Friday, August 25, 2006

Chapter 9 - Down and Out

It was raining hard. Noel was huddled against the fence, wire pushed into her skin, marking her. Breath is gasps, gulps of air needed to prevent her heart from bursting. How had she got here? Where the fuck was here? The rain continued. Noel felt herself slipping into unconsciousness, felt the warm embrace it offered; accepted.

She woke to screams, her own. At first the shock - were they real or inside her head. A second to work out where she was. Noel was laying on white sheets, clean and crisp like a winter's morn. She rolled her head against the soft pillows, breathing in the scent of her dried sweat, a mix of perfume and stale body odour. The cover was pulled up to her neck and she was unable to move her arms; struggling brought pain, a sharp stab against her spine. Eyes watered, limbs prone. What was happening to her? Pain increased. Mercifully, unconsciousness took her again.


When Noel finally came round she saw Jason's face close against hers, studying her features.

"She's awake, at last. No signs of lasting damage, maybe a few more scars but nothing debilitating." Noel couldn't see to whom Jason's words were addressed. Her mouth was cotton dry, clogging, as if her tongue were twice the size; choking her words before they left her throat.

"Gurghhhgreehurghhh," was the only sound that she could make. Jason's face moved away and another came into focus.

"Shush, my pretty one. Don't try to speak, we have disabled your tongue and you'll want to be careful of the gag as it has been known to suffocate those that attempt to speak and we wouldn't want that, would we?"

Noel thought her eyes must be deceiving her. Wasn't this the doctor she had killed only hours before, left with a broken neck behind a door in a cell? How? What?

A slight stab in her arm and she was under again, a wave of nausea her lasting impression of the world. Her dreams were wild, untamed in their expression and the nightmare they brought her felt as real as the pain she'd felt in her spine when she'd struggled. She was surrounded by fog, lost in a space that was both familiar and strange. She opened her eyes but closed them immediately.

"Oh yes, my lovely Noel. You thought you'd escaped, didn't you? Well, that was also a dream my darling. And we are not finished with you yet. Oh no, not by a long way."

Ms. Friday's laugh stayed in her mind as she passed out, this time into a dreamless sleep.