Chapter One

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 Since starting university last year, there were many nights when I would get blackout drunk and wake up in a friend's dorm. I somehow knew before opening my eyes that this was a different kind of morning.

An ache spread across my temple and intensified to an unbearable fire behind my eyes. My mouth was dry, and a burn ran down my throat as I took in a deep breath. There was an itch below my nose. I reached up to scratch it, but something dug into my wrist. I yanked my arm but didn't get far before cold metal pressed into my flesh. I pulled my arm again, and there was a clang of metal. I pulled my other arm toward my face, but the same uncomfortable metal ring held me in place.

Pain shot down the side of my skull. I struggled to open my eyes so that I could look down at my wrists. When I opened my eyes, I was met with darkness. I had the urge to reach up and touch my face, but I was stuck. I tried to pull myself and the back of my hand ached.

I was gasping for breath. A faint steady beep was beside me. I opened my mouth to speak, but only a faint noise came out. I closed my mouth and tried to build up saliva to wet my tongue.

"Help."

I wanted to yell, but I could barely bring my voice above a whisper.

"Help me." My voice was hoarse. It didn't sound like me. "Please, somebody."

I balled my hands up into a fist and pulled my arms. There was another clang of metal and sharp pain in my wrists.

This wasn't me waking from an alcohol-fueled night. I didn't have anything to drink yesterday. I remembered walking home from practice with my music blaring in my ears when someone grabbed me from behind. A large hand had gone over my mouth and it was followed by a sharp pinch in my arm.

A pressure built up in my chest as I continued to try and pull myself free. The beeping beside me picked up its pace and was going faster.

"Please!" I cried. I twisted my back as I tried to push myself off of the bed that I was lying on. "Please, help me!"

The beeping grew even faster.

There was an echo of footsteps. I held my breath and lied back down on the bed. The footsteps grew louder as a person came closer to me.

"Please, please let me go," I said.

The footsteps stopped and wheels squeaked. A hand rested against the top of my head. I jerked to the side and away from the person. I gritted my teeth together as the pain ran down into my neck. The hand pet my hair and I tried to pull myself away from the person.

"Calm down, Diana," a male voice said. "You need your rest."

"Where am I?" I asked.

"You're in recovery," he said. "The operation was successful. That doesn't mean you're in the clear though. I have only got one patient this far before and she died a day after her surgery."

My lip trembled. The man tucked a piece of my hair behind my ear. He adjusted something below my nose, and I guessed that it was an oxygen tube.

"What did you do to me?" I asked. "How do you know my name?"

"I wasn't reckless. I found your health card in your wallet," he told me. "As for the operation, I will tell you about it later. I don't want you worrying to affect your recovery."

"Please -"

"Your pulse is high and your oxygen is low," he cut me off. "Take deep breaths."

I bit down on my lip and pulled my wrists against whatever was restraining me. The man's warm hand covered my wrist that was the closest to him.

Patient TwelveWhere stories live. Discover now