By: Kathi S. Barton

The room was bright, which threw her off. There were no windows in her apartment and she knew for a fact that she wasn’t in her room at her uncle’s place. She tried to roll over, but she felt weighed down and heavy. It took her several tries to get her eyes to pry open and then a bit more to make them focus. But it mattered little because she still had no idea where she was.

“Christ, girl, it’s about time. You scared me plum to death.” Her uncle came into her line of sight, but he was out of focus for a few seconds.

“Where?” she croaked. It was the best she could do with the towel stuffed down her throat and the elephant on her chest.

“St. Luke’s. You’ve been here ‘bout four days. Best we can tell, you got the record for being out. You done your family name proud.”

She wanted to smile, but it was just too exhausting. She heard her mom, but couldn’t keep her eyes open long enough to see her.

“Mom?” She heard some shifting then suddenly her mom was there. Tears formed, but she couldn’t tell if they fell or not.

“I’m here, baby. You’re going to be all right now. You rest and get better. Jay and I will be here with you.”

Kasey had a moment to wonder why her mom and uncle where in the bedroom with her, but she fuzzed out again. She was just drifting off when she remembered something, but it was there and gone so quickly she let it go. Besides, it hurt too much to try to chase it.

She knew that she drifted in and out a lot. She also knew that there were changes when she’d been out, that she noticed, but didn’t remark on. There were things she thought she’d imagined, others she knew she had.

Like the man, Mr. Hunter. He’d been in her bedroom too. That was just plain silly. What on earth would he even care…unless he was there to fire her? Maybe, she thought, but couldn’t remember why. Then she opened her eyes one day and knew she was in the hospital.

“Hello, Miss. York. I’m Abby, your nurse. Can I get you anything? If you’re in pain, I can give you something for that as well.”

Kasey tried to move, but it hurt too much so she looked around the room as well as she could just using her eyes and not turning her head. This place changed with every eye opening, she thought, as she took in the sofa and the big television. She looked back at Abby for answers.

“Where…where am I?” She almost dreaded the answer. If she was where she thought she was, she was in big trouble.

“St. Luke’s Hospital on Main. You need anything?”

Yes, answers, she thought, but didn’t ask her. “I need AMA papers now.” She wasn’t sure how she expected to leave against medical advice, but she had to get out of here now.

“I don’t think… You won’t be able to leave, Miss York. You’re still hurt pretty badly.”

Well, no shit, Kasey said to herself. She lifted her arm and blinked several times at the bruises and cuts on her arm. It took a full five seconds to remember what had happened and who had done this. She groaned when she remembered every detail. She looked over at the nurse who was still staring at her.

“Papers. Now. I don’t have any insurance and I certainly can’t afford this being unemployed.” That got her moving. Abby was out the door like a shot.

Kasey was still trying to figure out how to get the bed in an upright position when her door opened again. She turned to ask the nurse how to do it when she saw who was there.

“You were going somewhere, Officer York? I’m reasonably sure you shouldn’t be moving about so much just yet. The doctor said he’d have to restrain you if you tore open your stitches again. He sounded pretty pissy the last time you did it.”

Mr. Hunter looked like he thought the idea of the doctor being pissy was funny. She turned away from him to work at the bed again. She felt it was better to ignore him rather than try to make her tongue work around speaking to him. When the bed moved, she cried out in pain. Maybe she should just try and move on her own.

“Are you all right?” He pressed something and she was moving again. When she cried out a second time he stopped moving the bed. For what seemed like hours but was probably only a few seconds, she heard the door open again. She prayed he’d gone away to get a gun to shoot her and put her out of her misery.

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