Lizzie’s eyes shot open; her breath caught in her chest in mid scream that never went past her lips. She was ready to scream forever into the dark, but something was wrong. She held it in, and it burned her lungs like a fire storming inside her.
It was dark. Wherever she was, it was dark, but she wasn’t blinded by it. There was light from somewhere, and she was looking up at a ceiling tile. Her neck was stiff, and her body was sore. She didn’t want to move, and her eyes, they struggled to stay open.
She felt a chill that was deep within her bones and a shiver that was uncontrollable.
There were lights. She tried to focus on the lights to keep her eyes open. They weren’t in the room she was in, but it was nearby and illuminated just enough around her that she could see the walls.
Walls in a room that trapped her. They were white, she was trapped back at the house and it was night now. The naked man or the tik-tok man must have dragged her back there and now they were going too…
Was she tied up?
She wasn’t sure. How could she not be sure? She didn’t know but when she tried to move, the room moved more than she did as it tried to spin around her. The world was shaking, was it an earthquake?
There was a loud laugh from somewhere deep in the darkness. It turned into a cackling. The room echoed with it and she could see cracks breaking apart the ceiling and then racing along the pieces of tile. Chucks were beginning to into pieces and the dust started to sprinkle down around her like snow… Snow.. White fluffy things… Her chest grew even more tight as a flash of the woods came back to her and those fluffy things that had been everywhere were filling the room around her. She knew this was all a nightmare and she was going to wake up back there. She had never escaped. She was going to die.
The tears were coming back to her and she could feel herself thrashing, fighting back, while she still felt a million miles away from it all, separated from her body.
She heard a woman’s voice nearby. “Calm down. It’s going to be okay.” Lizzie tried to focus on it, to reach out to the voice. It had to be an angel. An angel had come to rescue her. Finally, she was saved.
She heard her heart and could feel it shaking her chest. It was pounding so loudly in her chest that it throbbed through her ears. Still over it she could hear that wonderful voice and she immediately felt the wetness at the corner of her eyes, though she didn’t know why or how she would be crying.
“Just lie back down. Everything’s okay. You’re safe now. You’re safe.” The voice told her, and she felt it. The voice reached into her and relaxed her, pushing her back down on the bed. She hadn’t realized how she had arched up her back and had been focused on the ceiling until she melted back onto the bed.
Light flooded the room and she saw where she was. The beeping equipment, the wall mounted tv and the little wooden cabinet on the other side of the room made the hospital room unmistakable. She thought she smelt the faint odor of anesthetic, but it was hard to tell as she swore she could smell her own stench. She could smell the odor of old sweat.
How long had she been out? Had she been in a coma? Her muscles were sore, but she didn’t feel like she was weak. She wouldn’t have any energy if she’d been in a coma, right? That’s what she thought but she wasn’t sure.
“Come on girl, just breathe. Deep breaths.”
Lizzie felt something touch her shoulder and she jumped, her scared eyes shooting in the direction of the voice. There was the owner of the voice, and Lizzie looked at her with eyes open wide, another scream at the tip of her tongue.
The large black woman who looked at Lizzie with so much heartwarming compassion and sadness that Lizzie felt like she should be able to trust the woman, but how could she trust anyone? She couldn’t stop her body from reacting and recoiling, kicking herself back trying to get as far away as possible. She felt the bed rocking and didn’t know if it would tip. She just had to run, to, get away and flee from strangers.
The nurse reached out and grabbed both of her shoulders, keeping her eyes locked on Lizzie. As she did, another woman came into the room and rushed to take Lizzie’s legs and pull them away from her so Lizzie was helpless, falling flat on her back.
No, I am not going to be helpless! Not ever again!
“Elizabeth! It’s okay. You are okay. You are okay. We need you to relax. Everything is okay.”
The woman’s mouth was moving. Lizzie could hear the words, but they just didn’t make sense. There was a wall inside her and she only heard the cackling. It had stayed in the room after the darkness left and she could hear it in the undercurrent. It reverberated around her. It was a part of her, inside her and it just made…her…want…to…SCREAM!
It finally erupted out from her. The scream echoed through her, billowing out from her, shattering glass around her. She didn’t know where any of it came from, but she was now in a rainfall of tiny shards that glistened in the fluorescent light.
A man emerged from behind the curtain. A curtain? She hadn’t noticed that before but one whole wall of her room was just a curtain. Beyond was a lighted hallway she could only catch a glimpse of before the curtain fell back into place.
“What’s going on?” The man said with an air of authority. She guessed he was a doctor as he had stepped into her room, is it really a room if it only has three walls.
“She woke up and immediately went into hysterics.” The woman, a short stout woman wearing flower designed scrubs. She had glasses and silver hair pulled back into a pony-tail. She didn’t look old though. Her face was young, ageless, and Lizzie felt so confused as she was distracted, studying her rosy cheeks.
“This the woman they found in the woods?”
The silver haired woman nodded.
“Okay, let her go.” The doctor said as he stepped closer to the bed. He held his hands up, showing there was nothing in them. He was moving slow and kept his eyes locked on hers. “You are going to be okay,” he said soothingly as he approached.
The woman at the end of the bed let Lizzie’s legs go and took a tentative step back. The two of them shared a skeptical glance, neither one trusting the other. Then Lizzie felt the pressure relax on her shoulders and turned as the other woman was straightening.
This one didn’t step back. The nurse stayed there, looking down at her with a deep sadness. Lizzie could see the winkles creasing her face and felt a fond affection for the woman. Something about her was like that of a grandmother. It wasn’t of her own grandma, but there was that quality she always imagined, there in how she looked at her. She pictured Mrs. Brady of that old TV show. The one with all the sisters and brothers. Mrs. Brady hadn’t been a grandmother, but she should have been as she had that kindness. It made Lizzie just want to reach up and give the woman a hug.
“Did we get any identification?” The doctor asked the nurse as he stood next to her, the pair looking down at Lizzie.
“No, there hadn’t been anything when they brought her in, and this is the first time she has regained consciousness.”
“Hi, my name is Doctor Everson,” he said as he eased closer to her, bending down. She was sure she could see he had something in his hand. It was long and she could see the glint of metal. “Can you tell me what your name is?”
His voice was smooth and hearing it calmed her frayed nerves. He was a doctor. He was a good guy, the white hat from westerns, or her Prince Charming. No, doctors didn’t do the saving, well she guessed they actually did do the saving, but they weren’t the rescuers that pulled you from a burning building. This man was just going to look her over and make her all okay. She needed to trust him, she knew that.
He still had that metal thing hidden in his hand. What was he hiding from her?
And why were they asking her for her name? The nurse had said her name hadn’t she, when she had first come in.
Lizzie’s head spun and she had to struggle to concentrate as none of this was making sense. She needed to talk, and realized the doctor was waiting for her to answer, hovering over her but not moving any closer. It was like the world was hanging, waiting on her and everyone was watching her.
“Lizzie” she said to break the stillness and it proved harder than she would have thought. Her throat was dry, and it came out as a raspy breath. It sent her into a flurry of dry coughing, and she would have thought one of them would have come to rub her back or offer her water. Instead, they stood there, statues afraid to come any nearer.
“Okay Lizzie, is that a nickname?”
She had to say more but feared it would send her into another coughing fit. She wished she could write it down but didn’t see any pens or paper.
“Elizabeth. Elizabeth Rogers.”
“Okay Lizzie, and is there any family I should call?”
“Rolan-“ she didn’t finish as she knew that wasn’t right and it took her a minute before she remembered that she had broken up with Roland. That had been over a month ago. Who could they call? Other than her brother, who did she have now?
She really didn’t want to get Brian upset, and there was nothing he could do for her so why call him? Why should she ever call him. She was pretty good at avoiding him and didn’t want to change that now. Not for this?
Sarah would have been the one she wanted to call. Her friend until the end, the girl she had grown up with and was like a sister to her. The girl whose dead glassy eyes kept looking at her every time Lizzie closed her eyes.
She hadn’t realized she had stopped talking. The three others in the room were watching her and the doctor was saying something…
“Roland who? Can I get a last name?”
“Never mind him,” she said as she tried to wiggle herself up in the bed. She wanted to sit up but didn’t trust herself yet, the world still threatening to do some more spinning. “Can I get some water?”
“Sure. Nurse?” the doctor looked at the one who was standing at the foot of her bed. The nurse pursed her lips, but she nodded and turned to the first cabinet to the right. She scanned her id card into a panel to the side and it popped open. Lizzie couldn’t see what was inside of it, but she saw the large hospital cup the woman pulled out and then went to a sink to her left that Lizzie hadn’t noticed before.
“Lizzie. Is there anyone we can call tik-a-too?” She heard the doctor say and she quickly turned towards him, her shoulders again tensing.
“Lizzie, I need you to stay calm.” He said in that milk chocolate tone of voice that made her want to melt, but it was too late for melting. She had heard it. He must be one of them.
“Who’s Sarah tik-a-too?” The black nurse said. She had a note pad now and was taking notes.
They were all with him. What were they going to do to her? She thought again about that glint of metal, oh no, they were going to cut her throat. They’re going to kill me!
She tried to see what he had done with it, but he had positioned his hand, so it was obscured from her view, hidden behind his body.
“Lizzie, come on Lizzie. I need you to focus and to stay calm. Who can we call? Who should know that you’re here in the hospital?”
I’m not in any hospital. It may look like a hospital, but these people want to cut me open. They’re going to slice me up like they opened up Sarah. They want to know who they can call so I can give them more people to kill.
She shook her head. At first it was a simple back and forth, signaling her refusal, but as she again worked to pull herself back in the bed it grew more furious.
“She’s having a seizure!” someone called out. She wasn’t looking to see who. She clawed at the bed, trying to pull at anything that would give her leverage.
Arms pressed down on her shoulder and someone grabbed her head. She closed her eyes refusing to see the knife coming at her. That had to have been what was in his hand. Though doctors didn’t call them knives. They were scalpels and they were even sharper that knives. They were razors that could slice through her flesh with barely any pressure. He was bringing that down on her, she knew it. It was coming for her eyes. It was always about the eyes. They were the windows to her soul, and they wanted to look inside of her.
No, they wanted her soul.
Here it comes.
Light blossomed around her. Everything turned pink as the light was pushing in on her closed eyes. Then her eyes were forced open, and she saw the light that pointed straight at her, blinding her as it hovered there.
Then it turned off, and she saw through the circles of light that clouded her vision, the doctor straightening from how he had hovered over her.
“She might have hit her head harder than the EMT’s thought.”
“We don’t know what she’s been through. She had looked pretty beaten up when they brought her in. It looked like she’d been attacked.” The nurse who had gone for the water said. She held the large jug in her hand, presumably with the water and was now standing across from the doctor on the other side of the bed.
“Attacked? Here, in the woods. That’s unlikely.”
“Okay, well, get her name to Pinkerton. He’ll want an update, and if she was attacked, he’d need to start investigating, I guess.” This the doctor had said to the black nurse next to him and she took down the notes before nodding to him and heading back out of Lizzie’s room.
This was really getting pretty frustrating. She was right there, and they were talking about her like she wasn’t even there. What was she, some wild animal they needed to tame?
Don’t worry about that right now. She needed to get away from them. They were with him. As soon as she let her guard down, they were going to strike. So, she couldn’t allow her guard to fall. No matter what, she had to stay alert to what these two were doing.
“Drink this…it’s poison.” She heard the nurse say, though it sounded more like she had hissed out the last part. Lizzie turned to see that the woman’s face had become that of a snake, its tongue flicking out as she was holding the large cup out to her. “Drinkssss.”
“Get away from me.” Lizzie said. She reached up and grabbed the cup from the things hand. It wasn’t even a hand, not anymore. It had become a viscous claw, talons extending around the cup and Lizzie could see where they dug into the plastic. Lizzie didn’t stop to think about it or how she got the cup away. She tore off the top and flung its contents. The water hit the serpent nurse in the face, and she stumbled back, sputtering from the sudden display.
The nurse took the hint and stayed back, but the hairs on the back of Lizzie’s neck rose. She turned just in time to see that the doctor was moving to hover over her, presumably to push her back down. All he would have to do is get her down flat and then the other one would be back to strap her down.
“No! Get away!”
“Lizzie, calm down.” The doctor was repeating, his smooth voice had now a tinge of sternness. He was getting frustrated. Well, that was too bad, she was not going to make this easy for them. Her friend had died because she had made it too easy. She was done making it easy. If they wanted to hurt her, they were going to have to fight for it.
He reached out to push her down into the bed and she pushed his arms away. She didn’t hold back. As she grabbed to pull his arms away, she dug in her nails and twisted. The nails dug into his flesh.
“Ugh.” the doctor cried out in pain and confusion and stumbled back. “Lizzie, you have to let us help you.”
The room started to shake around her. The cackling was getting stronger and in the back of her mind she heard the dark man chanting. Tik-a-tak, tik-a-too, boo, boo, boo…bounced around her thoughts and grew stronger. It brought tears to her eyes as it pushed its way through anything else and it hurt. Fighting it sent lightning bolts to behind her eyes as she fought.
“Get..sedative…dy” she heard the doctor saying, but it was hard to hear him outside her mind as the voice in her head was getting stronger.
“Li…This wi…ck…you…lit..ile” The doctor said. She only caught pieces of it but thought again about that metal he had in his hand. She couldn’t see it anymore. He did have something else. It was long. A long tube with a sharp point. A needle. They were going to try and poison her again. They were…
“Okay, its inssss.”
Lizzie spun her head to see that the nurse was standing near an IV drip. She had a needle inserted into a piece of plastic connected to it. She pulled out the needle and looked at her, a smile at the corner of that snake like mouth. The tongue flicked out and in. Then the mouth opened, and Lizzie watched as long fangs flicked out as the snake thing prepared to attack.
They truly were going to poison her, but it was going to be snake venom. It would look like a natural death, death by snake.
But why would that matter?
She had no clue, but what did any of it matter anymore? Who cared about any of it?
She did… Wait, what was happening to her. This wasn’t right. She was upset, she needed to fight back.
They had done it. They had poisoned her after all. The needle, the IV.
She looked down at her hands. On her left hand she saw now that the IV was running into her. They had slipped it that way. She hadn’t needed to watch for the doctor.
Damn how could I have been so stupid.
She felt herself slipping away. It would be the last time she ever woke up. She knew it. Damn, she was too young for this. She hadn’t traveled enough. She should have traveled more. Gone to England and gotten laid by some hot Englishman or checked out China and visit the great wall.
She wouldn’t be doing any of that now.
The sedative did its job, and Lizzie faded off to sleep. She barely heard the two talking over her but caught part of what they were saying.
“…she be okay?”
“…been through a lot, b…be okay.”
The darkness took her, and she slipped away…