Sleeping was peaceful, it stopped me from thinking about what had happened. Sometimes I would wake and just stare at the white ceiling for a while, trying not to let myself think, after a while I just closed my eyes and enjoyed the dark. I dreamed about Vespa, running wild in the woods. Her blonde hair snaked around her pretty face and her tattoo shone on her pale skin. I tried to erase the images of her dead body but often she would drop, her skin going blue and molding in the woods. Other times her body would be swallowed by the leaves. I hated knowing that she would just be forgotten. I dreamt of Noah too, sketching in his book, faces so real that they lept of the page. He was incredibly gifted. In one particular dream he drew Spencer as the Mad Hatter. Spencer would leak out of the drawing and try to drag me away. When I woke screaming, I was alone. There were also times that I would see him running away from me. I called his name over and over again to no avail. I hated being lonely with only Vespa's body to comfort. Sometimes she would rise, her t-shirt still covered in blood, and talk to me. In the nicer dreams we would relive our time with Lillian and Freddie but other times she would scream at me. It's your fault I'm dead.
We could of left before
You should of told us about Spencer.
I tried my best to ignore her taunts but she was right. I had held the truth from both of them. By doing so I endangered the people I valued most, Lillian, Freddie, Noah, Vespa and even Flynn. I was completely unaware about what was going on. I didn't even know if Noah was still alive. Anything could of happened when he had run off. Anything. Against my will I pictured his dead body rotting somewhere in the woods. I wondered that if he was dead would his and Vespa's souls meet up again. Would they be dead together or where their ghosts both stumbling around looking for their loved one. I had caused that. Other times I dreamt of Freddie, his silky voice echoing through my thoughts. Watching our kisses over and over again, I would here his voice, singing in that way the guitar notes trickling over the scenes. I wanted him to be with me too, I wanted his arms to hold me tight and never let me go. Without him my heart felt empty. I couldn't go back to a time where I was without him because I was a different person then.
If I didn't think about them I thought about the Darlington Pileup. Was it PTSD that caused us to be here? Why were our parents told we were dead? I didn't doubt that that was the reason we were at the hospital. It added up, we had been at the hospital for ten years and the Pileup was on it's tenth anniversary. I kept wondering why though. I was desperate to know the answer, my dreams could never comprehend something for me to believe in.
I thought about what my old life was like. What Alice was like. It was somehow fitting my real name was Alice. I was stuck in a wonderland of my own. Was a nice child, was I chubby, did I love my parents. Who were my parents. I sometimes thought that maybe I was the child of the actress Elle's mother had compared me too. It was fitting, how I dreamt of my mother coming back from a film set. All I knew was that that memory was right before the accident. We had been going to the beach when it happened. Maybe that’s the for Noah's scares, was it possible he was at the heart of the accident? I hated the state of not knowing.
Sometimes I dreamt of what my life would've been like had I not gone into the hospital. I wouldn't of met Freddie or Noah or any of my family. Would I have been happy. I often dreamt about myself attending premieres of – what had Noah called them? - indie films. Maybe I would of gone to a boarding school or an acting school. Would I be popular, would I have a boyfriend. There were so many possibilities. Possibilities that I wanted to live. I would be a completely different person. I might have dyed my hair or pierced my ears. What would I have worn, would I like reading? I could walk past Vespa on the street and we wouldn't even share a glance. If I was a nasty person I might look down on her dark colored clothes. My first kiss wouldn't be wasted on Flynn, maybe I would have been with a romantic boy and be like a scene from a movie but then again it could have just been in some sleazy night club. There was so much to think of. Everything contributed to a person's life. The way they are brought up, the people they hang around, the food they eat, the way they talk and the clothes they wear. The only thing I was definite on was that I would have been a completely different person.
Often I read in books about fate leading people together. If I hadn't been in the hospital how else would I of met Freddie. In some mysterious way or on a holiday to the beach. Maybe the beach we had been going too was the one by the village. If we'd made out destination I might have met him then. Or maybe he would've been scouting for his musical talent and he would be back up for a band I might have gone to concert too. I spent a lot of time dreaming up scenarios of our meeting. I wanted to believe that if we hadn't of meet in the village then we would meet some other. I wanted to believe that we could have been together no matter what but I couldn't. My mind wouldn't let me.
There were times where I would dream of nothingness. Sometimes I wasn't even sure if I was looking at the ceiling or sleeping. I would relive the songs I remembered from the shop over and over in my head.
I woke up to see the doctor standing over my bed. I looked at lazily and then turned away from him to snuggled under the covers of my bed.
“You can sleep all you want later but we have important things to discuss.” said the doctor matter-of-factly. I didn't respond.
“Look at me.”
“Are you talking to me because you haven't addressed me.” I murmured staring at the white wall daringly. If he wanted to discuss something I wasn't going to give in easily. This was my sleepy protest. There was silence in the room. Spencer pulled my shoulders so that I had to face the doctor. He gave the both of us a satisfied smile. I returned the smile and closed my eyes. I let my mind be carried away. I didn't want to talk and I didn't have too.
“Alice?” said the doctor cautiously. I opened my eyes slowly and looked at Spencer who was staring at the doctor.
“Is that what you want to be called?”
“Well that is my name.” I said tiredly.
“Ok, this is more serious than I thought.” said the doctor writing something down on his notepad. I blinked slowly, moving my shoulders from Spencer's grip, he had no right to hold me like that.
“What is more serious.”
The doctor looked up at me. “Do you know the definition of the Oneirataxia?”
“No.” I mused. “I lost my dictionary a long time ago. “
The doctor eyed me strangely. “Oneirataxia is the inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality. It's a mental disorder. We are worried that you cannot tell the difference anymore.”
I sat up. “What are saying?”
“Where have you been for the past few months?”
I grimaced. “In a village by the sea.”
“Wrong. You have been in a coma. You overdosed on your pills.” Said the doctor.
My world came crashing down around me. None of it had been real. None of it. Freddie, Vespa, Noah. Were they not real.
“You're wrong.” I muttered.
“Think about the characters you dreamt about. Spencer filled us in. Noah and Harley was it?”
“Vespa.” I corrected. “How can you say that they were not real. I watched her die. I saw Tiger's dead body. How could I make up something like that.”
“You're imagination has been broadened by the books you were supplied with. We think the drugs you took amplified the characters from the books causing you to mix them with nurses you have identified with.”
“What?” I shouted.
“Well in particular 'Noah' you described him as tall with unruly hair, well don't you think that description fits Spencer.” I looked up at Spencer.
“No they look nothing..” I began.
“Vespa.” I shrieked. “Her name was Vespa, Harley does not even sound the same. One is a scooter one is a motorcycle.” mimicking the words Vespa had used against Freddie.
The doctor tilted his condescendingly. “As I was saying, you described Vespa in a way that fit Jessica the nurse you grew very close with.”
I shook my head. He was lying, he had to be.
“And Lillian, she was just another version of Bertha wasn't she.”
“No.” I screamed. “Lillian wasn't a god-freak that told me I was possessed by the devil.” I darted forward to wrap my hands around the Doctor's throat, to stop him from saying that that wasn't real. Spencer caught me and pushed me back on to the bed.
“Doctor, I think she's heard enough. It's a lot to take in considering.” Spencer said quietly. The doctor nodded, bid the two of us goodbye and left the room. I stared at Spencer as he moved to sit in the seat by my bed. I pulled the covers around me, everything had gone cold, the doctors words ran like ice through my head.
“He's lying.” I muttered. Spencer didn't move or make an effort to talk. “Isn't he?” Spencer didn't talk just sighed. I jumped up, causing Spencer to flinch, and dove under my bed. The hole had been fixed and my books were gone. Slowly I returned to my bed. I curled into a tight ball and pushed myself into the corner of the bed. I closed my eyes and told myself that they were lying. I could tell the difference between reality and fantasy. Everything had been real, all except for those dreams with Spencer as the Hatter.
I wasn't sure how long had passed. It felt like forever. I could no longer dream or recall everything because I was convinced that if I fell asleep then I would just fall into a story which I would be told wasn't real. I knew in my heart that what I had been through was real but that didn't stop there mean words digging and niggling into my head.
Spencer sat by my side for most days, watching but never really speaking. When I woke crying, he would stare at me as though I was a wild animal, unpredictable and disgusting. Sometimes I would crawl under my bed to escape his scrutinizing stare. All to often it would remind me of hiding beneath Tiger's bed. I hated remembering things because I could no longer tell if it was real or not. When Spencer found me curled under the bed, he pushed my food to me and took his place in the chair.
One day when he came in I had moved to the corner of the bedroom, sitting wrapped in the duvet and staring at the wall. He said nothing just pulled the chair closer to where I was sitting and guarded me. His presence soon began comfort me as it once had. Being alone, my thoughts ran away with me. That day as Spencer left to get my food I sat in his chair. When he came back he actually laughed and sat on my bed.
I took my pills everyday. What was the point in arguing. Spencer would watch as I took them. He explained that the government had allowed them to make me consume my medication so that I wasn't a danger to myself. I didn't exercise anymore. There was no where to run and I was too tired to get up everyday let alone do situps. I think I was being made to take sleeping pills because I spent most of my time sleeping, and if I wasn't sleeping I was tired. There was no mirror to look in but I knew my eyes were puffy. I could feel my body wasting away. Sometimes I couldn't even finish my meals because everything I ate made me feel ill. Some nights I had particularly bad nightmares which caused my to throw up what I had managed to eat. The dreams mostly consisted of being surrounded by the bodies of my friends, they would fall, blood spurting from wounds and I would wake up screaming so much it caused me to throw up in my room.
As the days went by I grew more and more distant. I stayed in bed most of the time. I had no desire to do anything I didn't want to exercise and I certainly didn't want to read. Reading made me fall into the imagination whirlwind again. I didn't want to fall any more, it hurt and every time it was harder to get back up. I had given in. I couldn't believe in the fairytale of Freddie, Noah and Vespa anymore. It made it easier to think it was all a dream, I couldn't miss something that wasn't real and it meant that real people hadn't died because of my mistakes.