A mysterious girl with equally mysterious power initiates a dramatic change in the greater metropolitan area of Franklin, including the smaller towns of Fairview and Midway. As she visits her strange ability upon the people, they also take to the same road, changing the lives of others in small but significant supernatural ways. Soon, resistances to the events spark a dramatic stage where both natural and supernatural forces must come to terms with their place in this world and try to reel in a dramatica
Bright corridors and buzzing sounds.
Blinking lights and muffled administrative summons.
People crying. Or laughing. Or both.
None of these were here.
It didn't take long for Benno Coolidge to feel forgotten. He stared from the hospital bed for a time after being shaken awake by a late night garbage truck clanging and revving outside his second story room. The cool pastel of the walls had taken a more sinister turn under the absence of any interior lighting. Occasionally he would see a shutter effect of diagnostic machines monitoring and administering. He felt as cold as the metal bars keeping him from tumbling out of his bed. Benno tugged mindlessly at the tube attached to his arm, it was attached to a clear bag. He felt drained.
The last nurse Benno could remember seeing had come at least an hour before he drifted off into a solid unconsciousness. Now, in his waking state, long shadows crept across his bed. The sun had long since retreated and the present illumination was an artificial one, a street lamp or floodlight. The venetian blinds were still broken in their uniformity, the victim of his early, incessant inspections of the street corner, when he had been expecting a visit that eventually did not transpire.
He looked longingly at the door that led out to the main halls of Fairview-Riverside Regional Hospital and wished that he could raise himself up, remove himself from the place. He would be relieved to feel the rough flooring against his slippered foot. But he couldn't. He was robbed of the use of his legs without his permission. It had been claimed while he slept in a campground, taken from him by an old, proud man with a valid driver's license and failing vision. Benno could hardly blame the man; the driver's license was not a forgery. Besides, grief isn't easily abated with the placing of blame.
Benno Coolidge had no family to visit him, although he had been expecting a good friend's son. No, he had no one at home. He had no home. For ten years, Benno had been residing in one place or the other. His life had become something fluid: A castaway from acceptable societal adherence. He had by now forgotten the circumstances by which he had become dispensible. It may have been some substance abuse, which he allowed may be responsible for the lack of recall. Recently, the campgrounds just outside the town of Fairview had been a favorite spot of his. He could sit and discuss matters with others. Hikers and campers who looked and smelled just a bit more like he surely must have. He wondered if anyone he had known was also caught in the accident. Surely there must.
It was a truck... It's not like it was a damned pea.
The hospital had agreed to house him and care for him while he awaited minor surgeries to repair his broken body and then eventually to settle into a dependant state of living. The doctors and nurses and lawyers, and people whom did jobs he couldn't begin to guess, all reassured him that he's lucky to be alive and conscious.
You're lucky to be alive, Mr. Coolidge! Now let's see if we can't get some more feeling out of these legs, eh?
He was beginning to loathe them. At times when they would enter, he would close off his ears and imagine that they were in his place. And he would say it to them nonstop. You're lucky to be alive!
They can walk.
He fumed internally.
Grieve with me.
Benno had no idea how the procedures were being paid for, but he could care less. The State must have settled some agreement for payment but he could not recall. Many things were fluid.
All he could remember were the dreams he had that night before the accident. He could not forget them. They played themselves out several times, every night since then. Like a tired and eternally spinning Victrola, it recited a litany. He had told the psychiatrist at the hospital about them, just after the accident.
"What are they like, these dreams?"
Cool stone and hot air.
"What do you see?"
Warm-colored lights in my eyes.
"That might be the accident. Let's work through this, okay? What else is there."
A butterfly is here, flying around. There's a young girl here, too.
"Where is she, Mr. Coolidge?"
Sitting on the floor. She's petting a blue dog. A big sort-of-blue dog. Asleep. It's peaceful.
"You like the peace?"
I walk to them. I always walk and the girl always fades away. The dog wakes up. Looks at me. Waiting.
But they weren't here now. And couldn't understand that he had distinctly had the dream before the accident occurred. Was sure of it, but what does he know.
What do they know?
He turned slightly to one side and pressed a red icon on a beige control tethered to the wall. A sharp tone went off and there was a long pause. He pressed the button again.
“Can I get something to eat?” he squeaked. Benno had not spoken aloud and was just now sounding his voice. A cracked cough broke through halfway. “I slept through dinner again.”
He waited a moment and hit the button again.
“Yes?...” The response was identical to the first.
“I’m kind of hungry.”
“We have something we can get for you. Hold on, Mr. Coolidge.”
As he waited, he heard the door open and turned to the light. He shielded his eyes from the bright hallway and took small comfort that whomever had entered had not touched the lightswitch. As the figure approached, the silhouette shrank and he made out out what appeared to be a child. A girl who had not yet reached her teens, if he guessed right. The sides of her head shone bright as the corridor light assembled behind her. It reminded him of a halo. A hospital gown, checkered with little illustrations of pink and yellow things, fell across her shoulders.
He contorted his face in a puzzled fashion and then set himself as pleasing and responsible as he could muster, “You’re in the wrong room, little darling.”
She shook her head in disagreement.
The light from the hallway thinned and disappeared. His eyes adjusted and he was in fear that he recognized her. Her eyes shone and she smiled simply. Fumbling with his limited movement, he pressed the button again, but the chime that sounded was drowned out somehow. Like something heard underwater. The nurse responded with a surpressed and distant 'Yes?' and he felt he was going to faint. The girl walked slowly to the end of his bed, and placed her small hands on his legs.
He could feel her warm touch.