TIME LOST: Prologue – “We know what you did.”

(Note: TIME LOST is the third volume in a story called “313”.  The first volume, MISSING TIME, and second volume TIME SPENT, are available for purchase through any eReader, digitally through Smashwords.com, or in paperback through CreateSpace.com or Amazon.com. I highly recommend you read them before attempting to read the following.)

Prologue

“We know what you did.”

Lightning flashed outside, for a brief moment replacing the dim yellow glow of the tiny bulbs that served as the only illumination in the hospital halls.

Mia’s feet dragged along the floor as the two orderlies dragged her by her arms, bound up in the straightjacket she was made to wear.  The rounded a corner and made their way to the cramped room where she was to receive her treatment.  Mia began to resist, kicking at the floor, the walls, their legs, whatever she could reach, until they slammed her down on the table and pulled straps across her chest and legs.  Once tightened, the straps made it impossible to move.  A final strap was pulled across her shaved head, and Mia couldn’t even look away as they placed the contacts on her temples.

“This will all be over in a moment, Miss Fury,” the doctor said.  He was tall, with white and black streaked hair that stood straight up.  A scar ran down the side of his face, from left eye to chin.  The eye at which it began was frosted over and milky white.

That’s not my name!  This is all a mistake! I’m not crazy!

“Nnngghh!” Mia tried to protest, but the mouthpiece prevented her from forming words.

Next to the head of the table was a strange machine, filled with dials and knobs and indicators, none of which had any words or numbers to tell what they did or how much of it they were doing.  The doctor flipped two black switches and a sound began: eeeeeee!

The doctor turned up one dial and the sound rose in volume.

eeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEE

Mia knew that sound.  She writhed on the table but couldn’t escape.

“Now, Miss Fury,” the doctor said, leaning in close, “this is going to hurt…quite a lot, I’m afraid.” His lips turned up in a sneer.

He flipped one final switch and yellow sparks jumped from her head to the machine.

“NNNNN!!”

The doctor turned up another dial and the sparks became more fluid, growing into a torrent of yellow energy that poured from her head into the contacts.  The energy could be seen passing through the wires and into the machine.

“NNNNNNNGGGGGHHH!!” Mia’s body shook and convulsed.

Finally, the doctor turned down the dials and switched the machine off.  Mia’s body sagged on the table, weak and empty.  The straps were removed, and the orderlies hauled her off the table and dragged her back to her room.  There was an audible CLICK-CLACK as the door was locked.

The tiny light above her went off.  Mia sat on the floor, leaning against the padded walls in the corner and gently sobbing in the darkness, only the occasional flash of lightning through the small circular window to show her pain.

The CLICK-CLACK of the lock awakened her.  She had slid to the floor in her sleep, a puddle of cold, sticky drool collected under her cheek.  Mia tried to lift herself, but the straightjacket combined with the weakness of her limbs combined to leave her helplessly immobile.

The door opened.

Someone entered her room, an outline framed by bursts of lightning from outside.

“Mia?”  A man’s voice.

Lightning flashed again, this time a long, sustained series of bolts, giving her a better look at the man in her room: young, perhaps early twenties, with jet black hair.

“Hold on,” he said.  He reached around the door.  The dim light switched on, revealing his strange, garishly colored coat, with dark shirt and slacks underneath.  He might have been handsome, except for the strip of gray cloth tied around his head, covering his eyes.

“Mia?” He walked over, kneeled down and lifted Mia up, setting her with her back against the padded wall.  “Can you hear me?  Are you all right?”

“Nnnnn!”

He undid the buckle behind her head and removed the mouthpiece, gingerly so as not to hurt her teeth.  Relief flooded into her jaw as her mouth was able to fully close for the first time in so long.

“Mmm…ohh…thank you,” she said through her teeth.  “Thank you.”

“We don’t have much time,” he said.  “Do you think you can walk?”

She looked closely at him. “Tyler?  Is that you?  Oh, Tyler, your eyes…”

Tyler put his arms around her. “Shh, it’s okay.  It’s me.”

“You were mad at me,” she said through tears.  “You hated me.”

“No, honey, no. I don’t hate you.  Let’s get you up.”

Mia struggled to get her legs under her as Tyler helped her.  She was shaky, but standing.

“They said I was crazy,” Mia said.  “They said none of it was real.”

“It’s going to be okay,” Tyler said, working at the straps of her straightjacket.

“Your room is so neat!” Someone else had entered behind Tyler while they were speaking: a girl, with shoulder-length brown hair.  She rolled herself around on the padded walls.  “So comfy!”

Mia recognized her immediately.  “Heather?”

Heather blended into the padded material of the wall, then re-emerged.  “Ha! It’s so soft. I like it.”

Mia looked up at Tyler.  “What’s wrong with her?”

Tyler sighed.  “We’re not…sure…”  He put an arm around her, propping her up.  “Come on, we need to get you out of here.”

It took a few moments to get the straps of her jacket undone, but finally it was off and she was able to flex her arms and hands.  Tyler helped her into the hall, where another man awaited: an older man, dressed in dark clothes with a hooded cloak.  He pulled the hood back to reveal white hair and wire-rimmed glasses.

“Him?” Mia’s jaw dropped.  “You brought him?

“I’m blind, honey, remember? He brought me.”

“Hello, Mia,” Carl said.  Then, to Tyler: “We have two minutes before the guards pass.”

“I’m not going anywhere with you!”

“You’d prefer to stay here?” he asked.

Mia considered this.

“I thought so.  Tyler, the window.”

Tyler helped Mia walk to the window.  He popped it open, helping her to climb over the sill.

 

They picked their way through the trees, but the grounds of the hospital were hardly the well-manicured lawns one might expect.  They had to fight their way through thickets of brambles, bristling with thorns.  Carl wielded a machete, hacking a path in front of them.  Rain fell from the dark sky to soak their clothes and make the already difficult trek even more challenging, as their feet slogged through thickening mud.

“They’ll find us here,” Mia said.  “They won’t let me leave.”

“Shhh,” Carl raised a hand.

One of the trees shifted, and a second Heather stood there.  A thorn bush became a third Heather.  The two of them smiled beatifically at them.

“I told you they’d make it,” one Heather said.

The third Heather frowned.  “I don’t want to leave, these woods are fun.”

“There’s more than one of her!” Mia said.

“Apparently so,” said Carl through gritted teeth.

Tyler nudged Mia forward. “We have to keep moving.”

They moved on, joined by the Heathers, although occasionally one of them disappeared, only to rejoin them later.  Carl kept hacking a path for them, but it was very slow going.  Mia kept glancing around and behind them.

Suddenly, whispers drifted to them through the leaves of the trees:

“She mustn’t leave, she’s not well.”

“Did you see what she did?”

“I told you, I told you!” Mia looked around fearfully.  “They’re everywhere!”

…threw a brick at someone…”

“…started screaming!”

“She’s crazy!”

“That’s nothing.  We know what she REALLY did.”

“CRAZY!”

“No…” Mia covered her ears. “Noooo…they won’t let me leave…”

“We know what you did!”

“CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY!”

End Prologue

NEXT: THE FORTUNE TELLER

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1 Comment

  1. Karen said,

    February 8, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Counting the days, already… 🙂


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