It’s been a while since I took part in Colleen and Ronovan’s Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge. I tried to follow the theme, I had every intention of writing a mystery. But sometimes you have to go where the story takes you, and I got a kick out of the voice in my head so I went with it.
Because we’re encouraged to use quotes, and I miss sharing them, I’ll lead with that – a quote from Albert Einstein –
“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”
The moment I woke I knew something was wrong. Well, okay, there were clear indicators, for one I couldn’t feel my arms or legs. My mind helped me out with that, and gave me a helpful image of being strapped to a table, or perhaps I should say a horrifying image.
Things got worse from there. When I opened my eyes it hit me all at once; the blurred vision, disorientation and an odd metallic taste in my mouth. I’d been given drugs. All those lectures from my parents, the times I’d earned my brownie points and just said no, and someone had shot me up.
I took a moment to freak out, time in which I would have thrashed against my restraints – if I’d felt them, that is. But then the voices distracted me. They were quiet, mere whispers, and not being able to make out the words was somehow worse than hearing them at all. It could have been worse, it could have been, god forbid, a club tune; the devil’s music as my dear old gran used to say. She was a bit of a kook, I’ll admit, but at that moment, a pounding beat would have tipped me right over the edge.
The strangest thing was, though I knew I had an eccentric god-fearing woman in my ancestry, and random memories hit me like a slap upside the head, I had no other points of reference.
In that kind of situation, the mind can be extremely helpful, or unhelpful depending on how you choose to look at it. To distract me, my considerate brain offered up a series of dizzying scenarios for me to consider. I was a soldier, special forces, naturally, and I had been separated from my unit. I was an undercover agent and I had come too close to discovering a deadly secret. I was a genius savant and my gigantic brain had tipped me over the edge into crazy town.
Round and round the fantasies went, fed by the drugs, my hysteria, and the fact I had no clue what was going on. For all I knew I was a guinea pig – the only uninfected human on the planet and the scientists had gone for a fag break, before they injected me with more of their crazy potions. No. Wait. If I was the only one uninfected, there wouldn’t be any scientists left to carry out the experiments. Anyway.
I settled on zombie apocalypse and was scaring the bejesus out of myself when I heard my name. I focused, squinting to make out the shadowy form, and I was so lost in the illusion, naturally I saw a zombie. He didn’t leap on top of me, or try to eat my brains, so he was either on a steady diet, or he wasn’t really a zombie at all.
“Can you hear me?” Pause. “Jessica. My name is Dr. Jenkins. Can you hear me?” The voice was soft, non-threatening, the kind you might use on a small child or an animal backed into a corner.
I didn’t respond. For some reason I was afraid of this stranger. I heard different words echoing through my head, frightening words about experiments and phases of treatment and I knew I had done this to myself. I had caused the uncontrollable panic wracking my body. The hallucinations came thick and fast then. My eyes cleared and I was in a small room surrounded by personal crap. I blinked and I was in a cell; cold and dark and dingy. Then back to a place that might have been a hospital, and since the whispering voices were familiar, I couldn’t help but latch onto the savant fantasy.
I relaxed a little, that was until the scene changed again and it didn’t change to anything good. Now I was chained to a cold, hard slab and the whispering voices were coming from faceless creatures behind bars. I blinked rapidly, ready to see something else, anything else, but it only made it worse. I was surrounded by large metal constructs, which looked suspiciously like bird cages. I think I might have screamed, but the sound was more like a squawk.
When I heard my name again I turned, cringing back when a light hit me square in the eyes.
“Jessica. My name is Dr Jenkins,” the voice parroted, but this time the sound was accompanied by touch, and I was so relieved to have some feeling back, the fog cleared a little.
I could make out his features this time, and the more I concentrated, the more I could see. Sounds rushed in, more than whispers this time. I heard the steady pulse of machinery, and the beep of a heart monitor.
It was then I saw her, my mother, cradled in my father’s arms as she sobbed into his chest. I had done that too. Memories flooded my brain as quickly as the tears spilling down my cheeks. I had been at a party, my friends’ laughter echoing around, and I accepted a drink from a stranger.
“Mum,” I croaked, as the room began to spin.
She turned her grief stricken face towards me, and it was the last thing I saw before my mind went quiet and all thoughts snapped off.
Thanks for stopping by.