Chapter Thirteen--Vanilla

1.5K 103 8

It takes me about seven minutes to find myself sprinting like a madman down the street, stomping through rained-on asphalt and avoiding headlights from cars sloshing through the gutters.  I don't have a shirt or shoes and my hair is an absolute mess; people probably think I'm a homeless thief rubbing from an angry shop owner.  Especially because I'm blank.

I crash through the hospital door and run past the people waiting to be admitted: children with fingers needed to be stitched up, women who think they're in labor, crying families with pain I would share if it meant I belonged to them.

  Most of the nurses have at last seen me from a distance since I practically live here, but it feels as if I never really know any of them.  I stop one that worked with Jo at one point, my eyes wild.  She glances down at my bare chest and then my soaking socks.  "What are you doing?"

I start signing desperately before I remember that none of these people know it.  I fumble for my phone, my thumbs shaking as I press the thick and ancient buttons, typing out a message explaining the call I had gotten.

"Ohhh, Josephine Lawson."  She sucks her bottom lip inside her mouth and I'm about ready to shake her as she's wasting my precious time right now.  "They moved her back into the ICU.  I'll take you," she says, parking the cart of dirty trays with half-eaten meals on it.  

"They'll let me in?"  I mouth slowly, trying to keep a level head.

She shrugs and pushes the button to call the elevator.  "You're here every single day.  If anyone gives you a problem, send them to me."   We step inside the small chamber and she pushes another button to take us up.  The entire ride, I can feel my body freaking out--my fingers tap, my arms twitch, my eyes jerk.

"Calm down," she says coldly.  She doesn't understand what this is like because she experiences death every single day.  Shut the eyes, pull the sheet over, fake a grim face and then forget.  She doesn't understand what this is like because she has never lost her first friend and first love in one day.  Shut the eyes, pull the sheet over, fake a grim face and then forget.

"Second on the left," is all she says.  She doesn't even get out of the elevator. 

I quietly step into the dark, small room that already smells like death.  Josephine has a whole mask taped on her face to keep her breathing, and there are restraints on her arms and legs.  I've never seen anything like this, even at the mental ward.  Horrors like this always took place behind locked doors, in soundproof rooms, out of sight and hearing range of those who could possibly tell. The insane asylum's worst nightmare is not the insane but those who have their wits about them enough to tell.

There are two men in white coats huddling around her.  I think a helpful nurse had grabbed the stuff that Jenna and I left in our old room because I'm able to find an old t-shirt and clean socks that I had thankfully put in my bag.  They always seem to pity us.

One of the doctors with a mop of wiry brown curls and rimmed glasses gives me a strange look before going back to studying her heart monitor.  "Who are you, kid?  You can't just come in here!"

"He's the other mute one," the other doctor, a younger  man says, who takes a syringe filled with Josephine's blood and quickly runs it to an awaiting nurse. 

"I had Jone call her family's hotel room.  Mother and sister are away with relatives, but mother said that this guy can come whenever he's allowed.  And since this might be..." the second doctor looks at her chart to find her name again.  "Josephine's last night, he's here.  It might help with her familiarity problems." 

"Do we have a nurse who knows sign language?"  The first one does, doing something else around Josephine, blocking her from my view with his massive back.

Skin Deep (Featured - Completed)Read this story for FREE!