I'm drowning in dark waters. I'm in a dark, empty room, filled with nothing bit black water. I see a white light hanging above me, but I can't reach it. It feels like my feet are bricks, dragging me down into the charcoal ocean. No matter how much I struggle, my efforts are useless. I'm just wearing myself out. I finally let go, and stop fighting. I drift away under the waters.
I could feel myself floating around for a long time, yet I could still breathe. It didn't feel like I was breathing, but I didn't feel any shortage of oxygen in my lungs. I felt numb.
Then after what seemed like forever, the light that danced above the surface of the water got bigger. I could feel the warmth it gave; these waters were so cold. It came closer and closer, and I suddenly began to worry. Was it going to crush me? I tried to swim away, but I remained in the same spot. I open my mouth to scream, and suddenly my lungs filled with fire waters. I can't breathe anymore. The light takes my total view. And I know now that I'm dying.
I gasp and open my eyes. Sweet air fills my deprived lungs. The light is still shining over me, but then I realize it's just a regular old light bulb. I stare up at it through squinted eyes. I'm shaking, and I feel so cold. I hear something beeping loudly, matching the speeding rhythm of my heart. Where am I? I go to move my head, but I feel so sore. It hurts.
"Evangeline?" Mom's voice rings in my ears. I try to speak, but my jaw is so clenched. I relax it a little bit. It feels so good to let go.
"Mom?" It felt like I was screaming, yet I could barely hear myself whisper. I try to find her without moving my head, but I can't see her. Then she leans over me, and I can finally see her. She looks terrified. So am I. I close my eyes for a moment and take a deep breath. "What happened?" I managed to choke out.
"Honey, you were in a car accident," she explained in a hoarse voice. I could vaguely recall the terrifying sounds, but all I'd seen was the light, then darkness.Tears form in my eyes.
"Where are they?" I breathe. My throat feels like I've gargled tacks. Maybe I swallowed some glass. Mom stroked my hair gently.
"Your friends are alright, sweetie," she said softly.
"Where are they?" I choked again. "Are they alive?"
"Yes, Dear. They're alive. They're being taken care of," she replied. She brushed my hair back. "How're you feeling?"
"Where do you hurt?" she asked worriedly.
"My back... and arms... and neck..." The whole top half of my body felt so sore. I didn't want to move. I didn't want it to hurt anymore.
"I'll call the nurse," she said. She disappeared from my view.I heard something move.
"Um, hey, kid," I heard Dad's voice.
"Hi, Dad..." I muttered. "What day is it?"
"It's Thursday afternoon," he replied. "The crash was last night. They gave you a lot of pain killers, so you've been asleep most of the time." I heard someone come in; probably Mom with the nurse. The nurse leaned over me so I could see her.
"Ready for some more morphine?" she asked.
"Yes," I breathed. She pressed the button on the side of the bed, and it slowly rose to a point where I was sitting up at a slight angle. She moved the sleeve of my hospital gown and put a syringe to my arm and injected a clear liquid.
"There you go," she said cheerfully. "Do you need anything else? Are you hungry?"
"No, but... How long am I gonna have to stay here? Am I gonna be able to go home tonight?"
"No," she shook her head, like that was the craziest idea ever. "I don't know how long you'll be here... At least two weeks..."
"Two weeks?!" I squeaked. The nurse nodded.
"You were at the front of the impact." Oh come on, I was just sore; I was sure it'd wear off in a couple days. Heck, I was sure I'd feel fine by the end of the day!
"Can I see them?" I asked. I just wanted to make sure my friends were okay. The way the nurse and my parents were looking at me, it felt like they weren't telling me something. The nurse looked at me parents. I looked too late to see their reactions.
"You need to rest," the nurse turned back to me. "The morphine is going to kick in soon." She reclined the bed again. I sighed and closed my eyes. I felt the numbness slowly start to return, like a thick, pillow-y fog.
"What're we going to do?" an echoing voice said.
"I don't know," another voice replied. I couldn't tell who was talking. All the seemed like they were melting together, making it impossible to know who was speaking. "But the main thing is she's alive. I'm just happy she's alive."
"Look, we'll get through this. She...." And then the darkness swallowed me up again.
It felt like I'd only closed my eyes for a few seconds. But when I opened them again, I knew by the orange sky outside it'd a little more than a couple hours. I yawned and looked around the room; but no one else was in here. Just then a nurse walked in, a different one this time. She smiled at me.
"Look at who's up," she said cheerfully. She sat me up in the bed. "Can I get you anything? Need more pain killers?"
"I feel fine," I mumbled, almost begging. "Can I just go home now?"
"Sorry, I'm afraid not," the nurse shook her head. "You're gonna need a bit longer to recover and get use to the changes."
"But I feel fine," I insisted. "And what changes?" Mom and Dad walked in, along with Joshua and Sophia.
"Well, you're gonna have to get used to your wheelchair," the nurse said, like I was a little kid. "And you're gonna have to go to a rehabilitation center to build up the muscles in your arms to get around."
"What?!" I asked incredulously. The nurse looked shocked, as did Mom and Dad. The nurse looked at Mom and Dad, and back to me, speechless. Dad soon regained his composure and sighed.
"Can we please have some time alone?" he asked, looking at the floor. The nurse backed out of the room.
"I'm so sorry," she tried to say. "I didn't know---"
"It's alright," Dad insisted. He closed the door after she left.
"What does she mean?" I demanded. "Why do I have to be in a wheelchair? I feel fine! How long do I have to be in a wheelchair?!" Mom covered her mouth with her hand. She was crying.
"Evangeline..." Dad said slowly, still avoiding looking at my eyes. I clenched the bed sheets in between my fingers. "Honey, you're paralyzed." I couldn't speak. I opened my mouth but my mouth was dry. I shook my head back and forth.
"No, no! I'm fine! I feel fine!" I insisted. I threw the blanket off me and went to get out of the bed, but nothing happened. My heart started to race. Come on, come on! This isn't something I should have to focus on! I tried to move my legs, but they remained motionless. I turned to my side, and threw up. I vomited for at least five minutes. Mom ran to go get a nurse. Finally I stopped, and then I started to sob. "No! This can't be happening!" This can't be real! This can't be happening! Dad, Joshua, and Sophia watched, their faces worried and sad, as my whole world was falling down around me. I started to hyperventilate. Mom came back in with the nurse, and along with a janitor. The nurse took out a syringe. "I don't want it!" I insisted.
"Evangeline, it'll help you calm down," Mom said.
"No! I-- I don't want to!" I screamed. "I want to wake up! This isn't real!" Mom and Dad came over, and held me still as the nurse injected the shot into my arm. I couldn't stop crying.
"It'll be okay, sweetie," Mom said soothingly. How is this going to be okay?! This was terrible! My life is ruined! Joshua took a step closer.
"You're gonna be alright, Evan," he said, trying to cheer me up. He patted my leg. I couldn't feel it. This sent me into more hysterics. He quickly took his hand away.
"Joshua, why don't you take Sophia down to the cafeteria," Dad suggested.
"Sorry, Evan," Joshua muttered. He guided Sophia out of the room. She frowned at me as she left. I covered my face with my hands.
"Oh my God!" I kept saying over and over. This was beyond shock. I was almost sure I wanted to die right now. Life would never be the same. There's so many things in life that are now just thrown out the window; so much I'm going to miss out on. Mom rubbed my hand.
"Evangeline, we'll get through this. I promise," she said. I shook my head.
"No I won't!" I cried. "How could this happen?!"
"Shhh..." Mom whispered. "I don't know," she sighed. "But it'll be okay. Just wait and you'll see." Soon the medication began to settle in, and I stopped having hysterics. Tears still slowly fell down my cheeks, but my breathing returned to normal. I just laid there, limp and uncaring, as the world faded away again. This time, I wished it was for good.