A/N: Okay so, this story idea literally just popped into my head last night while I was listening to some music, and I thought I would write it down and see what you all think! It's a bit weird, a little bit out there, and I really don't know where I am going with this or how long it will be, but I would really appreciate any feedback you want to give me! I have a (very) vague idea of what the story is going to be as a whole, and all will be explained in future chapters (if you like it, if it sucks, I'll probably just forget the whole thing). Oh, and the tenses flip around a bit in this story, but that is for a reason, it's not because my editing skills have run off or anything, LOL! You'll see the pattern eventually! Okay, so that's enough of me, read it and tell me what you think!
I linger in the doorway
Of alarm clock screaming monsters
Calling my name
Let me stay
Where the wind will whisper to me
Where the raindrops as
They're falling tell a story
(Evanescence - Imaginary)
"It's okay, sweetie, you're going to be okay."
"Yeah! She's gonna be fine, she just needs a little rest, that's all."
"Caroline! Why are you talking like that? She's right here!"
"I know that! It's just... well, there's not much of a response, let's be honest!"
"Sorry! You know what I mean! I mean, she's just sitting there!"
"Excuse me girls, we're ready to take your friend now."
"Oh, okay. Let me just... We'll come see you, okay? As soon as you're settled in."
The bed moves beneath the girl, but she hardly notices it. She can feel the straps as they dig into her arms and around her waist, but the feeling is separate to her, as though she is disconnected from her body. That is okay. That is good, even. If she isn't connected, then nothing can hurt her.
The bed sways below her, and a distant memory is triggered deep within her. A woman, laughing, as a young girl with long brown hair swings to and fro on a swing. The woman's face keeps coming closer and then quickly receding, but although the face looks familiar, she can't think of the name attached to it. It doesn't matter; nothing matters anymore.
A heavy blanket is draped over her legs as the bed is moved out into the open air. Her head is jolted slightly as the bed makes contact with something, and then the world before her darkens slightly, like the sun disappearing behind a cloud. But the girl doesn't turn her head to find out why. She is disconnected; she doesn't care where the sun has gone, its light holds no meaning for her.
The sound of heavy doors slamming shut reverberates through her head as though from a very far distance, and the bed shudders as an engine roars to life. The sound of beeping fills the small space, and suddenly instinct kicks in. She doesn't want to be here. She doesn't know where "here" is, but she is suddenly very certain that this is not a good place to be. She tries to sit up, straining against the restraints, her eyes wide, staring at nothing.
"It's okay, honey, don't panic," a male voice tells her, calm and reassuring. A hand, one that feels weird, like it is covered in glue, slides down her arm. A few moments later, and she feels a sharp sting in the crook of her elbow. Seconds pass, and an icy feeling rushes out from the sting, enveloping the rest of her body.
She knows she should care, she knows she should be panicking, but she can't bring the emotion to the surface. Darkness tugs at her, and she surrenders gratefully. In the dark, it's safe. In the dark, someone is there to watch over her, protect her.
"You're going to be fine, Elena."
Some time has passed, but the girl is not sure how much. If she thought about it, that fact might worry her, but she has long since given up on thinking. Thoughts only lead to pain, more pain than she can bear.
There are voices behind her, but she doesn't pay any attention. Nothing they say can be of any interest to her. Nothing is of any interest to her anymore.
"Sheriff Forbes, can you tell me of any family members that might need contacting?"
Liz looked across at the girl in the wheelchair. "There isn't any, not anymore. They're all gone."
"I see. So, do I take it that there is someone in charge of her welfare?"
"I am. Any questions, or problems, you can direct them to me." Liz turned to look at the doctor. "Can you tell me how long she will have to be in here?"
The doctor looked up from his clipboard, and gave the sheriff a kindly smile. "I really wish I could answer that for you. However, that will be down to Elena herself."
"Of course, I understand. When will she be allowed visitors?"
"Not for a while, I'm afraid. She needs time to settle in and acclimatise. I'll let you know when she's ready."
"Can... Can I say goodbye to her?" Liz looked back at the girl in the white room.
"Of course. I'll wait here and walk you out when you're ready." The doctor said, taking a few steps away from the door.
"Thank you." Liz walked into the sterile room and crouched down next to the girl. "I'm so sorry this happened, Elena." She sniffed, trying not to cry. "But this rest will do you good. I'll bring Bonnie and Caroline up to see you soon, okay?"
The girl didn't respond, just continued to stare vacantly at the stretch of wall in front of her. Liz sighed and stood up, running a hand down the length of lifeless hair. Then she got up and walked back to the doctor, leaving the girl alone with her thoughts.
Except the girl doesn't have any thoughts anymore. Thoughts only bring pain.
The room is cold, blank; emotionless. It reflects perfectly the current state of mind of the girl in the wheelchair. The orderlies have placed her by the window, and if she looked, she would see a beautiful garden. There are rose bushes everywhere, all in full bloom. The sun shines down brightly, bouncing off the white outside walls, making everything sparkle. Bees hum lazily as they move from flower to flower, and a slight breeze makes the stems rustle together. Orange blossom trees are planted in large terracotta pots, flanking pale pink stones that mark a meandering path through the grounds. The rays of the sun glint off the surface of a small lake, down at the bottom of a small incline; wrought iron benches are dotted everywhere the eye can see. In the distance, a maze can be seen, marked out with laurel trees. The bright white of an ornate marble centrepiece stands out in the middle of the maze. And all around the grounds, people in white wander slowly. People in white gowns are either sat in wheelchairs, or being carefully held onto as they walk for themselves. The uniforms of these helpers are also white, giving the garden an ethereal feel. These people might as well be angels, and this garden, Heaven.
But the girl doesn't look through the window, and so she sees none of these things. She stares at the white wall in front of her. The white is comforting to her. If she stares hard enough at the white, memories can't get into her head, trying to make her think things. If she looked through the window, the flowers might remind her of her mother's garden. The lake might remind her of their family holiday home. The maze might remind her of the time her brother got lost in one. No, she couldn't look through the window, because then the memories would come, and they would hurt her. It's much better to not feel anything at all.
"Elena, will you come out of the water please? You'll freeze to death if you stay in much longer."
"Mom, relax, I'm fine! Besides, I want to swim out to the middle; I want to see if the diving platform can still hold my weight!" Elena giggled and began a slow backstroke, away from her mother on the dock.
Miranda pursed her lips as she looked down at her daughter. "If that old wooden thing could hold you and your friends last summer, I'm sure it can handle just you." Then she smiled. "Fine, but swim right back, okay? Your father said dinner will be ready in half an hour." She shook her head and turned away, heading back up the dock to their family lake house.
Elena laughed and continued on with her slow swim. The setting sun had turned the fluffy clouds a pale pink, and the water around her a deep purple. She reached the diving platform and she stretched up, pulling herself over the edge. She lay down on her back, feeling the rough wood beneath her skin as she slowly dried. She loved their trips to the lake house. It was so peaceful here, so quiet. She didn't need to think when she was here.
After a few minutes, goose bumps started to appear on her arms and legs, and Elena figured it was time to swim back to the shore. She sat up and moved to the edge, dipping her toes in the frigid water. Just as she was preparing to jump back in, the hairs on the back of her neck rose, and she started, staring around her. She had the sudden sense that she was being watched. Her eyes scanned the banks of the lake, but she could make out nothing out of the ordinary. The sun had set further as she had lain on the platform, and shadows lined the trees, making the wood seem dense and impenetrable. But for some reason she wasn't afraid. Instead, an unknown part of her yearned for the watchful presence.
Taking a deep breath, Elena dived into the water, letting the inky blackness swallow her. Still under the water, she opened her eyes, and started. In front of her, a pair of blue eyes stared back at her. She blinked in shock, but when she opened her eyes again, the image had vanished. She struck for the surface, and as her head broke through, a whisper seemed to be carried to her on the wind.
"Don't be scared, I'll protect you."
Elena looked around for the voice, but the water around her was still and silent. As she looked towards the shore, and brilliant orange light seared across her vision, and she reared back. Almost as an afterthought, the sound of an explosion reached her ears, and she paddled in place, staring in shock. Her family lake house was a burning mass of flames. A thin, high pitched noise surrounded her, the keening sound hurting her ears.
"I've tried everything, doctor. She won't stop screaming." The nurse held the girl down in the bed, trying to still the thrashing limbs.
"I think we'll have to sedate her again. Nurse Williams, could you hand me that syringe?" The doctor helped to hold down the screaming girl with one hand, using the other to push the needle into the crook of her arm. "There, she should calm down any minute."
Horror overtook her, freezing her in place, and she began to sink back under the water. As the darkness surrounded her calm and reassuring, the voice whispered to her again.
"I'll find you. I promise."
They make the girl eat breakfast. She doesn't want to, but if she doesn't, they sit so close to her, touching the spoon to her lips, trying to make her eat. They sit too close for comfort; their arms brush against her shoulder as they lean in closer. She doesn't want to be touched, touching makes her remember. So she gives in and picks up the spoon. They smile encouragingly at her, but she doesn't notice, because she won't look at them. The food has no taste. That's not true; the food tastes good, but the girl doesn't acknowledge it. If it had taste, it might remind her of something else she once ate, and that isn't allowed. Memories are sneaky things, always trying to find ways to get in and be noticed. But if the girl acknowledges nothing, they won't be able to get in.
After breakfast, the girl is wheeled back to her room to get washed and dressed. The orderly tries to help her, but she flinches at her touch. The orderly hands her a pair of white drawstring pants and a white vest top. The girl likes the white. It's not as comforting as the black, but it is at least blank. She couldn't handle colours. Colours might make her remember.
Once she is dressed, the girl is taken down the hall and into a room. There are other people here, all of them dressed in white. The girl closes her eyes briefly, thankful for the lack of colour. She is led to a corner of the room and stood in front of an easel. There is a large piece of white paper there, and the girl stares at it. Something pokes at her hand, and she looks down. An orderly is pushing a paintbrush in between her fingers. She grips it reflexively, and the orderly smiles. The girl doesn't notice. The orderly gently takes her hand and guides it towards the paint pots next to her. She doesn't look at the colours. She dips the brush into the black and lifts it up to the canvas in front of her. The orderly backs away, content to watch the girl's progress.
The girl touches the brush to the paper, marring the blank whiteness with a thick streak of black. She doesn't like it. It could become a pattern, and a pattern could make her remember. She moves the brush quicker, anxious to turn the white into black, so she can stay calm and reassured. Before long, she has covered the entire canvas in black. Black is okay, because it isn't a colour, so it can't make her remember. And black comforts her. She tries to place the brush down without seeing the different coloured paint, but a pot catches her eye. It doesn't bring back a memory though, and so she is grateful. She doesn't think, because she doesn't do thinking anymore, she just dips the brush in the pot and lifts it to the black paper. She scrubs the brush round on the paper for a while, before slowly putting it down and stepping away from the easel.
"Have you finished, Elena?"
The girl doesn't reply, just gazes at the white wall in front of her. Carefully, she is led away to another corner of the room and placed in a chair. She curls up in it, resting her chin on her knees, as she continues to stare at the white wall.
The doctor sat in his chair, watching as Elena painted her first picture. Art was a big part of the healing process at the clinic; patients were able to express their thoughts without saying a word. As one of the nurses led her away, he stood up and walked over to the easel. Black streaks undulated across the paper like the waves of an ocean at night. There was only one colour used; two ovals had been painted in the centre of the black sea, the colour of blue ice. The doctor frowned as he looked at the painting, trying to decipher what it meant. He glanced over at Elena, as she sat huddled up in the chair, staring at nothing. He wondered what she was thinking.
But the girl doesn't think about anything anymore.
"Jeremy! Stop playing with that!" Elena reached over and smacked at his hand.
"Your music sucks!" Jeremy's hand darted around hers and pressed the button.
Elena pressed it back. "I don't care. My car, my choice of music. You can play your own when you know how to drive, okay?"
She pulled the car to the curb outside her home and turned off the engine. Jeremy got out and slammed the door behind him.
"Hey! Now you can walk to school tomorrow!" Elena shouted through the window indignantly. Jeremy kept walking, flipping her the finger over his shoulder. Elena huffed and glared malevolently at his retreating back. She leaned over into the back seat and grabbed her bag, checking through it to make sure she had all her stuff together.
Then she stopped and looked up. She had the feeling of being watched. She flicked her eyes up and down the street, but everything was silent. Too silent. A feeling of foreboding slunk up her spine, lodging itself in the back of her neck. Slowly, she reached out and pulled on the handle, and the door swung out silently. As she looked up at her house, the rest of the world receded into blurry indistinct lines, the front porch of her home standing out in stark relief. A breeze came out of nowhere, lifting the tendrils of hair from her shoulders.
"Don't be scared, I'll protect you."
A feeling of comfort slid through her as she sat in her car, one foot placed on the sidewalk. As she revelled in the feeling, the ground beneath her trembled. She looked up in shock as the earth cracked open ahead of her, and she watched as the house in front of her collapsed in on itself, on top of her family. A high pitched noise filled her ears, and she clasped her arms around her head as rubble rained down all around her.
"I think we need to sedate her again, doctor." The nurse pulled the straps out from under the bed, tightening them around each of the flailing limbs of the girl.
"I agree." The doctor grabbed the syringe and placed it against the skin of the girl's arm. "I just wish we could find out why she keeps doing this." He pushed down on the plunger. "She'll be calm again in a moment."
Icy cold filled Elena's limbs as she fell back against the steering wheel. Darkness swept in on her as shock overtook her senses. The slight breeze lifted her hair again as she gave in to the darkness.
"I'll find you, I promise."
The girl sits in a wheelchair in a white hallway. There are voices behind her, but she pays no attention. The chair moves beneath her and she is shaken slightly, as an orderly pushes her down the corridor. The white door in front of her opens, and she is pushed into the garden for the first time since she arrived here. It's not the first time, but the girl pays no attention, so for her it is. The bright glare of the sun hits her face, and she flinches, looking down. There will be colours out here, and things, things that might make her remember. So she stares down at her knees. They are covered in a white blanket. White is good. White holds no memories for the girl.
The orderly pushes the girl down the meandering pink path, pointing out features as they go, but the girl doesn't listen, and doesn't look.
The doctor watched from out of his window as his newest patient was wheeled around the garden. For many patients, the garden is a place of peace and tranquillity, and many of his patients have come back to themselves a bit more each time they have been taken outside. Not Elena Gilbert though. The doctor didn't think it was possible for the girl to retreat any further inside herself, but as he watched, he saw her shoulders hunching and her head dipping lower, as if her senses were being assaulted. He needed to find a way to reach her, but so far he had been unsuccessful. Elena was going to be a hard case for him to solve.
The girl is wheeled back into her room and once again placed in front of the window. She doesn't look out, instead choosing to find a blank space of white wall to stare at. Her breathing calms and her brow relaxes. Her room is located close to the nursing station, and there are voices outside. But she doesn't listen.
"Excuse me, but who are you?"
"I am the new doctor, and I'll be taking over Dr Humphrey's new patient." The man stared deep into the nurse's eyes, and her gaze unfocused.
"You're the new doctor..."
Dr Humphreys came walking down the hall. "Nurse Williams? What is going on here?"
"This is the new doctor, he'll be taking over with our new patient." The nurse replied, gesturing to the man standing next to her.
"Oh? Why wasn't I told about this?"
The man stepped closer to the doctor, locking eyes with him. "The family requested me. I am an expert in these types of cases."
Dr Humphreys stared back for a moment, before clearing his throat. "Oh, of course. My apologies, I remember now. Would you like to meet your patient, Dr...?"
"Salvatore, and yes, please."
"She's right through here." Dr Humphreys gestured to the door on his left and the man stepped into the room.
"Thank you. I will find you if I need any assistance."
Dr Humphreys nodded and stepped away from the door. He beckoned to the nurse to follow him, and they moved off down the hall to see to other patients.
The man watched them go for a moment, and then closed the door, shutting himself in the room with the girl. He moved slowly towards the wheelchair, not wanting to frighten her. He stood in front of her for a minute, his eyes scanning her body for any sign of injury, but there was none. The only injury was in her head.
He sighed and crouched down next to her, reaching out a hand to smooth her hair away from her face.
"I found you. I promised I would." He whispered to her, sliding the back of his finger down her cheek. "Don't be scared, I'll protect you."
The girl feels the touch on her cheek, but she doesn't flinch. There are no memories attached to this touch, or to this voice speaking to her. An unknown part of her sighs at the contact, and she unconsciously closes her eyes and leans into the touch. She feels comforted, more so than when she looks at the white things, more so even than when she lets the darkness envelop her. She sits there with the unknown man, his hand upon her cheek, her eyes closed in peace.
She doesn't open her eyes, but if she did, she would be looking into eyes the colour of blue ice.
A/N: So, there we are. As I said, it's a little bit out there, and I hope this doesn't put you off too much! Oh, and if anyone's interested, the music I was listening to was Black Veil Brides (my current obssession, and the inspiration behind one of my other stories). Anyway, I hope you liked it, and please review?