Kayla blindly stripped off her shirt, begging to feel the cool air against her skin. She ran faster and faster, stumbling over roots and logs. She wasn’t sure how far or for how long she had run. Nothing broke her concentration, to make it as deep into the woods as possible. But then a repetitive thumping broke through her own battering heartbeats. Still Kayla pushed on, branches wiping across her face, and stones digging into her feet. She took another lunging step... her foot meeting nothing before she tumbled through the night air. A loud smack split the night as she was dowsed into freezing icy water.
A piercing howl sliced the air.
Earlier That Day -
Kayla tossed and groaned in her sweaty, rumpled bed. Throughout the night she had had flashes of trees and clouds passing like a whirlwind in her dreams. What made it worse was the pain that took over her body every hour or so. The agony stretched for minutes at a time until her whole body was seized into a tight ball. Most people would have been scared at the ferocity of these nightly tortures, but for Kayla they signaled that yet again she was a conundrum to the medical world.
Ever since she was five years old, body aches had been a part of her life, albeit not as punishing or frequent as they were now. After countless hospital visits and tests, they were as baffled as before. The pains didn’t come every night, but frequent enough that Kayla learned, mostly, to cope with them. It became normal.
While her parents worried and tried to find a treatment, they also learned to cope with seeing their daughter in pain. Whispering words of comfort and wiping the sweat off her brow, they did the best they could. When Kayla first expressed her interest to attend University, her parents hated the idea. What if she needed help or if she got worse? Countless conversations later, Kayla managed to apease their worries by promising her life-long friend, Maddie, would be with her.
But here she was, at the start of her second year at Uni, Maddie snoring in the next-door room as Kayla lay in pain. Although she had given up on doctors and their needles years ago, with her body broken out in deep sweats and her hands clenched so hard her nails caused rivulets of blood to track down her arms, she knew she had never experienced an episode like this.
She glanced at her phone which had lit up with the telltale ring of her 7 o’clock alarm. Screw this. She had been lying curled up in a ball for over an hour now. Having never experienced this duration or amount of pain and feeling as if she had run a marathon in the driest desert, she decided to call an ambulance.
After managing to talk through gritted teeth to the dispatch officer, she was notified that an ambulance would be on its way and to stay on the line. While she didn’t like to burden Maddie with her condition, she also wasn’t stupid enough not to ask for help when she needed it.
“Maddie!” Kayla yelled trying to wake her up. “Maddie!”
Kayla could hear the thump as Maddie stumbled out of bed and banged open her door. “Kayla! Are you okay?”
Hurrying into the room followed by the door nearly swinging off its hinges, Maddie arrived. One glance at Kayla’s curled up form and she cursed, “Shit! What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Nice to see you too,” croaked Kayla, preparing for the tsunami of words that were about to be thrown in her face.
“You absolute piece of shit! How many times have I told you to call me if it ever happens? My god, you look awful...”
“Tone it down would you, my eardrums are ringing. Oh, and an ambulance is coming.”
Maddie’s eyebrow shot up to her hairline. She had been Kayla’s friend ever since they could walk which is why she knew how much pain Kayla had to be in to have called an ambulance. Maddie swore under her breath again, a string of words that would have made a comedian blush.
Just then the wail of the ambulance reached their ears, followed by the flashing red and blue lights that decorated Kayla’s ceiling. Still muttering to herself, Maddie glared at Kayla before standing up to unlock the front door.
After letting the medics into the small two-bedroom flat and slipping into some clothes, Maddie followed Kayla’s stretcher out and into the ambulance.
The drive to the hospital was quick as the paramedics administered pain-relief and IV fluids to Kayla’s central line. While the pain was still tremendous it seemed to be lessening, but Kayla was pretty sure it wasn’t the meds since they had never worked before. Her episode must finally be waring off.
Wheeling her through Shifting Hollow’s A and E, Maddie blew her a kiss and promised that she would wait for her and call her parents. The strips of ceiling lights flashed above her as she was wheeled down the wards. After the cacophony of medical staff collected her information, someone slipped on her ′patient 1308′ identification band. The pain and sleepless night had become to much and Kayla soon succumbed to sleep.
Shifting Hollow’s hematology department had received Barrow Kayla’s blood sample and was running through the mirade of common blood tests. As the tests were conducted and doctors milled in and out of the space, in a secure section of the hospital’s basement an ominous flashing light began to illuminate the dark space. A fax machine whirred to life spitting out copies of 1308′s DNA report flagging a particular anomaly in her chromosomes. The growling of animals started, followed by the sharp clicking steps of a woman making her way towards the machine. Her steps echoed off the corridors like knives chinking against stone. The flickering red lights danced across her silver-streaked hair as she bent to pick up the documents.
Author’s Note: Hi everyone, please be kind and comment with any suggestions. Please give this story a chance! Thank you! It would also mean the world to me if you could leave a vote and follow this story along.