she was unable to move. Come to think of it, she couldn’t feel the rest of her body. For all she knew, she was a pair of eyeballs and a brain floating around in a jar. Panic gripped her. Wherever she was, someone had to be nearby. Someone who could help her.

Hello?! Is anyone there? Please, please help me!

                She pleaded repeatedly, as loudly as she could. She shouted until her voice felt hoarse and her throat burned. She could hear her heart pounding in her ears. She struggled to move, not knowing if anything below her eyes were even working. She barely registered another noise off to her side, out of her field of vision. Before she had time to even wonder what the noise was, the little black dots on the ceiling tiles began to spin together, and she was swallowed into a thoughtless darkness.

**********

                When BethAnn regained consciousness again for a brief spell, she had a different viewpoint. It was once again dark where she was, but she thought it was probably the same room, she could still see the ceiling tiles out of the corner of her right eye. She must be lying on her side. Ahead of her was what looked like a window, at least it was a set of shades drawn down with a faint outline of light spilling around it. There were shapes sitting along the bottom of the shades.

There was still light coming from somewhere behind her. It fell short enough of the window that she was unable to make out what the mystery shapes actually were, but she could see an empty chair against a white wall. No, not empty. There was a white bag of some sort sitting in the chair. It was to crinkled to read the blue lettering that seemed to go across it. Something about the bag seemed vaguely familiar. Before she could put anymore thought into it, darkness swallowed her again.

**********

BethAnn was positioned differently once again. It was brighter now. The ceiling tiles were to her left now. She could see a chrome faucet over a sink basin in a mock-granite countertop. There were cabinet doors below it. And next to that-a large glass door that led to another room. It was brightly lit, and she could see people!

Look at me! Look at me! Please, help! I’m here! Just look!

People in colorful clothes were everywhere outside her window, some walking to and fro, some standing and looking up at a tv screen, some talking on phones, some talking to each other. But not one of them seemed to hear her. They carried on about their lives as though there was not a terrified woman in need of help within earshot of them. The absolute nerve!

Who were these awful humans who were ignoring her? And where was she? A disturbing question popped uninvited into her mind. Had she been abducted? She tried to reason away from that thought. Who would abduct her only to keep her in an apparently tidy room? When you think of abductions, you think of car trunks and darkened rooms with stubbly, dirty men guarding you with weapons. This seemed more like a sterile setting, like a surgery area. Maybe they abducted her to steal her organs? More wild and irrational thoughts flooded her mind.

Despite her best efforts to remain calm and logical, panic overcame her again. Her heart pounded in her chest and in her ears. She noticed that she could actually feel her chest. Granted, it was not a pleasant feeling. Her heart pounded away under what felt like a boa constrictor aiming for the kill. She wanted to jump up and run. To escape. To be home under her own ceiling again.

In her terror, BethAnn almost didn’t notice one of the people looking up at a screen, a woman with smooth brown hair pulled back in a tight bun, scrunch her nose and look over towards BethAnn. Her eyes widened slightly as she glanced back up at the screen. She rose to her feet and quickly padded toward the room BethAnn was in.

Help me! Hey! Listen to me!

The woman didn’t respond or even look her in the eye. Her eyes scanned over BethAnn once, and then busied herself just outside of BethAnn’s view. She could hear a series of soft beeps followed by a more harsh tone. She felt a slight burn in her left arm, and momentarily reflected that she was at least able to feel a few things before the darkness came for her once more.

**********

For some unknown length of time, BethAnn’s existence was remembered by short clips of consciousness. Sometimes there were people around her, talking as if she weren’t even in the room. Sometimes she was alone. A few times she was being rolled mercilessly side to side as a couple of people in brightly colored clothes chatted about their personal lives. Once or twice, her heart leapt when some of these people would talk to her. But she was always disappointed when they didn’t even seem to wait for her to answer. They rarely held eye contact for more than a few seconds, and it often seemed like they were talking to her simply just to talk.

Soon enough, she gave up trying to talk to them. Whether it was because they didn’t want to hear her, or she was actually only speaking in her own mind. Most times, BethAnn begrudgingly realized it was probably the latter. On occasion, though, she was unable to stop the parade of horrifying and illogical thoughts that she was the victim of some sort of terrible crime. Those thoughts almost always ended in a series of beeps, a burn to her arm, and an engulfing darkness.

**********

BethAnn was positioned on her right side again, staring out into the hall. Her door was open and she could hear snippets of conversations. She bitterly thought how she preferred her view of the ceiling instead of the world outside her door that she no longer seemed to be a part of.

She watched as two people approached and stood just inside her doorway. It was the woman with the smooth hair who never made eye contact with her and another woman. Her messy blonde curls seemed to be trying to escape her ponytail. They stood in the door way and talked about a lot of things that BethAnn didn’t understand, but was certain pertained to her. But the woman with the bun used a word that did ring in BethAnn’s mind: unresponsive. The woman cast a look of pity into the room, and walked away, leaving the blonde alone in the doorway.

The woman sighed and shook her head, straightening her brightly colored top (scrubs, BethAnn remembered they were called). Then she turned and looked directly at BethAnn, smiling kindly.

“Hi hon. I’m not sure if you remember me. I was your nurse last week too. My name is Jessica. I know what you’re going through is scary. But don’t worry, we’ll get you through this.”

The End

One thought on “Untitled Short Story

  1. Wow! This is excellent. I love how you paint a story with words. I didn’t realize you had other posts I saw your first couple then missed the others. I have catching up to do. This story give gives me an interesting perspective how a patient might feel. Amazing!

    Like

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