I can’t see. I hear the sound of water dripping. I don’t know where I am; I don’t know how I got here. The room is spinning. Confusion surrounds me. The voices in my head are screaming to get out. Find a way out they plead. I try to stand, but my legs don’t seem to be working. The lights flash quickly, but just long enough to get a glimpse of my surroundings. I saw pictures. So many pictures, all over the walls. Pictures of all kinds: Polaroids, photos that looked like they were taken on a phone, professional looking photos, and even magazine clippings. I couldn’t make out what was on them; all I saw was a boy, small maybe 8 or 9. I don’t know what’s going on here but it is clear to me I’m trapped in some crazy person’s basement or something. I have got to get out. My life depends on me getting out alive.
The first problem I need to deal with is the whole ‘not being able to walk thing’; I’m not really sure what’s happening, but I’m definitely not going to make it out of here without being able to walk. I try to wiggle my toes and they all move like they are supposed to, a good sign. Luckily I’m not permanently paralyzed in any way. They must’ve given me something to make my body weak, even moving my toes was a struggle. I start massaging my legs, trying to get some circulation. My extent of medical training only goes as far as six seasons of “House”, and sadly if I was one of the characters I would be a sad trainee who should’ve dropped out of medical school while they still had the chance. I try everything. Nothing seems to be working, so I decide if it is a drug making me so weak I can just wait it out.
It feels like day has passed and I still feel the same. I’m starting to get really worried. This must be a really strong drug making me like this. Who knows what else it’s done to my body. What if I become an addict? Although I could never see myself getting addicted to this feeling, being completely helpless in every way. Oh yeah sign me up for that! The more time I’m sitting here waiting for this drug is more time in this creepy room basically waiting for death. I have to fight. I have to live.
It seems like forever, but finally I think I have the strength to stand up. I push myself up with every ounce of strength in my body and finally I am standing. I feel slightly dizzy and my legs are shaking but I’m moving. The first thing I need to do is feel out my surroundings, since the room is pitch black and the lights haven’t flickered since that one bizarre instance I’m going to have to trust my other senses to get me out of this place. I put my arms in front of me, hoping I don’t run into anything. I walk a few feet and my arms hit something. It’s a little smaller than I am and it feels like it has individual drawers on it, maybe a filing cabinet or something like that. I’m not even going to attempt to open this right now, nothing in here is helpful without an escape route. I need to find a door, or a window or something. Any way to get out of this damn room will do.
I can feel myself getting frustrated. God only knows how long I’ve been in here. The longer I stay, the less chance I have of getting out. At this point I’ve walked the whole perimeter of the room and nothing. No doors, no windows. There has to be a vent somewhere or else I wouldn’t have been able to breathe in here as long as I have. My only chance is finding that vent, but how am I supposed to do that in complete darkness. I fall onto the ground, overcome by the feeling that I will never get out of here. My biggest fear has really come true. I’m alone in terrifying place with absolutely no idea how to escape. I’ve come to term with reality I’m never going to escape. I’m basically just waiting to die at this point. I let a small sob escape from my body, and then I close my eyes and wait.
“Her heart rate’s going up”
“Is she waking up?”
“I’m not sure”
“I thought she would never wake up”
“Do you think she’ll remember us”
“I’m not sure she’ll remember anything”
“Get the doctor”
“I don’t want to miss her waking up!”
“Damn it, just get the doctor”
“Oh my god, look, her eyes are opening”
I feel pain everywhere. An intense pain that I’ve never come across. It’s like I’m feeling everything for the first time in years.
I open my eyes.
I see light. What’s happening? Is the person who brought me to this dreaded room here? Wait.
I’m not in that room.
Where am I?
Did they take me somewhere?
Are they going to kill me?
I start to get worried.
What’s in my arm?
Oh my god… There is an IV in my arm.
I rip it out.
I hear people screaming my name.
How do they know my name?
“Is she okay?”
“Why was she like that?”
“It’s like she thought we were going to attack her!”
“You said it wouldn’t harm her.”
“You promised it wouldn’t harm her”
ALRIGHT ALREADY! Do you people ever stop talking? You keep saying you want my answers, but refuse to give me two seconds to answer anything.
“Yeah, sorry, but don’t you dare talk to us like that again.”
I must’ve fallen back asleep. I open my eyes, I feel them adjusting to the light. I can finally see the surroundings around me. It looks like I’m laying in some sort of hospital bed. I hear the sounds of monitors and colleagues talking. Then I notice someone is talking to me. I look to my right and see my parents. Oh my god. What the hell is happening. The last thing I remember is being stuck in a room, terrified for my life, and now my parents are sitting beside my bed. I really am going crazy.
“Honey we’ve been waiting for you to wake up.” What’s going on? I-I don’t understand. I was trapped. How did I get here? “Shhh honey it’s all over now, the test is finished, the doctor’s going to talk to you about your results.” My results? What the hell? “Oh, you don’t remember do you? Yeah they said this happens often. Let me grab the doctor.” “Wait!”, I shouted, but she was already out the door.
It seems like it takes them hours to come back, but in reality it was probably only about 5 minutes. When they walk in I don’t even know what to say. My mind is surrounded with questions, it sounds like every voice is shouting at me to figure out what’s going on but I have no control. This is the worst feeling in the world, everyone knows something that you don’t.
The doctor comes around to the side of my bed and begins to speak. “So, I’ve heard you’ve been experiencing a bit of memory loss Elsie.”
Yes, can you please just tell me what’s going on?
“Of course, ok this is going to be a lot to take in Elsie, but keep in mind your parents did in fact sign a consent form before being initiated into the program.”
Consent form? What did I need a consent form for?
“I’m getting to that. I don’t know if you remember but you were in an accident a few months before you came here. It didn’t cause any severe physical damage, but mentally you had changed. Your record said you started lashing out on people, saying you had to save “him”. Your doctors said you would talk for hours about a small boy that you had to save. You would go on and on about some sort of abduction and how you got out, but he was not so lucky. No one could get through to you, you refused to listen to anyone when they told you it wasn’t real. Your parents and the the doctors at your local hospital were afraid they would loose the old you forever, so they sent you here.”
I feel the space closing in around me. Are they talking about they boy I saw on the walls inside the house. All those pictures looked like a small boy, just as they are describing. Am I going crazy? Was I imagining everything that happened to me? I finally speak, “I saw a boy, in pictures on the walls, before I woke up here. Is it connected?”
“Yes, that’s why you were sent here, so we could alter the story inside your mind.”
What do you mean ‘alter’ the story?
“Yes, let me explain, you were having continuous hallucinations of a kidnapping, and what we do here is use a new highly advanced technology to look inside your mind and help you work through the issue. You were a dream case for us. Young, perfect before the accident, parents more than willing to give consent. Really you are a dream.”
Well I am just overjoyed that my life being destroyed was such a dream for you!
“That’s not what I meant.”
Whatever, just get on with it.
“Well now that you’re awake and we have already accomplished tremendous progress considering you are speaking with us and not shouting about an abduction, we would love to continue treatment for no cost at all towards you or your family, but we can only do this if we have your consent.”
“If the treatment is working, why can’t I just leave now?”
“The treatment is kind of like an antibiotic, you have to take the whole treatment or it will just continue to come back stronger.”
“Will I have to go back there?”
“Back to the house?”
“Sadly yes, I’m so sorry but you have to keep working through it, or you will never be able to survive.”
“I don’t want to go back.”
“I know, but will you fight for your chance live?”
I look at my parents. Tears have gathered in their eyes. I know what everyone wants me to do, and it sounds like I’ve already put them through so much. I tear slips my eye knowing that I must go back, or I will never escape the room I’m trapped in that resides in my head.
“I’ll do it.”
To be Continued