Carmine – Chapter 02
This serialised book is released under copyright 2008, Craig Lloyd. All rights reserved. No permission is granted to duplicate, retransmit or repurpose this work in part or in full without the express permission of the copyright holder. Any excerpts or quotes should include the name of the Author and this URL or that of the Author’s Home Page, http://lloydie.homeip.net
When she next awoke, she was alone.
She realised she was in hospital and gave a start: Hospital!
Carmine tried to recall what had happened to her, but could only remember something about being in the Headmaster’s office with its cold, musty smell and the lush, heavy taste of the drink that he had given her.
She became aware of a low insistent beeping sound that was coming from above. Glancing up as best she could, she saw a bank of beige medical electronics with an array of knobs and dials and a glowing CRT screen.
She wondered idly what she had done that had bought her a trip to Headmaster’s office, and why he’d given her a drink. She mentally shook her head. Giving her a drink? What a preposterous idea, she realised. Her brain wasn’t connected right. Woozy from all the medicine she’d been given she suspected.
After a while, lulled back into a half slumber by the low pulsing rhythm of the monitors, images and jumbled memories started to arrange themselves just in front of her, superimposed on the backdrop of the hospital.
One image in particular threatened to lift her from the relative comfort of half sleep: The face of the man who had seemed to be the Headmaster but wasn’t. She bit her lip, and mumbled to herself, “Am I going crazy?”
She attempted to sit up, ever so slightly but the room began to spin wildly and her head, neck and left shoulder were shot through with pain. She realised for the first time that her bed was not actually flat. It was inclined at about thirty degrees from horizontal.
Pain flashed down her neck and back, travelling the whole length of her body to the very tips of her toes.
She whimpered slightly, not strong enough to make a louder sound and fell back.
The beeping of the machines surrounding her accelerated slightly.
When the dizziness finally abated, she tried to take a look around at her surroundings. She found that she was unable to turn her head at all or move her legs or left arm.
A confused panic set in, pushing the monitoring equipment up a gear.
What had happened to her? She found it difficult and a little painful breathing: Her nose and throat hurt, swallowing doubly so. She reflexively reached out with her right arm, the only part of her body she appeared able to move. Bringing her shaking, unsteady hand to her face she found that she had a tube inserted into her right nostril and taped in place.
She could just make out the sound of dripping water above the hum of air conditioning and monitors, which were settling down a little. And presumed it was coming from a little washbasin that she could see on the wall, opposite her bed. The water was dripping from one of the large brass taps. A little wall mounted mirror was hanging just above the basin and she realised that she could see her own reflection.
Carmine peered at herself in the semi darkness, at first unable to get her eyes to focus. Blinking, she tried again.
When she finally brought the image into focus, all she could do was gasp.
Her head was tightly bandaged, as was her left shoulder. Her neck was bound by some sort of support, like a white ring she’d seen car accident victims wearing, but with metal supports which reached out to the sides of her head around the crown, clearly for preventing her head from moving.
Her left arm was also bandaged and trussed tightly.
She did her best to appraise her immediate surroundings, which was very difficult given the thing she had around her neck. She peered down as best she could and noticed a couple of tubes snaking out from under the bed covers, one leading to the tube in her nose and one more feeding from a drip into her right arm. Then there were the monitors, which glowed a dull green and continued to beep quietly amongst themselves above her bed.
Her mind kept cycling over something forgotten, it felt like barren soil and rocks where once stood a familiar building.
Quite naturally, her brain was trying to recall recent events and failing to find what it expected, it tried again. But there was nothing there: just a cold, empty allotment shrouded in a thick, cold fog where her past should have been.
She felt utterly alone, forsaken; without will and without a past to keep her company. Dizziness overcame her and disorientated, she closed her eyes.
That only made things worse. She now had the discomforting feeling that the bed was adrift and undulating like a small boat on water. She opened her eyes but had not the strength to regain focus. The ceiling, curtains, lights and the sound of fans and the dripping tap all started to wash together.
The feeling of helplessness overcame her and she started to cry silently, eyes closed. She felt the undulating river catch her and start pulling her out of consciousness. In her ears now was only the rumble of water or was it blood, pounding to the beat of her heart?
Her heart; it was still beating and while it did so, she was alive, at least. She concentrated on that thought and in the relative calmness it granted her, felt the remnants of a fleeting memory flit by.
As she finally fell into a slumber, she clutched at the memory, not wanting it to escape forever.
It was more just a feeling than a memory per se, but it was hers nevertheless: “triumph”.