Scorched – Chapter 01

Chapter 01

The first thing he knew when he woke was that she was gone.

Above was a white ceiling, mercilessly speckled with grey pores and interspersed with blinding white lights that made him grimace and squeeze his eyes shut in agony the moment he tried to open them.  This was the only instance he’d have tears leaking from his eyes – when it was a purely involuntary action.

By his ear was the constant beep … beep … beep, monotonous and clockwork as the minutes ticking by.  He ignored the sound; the more he focused on it, the more it would have irritated him, and he was honestly too tired to be irritated at anything.

His breath rasped in his ears, hollow and winded.  He was slightly confused at the echoing rattle, but immediately realized the reason when he tried to move his jaw – an oxygen mask covering his face.  He tried to move his limbs to remove the impediment, but a twinge in his arm warned him to stop.  Reluctantly sliding eyelids open, his red pupils fell upon the IV unit hooked to him.  He stared incomprehensibly at the sight before tendrils of awareness crept into his mind.

His mouth twisted into a frown and a sudden rush of emotion fell over him, drowning his lethargy with a roaring crash.

What happened?

She was gone.

Why was he here?

Where was here?

His memories were a blur.

Where did she go?

Why was he in a hospital?

A hospital was bad.

Where is she?

He threw himself up against the headboard.  One arm reached over and ripped out the needle.

He barely twitched.

Barely even noticed there was a spark of pain and there was blood dripping from the piercing in his skin.

The moment it was free, he brought his left hand up to his mask and pulled it down, finally gasping free of the constraint.

He was only barely aware of his mouth moving frantically around each breath.

She’s … not here, not anywhere in his vicinity.

Where is she?

He could somewhat see now, blurry shapes past his curtain of eyelashes.  The rays of white were no longer piercing spears into his brain.

There were shapes shifting, moving forward about.

He heard voices.  But he swung his arm back to fend them off.  He didn’t want their voices.  They weren’t her.

He didn’t want their contact or their touch.  He wanted hers and she wasn’t there.

Where is she?

A hand wrapped around his wrist and he cried out, threw it off as hard as he could.  But he was weak and lying comatose in bed just a few moments ago and his struggling only made the other’s grip tighter.  Constricting.

It was like the world was struggling to break in, a vice gripping his ribs and growing tighter by the moment.  A cool hand lay on his forehead and he let himself be pushed down, soft cloth embracing his ears from behind.

He didn’t like the cold, but it wasn’t painful.  It was an anchor.  A rock jutting out from the torrent of screaming panic that inundated his brain.  He could only focus on his breathing, in and out much too rapidly.

His hands fisted the sheets below him for a firmer grip on something solid.  Anything.

Too tired to attempt another escape, he settled with gasping for lungfuls of air, all the while asking for her.  She was supposed to be here.  She was supposed to be with him from beginning to end, forever and ever, but she was gone and all he felt was an aching hollow where she used to be.

A prick on his arm and the slide of cool metal.

Everything swam, colors swirling together.  He closed his eyes (when had he opened them?) and embraced the dark curtains that closed over his world.  It spared him the budding of the headache welling behind his eyes.

Warmth in his hand.  Was someone there?  Someone was here beside him, and he tightened his hold, just to let them know he was here too.

She wasn’t here to know he was.  If she didn’t know, and if no one else knew, then he’d cease to exist.  He had to let someone know.

Voices, but his ears weren’t working properly.  That’s all right, though.  He didn’t really want to hear anything.  She’d never spoken to him.  She’d been a warm presence that wasn’t present anymore.

Tired.  He was so tired, and he knew something was wrong and he should be remembering something, but he supposed that could wait.

He really wanted to sleep.

He loosened his grip and his breath evened out.

Before he knew it, he slipped from the world of the conscious into the world of restless dreams and nightmares once again.

Onto Chapter 2 >>

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