Twisting Fate: Ch. 5

Tuesday, June 25, 2019



Tonight, I make my escape.

I wait for Ben to fall asleep in his chair beside me, and then I slip quietly out of the hospital bed, and creep toward the door. The nurse has already made her hourly routine of checking my blood pressure, and Dr. Diaz has already left for the night, but I know I won’t be getting out of here easily.

I open the door slowly, silently, and step into the hall as cautiously as I can. I inch the door shut behind me, holding my breath as I hear the click of it’s closing. 

I squeeze my eyes shut, waiting. Ben will wake up. He’ll realize I’m gone. He’ll fling the door open and—

I open my eyes and suddenly I’m no longer standing in the hallway of the hospital. 

The door in front of me has a dog door cut into the bottom of it. The hand—my hand—on the doorknob is pale, the fingers long and bony, the wrist thin and bare.

I’m not in my body anymore.

Not this again, I think.

I look down at the dog door. It will be a tight fit, but I think I can wiggle through. 

I need to get out of here.

I unscrew the plastic board covering the dog door, and slide it away from the opening. Then, holding my breath, I wiggle and inch the shapeless, bean-pole body I now possess through the small opening.

A deep sigh of relief escapes my lungs once I’ve collapsed fully onto the hard cement of the back porch. 

I’ve made it. 

I’m out.

I sit up, and that’s when I meet the dog. It’s a large, terrifying breed with a long string of slobber dripping from it’s droopy mouth. It whimpers, and knocks its paw into my shoulder. 

I try not to scream. I’ve never been fond of dogs, especially ones that look like they could bite off my face.

I jump up and run, hopping the fence before I can be impressed with myself. I don’t stop running until I can no longer breathe, and I have to stop on the side of the road to catch my breath. 

I take long gulps of air, and realize I don’t recognize my surroundings. All the houses and buildings look the same in the dark.

What is this place? I think. 

What the hell is happening?


***

As the last glimpse of sunlight drops into the horizon, he suddenly veers off the road into the desert. Jennifer grips the edges of her seat as his truck bobs along the bumpy road, his speed increasing.

“Where are we going?” Jennifer asks, unable to hide the panic in her voice.

“Relax, we’re almost there. You’ll see soon enough. You don’t want to ruin the surprise, do you?” he says.

She swallows the lump in her throat, her desire to cry and scream overthrown by her fear of appearing pathetic. 

She squeezes her eyes shut tight as this stranger drives her deeper into the vacant darkness of the desert.

***

“Jasmine!” I hear Ben shout behind me. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

I blink and realize I’m standing on the roof of the hospital. I can hear the sirens of an ambulance nearing the building, feel the chill of the wind blowing against my skin, see the tops of the billboards in the distance.

 My heart is pounding in my chest, my breathing labored. I look down at my hands, dark, mine, the tattoo of the sun on my right wrist, a crescent moon and stars on my left. I turn around and look at Ben, my eyes wide and panicked.

“I…I don’t know. Ben, I don’t know,” I say.

He takes me in his arms, the anger fading with an exhale as he holds me close, kissing the top of my head.

“It’s okay, Jazz. You’re okay,” he says. “Come on. Let’s get you back to bed.”

Numbly, I let him lead me down the stairs and to the hospital room. Nurse Gretchen is waiting in front of the bed, her arms crossed over her chest and a disapproving scowl on her face. Two other nurses, tall, male, and muscular, stand on either side of her.

“Now there, Miss Jasmine, we can’t have you running off like that,” she says. 

I see the straps now affixed to the bed, and feel the panic flood my veins. I start to back up, but Ben is behind me, nudging me forward.

“It’s for your own good,” he says. “Let us help you.”

But I don’t really have a choice.

****

Every muscle in Jennifer’s body is tensed when he finally stops the car in the middle of nowhere. There aren’t any city lights or streets in sight. 

She could run for miles and never find help. 

She could scream for hours and nobody would hear her.

He hops out of the truck, and she hears him moving something around in the truck bed. 

She doesn’t turn to see what he’s doing, doesn’t want to know what he plans to do to her.

Her father was right. She shouldn’t ever trust a stranger. She shouldn’t have left the house. 

In this moment, she longs for the safety that once felt like a prison. 

She’d give anything to have it back.

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