I know I’m dreaming, because it’s the same dream that I’ve been having for the past month or so, ever since I had the vision. I see the cube, and inside is my father’s head, telling me that it needs more blood. The blood is coming, it’s pooling around my feet, but something is different this time. By the time it reaches my ankles, I realize that the blood is coming from me. I can feel the blood trickling down my legs, and my back is wet. Why is it different this time? It makes no sense…
I wake up screaming, strapped face down to a table. I can’t move and my back feels like it’s on fire.
“Miss Fisher, please calm down.” The voice is coming from somewhere on my right, and it sounds cool and professional.
“Where am I?” I stutter, watching the floor go by underneath me, as I’m being wheeled somewhere. I’m trying hard not to vomit.
“You’re at the hospital, you sustained severe trauma from an animal attack. If you don’t stay still you could make your injuries worse.”
I wanted to tell her it wasn’t an animal, that it was something much much worse, but my vision was going dark, as something was injected into the tube attached to my arm.
I’m standing in a forest, alone, much closer to the ground that I was expecting. I look around, terror flooding through me, as I scan the empty trees. Occasionally I see something poke it’s head out, and as soon as I look in it’s direction, it goes back behind the tree. deciding if I should make a run for it. Except wait, I’m not alone, my dad is there, he promised to teach me how to build a motor with my new toolset. I run over to him, expecting to see his smile, but he’s facing away from me.
His voice is heavy, and I can hear him say “Do you promise it’ll work? Do you promise I can save all of them?”
I want to call out to him, but I’m being shoved to the ground by something much larger than me, and the breath gets knocked out of my lungs. As I struggle to get away,I reach for my screwdriver, but it gets knocked out of my hand, out of reach. I can see Morgan, but she’s too far away to help me, as the creature rips at my flesh.
I wake up, gasping for breath. I slowly start syncing my breathing to the beep of the monitor. “Okay, okay, it was only the bear creature. I can live with that.” But it wasn’t okay. Every time I went to sleep, I expected to see the slenderman, his mark was still on my forehead after all. Or even if it wasn’t him, I expected my imagination to conjure him into my dreams. Because my subconscious is a piece of shit like that.
“Will you please shut up? I’m trying to sleep, and you are always talking” The county hospital was small enough that I was not able to have a private room. Sarah had broken her leg hiking, and I wasn’t sure if she was always this grouchy, or if it was just because she had a cast up to her thigh, and her leg was elevated in a sling.
I glared at her as best I could while laying on my stomach, wincing as I felt the stitches tug as I turned over. “No, I won’t. I’m bored. I need to be working, or something.” Something, anything, to keep my mind off of the cube, or the slenderman. If this continued they would probably need to lock me up along with Michael, which was not a comforting thought.
“What would it take to make you stop complaining?” she asked.
I paused, and seriously considered her question. “I need something to do with my hands. My friends took all my equipment with them. I could be fixing the scanner, but noooo…it could cause equipment malfunction, which is technically true, but that’s not the point…” I got cut off by something round, soft, and slightly squishy hitting me in the face.
I picked up the yarn and knitting needles hesitantly. Hey, what did I have to lose?
“Okay, so it’s knit one, purl two. Hey, I think I’m getting the hang of this!” I held up what was supposed to be part of a scarf. “Why is it crooked though?”
“Your first project is always lopsided.” Sarah said, flipping through the channels on the TV. “I thought you said this would get you to shut up.”
“Nope, just stop complaining.” I replied and sighed as she settled on HGTV. “Ugh, not this show again. Those brothers are way too into each other.”
A few minutes went by, and she said, “Oh no, I think you’re right.” She started laughing, which made me dissolve into giggles.
There was a knock at the door, and the doctor came in, opening a chart. “I hope I’m not interrupting anything. Good news, Ms. Fisher, you’re going home tomorrow.”
“It doesn’t look infected, but some of these are really deep. You’re lucky that you didn’t damage any of the skin grafts.” the doctor said, applying a bandage to my freshly sutured wound. “Honestly, you may want to consider taking a long weekend.” He stripped off his gloves and tossed them in the biohazard bin.
“Yeah, maybe that would be good.” I mumbled, trying not to sound petulant.
I had been at my workstation, finishing up the repairs on my scanner when I suddenly got really lightheaded. I looked at my tool and it was sticky with blood, and I realized I must have scratched my back unconsciously and re-opened one of the cuts. I had barely realized what I had done before I was whisked away to one of the biology labs, and some guy whose name I couldn’t remember was grabbing a suture kit and telling me to take off my shirt. One of the perks of working at the Contingent is that there is always someone around who knows first aid and doesn’t ask questions.
As I’m leaving, I spotted Kenny, sitting by himself in the comisary, looking a little worse for wear. Ever since Eagle Bay, Kenny and I had developed a friendship of sorts. I had heard bits and pieces about what had happened, but I hadn’t gotten a chance to talk to him yet. I headed over and plopped down in the seat across from him.
“Thanks! I just finished it. I’m a Huffleclaw!” I indicated the yellow and black stripes on one side, and the blue and bronze on the other.
“What the hell is a Huffleclaw?” He started to pull his monster list out of his front pocket, and I couldn’t help but giggle.
“It’s, nevermind. How are you doing?”
“Trying to adjust.” He rapped his knuckles against his bicep, and it made a dull thud.
“Yeah, I feel you.” I shifted my bag, so the strap wasn’t lying directly on top of the bandage. “Apparently you don’t recover from having your back ripped open overnight.” There was an extremely awkward pause. I fidgeted with the vape pen in my pocket, and then had an idea.
“Listen, do you want to get out of here?”
Kenny raised an eyebrow.
“Not like that! I mean, do you want to get baked and watch a movie or something. I was headed home anyway, and honestly, could use some company.”
“Um, sure.” He leaned in close. “As long as you’ve got something stronger than what they prescribed me. I think that I may even have some jerky left from the gift basket that Gabrielle got me.”
“Sweet! Snacks are always important. Ooooh, we should totally watch Harry Potter!” As we walked out I realized that I was feeling better than I had since before the mission. Huh, I guess friendship is magic, or some shit. “Hey, do you have Unicorns on your list?”