The One Where Phoebe Wakes Up

Phoebe roused awake. Her head was pounding and a stale taste resided in her mouth. "Ugh," she groaned. Her eyes were sealed shut by the crust of dried fluids, but she forced them open slowly, her face still buried in the dank smelling carpet.

The room was dark, though she could see some light peaking from behind the heavy curtains. She licked her dried lips a few times trying to get rid of the foul taste. "Where am I?"

Phoebe brought her arms up and attempted to lift herself from the ground. A sharp pain shot through her left arm causing her to fall to the ground, hitting a bruise on her shoulder. Tears began streaming from her eyes while she lay on her back holding herself. A few moments of recovery, a second attempt, and she was sitting up.

She brushed the crust from her eyes to try to see more clearly, but there wasn't enough light. She rubbed her head and felt a sore spot on the side where she must have hit it the night before. The air was heavy and moist, with a metallic odor. She knew this smell, and it wasn't good.

She struggled to stand, but the dull pain made it difficult. She felt like her body had been hit by a bus, had fallen from 20 feet onto hard cement, had taken the worst beating of its life. Through the aches and the creaks of her joints, she got to her feet and stumbled to the window, managing to pull back the curtains to reveal a bright day outside. The light served only to point out the falling waves of dust in the room.

Phoebe cringed at the brightness, at the low sun shining directly in her face. She turned her head away and saw shards of glass on the floor from what was previously a mirror hanging above it, markings on the wall from where the glass had dug itself in, and her own battered reflection. She walked up to the broken mirror and examined herself. There was blood on her clothing and a bruise on her face, but she couldn't find a cut on her body anywhere. Fearing the worst, she looked slowly around the room.

It was small. Two twin beds stood against one wall, a nightstand between them. She was in a hotel room, she could figure out that much. Probably a cheap motel at best. A lamp lay broken atop one of the beds while a phone cord dangled unattached to anything. A dark mass was across the room from her and she knew what it was.

The body was crumpled up in the corner on the other side of the window. Blood had pooled around it, glistening slightly from the light. Phoebe walked slowly toward it, afraid of who it might be. Might have been. As she approached, it became clear that it was a man. Dark hair, similarly battered, a wrist slashed, and a piece of glass next to him.

She stood over him and studied his face. It was pale, his nose was broken and blood smeared around his mouth, a patch of hair was missing, probably torn out. Phoebe's face grew ashen as a sense of horror and recognition set in. "Joey?" her voice shaked. "Joey, get up." Tears came to her eyes and her throat began to close. She knelt down and caressed his cheek, not noticing how cold it was, how still it was, how peaceful it was as compared to the way his body laid on the ground.

She rubbed her face and winced at the pain. "What have I done?" she asked in a low whisper. "What the fuck happened? Why are you dead?" Minutes passed as her mind scrambled to regain memories of the previous night, but nothing came. The last thing she could remember was driving around upstate New York with Joey the day before.

"I'm sorry." She stood up and searched for belongings. A leather jacket was on the floor—hers. She threw it on and checked the pockets. Her cell phone was nearly dead—6:36pm, several missed calls and text messages—names and numbers she knew, names and numbers she didn't. She checked her other pockets and found credit cards and a driver's license. The picture was hers, the name was Ursula's.