The Cosh

Written for the 'Who Framed Klaris Cliff?' Competition. Jamie is a hard-working, ambitious Year 11 student, who finds his imagination piqued by an image of Caravaggio's 'Medusa'. How will he avoid The Cosh when he wakes up to discover Michael - not so much a voice in his head as a voice in his kitchen?

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4. A Few Days Later...

Where am I? The bright white light  beams down on my prostrate form, dazzling me, so that I can only make out vague white shapes moving around me. I try to sit up but find myself restrained by tight bonds at my neck, chest, wrists and ankles. Panic. My heart accelerates so quickly, I feel like it's going to propel itself right out of my chest; there's something rising in my throat, I think I'm going to be sick - 

It's just a scream. A scream that is silenced by the block that is placed in my mouth and clamped shut. I realise now that the white shapes are people, I can hear them talking to each other in hushed, professional tones. There is also the sound of things on wheels being moved around, several digital beeps and pips, the high-pitched whine of a drill. Someone starts counting backwards from twenty...

Nineteen...

Eighteen...

Seventeen...

Si...

***

I lapse in and out of consciousness. I don't know how long I've been here, but I'm no longer restrained. I'm in a different room now too, with more subtle lighting, tranquil colours and just the steady pip of a monitor by my bedside that tells me my heart is still beating.

 


***

This time when I wake, I feel stronger. I try to sit up like I did in the other room, only now, there's nothing holding me back. I feel dizzy as my head clears the pillow, and catch a glimpse of someone in the window. Wait. It's not a window, it's one of those two-way mirrors that allows people to watch you, unobserved themselves. I didn't even recognise myself - how long have I been in here? 

Someone was obviously watching, as now the door opens and a nurse walks in. She looks me over, fiddles with the dressing on my head and then hands me a glass of water and a tiny paper cup of pills "to help with the pain and the healing process in general". I neck the lot. She asks me if I feel up to seeing my parents who have been waiting patiently for me to wake up. I nod and instantly regret it as a thunderclap rolls through my brain.

***

The nurse is back again, or is it a different one? She ushers in two people, a man and woman in their early forties. They look tired and grey. The woman approaches the bed and strokes my face. "Michael, how are you feeling?"

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