My eyes shot wide open, but the bright white light above me forced them closed again. I slowly open my eyes again for them to adjust to the light that’s blinding my eyes. I rub my them until they stop burning only to see a hospital band on my left wrist.
“Where am I?” I whisper to myself, my voice is raspy and dry like I haven’t had anything to drink in days. I look to my right to see my arm hooked up to an empty IV and I yank it out. My hearts starts to pound. I don’t remember how I got here. I don’t remember anything.
I quickly get up only to fall to my knees besides the hospital bed. My legs feel like jello and wont stop shaking. I push myself up, using the edge of the bed as my crutch. I look around my surroundings to see the bathroom door is open, i slowly make my way to it. My legs wont stop shaking and I have to stop myself a few times so I wont fall. The 20 feet from the hospital bed to the bathroom door feels like 20 miles.
As I finally make my way to the bathroom door, I go the sink to splash water on my face. The cold water feels good on my skin. I dry my hands and face off with bottom of my hospital gown. Then my eyes meets my reflection.
My hands that were once tightly gripping the edge of the sink were now roaming my face. My left hand ran over the stitches that were across my head, while my right hand still held me steady. Dark circles surrounded my eyes, which made me look like I haven’t slept in days. My lips were chapped and pale. I lean closer to the mirror, the person in the reflection is not myself. I don’t recognize who she is. I let my head fall down between my shoulders to search for some sort of memory of who I am. But my mind is blank. I cant remember anything before today. I can’t remember my name, who I am, why I am here.
I slowly lift my head up back to my reflection. “I need to figure out what is going on.” I whisper to myself, my voice is still barely there. I brush my hair out of my face with my hand, and thats when I notice something is written on the palm of my left hand. It’s smudged from the water but I can make out what it says. ‘Trust no-one. Don’t take the pills.’
My heart starts to pound in my ears. This has to be a dream. And that’s when I hear the door to the hospital room open.
“Miss Riley?” My heart skips a beat as I hear that mans voice. Heavy footsteps make there way towards me. “Miss Riley, you cannot be out of bed.” The tall man gently grabs my arms and guides me over to the bed. He’s wearing my blue nursing outfit, and his hair is short and military cut like. The nurse sits me down in bed and lays the blanket on top of me. That’s when I see the medicine cart that’s waiting in the middle of the room.
“You can’t get out of bed without help, you’re too weak for that.” He makes his way towards the medicine cart with his back towards me. My mind is racing. He’s going to give me pills. I have to find a way not to take them. My brain is going a mile a minute freaking out. The male nurse makes his way back towards me with two cups. One filled with water, the other that contains two pills. “Here you go.” He hands them to me. I look up at him and I’m hesitant with taking them from his hands. “What are these for?” My voice is shaky and my palms start to clam up.
“For your injuries Miss Riley. You have been taking them twice times a day since your accident.“ His tone is soft and sweet, it makes me feel like I can trust him. He pushes the cups back out towards me, I slowly take them from his hands. I put the pills in my mouth and I attempt to hide them under my tongue without the nurse noticing. I then swallow the water which feels so good against my dry throat. “Your IV is out?” He looks me in my eyes, and I can feel my heart racing.
“I guess so, I woke up wi-with it out of my arm.” I try my best not to swallow the pills as I answer his question. The nurse takes the cups from my hands, and makes his way back to his cart. “Okay then, Ill come back with a new IV and new fluid in a minute.” He tells me while hes marking something off of his chart. He makes his way out of the room and shuts the door behind him. I take the pills out of my mouth and put them under my pillow, only to feel a piece of paper also under it.
‘Leave before dinner. Take the east stairway.’ It’s the same handwriting from earlier. I leave the paper under my pillow, just to hear the door open again. A nurse comes in but its not the same one from earlier. It’s a female nurse.
“Miss Riley, you’re not sleepy yet?” Her tone suggests that I should already be asleep from taking that medicine. I lift my arms above my head and fake a yawn. “I’m exhausted, I was just fighting sleep to see you put my IV back in.” The nurse smiles and reaches for my arm to get started on the reason she came in here. “Miss Riley, you have witnessed me putting this IV in you so many times, get some rest.” She pierces my skin with a needle that only hurts for a second, and then I can feel the coldness rushing through my veins. “Uhh nurse?” The small blonde nurse looks up from my arm and nods her head signaling me to continue with my question. “When is dinner? I’m hungry.” The nurse gives me a confused look, “dinner is a 6:30.” She points to the clock on the wall that reads 2:00. I nod my head. She seemed surprised I didnt know what time dinner was, Im guessing she’s not in tuned with my memory lost.
The nurse leaves the room and I start to panic. I have until 6:30 before I have dinner and lose my memories again. I take the IV out of my arm and I start to search the room for any other notes to help me out. After a good 15 minutes of searching I came up empty handed.
“I have to get out of here.” I say under my breath.
I walk towards the door, feeling stronger than earlier. The door opens to a long hallway of other patients rooms. I softly close my door behind me and I catch a glimpse of someone in the room in front of me. I walk towards their door and I press my face onto the window on the door. Theres a guy, sleeping in his bed and he looks around my age. If I had to guess, me and him are going through the same thing. I back away from his door and look towards my left, theres a few more patient rooms and an elevator. I shake my head no, I have a feeling that is a bad idea.
I turn to my right, and I make my way further down the hallway to find myself standing in front of a supply closet. By some strong, strange instinct I duck inside the closet and sit myself against the door. I stay this way for a minute, my breathing starts to calm down and I can faintly make out a laundry bin in front of me. I get up and make my way towards it. I reach inside and can tell these are dirty by the way they smell, but anything is better than this hospital gown I have on. I untie the gown, and notice there’s stitches on the lower half of my stomach. They look older than the once’s on my head.
I start to put the blue scubs on. But stop myself halfway. This isn’t the first time I have done this. My body aches with this feeling I cannot shake. I quickly finish changing and start to look for a pen. I find eventually find one on the bottom shelving near the clothing bin. I start to write over what was on my palm, it’s faded and hard to read. And if I forget again, this will come in handy.
Come’on. Just open the door.
I take a deep breath and step into the hallway. My eyes adjust to the harsh hospital light and I can faintly hear talking from around the corner.
“Which one?” A forcefull tone escapes from their conversation. I cannot see who is talking but I can tell they’re not happy with whatever is going on.
“Uh I’m not sure. I was just-” The second person is cut off by the first one. “What do you mean you’re not sure? It’s your job to be sure!” The first voice seems more threatening and angry then before. The second voice starts talking again but it‘s too quiet for me to make anything from it. I need to find a way out. I start to look around my surroundings and I have two options. One, to go towards the voices and see if there’s something there. Or two, go back to where I came from and go into that elevator.
I would rather not get involved with those people. So I turn towards the elevator and quickly make my way towards it. On my way over there I notice that all the patients are sleeping and we’re all about the same age. Whatever is going on with me, it’s happening to them too.
I click the down button, and hope that nobody is inside of the elevator.
The elevator door dings, and my heart skips a beat. The door opens slowly. And I hold my breath, hoping no one is inside.
“Riley?” Oh no. My eyes meet these piercing blue eyes. My heart starts to race. This woman knows who I am and now im screwed.
The woman in the elevator rushes towards me and embraces me in a hug. My body is shocked by her touch and I stand like a plank of wood. “I thought I would never see you again.” She pulls away and tucks my hair behind my ear. This woman gives me a soft smile before her face turns as white as snow.
“Riley. How are you here?” Her tone is less friendly this time. I wish I knew the answer to her question.
“I don’t know. I don’t even know who you are.” I manage to say. I feel like that was the wrong thing to tell her because she started to tear up.
“You don’t know who I am? Riley, do you remember anything?” The concern in her voice is suprisingly comforting, I feel like I knew her for a long time and she cares for me.
“I cant remember anything from before lunch.” The tears start to fall down her cheek.
“Riley. I need you to trust me.” She says through her sniffles.
Oh no. What was written on my hand said not to trust anyone. But this woman seems like she knows me, and her presence here makes me feel safe. Still frozen from earlier, I shake my head in agreement.
“Come this way.” She takes my hand and leads me to the other side of the hallway where the strange voices were. “I’m Eli. We were- are friends.” Eli tells me as we turn the corner. The people I was hearing earlier are gone, and its just another long hallway of patients‘ rooms.
“Eli. Eli! Stop!” I tear my hand away from her. We’re in the middle of the hallway and I look at the clock above her head. 5:00. I only have a hour and half left to leave.
“We cannot stop Riley. They will be looking for you.” Eli takes a step closer to me, removing the distance between us. “I just found you, I cannot lose you again.” My breathing starts to race and I start to feel hot. I don’t know if I can trust her, but I know that I had some sort of history with this woman. And she’s the only person that has given me some sort of way to understand who I am.
Eli turns around and picks up her pace. I follow her down the hallway and around another corner. I follow her for what seems forever until we reach a stairway.
“This is the way out Riley. Please leave this time. I cannot do this again.” Again?
“Eli. What do you mean again?” My voice breaks. She gives me a sad smile.
“Riley, this is the second time I have led you to this stairway. I thought you made it out. I thought you were-” Her voice breaks like mine. “I thought you were safe from this place.” Eli clears her throat, and motions me to leave.
“Can you explain to me what is going on? Please.” I plead to Eli, but all she does is shakes her head. “It‘s better that you don’t remember. Last time this happened, I explained everything. And you didn’t actually leave.” She takes a deep breath. “This time it will be different. Leave now.” Eli‘s kind energy leaves her body with those last words. My eyes leave hers and towards the stairs. I shake my head and blink away the tears.
“Okay. Goodbye then Eli.” I look back to her and give her a smile, she returns it and leaves back the way we came from. I then make my way to the stairs.
I start to make my way down the stairs and I am only left with my racing thoughts. I cannot help but wonder who Eli is, and why she helped me. I then look down at my palm and trace over the written words. ‘Trust no-one. Don’t take the pills.’ Those words were written for a reason, and even though I shouldn’t trust Eli. She gave me a sense of safety, like I have known her my whole life.
I reach the bottom of the stairs and the only thing that is waiting for me is a big black door. I take a deep breath, and I hope that Eli is worth trusting. I push against the door, and it takes all of my force for it to open.
A nice cool breeze meets my faces as I step outside. I let out a big sign of relief. I did it. Im out. I start to walk to the metal chained fence that is in front of me. I then turn around to realize I am in some sort of courtyard that is overgrown, and uncared for. I start to scan the area only to see my way out is over the fence. I make my way closer to the fence and start to attempt to climb to freedom.
“Stop!” The threatening voice from earlier in the hallway breaks the beautiful silence. I’m only 5 feet off of the ground so I start to climb faster to the top. But the man pulls me down before I escape. I hit the ground hard, knocking the air out of my lungs and forcing my eyes shut.
“She tried to escape.” One voice says. “I don’t know who helped her… Don’t start with me. Her blood work shows she didnt take her dosage this afternoon.” Another voice says. I try to open my eyes by the lights are brighter than the one from my room. “She’s waking up.” The same voice says. “Good. Then maybe we can figure out who on the inside is helping her.” After the first voice is done talking, I hear a crash and someone else mumbles about how the person just broke something.
My eye adjust to the light, and they’re finally able to put a face to the second voice. It’s a middle aged man, who’s hair is messy and looks like it hasn’t been washed in days. He‘s leaning over a computer besides me, his glasses slowly start to slip off of his face while he types stuff into the computor.
The door to this big white room slams open and I try to turn my head to see who just entered, but my head is secured in this chair along with my arms and legs.
“This is the woman who helped Riley escape.” The man who was breaking things came back, and walked into my line of eyesight. He was about the same age as the other guy, but had a beard and shorter hair. With grey highlights scattered thoughout it. The women he had his hands gripped around was Eli. Blood was coming from her mouth and her short black hair was all messed up. Another man came to take Eli and strap her down like how I was.
“What is going on?!” I scream. The man who seems to be in charge of it all steps closer to me. Tears were streaming down my face and I can feel myself getting hot. The man chuckles at me, He turns around and motions something to the person standing next to Eli, and then he turns back to me.
The people around Eli moved enough where I can see what is going on. Shes asleep, an anesthesia tank is hooked up to her and there’s people around her that look like they’re preparing for surgery.
“What are you doing to her?” I start to panic, I might not know her like I should, but I do know that I care for her.
“Someone just bought a kidney.” He said it so calmly, it was teriffing. They start opening her up and I can hear the monitors that are hooked up to her going crazy.
I don’t stop screaming. I start failing my legs and arms. I have to get out. I have too. Someone comes over and then its dark again.
My eyes meet the blinding light above me. I throw the blanket over my head, which is pounding with a headache.
“Good morning Miss Riley, I hope you’re up for some breakfast.” A chippy voice, which makes my headache worse, comes into the room and places a breakfast tray on top on my lap. I take the blanket off of my head and props myself up on my elbows. “How are we feeling this morning?” Her voice rings in my ears, and I just shake my head. “Okay Miss Riley, well eat up and another nurse will come in here and give you your meds.” The girl leaves me alone with my headache and the breakfast she brought me. I take it off of my lap and places it on the end table next to my bed.
I start to stretch but a sharp pain in the middle of my chest makes me let out a scream. My hand flies to my chest and I can feel bandages underneath the hospital gown. Whatever put me into the hospital, I’m glad its over now.
Another person comes into the room, its a different nurse this time. “Hello, Miss Riley. Im your nurse for today, how are you doing?” Something about this nurse is different then the other one. “I’m good, my chest just hurts.” I tell her, the nurse makes her way towards me and hands me two pills and some water. “I think that’s pretty normal after surgery.” She gives me a small laugh, and a soft smile which makes me feel safe.
As she walks over towards, her hand wraps around her waist and with every step it looks like she’s in pain.
“Are you okay?” I asked, the nurse makes her way towards me and shakes her head yes.
“Now take your medicine, it will help with the pain.” The nurse says with a smile. I do as she says and I finish the water she gave me. I had the water back to her and that’s when I notice her name tag.
“Eli.” I read out loud, her name runs circles in my head. It sounds so familiar. I look up at her and her bright blue eyes meet mine. “Yes Miss Riley?” Nurse Eli asks me with a tilted smile, a strand of her black hair falls out of her bun.
“Oh sorry, it‘s just. Your name sounds familiar.” My heart starts to beat faster and my hands start sweating. Nurse Eli makes her way back to her medicine cart. “Oh just one of those names probably.” I nod my head and lay back on to my bed. “I will check back in with you later Miss Riley.” Nurse Eli leaves in a hurry, leaving me alone with my thoughts. I start to fidget with my hands. For some reason I cant recall why I am here. After some time, I notice something written on my palm. It’s very smudged, barely there. But I can kinda make out what it says.
‘Trust no-one. Don’t take the pills.’