I WOKE UP in a white room. My entire body ached. I tried to move, but I was constrained and everything was sore. I blinked my eyes, and finally they adjusted to the bright light.
The faint smell of vomit masked with Lysol cleaner permeated the stagnant air. A needle poked into my left arm. I fought the urge to rip it out immediately. Slowly and carefully, I pulled back the thin sheets that covered the rest of my body. My right arm was in a white cast almost up to my elbow, and a gauze bandage covered my shoulder, wrapping all the way around my chest. I winced and lay back down. My leg itched, but I didn't have the energy to look at it. My body was too weak. My eyes started to flash shut.
"Hey," I heard a voice to my right. I fluttered my eyes open and looked over. My mom was sitting in a chair next to my bed. Her feet tapped nervously against the floor. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail, small stands flying away from her face. Her dark blue eyes were bloodshot, and dark bags hung beneath them, but a faint smile spread across her face when she made eye contact with me. She leaned in and placed her hand against my cheek gently.
"What the fu..." I started to curse, but I cut myself off because I was in front of my mom.
"You're in the hospital," she told me.
"How long have I been out?" I asked.
"Sixty two hours." She pushed my hair back from my forehead, and it felt comforting.
I coughed, and my entire body hurt. "I feel like hell. Is Dad here too?"
She nodded. "He went to get us something to eat from the vending machine." She paused for a second, glancing around the room uneasily. "Harper... there is someone else here to talk to you though." Her voice faltered with nerves, and she bit her lower lip.
"Who is it?" I asked.
"His name is Mr. Blake." She took my good hand in hers and squeezed it lightly. "You should talk to him sooner rather than later." She stood up and kissed me on my cheek. "I'll be right outside if you need me."
With that, she abandoned me in the hospital room. The door closed behind her, and minutes passed with nothing. My eyes started to drift shut as I nodded off to sleep.
Suddenly, the door flew open again and I was stirred awake. A man I had never seen before came into the room and sat down next to my bed. He wore a suite that was a size too big and a fancy blue and green patterned tie. Sweat prickled his hairline. He extended his hand to me.
"Hello Harper," he said.
My hand automatically met his, and I gave a weak handshake.
"Do you know who I am?" he asked.
I didn't say anything for a second. "No," I finally responded.
"I'm Jacob Blake. Your parents have hired me to be your lawyer."
"Yes." He took off his thin rimmed glasses and spun them in his hand, as though he were trying to focus. He turned his attention back to me, a somber expression stretched across his features. "You've been charged with arson and the first degree murder of Joshua Rider."
I didn't respond. My body went light, and my mind escaped. It was like this was happening to someone else, and I was watching from above. My jaw slacked open, but no words came out.
"You're due to stand trial once you are released from the hospital and healthy enough to do so," Jacob said, but his voice was distant and detached.
"I... I," I stuttered. Tears threatened to break from my eyes, but I didn't dare cry in front of him.
He put his hand on my good shoulder. "I'm going to do everything I can for you."
I blinked and avoided eye contact, staring ahead at the closed door of the room. "Am I going to go to prison?" I finally asked lowly.
He sighed heavily. "There were some... extenuating circumstances surrounding the events. The arson at 25 Cornwall Drive and suspected murder of Jeremey Alister leading up to it, first of all. And then there is the case of the... remains... found at the site of the Clay Road fire. There's also the bite you sustained. The shape of it as well as the chemical toxins in your body were... unexplainable to say the least. To be honest, I think the doctors were surprised you even lived. All they could do was sedate you and flush your system, hoping the... toxins... ran their course."
He stared me somberly for a few second, waiting for me to respond, but I said nothing. I had no words.
"All in all, the case is interesting, to say the least," he finished.
"Am I going to go to prison?" I finally responded, repeating my initial question as calmly as I could manage. Blood pulsed through my body in a rush, and my heart pounded in my chest.
"Well, I suppose that depends," Jacob Blake said.
"Depends on what?" I ground out between my teeth.
"On the way you tell your story."
• • E N D • •
Thanks so much for reading! Hope you've enjoyed the story as much as I've enjoyed writing it.
The song in the header is "Trouble" by Sleeping with Sirens. I heard it a while ago when I was listening to their album Gossip. I thought it fit this story and wanted to share it.
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