The sky darkens outside the large window, casting burnt red and flaming orange shadows around my bed. Since the nurses' visit I haven't been able to stay still. I've contemplated checking out the rest of the hospital, but I am afraid to run into any more lost or wandering spirits, entities... whatever they may be.
I also want to avoid my family.
Hearing that they had said those things about me to strangers, rather than telling me when I was still healthy and awake, hurts me but it also confuses me. Never would I have thought that they would think something like that about me, the imperfect teenage daughter.
A loud cough from outside my room makes me stop my pacing. It echoes in the otherwise quiet floor and I step out through the door to catch a glimpse of who it can be. The lights are bright compared to my room, so I squint against the sudden brightness. A male nurse with greying hair is walking with a limping woman, her eyes are drawn down as she struggles with her cane.
Then a shock of chestnut hair attracts my attention. His blue eyes are lined with worry as he asks the same male nurse something in a hushed whisper. After a quick exchange, the nurse points back at me. Of course not at me, but at my room.
Oh. My. God.
I run back inside through the door and press myself against the corner of the room closest to the window, forgetting that I am invisible to living eyes. What am I going to do? I can't handle seeing him here, even if only a few hours before I had wished it with all my heart. I take in a deep breath, trying to fill my lungs as much as possible.
The door rattles; a sign of the inner struggle that I am sure invades Leo's body.
Then he opens the door and--
I am in a large gym with dimmed lighting. Still dressed in my hospital gown, I look around, taking in everything with my hungry eyes. Red, blue, and yellow lights flicker on the high ceilings and a loud romantic song is playing overhead. There is no one here. It is utterly and hopelessly empty.
"What is this?" I say in a shaky voice. I know exactly where I am.
Prom. One week ago.
"Why are you doing this to me?" I yell out, in a more confident voice as the memories pierce through me. "Is this a game for you? Is my pain helping you with your boredom?"
"Why?" the voice is merciless as it ignores my questions. I twist around, trying to catch a glimpse of someone, anyone who may be behind all of this. Instead, I see myself looking around with a smile on my face. Oh no.
I run up to the memory image, dreading what's coming. My Prom Queen tiara glints eerily in the empty room and my silver ,open-toed, strappy high-heeled shoes click on the hardwood floor as the exit sign looms closer.
"Stop," I beg quietly, finally reaching my happy self. "Please, just turn back."
My past self turns back and smiles at someone that is invisible to me. "I know," I say to the stranger. "I'm just going to find him."
Without hearing my pleas, my past self pushes through the exit doors and instantly, we are plunged into the brightly lit hallway of my high school. I can see my made-up eyes search around almost frantically. It had taken me nearly twenty minutes to do them; to get them just smoky enough. My red lips are pursed as I search in vain, finding no sign of who I am looking for.
I remember thinking that Leo was maybe playing a joke on me, making me come out and search for him. He'd looked so handsome in his black Armani tuxedo while posing for the many photos that were taken at the pre-prom party. His dark hair had been gelled and combed back, revealing his strong forehead and making his blue eyes pop against his classically handsome face. "Leo?" I call down the hallway.
Closing my eyes briefly, I catch up with myself. I try to stop my past self by putting my hands up, but the memory of me walks right through me. "Victoria, stop, please this will destroy you!"
In slow motion I see myself walking through a twisted small alcove that leads to a washroom that rarely anyone uses. Except for us, we always met here during breaks so that we could make out in private.
Then a giggle breaks through the silence.
Tears start to freely roam my cheeks as I watch myself. My hands had gripped the doorknob just as tightly as this memory does now and I see my face twist with confusion, then horror, then disbelief. I hate to see what I know is happening, but my eyes wander over to the scene nonetheless.
Leo is kissing a dark-haired girl, his hands on her shoulders. Her arms tightly grip onto him, as if holding onto a life-preserver, and her face is hidden by his lean back.
Just as before, I feel my heart falling again--breaking into pieces as it hits the floor.
I then hear myself gasp. "Leo?" I turn around and stare at my memory's face. Looking back, I remember how happy I was with my make-up work. Leo will love this, I'd thought; he always loved it when I dressed up.
My voice must have shocked him into reality, because he whips around almost instantly. "Vicki," realization dawns on his face and he quickly looks back to the mystery girl before looking back at me. "It's not what you think!"
I stumble back, mimicking my past self, and grab for the washroom door. After a heartbreaking moment, my memory manages to get the door open and sprint out of the alcove while Leo calls my name. His guilty voice echoes through the empty hallways before everything pauses, like a dramatic film.
"Watch," the voice orders and almost instantly everything begins to rewind.