I awoke with a start, to the beeping sound of several machines. Clarity came once I turned my head to observe my surroundings. The white walls, slim bed and surrounding monitors told me I was most likely in a hospital.
“Honey, you’re awake!”
My mom rushed to my side from a chair by the side of the room. Her face was full of concern as she squeezed my palm softly. She leaned in close and gave me a hug. “Oh, honey. Thank goodness you’re awake. You took a pretty nasty fall.”
The revelation was quite shocking.
“Where did I fall from?”
My thoughts were still mixed up. I couldn’t decipher where my reality stopped and where my dreams began. I didn’t know how much of my immediate past experiences were real.
“You remember what happened, right?” My mom asked, looking at me like I was supposed to say something I hadn’t said yet.
I looked at her, not quite sure what the right response to her question was. I remembered a lot of things but I wasn’t sure which of them happened in reality.
“I’m so sorry about your roommate, Alex.” She continued.
“So, that bit is true. Alex is really dead.”
Tears welled up in my eyes, spilling down my cheeks. I felt like an invisible force was squeezing my heart. My lungs weren’t faring much better either. I felt the air around me thinning as I continued to cry my eyes out. My mom pulled me into a hug, squeezing on my shoulders ever so slightly.
“I didn’t mean to upset you, honey.”
I blinked several times, trying to dismiss the horrific image of a dead Alex from my mind. It didn’t help. My tears were beginning to blur my vision and I heard the monitors beeping faster – but it sounded like the sound came from a distance. I heard the muffled voice of someone else in the room but couldn’t make out who it was. Shortly after, everything went calm. The hospital scene was gone, and I was back in the 1870s bedroom I found myself before.