I woke up with a start, eyes snapping open to reveal blurry images around me. My arms pushed the top half of me up so I was resting on my elbows. I blinked; my surroundings slowly sharpened into focus.
I was alone in my room. It looked exactly how I had left it- a few misplaced pairs of shoes scattered on the floor, miscellaneous objects laying on my rickety wooden dresser, and sunlight peeking through the closed curtains. Muffled voices from outside of the Homestead were all I could hear except for silence and my own uneven breathing. The air smelled sharp of cleaning supplies; it stung my nostrils and caused me to cringe.
When I looked down at the sheets covering me, I noticed two lumps. I sighed in relief- I still had both legs. I took a deep breath and removed the covers, noticing that my injured leg was completely covered in a white cast from the knee down. I couldn't feel it. The entire limb was numb.
Once I got over the astonishment of actually having that appendage attached to me, I pushed myself into a sitting position. The limb was a dead weight. Every time I tried to make it move, it stayed and didn't budge like the signal had been cut off or something.
I never liked asking for help; not because I thought I was too good for it, but because I always had an inkling in the back of my mind that I was inconveniencing the person. This time, however, I knew I was going to have to move out of my comfort zone and ask for it. There was no way I was getting anywhere on my own.
"Anyone here?" I called hesitantly, but loud enough for someone in the hallway to hear. "Can someone help me?"
Indistinct footsteps sounded from another end of the hall and became louder until the doorknob twisted. Minho, one of my Runners, popped his head into the room. He was a tall Asian boy who was slowly beginning to gain muscle the more time he spent running. Soon he would be a giant chunk of fitness, and my job would be done. His usually messy, windblown black hair was neatly combed; he hadn't gone running that day.
The moment he noticed I was struggling, Minho came to my side, slowly, almost unworried. His thin eyebrows pinched together as his eyes scanned my bandaged leg. "Do you want me to get Clint?"
I shook my head, gritting my teeth as I attempted to swing my leg around the side of the bed. "No, no. I just need help standing."
Minho nodded and grabbed my thigh, gently moving it so it was beside my other one. I struggled to place my foot on the floor. It hung limply and stubbornly above the ground.
"Wait!" Minho shouted suddenly, making me jump at the loudness of his voice. He hurried to a pair of crutches that were propped up against the wall beside my dresser. After he passed them to me, I fit them just under my armpits and gripped onto the handles. "A few hours after you were out, these came up in the Box along with a note. You'll be getting a brace for your leg soon."
I nodded in understanding, my body filling with dread at the answer for the question I was about to ask. "Will I ever be able to use it again?"
Minho hesitated before shaking his head. A somber expression weighed down his face. "The brace is permanent."
I sighed. A despondent feeling crept into my heart and settled at the bottom of it. "Figured as much." I adjusted my hold on the crutches. "Here I go. Minho, spot me, please."
The Runner stood close to me with his arms held out in case I were to fall. I braced myself and stood, attempting earnestly to bend my heavy leg at the knee as much as I could. I had no idea how to use crutches, but it made sense to use the handles and not put too much pressure underneath my arms.
It was going to take a while to get used to, but I believed that I could do it. I took a few laps around my room to practice. Every second was agonizing, the effort to keep my leg lifted off the ground quickly draining my energy, but I was determined. Eventually Minho stopped spotting me and stood near the door with a small grin on his face. It took me a few minutes to realize he had left my side.