- Person: What's the point of creating your own characters? They don't exist!
- Me: What do you mean they don't exist? They exist. They're always with me! They're standing right here beside me!
- Person: No, they don't. They only exist in your own head.
- Me: ... You have no imagination.
Shanna continued browsing the cans, picking up what looked good and placing it in her bag. Jessica had walked to the front of the store, shifting her bag from shoulder to shoulder. She sighed, annoyed at Shanna’s slowness and the heaviness of the bag. After waiting for several minutes she looked down the aisle, Shanna was moving at a turtles pace looking at the cans, and everyone else still seemed to be busy. She put her bag over her shoulder and quietly opened the door, stepping outside. She walked to the car, unaware of what was going on around her and opened the trunk, setting her bag inside. It was almost too late when she noticed the first walker coming up on her left, without looking she took off running in the other direction. She screamed as she ran right into another walker, knocking her to the ground. She managed to scramble away from the walker she ran into, but her scream had caught the attention of several others, and they began closing in on her.
At the sound of Jessica screaming they all rushed to the front of the store, running outside. She had only made it about 15 feet from the store when she had run into the walker and fallen. They looked over at her just as one of the walkers took a large bite out of her neck. Listening to her screams of pain were unbearable, Shanna opened the car door and grabbed her bat as the others ran to help her sister.
David reached her first and shot the walker that had bit her right between the eyes. He quickly spun and shot another as Joe and Lynn caught up. Lynn rushed to her daughter, holding the screaming girl in her arms as she sobbed. Joe didn’t look at his daughter as he began firing at the walkers that were slowly beginning to surround them. Shanna quickly joined them, taking her bat to a walkers head, as it fell she continued to beat it until it stopped moving. David fired off a few more rounds before quickly taking in the situation. They had a minute tops before they would be completely over-run. There was no hope for Jessica. As another walker got close to him, took aim, shooting it in the head. He looked behind him as Lynn struggled to get a walker away from Jessica. Before he could do anything it grabbed her arm and latched on, tearing at the skin. As another one came at him he dodged out of its way and broke apart from the group. He took one last look at them before taking off towards the woods.
As another walker came at her, she took her bat and hit its stomach as hard as she could, and when it doubled over she brought the bat down onto the back of its skull. When the bat connected some of the blood sprayed onto her shirt, but she didn’t care. She tried to ignore the cries coming from her mother, and as she looked up she saw David running for the trees. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing, how could he just leave them. “Where are you going!?” she screamed after him, no longer paying attention to her surroundings. He didn’t even look back at her and anger filled her entire body.
Suddenly her father’s arms were around her and he swung her around, pushing her to the ground. Confused she sat up and looked back at him and saw the bloody bite mark on his back as he held a walker away at arm’s length. She watched helpless as another one came up and grabbed onto his outstretched arm. “Daddy no,” she screamed through the tears streaming down her face. She got up and grabbed her bat, walking towards him but he held his hand out to her. “No,” he’d screamed, the pain was plain on his face, “get to the car, get out of here. Go! Run!” She tried to shake her head no, she wanted to go back to him, to help him, but she knew it was no use. On shaky legs she ran back to the car, flinging the door open she threw her bat in the passenger seat and climbed in. She slammed the door shut behind her and pushed the locks down, looking in horror at the scene before her. She locked eyes with her father one last time, he was yelling for her to go. She fumbled with the keys in the ignition but finally got the car started. “I love you…” she said through sobs and she put the car into drive and slammed her foot on the pedal.
As the sun rose, it shone into Shanna’s room, causing her to squeeze her eyes tightly shut. She brought her hand up to cover her face, not wanting to get up yet. After a few minutes of laying there in silence, she finally started to wake up and realized she wasn’t the only one in her bed. She opened one eye and peeked over, seeing her sister lying next to her, still sound asleep. She smiled to herself and shook her head; it had been a long time since Jessica had snuck into her room to sleep. She sat up and nudged her shoulder gently, “Jess, wake up…” Jessica shook her shoulder, and nuzzled at her pillow, mumbling something Shanna couldn’t understand. Laughing she shook her again, not as gentle as before, “Come on we have to get up and get ready. You can’t lie around in /my/ bed all day,” she said. After making several whiney sounds Jessica finally opened her eyes and looked at her, “Do we really have to get up /right now/? The suns barely up.” She rolled her eyes and stood up, walking to her closet to pick out some clothes, “Yes right now. Get up lazy bones,” she said looking over her shoulder smiling at her. As she threw the blankets off of herself, Jessica grumbled something else unintelligible and Shanna laughed to herself. “Go get dressed,” she said, “I’ll meet you downstairs.” Yawning loudly, Jessica walked to the door, letting herself out and going to her own room.
Once she had gotten dressed, she opened her door; she could hear her father and David downstairs getting everything ready for them to go. Jessica met her in the hallway and they walked down the stairs together. Joe smiled at them as they came downstairs, “Go in the kitchen and get something to eat real quick, we’re almost ready to go.” They both nodded and walked into the kitchen, their mother had already dished them out some peaches into two small bowls. “Peaches Mom…” Shanna said, scrunching up her nose. “I know you don’t like them, but it’s what we got. I promise lunch will be better,” she said smiling. She sighed, and took a seat next to Jessica and they both ate quickly.
By the time they had finished David and Joe already had bags in the car to pick up supplies and Joe was making sure the guns all had bullets. Once he was satisfied he came into the kitchen, looking at the girls, “We ready then?” he asked. They all looked at each other and nodded, getting up and walking to the door. Just as she was about to walk out of the house a thought hit her, “I’ll be right back,” she said running up the stairs to her room. She opened up her closet door and pulled out a wooden baseball bat. She hadn’t played in years, but she figured it could come of some use now. She came back down the stairs and her father slightly laughed, “Just what are you gonna do with that?” he asked. “Well use it if I need to of course,” she said matter of factly and walked out the door.
Her father had already sent everyone else out to get into the car. Lynn of course was sitting up front, so Shanna would have to share the backseat with David and Jessica. Luckily Jessica had been nice enough to take the middle seat so she wouldn’t have to sit by David. She’d have to remember to thank her for that later. She climbed into the back seat and laid the bat across her lap. David leaned up and looked over at her, “What the hell’s that for?” he asked. Not looking at him she answered, “To knock you out with if you get too annoying.” Jessica shook with laughter between them, and he growled under his breath looking out the window. As her father got into the car Shanna looked up to see her mother was hiding a smile as well. Her father, oblivious to what had just happened, started the car and head toward the highway.
The drive started off easy enough. There were only a few stranded cars on the road, but the closer they got to the highway, the more condensed it seemed to become. Several times her father had to drive over the medium to the other side of the road to continue on. Shanna and Jessica stared out the windows, pointing out random things to each other. They saw several lone walkers along the way, but it was nothing for them to be concerned about. The ride was mostly silent; Jessica and Shanna talked to each other in hushed whispers. Shanna looked up to the front of the car and saw her parents holding hands. She smiled to herself and thought that apart from David being there, this could’ve been like any other day before this whole mess had happened.
She looked back out the window as her father slowed the car to a stop outside of a grocery store. She looked around, not recognizing the town, but glad that it looked to be deserted. Her father glanced at her mother, then back to them, “David and I are gonna run inside real quick and make sure its safe. Stay here til one of us comes out ok?” The girls nodded simultaneously, and he and David got out the car, weapons drawn, and went inside the store. The women sat in the car silently; Shanna fidgeted with the bat on her lap as she waited. They were only inside for several minutes, but it felt like hours. Finally, her father stepped outside the doors, waving at them to come inside.
They all looked at each other before throwing their doors open and walking to the store. As they reached the doors Joe stepped aside letting them in, “I’ll be right back,” he said, “have to get the bags.” They nodded as they walked inside, it was dark, but there was enough light from outside that they could see well enough. David was inside, sitting on one of the check-out lines. They stood just inside the door waiting for Joe to return with the bags so they could begin grabbing supplies. He returned seconds later, giving a bag to each of them. “Find as much as you can, stick together, don’t go outside alone,” he said making eye contact with each of them. David took his bag and disappeared down to the far side of the store. Joe and Lynn looked at one another, before taking each other’s hands and headed down to the other end of the store. Jessica and Shanna looked at each other, “Guess we have the middle,” Jessica said. Shanna nodded and they walked down the center aisle.
They had picked a good aisle to start with; it was full of canned goods. Jessica filled her bag first, just throwing everything in, while Shanna was pickier about what she grabbed. “Would you hurry /up/!” Jessica whined. Shanna shook her head, silently grabbing things and putting them in her bag. Jessica sighed dramatically, “I’m gonna go wait for you by the door, this is fucking heavy.” She nodded, “Alight, I’ll be up there in a few…”
The alley next to the grocery store was blocked in by a chain length fence; behind that fence was a group of walkers. Before the town had been deserted, someone had opened the metal door and managed to herd the walkers inside, before latching the door behind them. Though the countless times the walkers had crashed into the fence had weakened the hinges. It hadn’t been built to withstand such constant pressure.
They couldn’t make up what the sounds were when the car had pulled up, didn’t recognize the sound of car doors slamming, or people talking. But the sounds drove them crazy, and they wanted out of the alley. Even after the sounds disappeared they continued pressing themselves against the fence. Not knowing what was holding them back; they would back up and walk into again. Finally the pressure was too much, and the small hinges of the door gave way. The first few walkers fell out of the alley onto the ground, after that they all filed out into the street.
As she slipped deeper into sleep she began to dream. She was with her mother, sister and best friend Clarissa. They had gone out to lunch for a girl’s day, and then they surprised Shanna by taking her out to look at wedding dresses. It had only been a few months since David’s proposal, but she had already begun planning the wedding. She looked in awe at all the gorgeous dresses, and let the sales woman lead her to the back room to try them on. After several dresses she finally deemed one worthy to go out and show to everyone. With the help of the sales woman she walked down the long hallway to the back to the room where they were waiting.
As she entered the room they smiled at her, their faces lighting up. She looked at her reflection in the mirror and couldn’t help but to smile herself. The dress was beautiful, it was strapless, and it fit her body perfectly, hugging her in all the right places. It wasn’t too poofy or too flashy, and she loved it. She looked over her shoulder at her mother and sisters faces, they both looked so happy. Her mother had even started dabbing at her eyes. She hadn’t seen it then, but Clarissa was no longer smiling, something about her expression seemed off. Of course Shanna had been too blinded by her own happiness to notice.
She rolled over in her sleep as the dream shifted. She had left the studio early, and decided to go over to David’s house to surprise him. As she turned onto his street and his house came into view a confused expression crossed her face. David’s car wasn’t the only one in his driveway. As she got closer she realized the car belonged to Clarissa and pulled in behind it. “What the hell,” she said to herself as she cut the engine off. She wondered what they would be doing together as she got out of her car and walked to the front door, using her key to let herself in.
She’d walked quietly down the hallway to the living room expecting to hear them talking about one thing or another. But it was empty; she looked in the kitchen and the dining room, and got the same result. Her curiosity peaked, as she walked to the stairs, slowly climbing them so she didn’t make any sound. She looked down the hall to his bed room door, it was only slightly open. She soundlessly walked down the hall way and peeked through the crack in the door, and couldn’t believe what she was seeing. There in David’s bed, he and Clarissa lay there in each other’s arms. She saw their lips moving but her heart was beating so loudly in her ears she couldn’t hear the words. As she angrily swung the door open, she tossed in her sleep again, shaking her head. Subconsciously willing the dream away, she spent the rest of the night tossing and turning, but dreamless.
As she came down the stairs she saw David and her sister in the living room, looking at a large bookcase full of DVDs. Her father had warned them that stuff like watching movies would run the generator down faster, but what else was there for them to do?
She peeked into the kitchen; her parents looked to be deep in conversation. Her Dad was probably telling her all the rules they would have to abide by tomorrow. Still, rules or not they were going to get to leave the house for what seemed like the first time in weeks. She didn’t care if that meant spending the day with David, she would get to be outside for a change.
She walked back to the living room as David was setting the TV up. Jessica had taken up part of the couch and Shanna joined her, “So what are we watching?” David looked back at her with a sly grin, “Star Wars, you’re favorite.” She rolled her eyes, “Doesn’t that sound like a big old barrel of fun,” she got up and walked down the hall opening a door before calling over her shoulder, “I’ll be downstairs if you need me.”
Walking down the steps to the basement, she pulled the string turning the light on. Once she got into the main room she pulled a second string, brining the entire basement into light. She walked over to the far wall and looked out the small window. As far as she could tell there were no walkers out there today. “Good,” she thought to herself, hopefully that meant the trip tomorrow would be quick and easy.
She looked away from the window and walked over to her piano and sat down. Pressing several of the keys down she faintly smiled to herself. No matter how sad she was, or how much David annoyed her, music always made her feel better. She settled in and began to play Fur Elise. It was her mother’s favorite and she had loved to play it ever since she was a child. As the song ended she began another one, never taking her fingers from the keys.
She repeated the process several times, just playing things from memory. She didn’t even notice as it began to get dark outside. The music had taken her over, and that’s how she liked it. A small cough startled her and she abruptly stopped and turned around. Her father sat on the steps, smiling at her. “Daddy, I didn’t know you were down here,” she said, a bit embarrassed she hadn’t heard him come down. He shrugged, “Just got down here a few minutes ago, didn’t wanna interrupt. That was beautiful.” She looked down and smiled, “Wasn’t anything special…but thanks.” He stood up and walked over to her, “Well whatever it was, it was good,” he looked out the dark window, “it’s getting late, you’ve been down here for hours. You ok?” She followed his gaze to the window, “Yeah I’m fine. Just didn’t feel like hanging out with David…I’ll get enough of him tomorrow.” He chuckled and shook his head, “I know you don’t like him, but we’re all stuck here. Might as well try and get along don’t you think?” Her face scrunched up at the thought, “I’d rather not…” she said. “Alright missy whatever you wanna do,” he said, a serious look came over his face “about tomorrow, I already told your mother, we’re all sticking together. It’s dangerous out there now; we can’t all be running off in different directions. We need to watch each other’s backs.” Mocking a salute she smiled at him, “Yes Officer Sivits.” He rolled his eyes and laughed at her, “Well like I said, it’s getting late. We should all get some sleep.” She nodded, and he began going up the steps, she turned off the first light then followed him, puling the string for the light on the stairs as well.
After saying good night to everyone she made her way up to her room, shutting the door behind her. She changed into a pair of pajamas and laid in her bed, she was wide awake but she knew she needed the rest for the following day. She looked in the crutches in the corner of her room again. A night that should’ve been fun and carefree had nearly ruined her life. She thought of the countless days she’d spent in physical therapy, how painful it was getting up and walking again for the first time. Even after the surgery and the therapy the range of motion in her leg was ruined. Dancing was never the same for her after that. She either couldn’t do what she wanted, or it hurt too much to attempt. Luckily she was able to stick around her mom’s studio and help teach. It was better than nothing.
She looked at the ceiling and thought of David again. After the accident she was understandable angry with him. She had trusted him, and he had let her down. For the first six months or so after the accident she didn’t even speak to him. Though after awhile he started calling and texting again, she tried to ignore them but eventually she gave in. When she agreed to see him he told her how sorry he was, how much he loved her. Being young and stupid she believed him and took him back. It had been just like it was before, almost as if they’d never broken up. Her family wasn’t happy at first, but David seemed genuinely sorry for what had happened, and soon they also welcomed him back into the family.
Shortly after Shanna had turned 23 David had even proposed. Of course she had said yes, David was everything to her. He had been the first boy she’d ever kissed, the only boy she’d ever loved, and she was happy to have him be the last. Her eyelids grew heavy as she thought about what a happy time that had been, and she slowly drifted off into sleep.
Shanna’s favorite band is Nirvana…in case no one picked that up. She’d listen to them all day if she could.
She laid there in the tent, listening to Daryl’s breathing. There were no other sounds, no crickets chirping, no animals scurrying through the leaves. Most importantly no walkers. She was sure if she lay there long enough, she’d hear something. But the sounds of nature weren’t really her thing. Daryl was more than happy to sit in the silence, listening to things she could never hear. The quiet drove her crazy.
She hadn’t grown up in a quiet house, there was always music. Her mother had opened up a dance studio long before Shanna and her twin sister were born. They had practically grown up dancing. Joining in all of their mothers classes when they were little, even teaching classes of their own once they were old enough. If they weren’t home, chances were they were at the dance studio.
Dancing wasn’t enough for Shanna; she could never get enough of the music. When she was seven she talked her parents into letting her take piano lessons. She learned quickly, once she knew the notes, her fingers flew across the keys like shed been playing her whole life.
On her 12th birthday her parents surprised her with a guitar. She was thrilled. She spent several weeks teaching herself the strings, and once she had them down, she paired them with the notes she already knew, playing all her favorite songs from the piano.
She lay there and thought about when Daryl had taken her, Alyssa and Nick back to her house so she could get a few things. She had walked downstairs to turn on the generator and had walked right past her piano and her guitar. She’d barely even looked at them, let alone thought about playing one. Now that she knew she’d never see them again she regretted it.
She sighed and rolled onto her side, shutting her eyes. She tried to concentrate, listening as hard as she could, but still she heard nothing. Annoyed, she thought about trying to count sheep, but that had never worked before so why would it now. She took a deep breath, shutting her eyes tighter, and waited for sleep to wash over her.
Shanna lay awake in her bed, staring at the ceiling. As far as she could tell no one else was up yet. She sat up and looked around her room. It still looked the same as it had in high school. She had always said that she would never be one of those people who moved back home after initially leaving their parents homes, but at the age of 24 she and her twin sister Jessica had been forced to move back home. After the outbreak had started staying on her own just wasn’t an option anymore.
Shanna’s former fiance David was also staying with them, much to Shanna’s dismay. Her father Joe had run into him a few weeks before on a supply run and brought him back because, “How could I leave him out there on his own?” She scowled thinking of David downstairs on the couch. He’d asked several times if he could come sleep in her room with her. End of the world or not, that was /not/ happening.
She got up and walked to her door, quietly opening it and peering into the hallway. Her parents door was open, they must just be being quiet she thought. She left her room and quickly when down the stairs and into the kitchen. Her mother, Lynn, looked up from the novel she was reading and smiled warmly at her, while her father barely lifted his head from the crossword he was working on. “Morning,” she mumbled, sitting down at the table. “Good morning dear, are you hungry?” her mother asked, moving to get up. “No, I’m fine,” she lied. Truth was she was starving. She had skipped dinner the night before and she didn’t plan on having breakfast either. They were getting low on food and she wasn’t sure when they would be able to go out for supplies again. Her mother looked at her, a slight concerned look on her face, “Are you sure? I’m sure I could find you something.” She shook her head and looked down at the table, “Really Mom, I’m not hungry.” Before her mother could speak again her father interrupted, “Leave the girl alone Lynn, she said she isn’t hungry so she isn’t hungry.” She looked up at her father and offered him a small smile and he winked at her in return before looking back to his crossword. Her mother, while a little miffed, didn’t push the subject any further.
After sitting in the silence for several minutes before footsteps upstairs let them know Jessica was awake. Lynn looked up, “Well Jess is up, /she’ll/ be hungry,” she looked to Shanna, “why don’t you go wake up David and see if he wants anything to eat?” She looked at her mother, wondering what gave her the impression that sounded like something she’d like to do, but got up and went to the living room without arguing.
Walking into the living room, she walked to the couch and stood behind it, looking down at David’s sleeping form. She tried to remember all the good times they had had together, but for every good memory there were several bad ones. As she looked down at him she tried to think of how she was going to wake him up. Her mother would shake him gently, whispering that it was time to get up. She was not her mother. She walked to the end of the couch and leaned down over his head, “David…” she whispered sweetly. He shifted in his sleep, but other than that there was no reaction. She smiled to herself before taking the palm of her hand and smacking it against his forehead. His eyes flashed open and he looked at her angrily, “What the hell was that for?” he asked rubbing his head. “My mom wanted me to wake you up and see if you were hungry,” she answered flatly. Before he could reply she walked to the steps and quickly ran up them, walking to her sister’s door.
She knocked gently on the door, “Jess… can I come in?” The door opened and she was greeted by her sisters smiling face. “Of course you can,” she said, walking back to sit on her bed “you didn’t have to knock.” She walked in and sat down on the opposite end of the bed, “Yeah well, I don’t want to come barging in if you’re in here naked or something gross like that,” she teased. Her sister looked up at her raising and eyebrow, “I’m pretty sure we look the same naked, you know being identical and all.” She smirked back at her, “you only wish you looked as good.” They both laughed and Jessica rolled her eyes before looked back at the photo album she had been looking at. She turned the book towards Shanna and pointed to a picture, “Do you remember that day?” she asked. The picture showed a group of small girls, most of them only 3 or 4, and Jessica and Shanna stood behind them. It was the first dance class their mother had let them teach; they had only been 16 at the time. Shanna touched the picture and smiled, “Yeah, I don’t know who was more nervous that day. Us or those poor kids.” Those poor kids she thought, they’d all be nearly teenagers now, if they were still alive. She shook the thought from her head as Jessica turned the book sideways so they could both look. Before they made it too far into the back their mother’s voice broke the silence, “Shanna, Jessica, come downstairs and get some breakfast,” she called. Jessica’s stomach growled loudly in response and Shanna laughed, standing up. “Let’s downstairs before your stomach eats you alive,” she said walking to the door.
They made their way down the stairs and Jessica took a seat at the table next to their father, who didn’t look like he’d moved at all since Shanna had left. David had also made his way into the kitchen and was sitting at the opposite end of the table from her father, he looked up at her and glared slightly but she ignored him. She hopped onto the counter next to where her mother was looking in the cabinets. “How much is left,” she whispered to her mother, not wanting the others to hear. Lynn sighed and grabbed a few cans of fruit, “Not much,” she whispered back, “get some plates out” she said, walking to the table. Shanna plopped back down onto the ground, opening the cabinet that had been behind her and pulling out five plates, setting them around the table before taking a seat. “Alright,” her mother said, opening the cans, “we have peaches, pears and pineapple. Everyone dig in.” Shanna watched as everyone passed the cans around, taking a small amount of fruit from each. She looked up and caught a warning glance from her mother and grabbed the can of pears and took out the last two halves. “You need to eat more than that dear,” her mother said, the concerned look back on her face. “I’m not that hungry Mom,” she said, cutting a piece off the first half and eating it, “besides, there isn’t much left…” Her father looked up at her, “We’re running low on food,” he asked. She looked over at her mother, before looking to her father and nodding. “Well David and I will just have to go out tomorrow and see what we can find,” he said, before shoving an entire pear half in his mouth. She scoffed, “Oh yeah because David is /so/ helpful.” She stabbed a piece of fruit and put it in her mouth, chewing angrily. She could tell David wanted to say something back to her, but he would never do it in front of her family. Her father looked at her and raised his brow, “something you’d like to say sweetheart…” he asked. “I’m just tired of being stuck here while you guys go out,” she looked around the table at her mother and sister, “we all are.” Her father glanced around, looking at his wife and daughters, “Well I suppose we could all go…” he said thoughtfully, “but we stick together.” A small smile spread across Lynn’s face, Shanna and Jessica were visibly more excited by the news. “Just make sure get to sleep early, I want to leave at sun up,” her father said. Shanna looked at him and smiled “You got it Daddy.” They finished the rest of the meal in silence, David finished first and excised himself back to the living room. Her father simply pushed his plate away and went back to work on his crossword. As everyone finished Lynn picked up their plates and took them to the sink, washing them and putting them in the rack to dry. Shanna finished and took her plate to her mother, smiling at her before going back up to her room.
She shut her door behind her as she walked into her bed room and went to her closest, picking out a shirt and jeans and changing into them. She walked to her dresser and looked at her reflection in the mirror. All the meals she had been skipping were beginning to catch up with her. She was thin, her long blonde hair hung dull and lifeless around her shoulders. She looked down and all the things scattered on top of her dresser. Jewelry she didn’t bother to wear anymore, makeup she didn’t bother to put on. She looked back into the mirror and the crutches back in the corner of her room caught her eye. That time in her life seemed like it was so long ago now, that accident had been the first real bad thing that had ever happened to her.
It was her 21st birthday. David promised her an eventful night. He had asked his friend Ben to drive them around, that way they could spend the night drinking together. They spent the night at several bars; David bought her every drink she wanted and then some. By the time they made it to the last bar she was too far gone to notice that Ben had begun joining David taking shots, and drinking beers with him. She didn’t hear David ask Ben if he was still ok to drive them home as they were leaving. Ben hesitated before slowly nodding his head “yes”, but David believed him. He led Shanna out to the car, even let her ride up front, it was her birthday after all. They had barely made it half way back to Shanna’s house before Ben pulled out into oncoming traffic. Shanna hardly had time to process what was happening as she looked out the window to see and pair of headlights speeding towards them. She didn’t even get to scream before the other car struck them, causing their car to spin several times before the finally landed front first in a ditch.
She went back and forth between consciousness, she heard people talking to her, but she couldn’t answer them. The only thing she could concentrate on when she was awake was the blinding pain in her leg, but she couldn’t find the words to tell the voices that she was hurt. When the pain would become too much she would give into the darkness and slip into unconsciousness. All she wanted to do was sleep, but it seems like only seconds after she had shut her eyes someone was shining a bright light in her face, forcing her to open them again. A man was looking at her, asking her if she was alright, she wanted to tell him to just leave her alone, to let her sleep. She turned her head away from the light, and she heard him say something about her leg. She tried to ignore the man, she just wanted to slip back into the darkness again, but suddenly she felt the man’s hands on her. She tried to swat them away but she was too weak. The hands lifted her up and out of the car, and she screamed as the pain in her leg intensified. As they laid her down, the pain from the movement caused her to pass out again.
She woke up in an unfamiliar room, looking around she recognized it as a hospital room. She looked down at herself and saw cuts and bruises on her arms, her leg was throbbing. The only other person in the room was her father, who hadn’t noticed she was awake yet. “Daddy…” she said, surprised at how weak her voice sounded. He looked up from his crossword book and rushed to her side. “Hey sweetheart, how you feeling?” he asked, concern all over his face. She tried to sit up, but a new pain hit her and she gasped, grabbing her side, “Daddy what happened?” He swallowed hard, “Your mother is better at this sort of thing,” he said nervously, “on your birthday, there was an accident. You got pretty banged up,” he said quietly, not looking at her. She nodded her head slowly, the pain in her leg making it hard to concentrate, “What about David and Ben?” she asked looking up at him. A look of anger crossed his face, but he masked it quickly, “They’re fine. You just need to worry about you right now,” he said sternly. She closed her eyes and leaned her head back against the pillow, “Where’s Mom?” He grabbed her hand, squeezing it gently, “She’s down at the cafeteria, should be back soon. Your sister is with her too.” She smiled slightly and opened her eyes, looking down at herself again. She slowly pushed the blanket to the side, showing her heavily bandaged leg. Her breath caught in her throat, and she looked up at her father. “How bad…” she asked, unable to keep her voice from shaking. He looked at her sadly; she could tell he didn’t want to answer her. “Daddy please,” she said, “tell me.” He squeezed her hand again, not looking at her “You’ve got a concussion; couple of broken ribs… your leg is the big one. They had to do surgery to repair all the breaks…” he trailed off, looking up at her. She wasn’t able to keep the tears from falling, as she looked at him. He carefully sat on the edge of her bed and held her. Through her tears she asked him how it had happened, not lifting her head from his shoulder. “David says that Ben had started drinking, but thought he was still ok to drive. He was wrong.” She looked up at him, her eyes wide, “Ben was drinking? And David knew?” she felt herself getting angry. He looked at her and simply nodded, the reason he had looked angry when she mentioned them earlier was clear now. Her head was swimming. How could David be so careless as to let Ben drive them home after he had been drinking? She had never questioned the fact that she could trust David, but here she was, in a hospital because of a careless decision he and Ben had made.
She shook her head, bringing herself out of the memory. She looked in the mirror again, adjusting her shirt before leaving the room and heading back downstairs.