A short story by Paul Kain
I’ve been hearing them for a while. They come and go.
Lots of different voices.
I can hear them now.
They are somewhere in the distance.
I can’t find the direction they are coming from.
It’s like they are coming from inside my head.
They are all around me.
This is starting to scare me a bit.
Why is it so dark?
What is that voice saying? There! Another faint voice…
Who is it calling out to? To me? Is someone there?
Oh shit. They seem to be coming closer; they are out there in this… this … darkness.
Aw man. I haven’t been this scared since… since… Aw man. This isn’t good.
There’s another one, it’s like it’s … I dunno man… it’s like it’s …. swirling around out there? That’s a good description; swirling. All around me.
Should I run? Where to? Should I run towards the voices? Or away? I can hear them.
Somewhere. They are steadily coming closer.
Why can’t I see anything in this dark?
What the fuck are they saying man? Someone help me please. This doesn’t feel right. I can’t make out what the voices are saying but there are a lot of them all at once. And what are those fucking noises?
A beeping noise. A pager? No.
Cutlery being dropped. A kitchen? No.
Wheels, the squeak of wheels on a linoleum floor.
And there are smells too. Becoming stronger. What is that?
Eucalyptus? Pine? Something stronger.
The voices are louder now. They are becoming clearer. They coming at me from all sides and they are getting closer. Fuck. Another voice. A crackly, distorted voice. What is it saying? It’s calling out to someone. Getting closer. Whatever this is, I just wish it ends sometime soon. This shit is starting to freak me out here. I can almost hear what she is saying. It’s a woman. That’s a woman’s voice. Ok Ok relax relax. This will start making sense soon. I’ll figure this out. I can almost make out a word. There it goes again.. It’s a bit mumbled though. Strange sounds, weird smells again..
There! She said something again. “…please….”
Is she calling for help?
It’s still not clear enough. Beep! Beep! Beep! Wheels turning again. Pine smell.
There’s that woman’s voice again “….night…….please…..”
Where exactly am I? Who is that woman? And why does this seem so familiar but I cant think straight. Think. Think Jarred Think! What is going on?
Maybe I can find a light somewhere. This darkness is creepy.
There’s those wheels again. Beep! Beep! Beep!
Lady if you’re out there, say something again, where are you? This isn’t making any sense. I’m not even speaking to her. Should I try and talk? Or should I scream for help myself? I feel so lost. And naked. This cant be real.
There! That voice again. “ … night … please ….. call……ate….”
What? That makes no sense. Where’s some light?
“….. night …. please take …. call … ate…. “
She’s much closer now and there’s another babble of voices somewhere nearby.
Beep! Beep! Beep!
Ammonia smell or pine or something.
Wheel’s turning. Now they are stopped.
Where am I? Do I even have my eyes open?
Beep! Beep! Beep!
Why does it feel like I am lying down?
Wheels turning. Everything is so near to me.
More voices. A plate being scraped against another plate.
Oh my God, everything is rushing around. What’s happening?
My eyes are not open. Open your eyes Jarred. Open them. Open them.
“ ….. octa night please take .. call … line ate”
What the fuck does that mean?
Wheels turning again.
What the fuck? Am I lying down?
Open your eyes Jarred. Do it!
Open them. Ok ok my eyes are opening. I’m lying down. Sit up. Sit up. Sit up.
Oh fuck! The light! The light is hurting my eyes!
“Doctor night, please take a call on line ate.”
Jarred, protect your eyes, cover them with one arm and sit up. Sit up. Sit up!
“Doctor night, please take a call on line eight.”
Relax Relax Where am I? A hospital?
Sit up. I can’t.
My Body is not responding.
Don’t panic Jarred. Don’t panic. It will all make sense.
Everything is rushing. Rushing Rushing…..
The light, the sounds. Beep! Beep! Beep!
Rushing faster now.
“Doctor night, please take a call on line ate.”
Night? No, Knight.
It’s starting to all make sense.
Oh my God yes! The car.
“Doctor Knight, please take a call on line eight.”
Ok ok my eyes are starting to adjust to the light.
Headlights. I remember headlights.
There’s a woman in the room
A crash. A tree. I remember the tree.
Man oh man. That was like a million years ago.
My throat is so dry. I need water.
Ok Jarred, call to her. Call to the woman.
I’ll try. I’m trying but my throat is so dry.
That’s all the calling I can do.
Ok She heard that, she is turning, she’s a nurse.
Ok I see. I understand. I was in a car accident. I must be in the hospital.
I remember the car coming towards me. The headlights. Bright. I couldn’t see. Tree.
She’s pretty, she’s pushing a trolley.
The trolley has plates on it. Plates scraping. Trolley. Wheels. Wheels turning, it starting to make more sense.
She sees me. She’s walking towards me.
Beep! Beep! Beep!
Ok Ok Ok It’s a machine. Probably a heart monitor. Mine?
How long have I been here?
She’s saying something to me.
“Sir. I want you to relax. I am going to call the doctor.”
I’m Thirsty. Tell her. Water.
“Sir, don’t talk. I’ll come back with the doctor”
Point to your throat. My hand won’t move, there’s a drip in my arm.
Try the other one. Open your mouth. Do Something God dammit!
Ok my mouth is open. Open and close it like a fish.
“Sir don’t try to talk. It will be painful. I’ll bring you some water.”
THANK YOU! She got it.
She’s walking away.
There are other people in this room. Ok things are starting to clear up. Man what a ride.
Look to the side, can you move your neck Jarred? Move it. That’s it! A little more.
Another bed. Another machine. Beep! Beep! Beep!
Don’t panic. I’m safe. I’m ok. I’ll be ok.
“Doctor Knight, please report to room 304. Doctor Knight. Room 304”
Man I’m thirsty.
Ok here she comes. Water, yes please. Not much water in that glass though.
And she has a straw, clever. I’ll probably drool it all out my mouth seems so tight.
“Small sips sir. Don’t overdo it.”
Ok now suck Jarred. Ah yes…. Man that tastes so good.
“The doctor is on his way to come and see you.”
I wonder how long I’ve been here.
She’s got a sweet smile.
Ok Here comes the doctor. Tall.
“Ah! Our man has awoken. About time too if I might add. Now try not to move. You need to keep calm. You need to just sleep a little so I am going to give you something to sleep and in the morning we can have a nice chat if you’re up to it.”
Try say something Jarred. Open your mouth and speak.
HEY! I can speak!
:He’s got a syringe. Ok I understand he is going to put that into my drip.
My eyes are heavy. Sleep.
How long ?
Here comes that darkness again.
What hospital is …………
Man the darkness seems very inviting this time…..
“Rise and shine!”
Jarred opened his eyes and looked around.
“Oh yes! The hospital. The accident”
He looked around and saw the nurse from the day before.
“It speaks!” She exclaimed and smiled.
Jarred smiled back at her.
“Can you adjust my bed so that I can sit up? And can I have more water?”
She picked up the glass on the side of Jarred’s bed and held the straw to his lips.
He sipped up a mouthful of water and let it slowly trickle down his throat before swallowing it.
She put the glass down and begun cranking up his bed.
“Thank you” He mumured.
She smiled broadly at him and said “you know, not many people come out of a coma after a bad accident like you had. I wasn’t here then but I believe it was quite serious. You’re one of the lucky ones.”
Jarred frowned again. Coma. The word didn’t sit comfortably with him.
She offered him more water but he shook his head
“How long was I in a coma for?”
She looked at him strangely and replied “I think it would be best to let doctor tell you.”
Jarred shook his head. “No. please. You tell me.”
She sighed and the smile dropped from her face.
Jarred was shocked “13 fucking years?? My god”
The nurse smiled at him nervously “Its going to be ok” She said softly patting his arm
“Doctor Knight is on his way in to see you. and soon everything will be right as rain”
She turned and left the room
Jarred closed his eyes and groaned
“Good morning Jarred”
He opened his eyes and saw Dr Knight standing in fron of his bed.
The doctor picked up Jarred’s chart and read a bit. Nodding to himself every once in a while.
Doctor Knight sat at the chair next to his bed and looked Jarred in the eye.
“Good. Jarred you have been in a coma for a long time. Your muscles have atrophied and we are going to need to work you into a program to get you up and going again”
He stood up.
“It will be a few days before we can get you solid food again but I have increased your glucose and protein intake in your intravenous drip so that you can start getting energy and food into your muscles”
Another doctor entered the room and stood next to Doctor Knight.
“This is Doctor Webb. He’ll be helping us with your recovery program”
Docter Webb smiled at Jarred.
Jarred looked away, everything was too hard to take in all at once.
Doctor Knight continued “Before we get you on the program though, I’m going to let you rest for another day, tomorrow we’ll start slowly.”
He produced another syringe like the one from the night before and inserted the needle into the inlet of the IV drip. Jarred immediately felt it starting to work.
He heard Doctor Webb turn to Doctor Knight and say “He wasn’t supposed to wake up.”
Doctor Knight replied “Don’t worry. We’ll get our money. This little cocktail I just gave him is going to knock him back into a coma. In two weeks I’ll reccomend that we terminate. He has no family to contest the descision and the board will gladly comply. He has been taking up a bed for too long now anyway and the administration has been paying his bills. We’ll start removing his organs and we’ll get paid. The buyers won’t run away. Don’t stress.”
Jarred slipped away into the darkness, a scream caught in his throat.