Authors: Richard Denney
WHAT LIES BENEATH
Copyright © 2013 by Richard Denney
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As the ice water sliced down my throat, I stared into his eyes. His beautiful blue eyes were no longer there. His eyes were now dark and hollow, vacant of emotion. I didn’t know this person. Someone had taken over my boyfriend’s body and was trying to kill me. He pushed me under and under until black film filtered over my eyes and my lungs filled with the water of the lake.
I awoke to a woman stabbing me with something in my wrist. I attempted to yank my arm away, but she snatched it and went right back to work. I strained my eyes to see where I was, but all I could see were dark blurry streaks of gray, blue, and black.
Muffled voices surrounded me and I could make out the sound of something beeping noisily beside me. I attempted to relax myself, but the sharp pains coming from my wrist didn’t help. For a couple of minutes I lay stiff, my closed eyes directed to a bright fluorescent light above me.
I listened closely to the voices as they became clearer with every passing minute and finally I opened my eyes. I stared into the light above and sat up with a jolt. Where was I? What the hell was going on? My parents jumped out of chairs from across the room and rushed to the side of my bed.
My mom took my cool, clammy hands into hers and kissed them over and over. My dad smiled at me, but I could see the puffiness under his green eyes and I felt a pang of sadness in my heart. I turned away from my parents as the sharp pain resurfaced in my wrist.
“That hurt,” I snapped, staring into the face of a… nurse. Oh my god. I was in a hospital. But why, where was Dylan? My heartbeat raced in my chest and coursed through my ears like a continuous drum.
“I’m sorry,” the nurse said. She sounded as if she could care less that she was hurting me. I looked down and saw an IV connected to my wrist and dried blood wrapped around my fingers like ribbons. Before I could turn, she pulled the IV out and shoved it in once again. I had the urge to swat her across her chubby freckled face, but I snapped my head back to my parents and bared the pain.
“You’re okay. They pulled you out of the lake, but you weren’t breathing,” my mom began to cry. Her dark brown curls fell over her pale face and she rested her head on my knee. “We thought you were dead but you came back, baby.”
“What- where?” My eyes widened in shock. What were they talking about? What happened at the lake?
“Dylan,” my dad said.
“He tried to kill you,” my mom brushed her hair out of her face and looked into my eyes. My mouth fell open in shock and I grabbed my chest in disbelief. Dylan tried to kill me? No. He would never do that.
“You don’t remember?” the nurse asked behind me. I turned to her, tears on the verge of erupting from my eyes.
“No… I don’t.”
I could hear the creaking of the wood as the weight shifted on the boat. I turned to say something to Dylan, but before I could utter a word, he snatched me by my hair and yanked me upward. The boat rocked severely back and forth and I couldn’t see his face. I screamed as loud as I could and tried to pull my hair out of his grip. What was he doing to me? I told him to stop, screamed as loud as my vocal chords could handle. But he punched me in the stomach and I fell overboard and into the freezing black water.
I awoke as if someone had been holding a pillow over my face and my heart was in my throat. My parents tried their best to get me to believe them about Dylan, but I kept yelling at them. I screamed that he would never do that to me. That he loved me and wanted to marry me.
My dad left the room, and I figured I made him leave. But five minutes later he came back with a different nurse and my parents had to hold me down while she stabbed me with a needle. A few moments later I was out.
The electric clock across the room read 4:13am and I yawned. I pulled the blue blanket up to my chin and hissed at the pain in my wrist. I looked down at it and from the light that a small lamp on the table next to me gave I could see green bruises and the IV. I should have hit the nurse like I wanted. I peeled back a layer of blankets off of me and swung my legs over the edge of the bed.
The hospital gown was pea green and it looked hideous on me. I was pale to begin with and now I looked like the girl from
. I tapped the cold floor with my toes and stood up too fast. It seemed nothing was broken, but I quickly sat down from the dizziness. Hopefully I’d be home soon and in my bed. I didn’t want to be here. Hospitals freak me out.
I couldn’t understand why Dylan would try to kill me. We never really had problems, I mean he was the jealous type, and he had an awful temper. But he would never do something to hurt me. We loved each other. We loved each other so much that we were going to get married and have children.
We even talked about names, Annabel or Jake. He wanted twins. I just wanted one. He’d pick me up every night in his red truck and we’d watch the stars and share a box of red licorice. Last year on Valentine’s Day he bought me a hundred boxes of that licorice, and I still have some boxes in my closet.
I closed my eyes and tried to focus. What had we done before we got on the boat? I remember him picking me up and then little bits surface. Does this happen to everyone who’s had a near death experience? And how long will it take for me to piece it all together?
I need to know now. I need to understand. I cried hard into the pillow behind me and I drooled onto the blanket as I wrapped it around my neck. My neck was tender and I wondered if he had strangled me as well. Would there be bruises?
I smashed my head back into the pillow in frustration and squeaked at the sudden piercing pain. I reached my hand up and felt the back of my head, stitches. I felt them, like little bows entwined into my scalp. My hair, when he grabbed me by my hair he must have torn some of my hair out, along with practically ripping my scalp in half.
What the hell was going through his head? What made him snap? Searching the room with my eyes, I was glad he was not here. The police probably have him now. When I get out of here I will find out everything. But I still can’t believe he would do something to me.
My heart thudded heavily in my chest as I turned and poked at the red button on the plastic arm of my bed. I wanted my parents and I couldn’t see a phone. A red light blinked on the outside top of the door to my room and I could hear the squeaking of shoes coming down the hall.
I touched the back of my head again and bit down on my bottom lip. There was also a bald spot, great. I looked up angrily at the blinking light and could still hear the squeaking of shoes. Where the hell was she?
“Nurse,” I said aloud. A thin dark skinned woman strutted into the room and took a silver clipboard off of the wall behind me. She smelt like roses and rubbing alcohol and it made me want to gag. I loved the smell of roses, but the alcohol sent chills down my spine.
“What is it, baby girl?” she asked, flipping the pages on the clipboard.
“I want to make a phone call. Please,” I said.
“It’s four in the morning. Why don’t you get some sleep and in the morning I’ll bring the phone in for you,” she smiled at me and I could tell she meant well and wasn’t annoyed by me. I liked her.
“Do you have anything for pain? The stitches are hurting.” I turned and showed her the back of my head. She lifted a piece of my hair and I nearly bit the tip of my tongue off.
“I’m sorry!” she exclaimed, realizing that she caused me pain. “I’ll go get you something and you just relax.”
She left the room in a rush and I watched her jog in the other direction down the hall. I craned my neck, even though it hurt, and watched her walk into a room that had a red blinking light as well. Even though it hurt like a bitch, I pulled the IV needle out of my wrist and threw it over the arm of the bed.
I took in a few deep breaths and tossed the blankets off of me. I got out of the bed, slowly and steadily. I didn’t want to argue with the nurse, but I needed to call my parents. I needed to apologize to them. I reached the door and peered out into the fluorescent lit hall.
The hallway was deserted and silent, except for the constant buzzing coming from the lights. The nurses’ desk was only about twenty feet away and if I could get there and call my parents and tell them to call back, she had to let me use the phone.
I quickly shuffled out of the doorway and could still see the red light blinking down the hall. I forced myself the rest of the way and made it to the desk. Squeaking took over the hall once again and my heart began beating rapidly in my chest.
I squatted down behind a blanket bin and brought my legs up against my chest. A nurse walked right past me and didn’t even notice me. The male nurse walked behind the desk and searched through some papers with sleepy eyes. My nurse turned out of the room and flipped a switch, turning off the red light.
I closed my eyes tight and hoped that she wouldn’t see me. I didn’t want to look like a weirdo but I know that is what she would think if she caught me sitting on the ground behind a blue bin that smelt like dirty laundry and blood.
“Jackson, how is today going for you?” the nurse asked. I opened my eyes and let out a breath in relief. I was safe, for now.
“One more hour and I’m free. I need some damn sleep. Why is there a room phone on the desk?” I peeked from behind the bin and saw him pick up a bulky gray phone set. That must have been mine. It had to be. My phone was missing from my room.
“It belongs to 705B. The patient went bat shit earlier, screaming about her boyfriend and stuff. Dylan Morgan, he tried to drown her in the lake. But he was caught by a man on shore. The boyfriend fell overboard and when the police came they searched the woods and couldn’t find him.”
“The man said he fell in the water and never came up. They are going to search the lake today for the body. Her parents requested for the phone to be taken out of the room, just in case she decided to call the boyfriend or something. I feel bad for her. I’d be freaking the hell out right about now.” I had my hand over my mouth and tears running down my cheeks. Dylan was either dead or out there somewhere.
“Wow. At least there’s a possibility that he might be dead,” the male nurse said as an alarm went off. The loud screeching made me shield my ears and the two nurses bolted from behind the desk and ran down the hall. A yellow light was blinking like a strobe above the elevator door at the end of the hall.