Drifting. Short Story.

Hope everyone had a good weekend/Halloween, I didn’t get up to a whole lot, ended up staying in and watching some movies, Skeleton Key and The Babadook, both were pretty good. It was fairly relaxing. There wasn’t many kids this year either, so that made things a little easier!


Anita was drifting in and out of sleep, she didn’t feel right. One moment things were too sharp the next they were all fuzzy. She couldn’t seem to keep her eyes open longer than a few seconds. She rolled over again, the room was too bright. Why was her room too bright? This was why she had blackout blinds. Maybe she forgot to close them before bed. Had she really been that tired? She couldn’t remember. All she could remember was working, then tidying up before the end of her shift. She rolled over again and reached to turn off her lamp, that was the problem. She fell asleep reading again. Her hand hit air and kept going before slamming into a wooden table. She opened her eyes properly, wincing slightly at the light and looked around. She wasn’t in her room. The room she was in had bright white walls and a pale green linoleum floor. It didn’t have the thick comfortable carpet or the warm red walls she was used to. She turned over and something tugged at her arm, she had dismissed the feeling before as her heavy blankets, Anita looked down and saw a thin plastic wire snaked from her arm up to a bag of IV fluids. Where was she? What was going on? It looked like a hospital, why was she in hospital? She reached around the bed blindly until her hand hit something hard and plastic, she brought it close to her face and studied it, it took her a while to figure out which button to press but when she did she dropped the box and let her arm fall back to the bed. It felt so heavy, so slow. A nurse rushed in, she was small, maybe five-foot tall, her blond hair pulled back in a ponytail. She looked pale, a little too pale, almost bordering on sickly.

“Miss, I need you to remain calm ok?”
Anita nodded, she was already calm, alarm and worry seemed like they were too difficult right now. She started to speak, then coughed, her mouth was dry, so very dry and sticky, how had she not noticed that before? The nurse passed her a small cup filled with water and a straw. “Sip slowly. If you drink too much too fast you might get sick, ok?”
Anita didn’t nod, but she sipped the water. She had barely a mouthful when the nurse pulled the cup away.

“You’re in the hospital right now, there was an accident, we think you might have passed out at the wheel and drifted off the road, don’t worry, no one is hurt. You’ll have a few bruises, right now we’re keeping you for observation and to run a few more tests. We were unable to find ID on you, can you tell me your name?”
She was starting to feel more alert, the water helped clear her head a little. “It’s Anita Jones.”

“Ok, good, do you have the number of a family member or friend that I could contact? I’m sure they’ve very worried about you.”
Anita thought for a moment, strings of numbers danced just out of reach. “I can’t think of any. They were all in my phone though, it was in my bag.”
“We didn’t find a bag at the scene, but that’s ok, you’ll remember, just take your time. Could you give me your address maybe? We could have an officer inform someone there.”
“Uh, yeah, sure.”
Anita gave her address, still trying to process what was happening to her.
“What happened exactly?”
“Well, we’re not sure. Someone called in to say you were driving erratically and that you appeared to have passed out. That was a few hours ago. You were unconscious when you came in. You woke up a few times, but never for long. What do you remember before the accident?”
“I was finishing up in work, sorting out the last few bits, then I think maybe I was in a parking lot.”
“Ok, that’s good, but don’t worry if you cant remember more right now, you’ll still be groggy.”
The nurse asked a few more questions, though later Anita would remember few of them. She didn’t like the hospital, everything about it was harsh, the lights, the smells.

The nurse left and Anita relaxed into the bed. It was more comfortable that she would have expected. She glanced up at the IV, she didn’t need to pee yet, but she knew from experience that it would only be a matter of time before she was going like clockwork. She wished someone was here, even just to keep her company. At least the nurse seemed nice enough, she had told Anita that though visiting hours were over she’d sneak in a few people for her. Anita wasn’t sure how true that was, the sneaking in part, surely they’d allow someone to be with her if they were quiet and stayed out of the way. She was calmer than she would have expected too. Normally she was one to freak out, over analyse and worry about everything, but something about the hospital felt safe. Probably the way that hospitals never change, always the same smells of cleaning fluids, the same flooring, the same walls.

Anita woke up again, she hadn’t noticed that she drifted off. She went to turn over but something stopped her with a clang. She looked over at her wrist, it was handcuffed to the bed. She started breathing quickly, what had she done? Had she hurt someone in the accident? She scrambled for that plastic box and started jabbing the help button. The nurse strode in, looking concerned, “Why am I cuffed to the bed?”
“It’s for your safety and ours. You had attacked a doctor earlier, we had to restrain you.”
“I did?”
“Yes, what’s the last thing you remember?”
“You had just left and I was sitting here then I woke up.”
The nurse nodded and wrote something into her clipboard. “Ok, I’m sorry about the handcuff, we’ll have to leave it there. We don’t have padded restraints unfortunately, budget cuts.”
The nurse paused as though expecting Anita to nod sympathetically. “We gave you something to calm you down a little, I’ll be along with another dose shortly.” She put down the clip board and left the room.
Anita shivered, what was happening to her? Why was she blacking out? What if it was a tumour or something? She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, it was ok, she was in a hospital, they’d find out what was wrong with her, then she’d get treatment. It would be fine. Of course it would.

“I don’t know why you let them wake up.”
The nurse smiled up at the doctor, “It’s more interesting that way. I want to see how long it takes them to realise.”
“Yeah, well, we got an order in for the latest one. You’re going to have to knock her out and prep her for surgery.”
“Damn, that was fast.”
“Yeah, well, it is what it is.”

The nurse grabbed a few things then started back towards the room.

“Ok, I’m going to give you an injection now, it’ll make you a little sleepy. Don’t worry though you’re safe here.”
Anita nodded. “Did you have any luck contacting anyone?”
The nurse shook her head, “No, unfortunately not, have you remembered any of the phone numbers yet?”
Anita shook her head, it was starting to drive her crazy, she knew she knew them, but they were just out of reach. The nurse smiled at her then shrugged, “Well, it doesn’t matter, we weren’t going to call anyone anyway.”
The nurse smiled, Anita tried to sit up but her body was too heavy, “What do yo-” Her eyes closed. The nurse looked at Anita, it was just too easy with this one. There was no fun. She liked seeing them panic, the look of realisation. Oh well, there would always be next time.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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