The Prophesy Tower. Chapter 46. Write a Novel Challenge.
Neina faced her limp body on the oddly pristine, white sheets of the hospital bed, her face scarred from the broken rubble of the concrete. Her eyebrows clenched in a permanent scowl and, as the wind from the opening doors flicked her unplucked eyebrow hair, her eyelashes occasionally fluttered. Her body was huddled in the same position as a new born baby against their mother. As she glared back at herself, she noticed the lifelessness of her bulldog, bulging eyes. It was as if her spirit had leapt out of her body in the hope of escaping her future treatment. The stare of her eyes fixed on the comatose creature laying weakly on the bed below her, nurses circling her body like insects swarming around a dead corpse. Neina watched fascinated as they paraded around her empty vessel of a body in perfect rhythm with the seemingly never-ending hustle and bustle of the hospital. Gentle hands soak in blood, as splinters ooze puss, she thought to herself. Neina’s body now seemed only as useful as a feast for a resting fly.
At that moment, without warning, the comatose body gasped for air, panting uncontrollably. A panic attack had shocked the body in the presence of what looked like, to her, the dead body of Charlotte. Grasping the cotton sheets, her dilated pupils darted to the heart monitor, whilst her hands ripped away the medical cables around her. A fazed illusion of herself flashed in her mind, her body collapsed on the sheets, her scrawny self stuck to the rustling clothes. In the blink of an eyelid, terror had shocked Neina’s soul with such force as to return her to her defeated body.
Rejoicing with the fact that she could, again, control movement in her stubby fingers, Neina patted the infected wounds clean with a stray corner of the crisp hospital sheet. An unusual pain spread like a virus back and forth in her head. As the pain enveloped her in its grip, a melancholy expression washed over her, drowning out the upbeat hope she yearned to feel again. To Neina, only pointless seconds had passed when she had lain motionless on the bed, staring down on herself. To the nurses fighting to save her, hours had passed.
Without realising it, during this time, moments of her life had turned to rust and disintegrated. Her memories had deteriorated rapidly despite her mind and body battling with all their joint might to cling on to what she thought was normal. But what, exactly, is normal? She was in a coma, with medical instruments dangling from her body as safety wires on a trapeze artist flipping somersaults over a bottomless ravine. Not only that, but her bones ached in sadness whilst they suffered paralysing decay. Whatever normal means, it is not this ….
With a confused gaze, Neina steadily eased herself into the starched hospital pillow, its polyester fabric creating a barrier over her ears blocking out the sounds of the ward. Friction between her cheeks and the thin material caused a rash on her face, flushing her cheeks with a mixture of tabloid reds and the pink hues she associated with the pox.
She caught the words of a junior doctor as he barged through the door – “It’s unfortunate that Neina thought of suicide as her only way out.” He was followed attentively by two nurses carrying vending machine food on a yellow, stained tray.
“She’s in a coma, right?” asked Rachel – the nurse holding the doors as wide as possible for Kwaime, who was holding a rather disgusting looking Suoermarket own brand rip off of a Mars Bar.
“Yeah, why?” Kwaime questioned inquisitively, his northern English accent bellowing over the quiet, waiting room chatter.
“It’s just… I keep hearing her mutter random names that don’t make sense. It’s quite creepy,” Rachel wittered, her voice quivering with uncertainty.
“What voices?” demanded Luca -the junior doctor.
A dramatic tension surfaced between the trio as Rachel tried to recall the ambiguous names.
“I dunno. Something ‘bout a Christina or Charlotte, or something like that, and a Fra…Fran… Frankie,” she stuttered. “She mentioned Jane as well for sure! Or was it Janus? It can’t mean anything though, right?”
A deep silence fell between them, as thought crushed the conversation in its tracks.
“Right?” Rachel asked again, the intensity of her fear and need for answers breaking through the silence.
Luca interrupted the long pause, “No, of course not. Just forget about it and focus on your job. That’s why you are here, to work. Come on then,” he continued. His face seemed oddly expressionless as he spoke, a million miles from the usual frustrated and crumpled expression he wore.
A disturbing, eerie silence filled the air. Peace. Finally.
But it was short-lived. An eruption of noise clattered through the room. Neina’s silent mind was once again interrupted by the accusing sounds of uninvited voices. Nurses tumbled over their feet in an attempt to update the surgeon on her new medical improvements. As they did so, Neina found herself battling to think in the face of the constant yelling echoing throughout the room, the tiktok stilettos of the surgeon. The sounds of the ward synchronised together with the deafening alarm of a bomb about to trigger. Thankfully the pillow muffled out the worst of the now irritating and repetitive grating of the squabbling group of doctors screeching out their orders to their staff. It seemed to Neina that each was driven by little more than the vain need to nurse their own arguments rather than care for their patient.
A slender figure bowed over her beaten body, her golden and polished name tag reading ‘Dr. Patricia Vokscamp’. As she did so, the doctor yanked at the bed controls and stretched her skeleton-like, bony, aged finger towards the HELP button, pressing it firmly. Her aloof personality illuminated as the red light blinked on.
The nurses gathered together, mouthing the words “Call Dr. Brantley Spang. Call the psychiatrist,” like a pack of wolves planning a hunt.
Within seconds, a tall, bulky man peered through the distorted glass window of the ward, his expression reading like an exercise in dramatic shock.
“Why did you call me down? I’m a psychiatrist, I don’t do clinical work!”
“This ….,” the nurse retorted, “This person is responding to different names and we can’t explain why.”
Neina heard another nurse call across the ward: “In her purse she has 16 different id’s of people who are not in any record books.”
“We have managed to convince her to talk about the incident and she just repeats the name Charlotte. Do you know anything about this?”
The Psychiatrist crept forward, like a child trying not to step on the cracks in a pavement. His face gradually drooped into what looked like a depressed smile. He leaned over the shaking girl and grunted
“Camari, what’s happened to you? Where have you been?”
Neina didn’t reply. She couldn’t. She felt as if she was underwater, hearing only an outline of what was said with its core meaning dispersed beyond her reach.
A chorus of doctors spiralled around Neina chanting “Neina,” “Charlotte,” “Frankie,” “Janus,” “Eligh,” “Samantha,” “Chloe,” “Anita,” “Derek,” …
With every name she felt tortured, as if by prongs digging into her skin. The names were forcing her mind to remember. To remember who she really was. The agony seared her mind like a razor cutting dead meat, unnerving every inch of her body. It was as if a cotton reel was being unravelled within her, revealing the truth with every unwelcome word. Keys and locks. Shadows of honesty danced around her.
It was obvious. Each person. Each life. Each telling its own story. All entwined within the same mind.
Dr. Spang erupted “This young lady has a rare disorder in her brain, I have been treating her.”
He looked shattered, beleaguered. It was as if the very sight of Neina’s crumpled body had sapped the last of his strength.
“I booked her in for some CT scans but she didn’t show. Her disorder,” he continued, “causes her to have multiple personalities. She is a rare schizophrenic.” Dr. Spang paused at the gasps from around the room. “I am afraid that, although she has not harmed anyone else, she will cause great harm to herself. I need her monitored around the clock. I have never treated a case that has developed this far and she needs now, urgently, to be locked down.”
“This condition is … exceptionally rare.”
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The Prophesy Tower – A Novel.
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