Stage Fright Part 5

Posted: June 18, 2018 in stories, Writing
Tags: , , , ,

Marshall struggled to open his eyes. He wanted to, but it felt like his body was fighting against him. He was feeling almost unimaginable pain in his head and his body felt like he had run a marathon. In the mud. In freezing temperatures. Twice. Whenever he attempted to open his eyes, they involuntarily squinted against the pain. His ears were being assaulted with random electronic beeps, alarms, and buzzing. He was able to force his eyes open, if for no other reason than to find the source of the noise and smash it against a wall. As he did, he found a stage woman uncomfortable close to his face. Marshall’s first instinct was to back away, but he found movement too painful, so he tolerated the intrusion into his personal space. “You’re finally awake,” the woman said with a good natured smile. “I thought you were going to sleep all day.”

Marshall blinked a few times and tried to clear his head. He started to pick out more details of his surroundings. The beeping was coming from somewhere just out of his view. The woman had a name tag hanging from a lanyard. He couldn’t quite make it out, but the clothes she wore looked familiar. He was cold. After a shiver or two he also realized that he was barely wearing anything. In surprise and embarrassment, he crossed his arms over his chest protectively. The strange woman chuckled. “Don’t worry. you ain’t nothin’ I haven’t seen before.” Despite that statement, he saw her reach down and pull a cover up over him. The extra warmth was inviting, comforting. Marshall closed his eyes for a few moments to enjoy the sensation and gather his thoughts.

A few brief memories came flooding back to him. The crippling, suffocating fear. The almost blind walk he took to try to escape it. Then starting to cross the road. After that, he couldn’t recall anything. “Sometimes you are really slow,” he heard a familiar voice say.

“What is that supposed to mean,” Marshall asked.

The woman smiled again. “It means that I’ve been a nurse for a long time. I know the gowns can be a little embarrassing, but I’m so used to it that I don’t even notice any of my patients are wearing them.”

“I wasn’t talking to you,” Marshall replied testily.

The nurse seemed to take the outburst in stride. “Well I’m the only one in here right now, honey. Whatever conversation you were having while you were unconscious is over.”

More pieces started falling together. Marshall finally realized that he was in a hospital room. The woman, his nurse, reached past him and hit a button that silenced one of the annoying alarms. That helped clear out the rest of Marshall’s thoughts. “What happened to me?”

“You’re an early victim of global warming,” the nurse replied, chuckling at her own joke. The look on Marshall’s face made it clear that he didn’t understand. “You were hit by a car,” she explained. “It was an electric car, so you probably didn’t hear it coming. Lucky for you it was at a slow speed.”

“Oh, yeah. What great luck you have,” Marshall heard from the same voice again. He looked around for anyone else in the room. There was no one else. The television wasn’t on, either. Of course, the next room might have their’s on and turned up loudly, so he didn’t bother asking about it.

The nurse checked the I.V. line that Marshall hadn’t even realized he had inserted into his arm and then fluffed his pillow a bit. “I’ll let the doctor know that you are awake. Then she can explain what all happened to you.”

“Thank you,” Marshall replied earnestly. He was still concerned, but knowing that he would be getting some explanation gave a a kernel of hope to hold onto.

The nurse left the room and closed the door. The room was suddenly much more quiet than Marshall was prepared for. Despite the fact that he knew someone would be coming soon to explain things to him, he felt remarkably alone and lost. He was about to reach for the controls for the television on the side of the bed when he heard the voice once again. “Since it’s going to be a few minutes, I reckon that we can use that time to have a little talk.” Marshall looked around the room once again. Convinced that it was the neighbor’s television again, he laid his head back down. “Don’t ignore me, Marshall. It’s rude.”

Marshall sat straight up. He almost passed out from pain and dizziness, but adrenaline kept him focused. There was no one there, and there were no televisions that he could hear. He thought about the voice that he’d just heard and felt himself shiver again, despite the blanket. It took all of his determination to make himself speak out loud. When he did, his voice cracked and wavered. “Rip?” he asked to the empty room. “It can’t be you. You’re dead.”


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