Her: Chapter 8
Two months have passed since the beginning of my rehabilitation program and compared to when I first started, my physically capabilities have increased dramatically. My voice has returned and I can walk distances without the need of a wheelchair, though a crutch still helps occasionally.
Doctor Tunnett and the lady I've come to know as Marsha Glas are frequent visitors, though I can't help but feel skeptical whenever they're in the same room as me. The air feels electrified; anticipated, like people here are waiting for something.
I'm also unsettled by how little they tell me and their vague answers to my questions they give:
Where are we? In the city.
What city? The only city that is efficiently being run. No need to mention any other.
What happened to me before this? You had an accident.
Why am I here? Because this is the only place you have left to go.
I'm also not allowed outside. I'm kept to the limits of my room and the diagnostic's lounge which I go to every week, now that I can maneuver places on my own. I also have a single guard stationed by me at night, though I don't know why. I find it weird and invasive to have someone camping outside your door practically all the time.
It makes me feel caged, like I'm being suffocated.
Every day brings subtle changes, but it stays pretty much the same. Except for today. Generally I would be meeting with Doctor Tunnett and lately, I can sense something different in his behavior. A shift. His questions are redundant, but he treats each of them as if they're just as significant as the first time. I wasn't looking forward to our meeting, but then Idna informed me earlier that I wouldn't be going. Instead, she told me that today would be my first "test." I don't know what that means and for some reason, I have little desire to find out.
and escorts me out of the room. Iback chair, like one you'd see in a dentist's office, along with a wall of shelves, full of bottles that seem to be medications. Next to the chair on a metal platter, I see a syringe and everything in me pauses.
It's like I've just been socked in the stomach and I don't understand why I'm repelled by the sight of it.
I don't want to go in there. I don't want to. I can't.
"Please step forward," my guard says, his hand pressing lightly against my back. I resist, fighting his fingers, desperate to get away.
"It's all right, Miss," he reassures. "Just step inside."
"No," I say. My voice cracks.
"Just take a step inside, Miss."
"No!" My voice is harder now. Sharper. I just know that if I step in here, something bad will happen. Something bad always happens.
"Miss, if you do not step in, I will have to use force-"
"Do we have a problem here?" a person says, appearing in front of the entrance. He's also in white, which isn't surprising. Everyone here wears white. His grey hair is shaved close to his face, highlighting dark, petulant eyes. He narrows them at me. "Beatrice, hello. I'm Doctor Rellings, the lab technician. If you will come in, we can get started."
I shake my head furiously at him, my blonde hair slapping me in the face. "No," I say again. "No, I.."
"We understand your mind is still in a delicate state," he says. "But this really is important. I assure you, it won't take too long and then you'll be free to leave."
It's as if my body rebels on its own accord, remembering something I can't seem to.
The doctor sighs. "I'm sorry to have to do this, Beatrice. But this really must be done. Dax, can I get some help over here?" In the corner of my eye, I see another guard approach. He and my guard grab my hand and roughly escort me in. I yank back, but it does little good. I'm small and they're twice my size in both height and width. They lead me over to the chair and shove me in, forcing me to sit. I take one look at the syringe and the fear it sparks is startling. The doctor retrieves something and reaches for the sides of my chair, tying my hands down with secured straps. I suddenly feel like a lab rat, soon to be poked and prodded.
"What is this?" I hiss through my teeth.
The doctor purses his lips and picks up the syringe. "It's absolutely necessary. It shouldn't hurt. I'm not here to cause you any harm, it's just a test."
"Your durability and progress," he replies. "It will be simple and quick. Lean your head back."
"Dax." The guard lays a gentle hand on my forehead and forces it to the cushion. Small, circular things are pressed against my temples. "Just think of something else," he says.
When I feel the plunger go down, things get hazy and I try to reply, but my words stop.
I have nothing else to think about, I want to say. All I've known is this.
Everything seems blurry. Liquefied, like I'm looking underwater. Faces drift back and forth and I see the doctor and the guards, not quite focused but still there, watching me. I see a clipboard in my peripheral vision; hear the pen as it scratches along the surface of it. The best way to describe it is woozy. Nausea churns my stomach and I close my eyes, hoping for it to pass.
"Thank you, Dax. That will be all," I hear vaguely. I search for more words, trying not to slip beneath the waters again.
"Stable, no severe nerve damage. Focus impaired," a voice says above me. I think it's the doctor and force my eyes to open. I am greeted with a small, tubed light, glaring down at me. It drifts from one corner of my eye to the other and interested, I follow it.
Doctors do this, I think. Maybe this is normal.
I don't feel normal, though. I feel off. Slow and weird. But gradually, things begin to drift back into focus, first blurred and then fuzzy and then somewhat clear. A tingling sensation ignites the inside of my body, like I just ate a bunch of spicy food. There's a acidic, burning taste in the back of my throat.
"Beatrice," the doctor says and I force my attention on him. "How do you feel?" he asks. There's a light in his dark eyes I didn't notice before. It takes me a minute to speak. "Weird," I say. "I feel weird."
"And how about now?"
"Dizzy." He gives me a smile and, judging from the tightness of his lips, he is a man of very few of them. "That's good," he says. "That's very, very good. That wasn't so bad, was it?"
"It wasn't ...pleasant," I say, almost reflexively, but I still can't manage to lift my head all the way.
"Miss Glas and Doctor Tunnett will be very happy with this level of progress. You should be proud," he says, obviously ignoring the jab. "Andrews, if you wouldn't mind giving this file to Miss Glas, it is essential that she have it, all right?"
My guard nods, grabs the outstretched papers, and exists the room. I watch him leave, suddenly having a name to put to his face.
The doctor turns back to me. "You might want to wait for whatever dizziness you feel to pass before you stand." I still feel like my head is swimming and I want to ask him to untie me, but a sudden noise strikes through the haze, freezing me on the spot.
I see red flashing lights and watch in a blur as the silence shatters.