Every week Chuck Wendig over at terribleminds posts a flash fiction challenge. This weeks challenge? Find a random song - that's your title, then you writes your story. Me and my husband regularly go on musical journeys through Youtube frequently ending up with in some really random place, last night we ended at Inside by Stiltskin.
I keep screaming but no one hears me.
My name is Ana, the last thing I remember? Partying. I was dancing, having fun, happy. I remember being handed drinks, kissing someone, fingers on my lips slipping something in my mouth, after that it's a blur then...nothing.
I wake, screaming, to whiteness, bright lights, cool hands, and quiet voices.
Why does no one respond? Why don't they acknowledge my pain?
"I'm terribly sorry" I hear. "...persistent vegetative state..." I hear. "...nothing we can do..." and sobbing, heart rending, gut wrenching, sobbing.
"Mum, mum" I call but she doesn't hear me. "Mum, I'm still here." I try again, my mother too lost in sorrow to sense anything.
In the days and weeks that follow people come to visit. Some simply sit a while, unable to think of anything to say to my corpse like body, some tell stories or sing songs, anything to fill the oppressive silence, some tell me the minutiae of their lives.
For example; my sister Lesley "Well this morning when I went for my waking up pee I ended up having a poo...I mean how does that even happen? I had my poo at 7 last night same as always and I didn't even have anything to eat after that so you tell me...where did it come from???" I mean really is that the sort of thing you tell anyone even if they are in a coma?
Mum is there every day, she cries a lot, shouts at me sometimes. "How could you do something like this to yourself you silly, silly girl." or "your poor father is breaking his heart, he thinks it's our fault, that we caused this somehow" or "drugs...how could you I thought we raised you better than that, I always knew you were wayward but hard drugs?"
Hang on a minute, what the hell? Drugs? Where did that come from? I find out in dribs and drabs, a memory here, an off hand comment there. I'd apparently taken, taken? Hah! Been slipped more like, some MDMA and I'd had a bad reaction to it. I'd had a stroke, but by the time anyone found me the damage had been done and I'd slipped into a coma.
Oh. My. God! That guy at the party. The one I'd been dancing with. He'd done this. He'd slipped me something. I'd been quite drunk at the time, normally if someone had offered me something I'd have refused, sure I smoke the odd joint, drink more than is good for me, once I may even have taken some magic mushrooms but I don't do chemicals. But he hadn't offered, we'd been dancing, flirting, kissing and when he slipped his finger into my mouth I hadn't protested. It was nice, intimate, erotic even and I'd accepted it without a murmur.
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. There's a reason I don't mess with chemicals. I've seen way too many people fucked up by them and now look!
My mum is breaking her heart, my dad blames himself, my sister is all smug satisfaction, safe in the knowledge that she is the good sister, that even if I do recover form this it's just one fuck up too many. Well fuck that by the way!
I try screaming again, try to blink my eyes, move my fingers, my toes, twitch, anything, anything at all to draw someone's attention. Nothing. I give up. Exhausted.
Exhausted? Hah, I spend all day, every day lying in bed, the nurses move me regularly to avoid bed sores, they have a fancy medical name for it, but bed sores is what they mean, and I do...Nothing. I'm just here, trapped in my own body and unable to let anyone know.
Oh god, oh god, oh god. What if I don't recover? What if I never get any better? Am I just going to be stuck in this body for the next fifty years unable to communicate with anyone? Maybe my body will get used for sex by some unscrupulous male nurse like in that film...what was it? Kill Bill, that was the one! Good movie that. Or maybe they'll switch off the machines that are keeping me alive, feeding me, hydrating me, breathing for me and I'll slowly starve to death, suffocate, drown in my own fluids?
Oh. Fuck. They could do that. They don't know I'm in here. They think I'm just a body, a husk, an empty shell. They'll want to save money, use the machines on someone with better odds of pulling through. The NHS always need beds, you see it all the time on the news, bed shortages, funding crises, all that stuff.
I scream again and again and again, nothing. Not even a glimmer. Not one of my friends or family even seem to consider I might be trapped in here, even the medical professionals with their machines and charts and expertise notice nothing.
Eventually the visits trail off, people stop dropping in. They all have jobs to go to, parties to enjoy, lives to live. pretty soon it's just my family visiting, even they don't come as often.
Then one day, my mother. God she looks frail. She strokes my forehead, straightens my hair, like she used to when I was little. She kisses me, holds me, I feel a tear land on my cheek, hers, my eyes have to be moistened for me. Then she says "Goodbye love", squeezes my hand and leaves. My sister is next she cries noisily all snot and tears everywhere before choking out "Bye Brat, I'm going to miss you." Then more quietly "I love you".
That leaves daddy, my hero daddy, whom I don't remember visiting. Not once. He comes in slowly. I am shocked at the sight of him. He seems translucent, fragile as if he might shatter at the least touch. He stands a long time just looking at me. Then he touches my cheek, just once, a single tear runs down his face. He turns to leave, glances back and sighs heavily and I know it's over.