Here is the beginning of my WIP for the Medical Mews challenge. I am still struggling with the ending. I know which direction it must go, but every time I write it, it just sounds so clichéd. This still needs a fair amount of work, but this is a good start, considering I haven’t written anything for a while.
I opened my eyes and looked up at the face hovering over me. The whiskers poking through the green mask looked out of place.
I tried to push myself up, but a firm hand held me down.
“You need your rest,” the mask said.
“Wh-where am I?” I asked.
The last thing I remember was... actually, I don’t remember anything before waking up. No bright light, nothing. I was in bed. Yes. I switched off the light to go to sleep and then... this.
I tried to push myself up again. No resistance this time. My head felt dizzy.
“How did I get here,” I asked, my eyes scanning the room. I could see no further than my bed. Everything beyond was fuzzy.
“That’s a very good question,” the masked face said. It was outside my line of vision. “One of our attendees found you in a little pile on the pavement outside our door a couple of weeks ago. You were pretty broken.”
Weeks? Weeks! How? I could not vocalise the thoughts flitting through my head.
The masked face returned. The shape of the face looked wrong. Strong hands pushed me back and I didn’t resist this time. I rested my head on the soft pillows and closed my eyes.
“My name is Reina,” the voice said softly close to my left ear. “What’s your name?”
I frowned. My name. I had to think about it for a moment. “Josh,” I finally said. I was sure that was right. It felt like it could be my name. I heard a soft scratching, like pencil on paper.
“Very good, Josh. Now, do you remember where you come from?”
“Uhm,” I said.
“Not to worry. When you remember. No rush right now.”
I tried to smile. It hurt.
“What exactly is wrong with me?” I asked.
“Like I said, when you arrived here, you were broken. Almost every bone in your body was broken, and you looked like you had been beaten up pretty badly by someone far bigger than you. Do you maybe remember who...” her raspy voice broke off.
I tried to shake my head – it hurt too much – and said softly “No.” I turned my head away from her and could feel sunlight on my skin. I tried to open my eyes again, but the light hurt too much.
“Just take it easy,” Reina said softly. I felt her pull the sheet up to my shoulders and she patted down the blanket gently. “Are you hungry?”
I nodded slowly.
I lay in silence for several minutes, enjoying the heat of the sun on my face.
I must have dozed off, because I didn’t hear her return. “Josh, do you think you can sit up,” she said suddenly. I tried to push myself up again, but the pain was too much. I shook my head. “Not to worry,” she said, “Turn on your back and I will raise your bed. Just tell me if it hurts.”
Gently, she helped me up and raised the bed so I could sit. The shape of her head still worried me, as did the amount of hair on her arms. I could not put my finger on why, and didn’t have enough time to think about it either.
Lunch was steamed fish and a glass of milk. It tasted like heaven.
Reina sat quietly in the corner, just on the other side of the blur-line while I was eating. When I was done, she whisked away the tray and returned to my side.
“How are you feeling now?” she asked. Her green eyes were sparkling, pupils thin slits in the light.
“Please take off your mask,” I asked.
She shook her head and said “It is better for both of us if this mask stays where it is for now.”
I frowned but said nothing.
She sat down in the chair next to my bed, leaned back and said “Are you sure you don’t remember anything?”
“I remember switching off my bedside light and going to sleep.” I sighed.
“And where was that?” she prodded patiently.
“At home, of course.”
“And where is home, exactly?”
I closed my eyes and thought about it for a while. I could see the familiar terracotta walls, and the city skyline beyond. “I live in the city, in one of those security complexes,” I said. I could see a name on the wall. “I think it is called Willow Hill.”
She nodded, and said “Do you live alone?”
“I think so,” I said. I could not remember anyone living with me.
“I see. And you remember nothing thereafter?”
I shook my head slowly. “Nothing,” I whispered.
“And, just so we are clear on this,” she said, “which city do you mean when you say the city?”
Surely I would not be that far away from home? The unease in my stomach grew as I said “Jozi.”
She tilted her head to one side and said “Jozi?”
“You know, Jo’burg? Johannesburg. Egoli. City of Gold?” My heart started racing.
She cleared her throat politely, and said “I see.”
My daughter posted hers here.