By the time I’ve taken two wobbly, halting steps, I’ve started to think getting up might have been a bad idea.
I’ve also decided – this isn’t heaven.
It might be hell but it definitely isn’t heaven.
And I’m not dead.
But I wish I was.
I’m halfway to the door when I hear boots in the hall. Lots of them. Reminds me of the stint I spent in juvie. Just two months for joyriding, nothing major but still. . .
I don’t like the sound of boots is what I’m really trying to say. They usually mean authority and authority means trouble.
There’s a rattle of keys. A scrape of metal. Some hushed voices. Then the doorknob turns and the door swings open. Three people, green camoed, pressed lines, stern faces. Serious. I’m in trouble.
They come in. Almost marching. Trained. Guns strapped to their hips. Two guys and a girl pushing a wheel chair. The guys are GI Joe replicas. Square jaw. Buzz cut. No emotion. The Lady has her black hair cut in a short bob. Beret perfectly adjusted. Makeup, but not much. Hands nervously twitching. Feet moving in short shuffling steps – not the clean marching cadence. She’s no soldier – even if she looks like one.
“Alex,” the brunette GI Joe barks, the Alpha one by the looks of it. “You shouldn’t be up. You’re hurt.”
“I’m fine.” I reply, clacking again. I’m trying to not show any sign of weakness. They jump on stuff like that. They LOVE stuff like that. But with my messed up body and the drooling things don’t go as I wish.
“Come, dear,” the lady says, indicating the wheel chair.
Oh god, no.
Except as blonde GI Joe grabs my arm, and Alpha GI Joe moves behind me, I find I’m too off balance to resist his assistance, especially as it feels like my butt has a mind of its own. Like it’s attached to a rope someone is pulling, dragging me into the wheel chair.
“I need a phone.”
“Not right now,” Alpha GI Joe says, his voice deep like cracked gravel.
“My mom . . .”
“Your mom has been informed your condition. We can tell her more once you’re examined. So . . .” He pushes the chair out the door. “Let’s get you examined.”
A hollow gong of loss reverberates inside me. Mom. What is she thinking right now? What have I done? And where exactly am I?