When Fawne woke again, she was lying in a small white bed hooked to a machine next to her by a tangle of tubes and wires. There was also something tightly gripping her right index finger. She pulled her finger from under the thin blanket at saw a tube with a clip at the top attached to her finger. Fawne squeezed the clip and took the tube off of her finger, then froze and dropped it as a loud, high-pitched beep began to ring through her room. She clamped her hands over her ears as footsteps ran down the hallway and into her room.
A stout woman with dark skin and black hair pulled into a tight bun smiled with relief when she saw Fawne awake. “You had me worried there when you took the heart monitor off. You don’t need to do that, sweetheart.”
Fawne watched her, even more confused by some of her strange words.
“You need to keep this on so we can make sure that your heart is okay,” the woman said as she bent down to pick up the small monitor again.
“I do not like that,” Fawne said as the woman tried to put it back on her finger.
“I’m sorry, but you have to wear it so we can make sure that your heart stays okay.”
“But my heart is fine,” Fawne answered, putting her hand back underneath the blanket. “I do not belong here…wherever I am.”
The woman smiled. “You’re in Emory.”
“I have never heard of this land called ‘Emory.’ Where is it?”
The woman laughed and shook her head. “Emory isn’t a land, it’s a hospital. You were hit by a trick last night, and it broke your hip and caused a nasty bump on your head.”
“A ch-ruk?” Fawne asked, the strange word leaving a foreign taste in her mouth.
“A truck, honey. What were you doing standing on the road like that?”
“I do not know what a road is.”
“Where are you from, anyway?” the woman asked as she grabbed a chart from the foot of the bed and began to flip through it.
“From a large community hidden away in the heart of the Alkai forest,” Fawne answered, trying to look for an avenue of escape.
“Where is that? The only woods near where you were hit are the woods off of Highway Ten.”
“The woods of Highway Ten? That is a strange name for woods.”
“Stranger than Alkai?” the woman asked as she gave Fawne a sideways glance over the charts. “Who are you?” she asked as she shook her head.
“I am Fawne of the Druids of Alkai, one of the last of the Brookelles,” Fawne answered, a hint of pride coloring her voice.
“That blow to your head must have knocked you into a fairy land,” the woman said. “The family that hit you wanted to see you when you were awake, so I’ll go get them.”
“But I do not wish to see those who caused me to be hurt!” Fawne called after the woman as she stepped out of the room and closed the door. She sighed and shook her head. “Oh Father, what is happening to me?”