In the hospital my arm was being looked over by about five doctors. The main doctor, close up to it kept poking and prodding the wound, where they still haven’t removed the branch, saying “does this hurt” every five seconds. I told him the same answer every time “yes,” but that didn’t stop him from doing it again and again. With a broad shining light, pointed directly in my eyes I finally had enough. “Are you going to remove this stick sometime today or should I just go home now?” I blasted. The doctor blew back as if I had just insulted him deeply, “impatient today are we?” He said I felt a twitch in my eye, but before I could speak again, he started using doctor talk, trying to use sophisticated language, to sound superior. He basically told me that I had a bad infection and needed arm surgery just to remove the stick, clear the cut, and sew up the whole. That sounded reasonable to me more help then I had received all day, but the one thing that didn’t sit with me was when he said my medical bill would be covered by the government. Because my new foster home couldn’t afford it. I shuddered at the words foster home, I was coming to reality there was no one I had. No more family, except Lily, “snap out of it” I told myself stop forgetting about Lily. One of the doctors waved in my face, I had spaced out. “Okay” I shook my head, “I’ll do the surgery, but it has to be as soon as possible.” I couldn’t leave Lily any longer I was back, I was so close, and I needed to get her the doctor shook his head. It doesn’t work that way, as of this moment you are property of government you are under eighteen with no legal guardian so you don’t get to make that decision. Luckily though, you came in just in time the surgeon is off his lunch break, we can give you some painkillers, and in about an hour she’ll be ready for you.
I sat back in the hospital bed rolling my eyes “what a fancy way of telling me no, you can not have freedom, but we’ll make your decision the exact same way you would have, what morons” I thought. My arm stuck to my chest in a sling he handed me the painkillers, and a small paper cup of water. After I took them, I dozed off right away, and for the first time in forever, I had sweet dreams, or so I thought.
My mother walked up to my bed, a tear lay snug in the crease of her eye. She awoke me, hugged me, and told me she missed me. She rested her chin on my shoulder, and told me the story, the story of her supposedly tragic, but heroic death.
I looked up at her, “is that, the truth?” I gulped, and pulled my arms from the tight hug. I was so happy before, tears of joy turned to tears of betrayal, now I knew the story of how, and why she was killed, The whole story. The confirmation on Dave’s tale, with a twist. The twist you may ask, now I was on his side.
With that she disappeared into nothingness, I felt cold inside she had kept us away from Dave ever since we were babies, all he wanted to do the night of the murder, was see us. But mom just kept denying him access to his own children, and that’s when she grabbed the knife from Dave’s pocket. Dave was telling the truth, when he killed her it was self defense.
It didn’t feel like a dream especially after mom left, which was also the time that charlie appeared. He sat down beside me, “I hate them too,” I instantly wrapped my arms around my brother, and hugged him as soon as I saw him. But he unattached them from his neck, “listen I took a risk coming here but I really don’t want to be one of those bodies at the parlour that they berry without a funeral. My body is waiting for someone to claim it. To add a little humor to this dreary visit Charlie laughed. “Do you like my new name? John Doe.” He dramatically waved his hand hollywood boulevard style in front of his face, I laughed, then things got serious again, and I rested my head on his shoulder. Don’t worry, I got your back.
When I woke up, the first face I saw was the nurses in mine. “It’s time for your surgery now, Amelia.” She asked if I wanted to be put under, and I jolted at the thought of being cut open, and awake for it. “Well I don’t want to be awake, now do I?” She chuckled, it was obvious she recognized me from the news. It was why she didn’t take offence to my sarcasm.
Doctors flooded in, and surrounded my bed, unhooking the machines from the wall and they started to roll my bed down the long, busy, sanitized hall. I counted the rooms as they passed by, third on the right, nurses flying out of he way, and we came to a complete hult. Before the bed was spun around like a carnival ride. My hair whipping around, my muscles tensed, trying not to slide off. The foot of my bed was crammed right through the push doors that read O.R. My heart went racing, I had never had a problem with hospitals until now. I was so overwhelmed with all the surgeons with blue disposable masks, the smell of sanitizer pierced my nose, and all of the sharp metal tools lined up on the tray beside me really creeped me out. Images clouded my mind, and I had an inexplicable headache.
The doctor, moving at lightning speed jonnted to me with a huge machine. It was equipped with a breathing mask, and a bag attached with clear liquid. He attempted to put it over my mouth, and I flashed back to Dave, and his torturing chloroform. I completely freaked out squirming, and screaming to be released, but the more I struggled the more I was restrained.
The surgeons all around me pitched in, and held me down while the head doctor cupped the amnesia mask around my face. I tried to fight it, but just like the chloroform the strong scent knocked me out within seconds.
When I woke up, I was back in my hospital room. The excruciating pain that once came from my arm, was gone. I looked over and noticed the blank cast that wrapped my bad arm, skin tight, so much that the circulation to my blood flow was nearly cut off. Still groggy from the amnesia, I looked around the seemingly empty room, but I was struck when I noticed in the corner of the room was a figure.
I squinted trying to see who it was, he came to the foot of my bed, and I rubbed my eyes. “No it couldn’t be, no it was, it was Dave.
I shimmied up my bed stuttering with every word, gulping after every breath. He was just standing there, staring at me. No, scowling at me, his fists were clenched at his sides, blood crusted his ripped shirt. I started to scream, nurse, nurse. I clamped my bed tight, a crowd of nurses raced to my room. “what is it?” They asked concerned, frantically checking my machines for medical problems. I spat out the words, there was a, a ghost in my room.
They looked at each other, then at me smiling, almost laughing. “A ghost?” one asked “yes” I scowled back at them. “I’m the reason he’s dead, and now he’s gonna kill me. You can’t leave me alone again.”
One of the nurses knelt down to my bed like a mother, and told me there was nothing to be afraid of. I furrowed my eyebrows at her, and she frowned, “it’s just a hallucination from the amnesia” she checked my arm. “I’ll go get the doctor so he can clear you, and you can leave, okay.” She got up from the side of the bed, and left the room. By then there were no nurses left in the room, and I was left alone once again.
Still holding on tight to the side of the bed. My eyes carefully searching every dark crevice in the room, he was gone. Dave was completely gone, I started to release my hands, as I realized that I was in a hospital with millions of people, and only a curtain separating me from limitless help twenty-four-seven. Finally I opened my stiff hands, they were so white from me nervously squeezing them so tight. Nail marks indented my palms, and they were still shaking. Staring intently at my hands took my attention away from the doorway. So I didn’t even notice the doctor who walked in. “feeling any better?” He asked clipboard in hand, I remembered the laughs I got when I said there was a ghost in here, so I looked away. “fine I guess, the nurse had obviously already let him in on my so called hulusionation, because when he was listing the side effects, he looked at me to say hulusionations. It was also much more clear and slowly pronounced than the rest of the ones listed. He informed me that the entrance to the hospital was crowded with reporters that were just dying to hear my story, and that it would be a bit hard to get out. I nodded, and patiently sat in bed until it was safe. I hadn’t thought of that I was such big news to everyone, my life was no longer just my business.
Then I remembered, I was about ready to smash my head against a wall nothing changed with the investigation except a little suspect heist, they still probably think I killed my mother. I hung my head. I thought I was done with all of this, “I escaped my captor, and came home for this?” “No I escaped my captor, and came home for Lily, and she’s all that matters right now.” My arm was still stiff, and if I never put any pressure on it, it would be way to soon. So I got up with my other arm, I stretched put on a brave face, and walked out the door.
When I opened the doors, a mob of microphones, flash cameras, and news truck bombarded me. Blocking my sight from everything, and everyone. Questions were shot at me like bullets, so fast I could only understand a few but I didn’t answer any. “This is ridiculous” I thought, “ I’m not a circus freak with eight heads.” Instead I blocked the lights from my eyes, and squeezed my way through the crowd. At the end of the line, there was a red caravan parked in the street, a women with long brown hair, and dark sunglasses stepped out. She shook my good hand and told me her name was Abigail, I soon found out that she was a social worker, here to whisk me away to my new home.
I squinted hoping so hard for a yes at my next question “do you take in babies?” “yes, but the organization I work for in particular takes in injured or sick children only.” I frowned, “I’m going to an impaired orphanage?” She corrected me “we use the term, home, children’s home, and yes you are going.” She motioned me towards the car, and I walked slowly towards the back door but stopped just before I got in, and turned to her. “Can we please just make one pit stop along the way?” I asked right away she answered “no, sorry we have a time limit,” Abigail pointed at her wrist which had no watch on it. “Its an emergency!” I cut her off, “please?” She sighed, “where are you looking to go?” “To the local police station.” I said it quick before she could change her mind, she grimmesed “you have five minutes, and I’m coming with you.” I smiled, and got in the car.
At the station, I got rushed up to the front desk. “I need.. to speak.. with my lawyer..” I said out of breath. “What’s the name?” The desk lady sneered at me, like an angry librarian. “Harold Waters,” the lady typed a few clicks on her keyboard, and then turned less snobby, and more emotional. “He’s deceased, hun.” She gave me a concerning look, my eyes grew big, bloodshot, and adrenaline pumped. I gulped wanting to ask, but I looked up at my time sensitive, social worker, grinding her teeth at the clock. “Then can I see an officer?” She raised her eyebrows “any specifics?” “Officer Kevin” I paused “I don’t know his last name.” She didn’t even type for that one “hunny,” she said taking off her glasses, “he’s on trial, for Harold’s murder.” My head went spinning I really did miss a lot, “okay then can I see someone who is working on my mother’s murder case please?”
“Last name?” She asked, already typing “Andrews” as soon as the name was out, she went on the P.A. “will officer Grant come to the lobby?” She told me to hold on a second while she went to talk to him in private, so I sat down in one of the waiting room chairs. When Grant finally came to talk to me he shook my hand, and asked me what this was about.
I answered boldly
“I know who killed my mother. It was Dave the man who kidnapped me, my father but it was self defence.”
Grant looked at me funny, “and how do you know?” I was starstruck this character, asking me how I knew in my head I wanted to blow up. “Well look at me buddy, I’m the daughter, recently accused of the murderer, you’re trying to catch headline number one kidnapped by my now dead father or don’t you read you’re case? Harold would know”
But out loud I needed him on my side, so I explained the biggest news story and murder case this town had ever witnessed, to the stupidest cop I had ever met. “Because he confessed to me, and my mother told me in a dream. I could see his unamused look so I decided to cut to the chase an to tell what I came to tell. “But if you can’t take my word for it, we have security cameras set up outside our house, you’ll see Dave arriving before the murder, and leaving after time of death. Take them, watch them, that should give enough evidence to get a warrant, which will give you the opportunity to find proof he killed her, and when you do, don’t expect to put him behind bars. He’s already dead,” I saw Grant’s lips get ready to talk so I sped up the conversation. “I know because I was in the car when it happened.” With that, I turned and walked out before he even had the chance to respond.
Walking down the sidewalk to the van, I felt superior, and proud with my awestruck social worker trailing behind me. Now all I had to do, was get Lily, and get out of the system. Little did I know that I had just made a brutal mistake. I had just forgotten to tell the police about Charlie my sweet brother, rest in peace John Doe.
“I admit, it’ll be hard with the press breathing down my neck to run away, but I always find a way.” My head rested on the car window I felt accomplished, like my life was finally falling back into order.
It was a twenty minute ride, long and silent, but finally it was over. Before I spilled out of the cramped van, Abigail stopped me. “I stopped by your house earlier, and got a few of your things.” She reached to the passenger seat, and grabbed my old school bag, I snatched it from her. “You were in my house?” I scowled at her “without me.” She looked surprised at my reaction “yeah, I saw your address on the paperwork and figured Dave didn’t stop to take you clothes shopping.” She chuckled, and I shook my head, giving her a disgusted look. This is ridiculous I got out and walked up to the front steps. As I did, Abigail pulled out of the driveway, I had a lot of hesitation, I could easily run away but then again if I did I would be on the streets alone again, and I would probably have a lot harder time trying to find Lily without access to things like the internet, and social workers.
I knocked on the door softly almost hoping no one would answer, but an elderly women opened the door before I could rule the house empty, and welcomed me in. “Where’s Abigail?” She asked, searching the yard with her beady eyes. “Oh, she drove away, and may I just ask why did she feel like it was a good idea to break into my house?” The woman shook her head, “she’s not supposed to leave you dont mind her, shes new. I’m just glad you didn’t run away, my name is Jane welcome to the drops of courage home for sick girls she cackled, but we just call it D.O.C. I threw a fake smile on my face, and walked into the front lobby. It was an ugly old house, with flower wallpaper peeling off the walls. There was food everywhere, and the carpet was puke green, but worst of all the smell was horrendous, it smelled like old lady and hand sanitizer mixed together. It was bad enough with the strong hospital stench, but combined with cheap perfume, it reeked.
I turned to Jane “it’s nice,” I lied. I didn’t need anyone on my bad side, especially not the adults with the authority to tell me where Lily might be. “Thank you,” she said cluelessly, and walked down the hall follow me she called. I hesitated, and then grabbed my bag off the floor, “coming” I called back.
The first turn we took was around the corner and in the living room, there were about five girls. Two watching television, one reading a book, and two more were playing snakes and ladders at the coffee table. “Girls” Jane called this is Amelia, she is our new addition. The two girls at the tv turned and waved, they were quite obviously identical twins, maybe twelve. The girl reading didn’t even look up from her book, I noticed one of her legs had been amputated and she had a huge scar right down the side of her face. One of the girls playing the board game had a neck brace, and the other was in a wheelchair, with a big machine attached to her. She was the only one who actually came over to me, “hello” she was about six maybe seven. I’m Layla her voice was low and scratchy.
Jane piped up, still in the doorway, “I’ll let you guys get acquainted while I make dinner.” I looked at the clock on the wall, it was already five o clock I looked back at Jane who was already turned to the kitchen. Then, I walked over to the couch with Layla she stayed seated in her wheelchair, “so what happened to your arm?” she asked, trying to start conversation “oh, I tripped, and got impelled by a stick while running away from my sociopath father who kidnapped me. I smiled, and tilted my head as if it were a normal thing and watched as her eyes grew big slowly adjusting to the news. “Okay then” “oh” I said eyeing her machine, “what happened to you?” She looked down, I got second hand smoke from my foster parents. “But your so young,” I couldn’t believe my ears. “yeah” she said changing the conversation, she pointed at her snakes and ladders buddy. That’s Mindy she’s my bestfriend, she broke her neck when she was run over by a bus, so she’s a bit cranky, but do you wanna play with us. I gave a concerning smile “a bus?” I raised my eyebrows “yeah, she laughed “I know” I laughed with her, trying to be polite. “I’ll play” we were introduced and Layla was right, Mindy was cranky we played an awkward game of snakes and ladders for about a half hour before dinner was ready. I barely left anything on the buffet table for anyone else. Being starved really killed the pickiness in me, after dinner I was showed to my room and where the bathroom was. It was the first time in weeks that I was actually able to get ready for bed the proper way. There were four rooms, one for Jane and three for us, my roommate was the girl who was reading the book. The one who didn’t say anything to me, it was an awkward thing having a roommate when I wasn’t used to one, but this was an even higher rank of awkward since she didn’t even talk to me.
“Goodnight” I said all wrapped in the blanket, cautiously awaiting a response, there was none. “Okay then” I rolled my eyes, shut off my light, and fell asleep.