Well; not exactly. I felt warm and safe. And heavy, heavy like I could not move anything. But that was alright because I felt no need to move anything.
I can remember thinking. So this is what lies after death, there is no reason to fear it after all. I stayed like this for a great amount of time. Not moving; not caring to move. Then, slowly, I came to the realisation I was laying down and I was under a blanket.
I thought; this cannot be death. What use is a blanket in a place where there is nothing physical? And with this thinking I came to the conclusion. I am alive.
That profound thought made me want to struggle to get my eyes open. It took time, how much time I do not know, but eventually I managed. What I saw made me close my eyes again in fear.
What I saw? Well I’m embarrassed to say that it was a ceiling. Yes, a ceiling; I am glad that I am not there to hear you laugh at the silliness of this. But you must understand, I had not seen the inside of an intact ceiling from that angle since I had left the orphanage; whenever that was.
It was a scary sight to behold for someone who rarely saw something as simple as that.
Eventually, after breathing deeply, I regained some courage, enough to open my eyes again and inspect the ceiling closer. It was the only clue I had as to where I was after all.
It was high above where I lay, either because I lay on the floor or the ceiling was high above the bed in which I lay. I suspected the latter. And it was plain, quite plain as if it were purposefully designed to remain in beautiful.
However, no matter how much I wished to check my assumptions were right. I could not. My body would not respond, my arms legs; not even my neck would move as I commanded. So I was stuck with just my eyes, and they were limited.
I could see though. It was daytime as it was bright. Although I could admit, it could have been some simple lighting trick. Either way, I was alone as I could hear no-one else. I was possibly in a private room, which could be good or bad.
Exhaustion overtook me eventually and I passed out again.
When next I awoke it was dark. So, if earlier it was day, then that time must have been night. This meant I had been unconscious for a great deal of time.
I decided to try to move my head, and upon succeeding, took a closer look at the room around me despite remaining too weak to sit upright.
The room I was in was very plain as I had expected from the ceiling. Pale blue walls meant to look like a sky that did not really exist; a small rug lay next to the bed in which I lay and a small basin by the large, plain, oak door which possibly supplied the glass of water on the bedside table next to my head. Finally there was a cross above the headboard, a man hung from it, clothed in only a cloth which hid the more indecent parts. To me, this held no meaning so I moved on to looking at the bed.
The bed itself was obviously designed for one person, yet it was also large enough for two. It was made out of the same oak as the door and, although plain, was expensively built. The mattress upon which I lay was comfortable to the point of being uncomfortable. Light as I was, I had the feeling of sinking into the thing. There was a simple green blanket over the top of me. It was plain, thick, soft and warm. So, in short, everything was simple, plain, but well-made and built with care,
Soon though, the furniture held no more clues and I began to fear for my life.
Could it be that the police had put me in prison for all the theft that I had committed? Maybe the orphanage I had escaped from all those years ago had caught up with me after all this time. Maybe it was a new, even worse orphanage than that one. Maybe it was Old Man Sam who decided I was worth coming after, after all. Maybe it was a murderer or madman who wanted to kill me in the worst way possible. I stayed awake fearful for my life, each possible scenario worse than the last.
Again I passed out.
It took more time; I passed in and out of consciousness, scaring myself with all the possible reasons that someone had taken me to this room. By the time I was finally able to stay conscious for a full day I had worked myself up to such a state that I was scared that the first person that came through the door would eat me alive, or worse.
I did not have long to wait for someone to turn up either. Mere minutes after I had awoken, the door opened. I had expected a mad man with blood red eyes and blood dripping from his mouth so I was surprised when a girl stepped through the door. I could not see much about her because her face was hidden beneath her hair.
Ste was straight to business. She turned to the basin, and, wetting a cloth, she started to walk towards the bed. It appeared she intended to give me a sponge bath like in the hospitals. Apparently she still believed I was unconscious. With this realisation, the courage to speak arrived. “That is hardly necessary. I can do that myself.”
She stopped in her tracks, surprised that I had spoken. She looked up at me in shock which gave me the opportunity to observe her.
She had black hair as I had seen when she first walked in, it came down to just above her waist, it was silky and wavy. I had never been one to care that much about something as looks, but I shall tell you the truth, I was jealous of that hair. Her face was just becoming that of a woman’s but still held the baby fat on her cheeks and chin. She was slightly short, but that was hardly noticeable at her age.
However, perhaps the best part of her was the eyes. You could see in them, she had a sense of humour still but it was overwrought by a wisdom the belied her years. A contradiction I know, but humans have always been that way, so it did not really matter. In another time and place I am certain we could have been friends.
She spoke “You’re awake. I must tell someone.” And with those words she turned and left with great efficiency.
What felt like mere seconds later, the girl returned, and with her was a nun. She was tall and proud, but still quite young.
“it is good to see you awake. My name is Sister Michelle. You are in a private room at the Sisters of Service school for girls.” I had heard of this place while I was out on the streets; it was an exclusive school for the rich and privileged. A while back I stood outside their gates every day, dreaming of what it would be like to be a student there. Plenty of food, a solid and permanent roof over my head, people who could afford to actually care for you and about you. Eventually I was chased off by an old bat with a broom like some feral animal.
Then I realised that I was not here by my own choice. The scenarios in my head came back to me in one big rush. I sat up quickly and swung my legs over the side. A wave of nausea hit me at the same time but I fought it off. I could not afford to be sick when I was in such danger.
“What are you doing?” Sister Michelle asked with urgency in her voice.
I barely noticed myself answer; I was focused solely on the next step of my escape. “I’ve got to get out of here.” Another wave of sickness hit. “I’ve got to go.” I struggled to my feet. As I swayed there I saw that the girl was watching me in awe.
I tried to take a step. But my legs would not, could not support me; I fell to the floor.
“It’s alright, you can stay as long as you like. It’s not as if you are putting us out at all.” Said the girl.
I felt a hand rest on my shoulder, adult in size, trying to help me up. I shrugged it off as if burned.
“You’re safe here.” Came Sister Michelle’s voice from above me. Somehow, by the sound of her voice, I knew that those three words were the truth. I relaxed slightly; perhaps I could stay here a while.
I allowed the nun to help me to my feet and take me back to the bed.
After I was back beneath the covers Sister Michelle spoke again. “I’ll tell you the truth. We didn’t expect you to be able to do what you just did. In fact, we still expected you to be unconscious. When Sister Rachel found you, you were practically dead.” Sister Michelle went on to explain that Sister Rachel, another nun here, went out to get some supplies for the school. She had just parked the car and was getting out when she tripped over a lump in the sidewalk. That lump was me. When the nun found me I was barely breathing and completely unresponsive.
She was so concerned for my wellbeing that she forgot about the groceries and ran back to the car. Taking a blanket from the back she bundled me up and put me in the car where she waited anxiously for some form of response.
Soon I was out of immediate danger she drove me back to the school to be taken care of. And that is what they had done.
Needless to say I was grateful.