I saw the days as grains of sand, falling through the bulb of an hourglass that was being turned each day so that it could never run out. Faster and faster it fell and faster and faster they turned it. It could never end. It could never stop. This was my life and I had to keep living. It wasn't my time to die just yet.
I reached out and touched the glass but it repelled my fingertips. Backing away, I tried to close my eyes but realised they were already shut. Instead, I tried to open them. But they were open already. I just couldn't see.
I tried one more time to open them and screamed when it was impossible.
The next thing I knew, I was awake, lying on the bed with Dr Jones leaning over me looking concerned. He asked me what was wrong and I said a bad dream. But it wasn't a dream. I knew that. It had to be real.
"Am I going to die?" I asked, touching the deep flesh wounds on my stomach and wondering why I couldn't feel any pain.
"I don't think so, Shelley," he said. It was the first time he used the pet form of my name, even though I'd asked him to more than once. "And neither is Shane, God willing." I had to keep reminding myself that Shane was Doc's name, because it was so confusing. All this time, despite knowing his first name ... Doc just fitted better, and it was his identity, in my head at least.
"Then why can't I feel anything in my legs or my stomach? Why can't I feel my arms? Why can't I move?!" I started to panic, realising how many of my motor functions were incapacitated. "I can't move my fingers ...!"
"Shelley, wiggle your little finger." He was holding my hand, flexing the fingers: I could feel nothing. Nothing at all.
"I can't," I said, trying. "There isn't anything happening. What's wrong?"
"It's the air in here." He was pacing rapidly up and down, looking for something. "There aren't any windows, or any vents. You haven't had anything but recycled, alien air for months. No wonder you can't move. There's no oxygen to dissolve the meds in your blood and they're taking over. We've got to get you some fresh air."
"But how? We're not on Earth." I knew that because they'd told me so that morning. Two of the Voices, bringing me food, had laughed and said I couldn't escape now because we were on another planet. Like I could escape anyway; had they forgotten that my legs were broken?
"The air's fresh enough," he said. "Come on, Shelley, let's get you to the door. You need that air." So saying, he picked me up in his arms and carried me out of the room.