It is a shadow of the ending.
I open my eyes.
The first thing I notice is that we’re moving. I try to sit up, but a hand holds me down. Panic takes a hold of me and I start to thrash. Memories flood me. Claws for my face, the maw of the beast, the monster, the TRIGGER that’s not-
“DRU!” Mayday puts her hand on my cheek and I squint in the light to see Mayday’s face. She is all dirtied and bloody and her make up is so messed up she looks like a beautiful disaster. “Dru, we’re in the hospital. We’re ok. You did it.”
I breathe too heavy, my everything is on fire. I let my head drop back down and I pass back out.
Easing out of the darkness, I cough. I sit up straight in the bed with the starchy sheets I find myself in. I flinch at the pain in my stomach, looking down I see that underneath the hospital gown there is gauze.
“Cover up.” Wren walks in and immediately covers his eyes. “You’ve got visitors of all the genders possible here. Be decent.”
Mayday smacks his arm, and comes in to immediately sit on the edge of the bed. I sit up a bit more and rub my temples.
“How long was I out?”
“Wren, stop!” Mayday rolls her eyes, she looks tired, her eyes puffy. “It’s been a little over twenty four hours, you’ve been out cold on pain meds, how are you feeling?”
“Uh…like I fought a demon. Broke ribs. And maybe I am definitely gonna suffer from PTSD.”
“Sounds about fucking right.” Wren walks over to the curtain drawn in between my bed and the others. I’m about to tell him to stop and then when it draws back I see Doc there. He looks about as bad as I feel, but my god, it’s a relief to see him alive and not in a casket. I did it. He’s not dead. I’m not dead. Wren isn’t dead. Mayday isn’t dead. We are all here, and we are alive because I literally faced my demon and I am alive and it is gone.
“Rise and shine, Doc-y boy!”
“I have been awake, and ‘doc-y boy?’” Doc inhales sharply while he smiles slightly. He’s obviously in pain, and I’m obviously in pain, and we are obviously in a hospital. We are obviously recovering from a traumatic experience, and yet we are smirking and holding back laughter, mostly likely hysterical laughter. It almost escapes my lips, but the searing pain stops me.
“I think it’s charming.”
“Don’t encourage him, damnit.”
I lean back into the pillows and watch my friends, and as they banter, as they start to ease back into normalcy, all noise tunes out. There is a ringing in the air. Out of the corner of my eye, there is the bathroom door, slightly ajar, encased in shadow. The shadows shudder and shiver, and when I turn around to face it, and it draws back. It draws back and something stirs in my chest. I gulp and set my jaw, my heart starting to race a bit. The machine I’m attached to starts to pick that up and I take a breath and hold it to look back at my friends.
I blink. “What?”
“The trailer.” She pauses, and pulls out her phone. “It’s gone viral. They’re covering up the attacks as crazed fans. It’s nuts.”
“We’re officially part of an urban legend.” Wren says, and his brother frowns at him.
“You say that like it’s a good thing.”
“Well, I mean…We’re all alive, aren’t we? Isn’t that a plus?”
I cut in. “What do you mean about that?”
“Are you up for the movie still being released?” Mayday bites her lower lip, conflict bright in her eyes. Doc sits up a bit straighter, interested, and Wren is obviously holding back his two cents.
The feeling digs a bit deeper in my gut, something that I can’t ignore. I gulp again and sit up a bit more, regardless of the pain. I wring the sheet over me in my hands and then shrug.
The space between my ears vibrates, shakes, a tremor that is too new but already too familiar.
“I mean, I should let what I started finish, right?”
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