MS: Short Story
I feel my legs pushing against the cold hard floor. The fluorescent lights, blaring into my eyes. My paper thin rag, clinging on to my skin. I know they are coming for me. I can feel it. I cannot afford to look behind me and try to catch a glimpse of them because I know that if I do, they will catch me once more. The heavy footsteps have receded, and the terror has stopped reaching me. I slow down. I find my breath. Then all of a sudden my foot gives out and "BAM."
I wake up chained to a bed. The lights even brighter, glaring at me from above. As if God himself is yelling at me. I frantically look around, but I see only white padding and a single little window. I'm caged in. Stuck forever inside an empty room. I understand they have changed my robe because it is no longer speckled with blood and dirt but its a crisp white with no wrinkles. Everything is white here. No blemishes allowed. A strict system, leaving no room for empathy behind. While inside my thoughts I fail to hear a small whisper. A greeting from the other side. A small "Hey."
She points to my left arm and makes a motion of moving her arm back and forth. I copy her. I realize that they forgot to tighten the shackle on my left arm. There is always a flaw in the system. Before I free my arm, I check for any cameras. None. I quickly release my arm, and she points to the foot my bed and throws a small clip. Does she want me to sneak my way out? Is she planning some plan? I cannot waste my time contemplating her motives. I start working.
I'm splayed out flat on the bed heaving from the exhaustion of trying to work my way through the locks. I realize that I'm losing time. I will need to work fast. I don't know when they will come back, the sooner I leave the better. I jolt up but the movement makes my head spin, and I have to lie back down again.
Slowly I rise from my bed and push my self upright. Blinking the lights out of my eyes, I take in the room. There was a bit more than I initially thought. Under the small window, there was a tiny slot. I assume it is for food — also, a door. Locked from the outside, I bet. I slowly get out, careful not to disturb the silence, I make my way towards the door. I try pulling it once, and it springs open. Strange. Peering out slowly, I notice that even though all the lights are lit, there are no people nor cameras. What kind of place is this?
I start down the hallway, no sight of that mysterious girl, and there are endless rows of empty rooms — all with glaring lights. I start to wonder, where am I heading? Where does this end? Why am I here? I trudge on forward.
I walk, walk and walk for who knows how long when I see a door. Not a door identical to the ones lining the walls. But a different kind. One that stands out in contrast to the stark white. Being used to the bright colors, I can't help but be confused. I don't understand why a door like this would be put here. It's abnormal. I open the door anyway.
Upon stepping inside, I feel my entire body vibrate, and I feel a horrendous headache spread throughout my body. The pain, ricocheting off of my cells. "Is this the end?" I say out loud. Then all black.
I wake up in my bed: not the one in that room, but my own bed in my own house. I see my fathers face hovering over mine. He strokes my hair. He then says "I'm sorry, The hospital is a scary place isn't it." It all comes back to me. I was running away from the doctors, the nurses. They killed mom. They let her die. If it weren't for their failure, mom would still be with us, with me. With all this coming back to me you would expect me to cry, for sobs to ransack my body, but they don't. I lie there, still as stone, expressionless. My father sits patiently by me. Unexpected of a reply, he starts to get up to leave but I say "It is, isn't it."
Lying underneath the big oak tree with leaves sparsely lighting my face, I felt utterly peaceful. I could imagine Papa lying right next to me. He would have smiled and said, "Ah, mija, what a wonderful place God has created for us." I would have beamed right back and fallen asleep with my head resting on his lap. My eyes then start to prickle. Tears run down my face; if only Papa were here with me right now.
Papa and I would always go out into the wild whenever we had time together. Me, when I was not to busy with my homework and chores; and Papa, when he was not to busy selling or making shoes at the factory. We would walk, hand in hand, as we ventured into the wilderness. Papa would always find a great spot for us to sit, sometimes in a tree or just on some rocks, and we would just talk and talk for hours straight. I would always talk about my day. Whenever I was complaining or whining about something, Papa would always be there to listen; and when I was done, he would always look me in the eyes and say
"Todo tiene un porqué Mija, todo tiene un porqué " --- Everything happens for a reason daughter; everything happens for a reason.
We live in the little alleyway just behind the factories. All of the houses look identical. They're all painted a dull grey, which doesn't help improve the mood of our neighborhood. Inside our dusty looking house, we have a living room with a foldable sofa where Papa and Mama sleep. In every corner of our house, we have buckets to catch the water dripping from the ceiling.
"Papa, why don't you fix our roof?"
My 5-year-old brother, Hector asked. We were all sitting on the floor eating our enchiladas.
"Well el Hijo, if you wipe off the sauce around your mouth I'll tell you."
Papa responded with a smile on his face. Hector hastily wiped his mouth with his shirt, leaving another smudge on his stained shirt.
"Why Papa, why? The water drops are so loud and annoying!" Hector said with a resting pout. Mama chuckled as she squeezed Hector's cheeks. Papa put his enchilada down as he cleared his mind.
"Hector, do you like music?"
"Yes, I like music! It's fun to dance to!"
Hector said with an innocent smile that only a five-year-old boy could imitate.
"Well Hector, the raindrops are a symphony. It was given to us as a gift from Huehuecóyotl so we could listen to music all the time. Close your eyes and listen, Hector! You can hear the raindrop symphony!"
Papa exclaimed with his toasted nut colored eyes sparkling from the moonlight spilling in from the window. Hector closed his eyes. We all watched him as a smile gradually grew on his face.
"I can hear it, Papa! I can hear the music!"
Hector said happily. Mama and I shared a sad little smile. If only that were actually true. If only some magical god could come to fix our roof, or even better, our whole life.
"Ah, I forgot to buy the cheese for our quesadilla!"
Papa said, slapping himself gently on the head. He and I were making quesadillas to celebrate Mamas birthday. We were standing in the so-called kitchen, flouring our tortillas.
"We need cheese, don't we? Ah, why forget cheese on such an important day?"
Papa muttered to himself, scratching his white from floured head.
"Why don't we go get some?" I suggested. "We can go together to the market."
" No mija, you watch these soon to be quesadillas and make sure they don't go anywhere while I'm away."
I giggled. Papa took off his apron and dusted the flour out of his hair.
"I'll be back in 15 minutes. Be a good girl and lock all the doors ok?"
Papa said as he ruffled my hair and briskly jogged out the door. As I went to go lock the door, I notice something black and shiny on the floor — Papa's wallet. He must have dropped it while he was hustling out the door. Quickly, I scooped the wallet up and ran out the door. Papa shouldn't be too far ahead.
The night breeze with the December coolness in Mexico was the perfect weather for running. I pumped my legs faster and faster, right up to the point where I could actually feel the breeze rushing past me. As I got to the nearest shortcut to the market, I skitted to a stop. I could hear voices.
"---- Stupid man, why did you come here? This is our territory!" I could hear a loud thud, and guys laughing. Judging by the way they spoke, they appeared to be drunk.
"Old man, you have any money? Give it to me." I crept forward, careful to keep my self hidden behind some big wooden crates. Then, I see them. There's at least 15 of them in a circle, all drunk and laughing. In the middle, was Papa. I wanted to scream. He was curled up like a ball. It appears that one of them kicked Papa in the stomach.
"Old man, give me your money, NOW!" A guy screamed. He had sunglasses on, and a leather jacket swung on his shoulder. As I watched Papa rummaging through his pocket, I realized with horror, that he didn't have his wallet. He apparently realized too and immediately started to beg.
"Please, I'm sorry, I forgot my wallet at home! " Papa said trembling with fear. The guy with the sunglasses stepped forward. He looked down at Papa with pure rage and hatred. I could only think of one thing. What has my Papa ever done to you?
This is the part I'll never forget.
The sunglasses guy whipped out something so fast it was hard to see. Then---
One. Papa gasped with surprise.
Two. Papa grabs his stomach, whimpering like a puppy.
Three. I catch Papa's eyes as he catches mine, as the light fades from his eyes.
The agonizing sounds of the sirens rang repeatedly in my ears.
I attempt to turn my head but I can't move. I try to get a glimpse of Dad, but the doctors are surrounding him. “Dad, Dad!” I try to speak but my body won’t do as I say. I could hear the fast beating of my heart. My body shaking from fear, fear of not surviving, or the fear of being alone. The thing I fears most is being alone, the only one that survived. “The 13 year old girl who was the only who survived in a horrendous car accident” I could already see it titles on the newspaper.
Thoughts of worry, fear, and anxiety rushed in and out of my head, just wanting to escape.
I wanted to let my soul escape my body, and just let it go free. My eyelids slowly felt heavier and heavier and heavier. . .
*closes her eyes
Bright lights like a ray of sunshine on to my eyes. I awake to realize that I am in a hospital, I could smell it in the air. I gaze the room to see if anyone can explain to me why I’m in hospital in a bed not able to move a single finger! The only thing I really wanted to know was about my family. I mean if I end up being the only survivor that makes me an orphan. With no close relatives, I would have to be put into an orphanage or if I do be sent to my guardian. I tell myself “ this is the WORST case scenario”.
I hear someone coming., its a nurse. “Emily, I see that you have woken up.” She says with a slight smile. I look back at her confusingly with no reply. “The doctor will come shortly to talk to you. Is there anything you would like?” She asks very politely. “No thank you, I’m alright” I reply. I was very much confused, as the last thing I remember is going on a road trip with Mom and Dad to Nebraska, and being on the ambulance because of the accident. I try to replay the very moment the car crashed, but I can’t even seem to remember how it had happened. All I remember is hearing a huge BANG! And being knocked out.
“Hi Emily, my name is Doctor James. I have some very good news as well as bad news to tell you.” he says. My heart starts to beat rapidly, knowing what the bad news could be. “Before that how long do you think it has been since the accident?” He says with a serious look. “I don’t know actually, a day or two?” I question. “Well I am sorry to tell you but you have been in a coma for over 5 months now, and it is almost a miracle that you have woken up considering your circumstances” he replies. “What 5 months! What do you mean circumstances? And where are my parents, I want to see my parents now!” I hear myself and realize I sound like a demanding 3 year old. I felt tears run down my cheeks. “Now calm down Emily, I haven’t told you the good news. Your parents survived the car accident and are very well. They got released from the hospital only after a week, They are healthy so no need to worry. I have notified them that you are awake and are coming on the way right now. They’ll be very relieved to see you awake.” He said with a smile. It felt like two giant heavy rocks were lifted from my shoulders. There was still one thing I had in concern. Why couldn’t I move? I can talk and move my head, feel my hands, but could not feel the hips down.
“Emily! Oh my goodness, your awake.” Mom screams rushing over to my bedside, I see dad too. I realized it must have been a tough 5 months for them just waiting and waiting for me to wake up. We all end up crying, our faces red, and hugging each other so tightly like we were never gonna let go of each other. “Emily, we have something very important to tell you.” Dad says with a concerned look on his face. “The car crash caused your vertebrae to break. The doctors did everything they could, but Doctor James said that even with rehabilitation there is only a small chance of you being able to walk again.” My heart sinks. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to think. I don’t know how to react. How could this be possible? I keep telling myself that it's just a dream that I’ll wake up and be totally normal. Mom and Dad just sit there holding my hand. I search through my thoughts, trying to come up with something to say. “ I don’t care about my legs all I care about is that I have a family and that you guys are there for me. We are strong, and I am up to try anything to help me walk again. I’ll do anything it takes to get back on my feet.” I finally reply. That day we just talked and talked. Mom and Dad filled me in on all that had happened in 5 months. Somethings I missed was my 14th birthday, Christmas, and a half year of school. That didn’t matter to me though. This event will change my life forever. But there is only one true happiness in this life, to love and to be loved. From that moment on I decided to live life to the fullest, knowing that difficult roads often lead to a beautiful destination.