She grunted as she struggled out of the small dirt hole she had woken up inside of. Dirt covered her entire body as she used her arms to propel herself onto the grass with every ounce of strength she had. She collapsed onto to dead dry grass around her gasping for breath; every breath she drew was painful in her dehydrated throat. She looked up at the sky; the stars were shining down on her like crystals, silvery white. Suddenly she began to cry uncontrollably, sobs shook her body so hard that any passerby would have believed she was convulsing. But there weren't any passersby. When she could finally see again through her puffy hot eyes she looked around and saw that for herself. She stood up slowly, unsteady. All of the trees and plants around her were laying sideways on the ground as if a meteor had struck the Earth and overturned them on impact. Only in the center where the crater should be, there was only herself and her grave. Reality began to sink in slowly; she had risen from hell. The thought ran shivers down her spine. Bela began walking away from her gravesite on wobbling legs that hadn't been used in years.
She couldn't have been walking for more than five minutes on the side of the dark road until her legs gave out and she collapsed onto hard pavement. With her last ounce of strength she pushed herself onto the edge of the grass and out of the open road. Her last thought before she slipped into unconsciousness was "I escaped from hell only to die of dehydration hours later."
She opened her eyes slowly; it took her a few blinks for her eyes to adjust to the light all around her. Bela pushed herself upright, her hands sunk down slightly into the soft mattress she was laying down on. As she straightened up she felt a slight tugging at her left arm. It was an IV drip, how did she get to a hospital?
Bela touched her fingertips to her forehead and closed her eyes, trying to piece together the events that had brought her into the emergency room. It all felt like a dream, as if she was going to suddenly wake up again in hell and the torture a new day would begin. But she never had dreams in hell-
"Good afternoon" her thought process was interrupted by a cheery nurse in lavender scrubs wheeling in a tray with covered dishes
Bela looked over at the woman stupidly
"You were asleep so we chose your lunch for you" she continued after she had pushed the tray in Bela's reach
"I'm sorry, but I don't remember how I got here"
The nurse shrugged and walked over to the monitors standing next to her IV drip
"I'm sorry honey, I got in at eight this morning and you were brought in during the night shift"
"Oh, I see" Bela frowned still dazed and confused
The nurse put a hand on her shoulder "My name is Carla honey, if you need me at all you just ring that bell" she took her hand off of Bela's shoulder and pointed to a red button attached to a wire. "Your doctor will be in shortly with some questions"
Bela nodded in agreement and nurse Carla left the room.
She pulled the tray above her lap and uncovered her meal, which appeared to be an egg salad sandwich, a small drink box of vanilla soymilk, tapioca pudding and an empty cup to be filled by the small pitcher of ice water next to it. Suddenly she was starving, she had never been particularly fond of egg salad during her living years, but her first meal after four years was the most delicious meal she had ever tasted.
The doctor walked into her room just as she had finished guzzling down her last cup of water. He smiled at her and walked over.
"It appears our Jane Doe has quite the appetite"
She returned his smile
"It's been years since I've had a decent meal," she said politely
"You call this decent?" he laughed, "You may be really sick after all"
"I feel fine actually"
"Great" he said looking at her chart "That's because you are fine"
He looked up at her, "aside from the fact that you were severely dehydrated when they brought you in, you're in perfect health"
"Speaking of which" Bela began, feeling more like herself every second "How did I get here? I can't seem to remember"
"That's because you had passed out on the side of the road, a woman saw you as she was driving home and she called an ambulance and brought you here, you were lucky, if you weren't found quickly you might have died" he said seriously
"Yes, that is fortunate"
"What's your name?" The doctor took a pen out of his overcoat pocket and rested the tip down on the forms of her chart
"Oh" Bela hesitated deciding which name she should use now that she was back from the dead
The doctor looked down at her raising an eyebrow
"Sarah Lennon" she said giving him a convinced look
"Well Sarah Lennon, welcome back to the land of the living" he said putting his pen back in his overcoat
Her heart skipped a beat "What?"
"You've been sleeping all day" he chuckled reassuringly, "welcome back Ms. Lennon"
"Oh, right" she smiled nervously "thanks"
"By the way, is that handprint on your shoulder a sort of burn tattoo?"
"The what?" She frowned
He raised the sleeve of her hospital gown to reveal a large handprint welted on her collarbone to her shoulder blade
Bela gasped loudly
"I remember when I used to do things like that," the doctor laughed
"I got my ear pierced when I was twenty" he shook his head chuckling