The screaming. I think it was coming from me. But maybe not. Perhaps it wasn't there at all. I'm not sure. I'm not sure about anything anymore.
Crash, scream, smash, shatter. And then nothing.
The fog was thick, surrounding me like a blanket. Around me, there was nothing. It was a void where no living or dead thing could be. I was alone. Was this purgatory? A sort of "in-between"? All I knew was that I hated it. Every last detail. I wanted to get away. But I couldn't. My body wouldn't move. A deep aching that I hadn't noticed intensified. My right hand felt like someone had stabbed something through. Yanking it up to eye level, I couldn't see a thing – only the whiteness. The nothingness. I began to feel claustrophobic as my breathing quickened, all this time the pain getting stronger until it was very nearly unbearable. And then, I was pulled back.
I could hear sirens reverberating in the distance, quickly getting louder as they approached the crash site. I groaned, wincing in pain as I forced my eyes open. I couldn't bear to move my throbbing head (which was not made better by a looming migraine), so I just sat there, trapped between a smashed-in dashboard and the back of my seat with my seatbelt securing me in place. Glass from the windshield was sprinkled everywhere, glittering gently in the moonlight. Outside, it seemed to be raining envelopes as the mail the truck had been carrying escaped into the air. I watched as mail rained down, one even falling on the dashboard. I strained my eyes to see who it was for.
426 State St.
Hudson, New York 12534
My eyes widened in shock as I reread the address. Sure enough, it was for me (although I couldn't help but wonder who it was from – all of my friends texted or emailed). Curious, I tried to shift my numb body to see the sender's name. I yelped as searing pain raced through my body, settling in my crushed legs. The pain overwhelmed me as darkness seeped in through cracks in my consciousness, quickly taking over.
The dim lights barraged me, shaking me to consciousness. "Stay with me," a woman said, stroking my hand. I was vaguely aware of movement, but everything was so hazy. I-I didn't know where I was. Blackness engulfed me.
Fluorescent bulbs flashed above me. I was dimly aware of shouting as the sound of wheels on a linoleum floor hammered away at my head, amplifying my migraine by about ten thousand. I groaned, pain shooting through my body. Surrounding me, I could saw only strangers. The same woman from before (or at least, I think it was – everything was so unclear) stroked my hand and said, once more, "Stay with me, Jenny. Stay with me…"
I shifted, blinking slowly, each time sending shocks of pain through my body. "W-where's my mom? W-we were g-going to celebrate. I was going to live with her."
There was silence and as I waited, my eyes drifted closed. Finally, the woman spoke again. "Everything will be okay, Jennifer. Just stay with me and you'll see your family soon."
God damn. You didn't answer my question, I wanted to say, but I didn't have the strength to open my mouth. And even then, I don't think I could've found my voice.
I didn't notice when once more, the pain overwhelmed me and I blacked out.
I was in the whiteness again. My body ached, but it was dull, muffled, in comparison to what I had felt before. Everything was the same, though. The fog around me was thick and white, surrounding me on all sides. I felt just as claustrophobic, if not more so, than before. However, this time when I raised my hand, there was a disturbance in the consistency of the fog. Surprised, I watched as the fog around me began to clear and shapes began to fade into view and become defined. Slowly, a room began to form.
It was dark – there were either no lights or they weren't on. Around me, I could see that I was in some sort of observation room. The only source of light was from the row of windows on the opposite wall, looking out onto something. I could see three figures looking out the windows, below to whatever was down there. Incomprehensible murmurs reached my ears as I crept silently closer.
"-her head and cracked several bones. At the moment, we're focusing on trying to extract foreign objects from her body and getting her stable. The crash had been terrible and regrettably, response time hadn't been as quick as we'd hoped."
"What're you saying?" A familiar voice murmured solemly, looking through the observation room windows. Dad.
I shuddered as I realized who they were talking about. Slowly, I crept around the three figures, two of whom were Dad and Dan, to peek into what I knew was going to be the OR (operating room). Moments later, I regretted it.
Below, my body was nearly unrecognizable. For several moments, I even hoped that it wasn't me. But of course, it was. A flash of silver and I could see a doctor taking my mother's charm bracelet from around my wrist, adding it to a bowl of other things I remember wearing this morning. I would say that it'd been an out of body experience, but it was too horrible. I didn't want to believe that this body, so riddled with cuts and lacerations, with blood seeping out from so many places, was mine.
"What about her mother?" Dad asked carefully, breaking me from my reverie. I was about to turn to look at them when something went very, very wrong.
"Code blue, code blue!" Shouted someone from down below. Suddenly, the careful, forced calm down below seemed to blow up in my face as people began to run around frantically. One man began to do chest compressions, trying to get my heart moving, while another ran out of the room. Moments later, he came back, wheeling in a machine. All this time, my dad and brother watched worriedly, just hoping.
I felt a shock course through my entire body as the one below arched upwards several centimetres.
"Damn it, Jenny, fight!" Beside me, Dan pounded on the glass, tears running down his face.
The same shock went through my body again but this time, I felt a slight force tugging me back towards my body, gently nudging me to return to where I belonged.
"Come on, baby," Rufus whispered quietly. The slight tremble in his voice surprised me and for a second, I looked at him. Never, in all my seventeen years, have I seen my father cry. For anything.
And then I was pulled back, darkness engulfing me once more.