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I woke with a start, then cried out.

“It hurts!” I wailed, completely unashamed. All I knew was that I was in terrible pain, and from the sights and smells around me, I was laying in the E.R. of Sacred Spleen.

“Layla!”

“Camryn?” I turned my head slightly, and screamed as the movement pulled at my tender, torn flesh. Camryn helped me sit.

“What happened?” I moaned.

“We were hoping you could tell us,” Camryn frowned.”I left you at the club, calling a taxi, and they found you not even remotely close to the club or your apartment. They just brought you in. What the hell happened to you?”

“What time is it? What are you doing here?” I asked in confusion, ignoring her question.

“It’s dawn. I was called in a few hours ago, there was a traffic accident. Don’t ignore me, I need to know what happened.”

“I…I…” I didn’t know what to tell her. My thoughts were jumbled, my mind full of haze.

“Anything you remember,” Camryn prompted as she examined and dealt with my wound.

“I…remember calling a taxi. I…I think I was waiting for it,” I bit my lip in concentration.”There was…a man. He was standing close by. He…he knew my name.”

“Did you know him?”

“No,” I gave the tiniest shake of my head, wincing.”But…I don’t know what happened. He was persistent, and somehow I remember having a drink with him, and then…and then…I don’t know. There was pain. And I woke up here.”

Camryn narrowed her eyes as she finished bandaging, but I didn’t know if she was angry, annoyed, or frightened.

“You didn’t lose as much blood as the others, which is good, but we still want to keep an eye on you,” she sighed.”Bed rest today, fluids, and then we’ll see how you’re doing. Maybe you’ll remember more later.”

She gave me a hard stare, and her face crumpled.

“Layla, how could you get yourself attacked? After what happened to the others-!”

She turned and left quickly. She was frightened, after all.

___

I found myself a patient for the rest of the day, and overnight.

Co-workers stopped in often to see how I was doing, and even brought flowers. Is it conceited to think I’m well liked?

I thought it was silly to be taking up a bed when I didn’t feel so bad, and said as much, but my pleas fell on deaf ears. Apparently, I was staying. And I had my own personal guard. Gee, I felt special.

I was questioned by the police, but couldn’t provide them with anything helpful. I just couldn’t remember. I felt awful. The serial killer was back, it seemed, and I was the latest victim. They were calling him the Vampire, because of the bites and blood draining. But that was silly, vampires didn’t exist.

Right?

___

When I was finally allowed to leave, I was given a week off work and told to rest, and if I needed more time off, I had only to ask.

I spent the first day at home, between sleeping and downing anything sweet I could lay my hands on, on the phone with my parents, reassuring them that I was fine.

The problem was, I didn’t feel fine. Something I hid well from Camryn and Sophie when they would stop by to check up on me.

I was cold all the time. It had started out small, just a little chill to the skin of my neck, then it spread til I felt cold all over. I couldn’t stop shivering by the end of the week.

And I ached. Not just little pains here and there, but a deep ache, to the very core of my being. Not enough to imobilize me, but still awful, like a migraine that just wouldn’t stop. No amount or variety of pain medication could give me any lasting relief.

And I was nauseous. As then days went by, I began to reject any form of nourishment I tried. I could keep nothing down.

I was sleeping more and more, without even realising it. I would be sitting on my couch, watching the morning news, and the next thing I knew, it was past 9 p.m.

And one of the worst things I discovered, I was so light sensitive, I was nearly blind.

I know something was horribly, terribly wrong, but I stayed quiet.

It was a foolish, foolish thing to do. For I was being changed. And soon I would find out just how much.

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