Everything ached when I woke up. I'm talking everything, the essence of a blink made my insides groan. I stayed still, too awake to fall asleep and too tired to get up. I don't how long I was stuck their but it felt like my life was slipping away, much like it had in the hospital. With a mere thought I was reminded of what had happened. The whole night had been a roller coaster, the kind that goes backwards and in loop da loops. To say the final part was a disaster was a complete understatement, the crack of Katie's nose still haunting my mind. I wanted to know what had happened to me and after I'd fallen asleep. I turned my head ignoring the pain and stared at the table. A glass of water and two white pills had been laid out for me. I pushed the pills away and grabbed the water. When a drop of it touched my tongue I realized how thirsty I was. I poured the water down my throat carelessly, it dribbled down my chin but I wiped it away and collapsed back into bed. I didn't get why everything hurt so, I knew what fainting was and I had fainted frequently in the hospital but normally I could just get up and brush myself down. I gathered my body had gotten lazy. Since we had arrived I hadn't been exercising a lot, an I had put on weight due to the portions of food and regular snacks. I didn't mind it actually, the weight made me curvier and actually stopped me from looking like a long haired boy.
"Are you awake." Said a voice from behind the door as I pulled off the clothes from the night before and replaced them with my bottle green sweater.
"No." I said dryly, allowing myself a smile as the familiar material hugged my skin.
"Morning." Said Freddie, bringing a mug of streaming liquid into the room. I took from him, our hands Justin's touching, with a smile. His eyes traveled over to the desk.
"Why didn't you take the paracetamol?"
Well he had me there. "Er... I'm allergic."
"What happened last night?" He asked.
"You tell me, I'm the one who passed out." I said with a sad smile.
"Seriously, she mentioned a ghost story and you literally turned into a pale cactus."
I raised my eyes in confusion and he sighed, as if to say never mind.
"What happened to Vespa?" I said taking a sip of my drink. It instantly made my shoulders drop a little.
"We all came home, Jamie and Milly took Katie to the hospital."
I gritted my teeth, "is Katie ok?"
"Yeah she's broken her nose."
"Sorry." I murmured
"What she said was out of order, I think she's just jealous."
I took another sip. "Of you and me."
Freddie sighed and sat down next to me on the bed. "Just that she's no longer the centre of attention."
My brow furrowed as I argued in my mind whether to ask the question that Finn had put there. "What went on with you two?"
Freddie pushed his hair back, stole my drink from my hands and took a sip. I tilted my head and smiled.
"We used to go out, she flirted with practically every guy she saw so I ended it." I lent my head on his shoulder, not quite knowing what to say.
"How did Noah cut his hand?" Freddie asked.
"He punched Flynn."
"That's a lot of violence in one night." He said with a breathy laugh.
"Tell me about it." I chuckled.
There was a moments silence.
"What happens with you and Vespa last night, you still haven't said." Freddie said, his chin balanced on my head.
"Cassie?" He pleaded, moving so we were directly facing each other.
"It's nothing." I repeated, aware of how close our faces were and how his eyes were looking into mine, as though he was searching. His raised his eyebrows not satisfied with my answer.
"I just like the topic, it's all a bit gruesome." He looked at me, his eyes portraying his doubt obviously.
"It's all a bit plausible, like with ghosts I know they aren't real but people with mental disabilities are."
"Don't get me wrong when I ask this but did you have an eating disorder or something?"
I stared at him in disbelief.
"It's just that you were really skinny when I first met you, your collar bone was literally sticking out." Self consciously my hand rose to my bone. With a light laugh I brushed away his thoughts.
"No, I'm not a big eater and my mum is like a stick. It runs in the family."
"I didn't mean it rudely, just you seemed upset by the talk of mental disorders."
"Like I said." I gave his arm a squeeze. "It's just because those sorts of things can happen, it gets under my skin is all." I said, I wasn't exactly lying. Talk of mentality did get under my skin and so had Katie with her creepily similar story. I gave Freddie a quick peck on the cheek and he left.
I stared at myself in the mirror. I was paler than normal and dark circles had begun to form under my eyes. I played with my hair, pulled it up and pulled it down until my finger caught on something. A protruding line of flesh just on the inside of my hairline. I touched it over and over, making sure I wasn't just imagining it.
Vespa burst through the door, a worried expression on her face. My hand dropped from my head. “Can I talk to you.” I nodded and sat back down on my bed. “What's the matter?” She asked.
“You've got an odd expression on your face.” Vespa said, leaning on the closed door with her arms crossed.
“You wanted to talk to me, what do you want?” I said, feeling defensive all of a sudden. The scar meant bad things, I didn't know what those bad things were but with every though a weird feeling crept through my body.
“It's Noah.” I rolled my eyes, not meaning to be rude but everything about him seemed to irritate me at the moment.
“What about him?” I moved to my wardrobe and began picking out some clothes. I wanted to go running, to clear my mind and focus on the scar, I knew its memory was tucked somewhere in my head I just needed to unleash it.
“He's been having nightmares.” I turned to her with my eyebrows raised.
“Everybody gets nightmares.”
“This is something worse. He keeps screaming. I tried to calm him down when I first heard him but he wouldn't wake-up... I grabbed his shoulders and his eyes opened but he just screamed in face, he...he wouldn't let go of me... It was like he was possessed.”
“Yes it was terrifying.”
I allowed myself a sad smile. “No he's having night terrors, well that's what it sounds like from your description.”
Vespa sighed loudly and pushed her hand through her hair. “Why do you think they've started.”
“I'm not a doctor Vespa.”
“You're no help.” Vespa got up quickly and headed for the door. I grabbed her arm to stop her.
“It's probably a memory from the hospital. Did he say anything to you?”
“He told me to get off of him but I wasn't touching him.”
I thought for a second. “I'm guessing that he is remembering being restrained by the nurses but it's not definite.”
“Is there anything that can stop it.”
Vespa stared at me.
“Nothing really, have you tried talking to him about it.” I said.
Vespa stayed quiet for a moment, avoiding my eyes. “He's being really weird at the moment.” She said fiddling with her fingers. I raised my eyebrows, I had never seen Vespa look so broken. Yes I had seen her upset but this was different, she seemed to of shrunk in on herself. Her hair was messy and her eyes slightly red. She had been crying. I felt so stupid. I had been so set on the scar that I had forgotten about what was important. I went over to her and gave her a hug. She stayed rigid in my arms but her voice cracked as she whispered into my ear.
“One second he's all cute and lovely but then he just doesn't want to talk to me or even look at me. I asked him what was wrong the other day and he just shouted at me and told me to stop pestering. I don't know what I’ve supposed to have done wrong but...” Vespa began to sob into my shoulder.
“He's a boy, sometimes they're just like that.”
Vespa wiped her nose on my sweater. “Freddie doesn't seem like that.”
I laughed. “He pushed me off a cliff.” Vespa didn't respond. “ Vespa, he's broken, the three of us are, of course we're gonna go through stages like this. The other week you threw china at me and you broke a girl's nose yesterday.”
Vespa sniffed loudly. “She did deserve it.”
“Yeah she did.”
I ran along the beach, the sea air dampening my face as I passed through the mist. I didn't care that I couldn't feel my legs anymore, I was busy. I needed to think. With the 'Noah' situation half dealt with I could focus on the scar. I breathed slowly, my eyes half closed. Strangely running didn't feel as good as it usually did. It hurt, a lot. I gathered it was due to the lack of adrenaline. After twenty minutes or so I slowed to a halt and collapsed onto the sand, panting like a dog. I felt the scar again. Nothing, not a single thing.
“Sweetie.” called an old lady. I followed her gaze to a dog thrashing in the sea. “Sweetie.” she called again, her voice impatient.
“Sweetie, ssh it's ok. It's just a small operation. It's going to take the pain away, I promise.” said the nurse, touching my forehead softly as a team of helpers held down my thrashing limbs.
“Get off me.” I screamed, tears streaming down my face as I fought hysterically. I couldn't see anything, my eyes felt like they had been sewn shut, I didn't want to see what was going on. I wanted to be left alone. I didn't care about the pain because it kept me sane, it helped me remember what had happened eight years previously. I was thirteen but I could remember that day clearly. The bright light and the intense pulling.
“Now just going to feel a small prick.”
I sprung forward, free from the restraints for just a second. I kicked and punched my thin limbs and I ran. I pushed through the white doors. I had no idea how I had broken their hold but they were no longer hurting me. I ran, faster than I had ever before. I had all this information in my and all I had to do was get out and then... and then this would all be over. I could go back to my family. I wouldn't be sat staring at white walls all day. The books said with knowledge came power and I felt powerful as I sped through the never ending white corridors. My hospital gown swung around my ankles and I grew tired, my legs aching but I wouldn't stop. I had to get out, I had to. An alarm began ringing loud and insistent.
I ducked into a cupboard, full of hospital gowns and sheets. I sat. I waited. I would wait until the commotion had ended. Then I would run. I sat patiently, breathing quietly and day dreaming about the life that awaited me. For the first time in a long time, I smiled. It was giddy smile and I was drunk on happiness. I closed my eyes. I would soon be in the arms of my handsome father and my beautiful mother. We'd all be laughing because we would be together like it was planned.
Time didn't pass quickly, I waited and waited every second was agony. I was day dreaming, my mind in another place but my body stayed rigid, hidden behind a shelf. I didn't want to be found. No one had even passed the door, but I was constantly aware of every sound. Every footstep, every creak, even my own breaths were a stranger. Giving me a heart attack whenever I breathed just a little too loudly. With no windows it was hard to tell how much time had gone by. I busied myself counting in my head. Every minute, hour. Hour after hour. After what felt like an eternity. I got up. I paced for a bit, warming up for one final run. I opened the door just a tiny bit and looked both ways. Nobody. The halls were empty.
I stepped out. My head snapped in every direction, searching for somebody. Nobody. Every thing was eerily empty. I began walking, my pace slower than a jog faster than a stroll. Every door I went through I checked. The possibility of freedom took over and I broke into a run. I breathed slowly, running, running, running. I had to focus. My eyes were trained for any movement, my ears sensitive to sound. I slowed to a stop and crept down the corridor. Through a circular window in a door in front. I could see the nurses, conversing quietly. Keeping an eye on them I turned a corner.
My body felt like it had run into a brick wall. I stared upwards, it wasn't a brick wall, it was a man. He stared down at me his eyes wide but measured. He grabbed my wrists and pulled me to my feet.
“Spencer.” I cried, breaking from his hold and wrapping my arms around his waist. He was here to save me from the madness. An old friend. My happiness took the better of me and I started crying again. “I can't believe you came for me.” I murmured into his torso. He took my hands from his waist and bent to my level. Even at thirteen he was practically double my height. My giant friend and his beautiful dog.
“You need to go back.” He said evenly, looking into my eyes.
I stared at him as if he were mad. “No, I'm getting out of here, isn't that why you're here, to get me out?” I was so confused. Where was my prince in shining armor?
“You won't help anybody if you leave.”
I blinked in disbelief. I shook my head. “No I..”
“What you're doing is helping the world, you're part of something very special.”
“Why are you here, if not to help me?” I was so confused, why was my prince corrupted, his armor dirty and his chivalry turned upset down. The tears of happiness were replaced with confusion.
“This is my work.”
“Spencer?” I cried, my breaths getting faster. He held my wrist and pushed me back, he was taking me back. “Spencer, stop it.” I screamed. “Stop, no I can't go back. I want family back, Spencer.” Spencer stopped for a second and I thought maybe gotten through to him.
“I won't let them hurt you, I promise.” He moved again, pulling at my wrists.
“No.” I screamed, yanking hard. He let go and I fell backwards, slamming into a wall. In my confusion I was weak. He scooped up my body. A mere doll compared to him. I writhed in his arms. Shrieking like a tiny animal stuck in a trap. “No.” He took me back to that room. They laid me on the table and everything began to disappear, the puzzle pieces disappearing from the memory.
“No.” I was so tired, tired of fighting, my body had to give in eventually. I kissed the possibility of freedom goodbye.