This is a short chapter from a book I wrote and published about a year ago. Book 2 is under way. Enjoy. 🙂
We often hear stories of young women forgetting about their drink in a crowded bar and then waking up in a strange empty room, mostly naked and exposed. In most of these stories, she wakes up in a stranger’s bed with a soreness in her legs and a bad taste in her mouth. Not so often though, she wakes up on a metal table like a slab of meat with an IV needle in her wrist. A heart monitor, steadily tapping in the hazy background, would echo loudly off of the white walls of the large, hospital-like room. We hear these stories and we convince ourselves that it could never happen to us.
I would never let someone slip a pill on me, and I sure as hell would be able to defend myself if the time ever came.
It is something we all try to convince ourselves of.
Yet, here I was. In a brightly lit hospital room, on a cold metal table, straight out of a scene from a bad horror movie.
“How the hell did I get here?” I asked myself as I ripped the IV from my arm.
It was cold in the room and it smelled like strong cleaning agents. I could see the condensation of my breath as I shivered and tried to find warmth in the paper-thin hospital gown that hung loosely on my sore body. My bare feet burned as they hit the freezing linoleum floor. There was a large mirror on one end of the room that spit back an image of myself that I hardly recognized. My small frame was painted with light bruises, and my dirty blonde hair was wet and matted to my face. There were a few needle marks on my arms and my green eyes looked tired and sunken in.
What the hell was going on?
I shuddered at the possibilities, but tried not to let it cloud my mind too much. I had to figure out how I got into this mess in the first place. The last thing I could remember was begging my stupid boyfriend to stop taking shots of whiskey so we could go home and sleep off the anger. Which turned into him calling me a ‘nagging bitch’ and going on about how ungrateful I was. I shook my head; I didn’t want to think about him right now.
I had bigger things to worry about.
Much bigger things.
In another corner of the room was a large black curtain, hiding something that seemed to be making a light ticking noise. I gripped the cotton curtain and revealed a large cylinder containment tube with a thin, frozen layer of condensation hiding its contents. There was a metal machine hooked up to the side of it with smaller tubes that seemed to be attached to the inside of the containment tube. My curiosity of what was inside was far greater than the fear and I began to wipe the condensation from the glass.
I wanted to scream, but no sound came out. It was something out of an old sci-fi film. A man around his early twenties was floating in the water of the container. He wore only a pair a black boxer briefs and his head and face were freshly shaved. A few bruises and deep scars marked his body and a tattoo was scratched on the inside of his left forearm.
It was a number.
There were no tubes or wires going into his throat or nose. There was no mask covering his eyes and face. Not even an oxygen tank was hooked to the side of the machine with the heart monitor. There seemed to be no type of breathing apparatus to help this man as he floated in his tank, yet he seemed at peace. His toned chest hardly seemed to be moving.
Was he dead?
He had to be.
The wires attached to his chest spoke otherwise, for the monitor began to quicken its pace as I stared at this wonder. A smirk grew on his face as the water around him started to bubble, the beeping of the monitor becoming more feverish. I stepped back, watching in awe as the water spilled over the top and the monitor sparked with orange, glowing life before dying out completely. The line flattened and the beeping was silenced. The only sound was that of the water bubbling in the tank as that too, faded out. As quickly as it had begun, silence. His smirk faded and his head lowered in silent defeat.
He had to be dead now.
Saddened by the loss of this strange water-man, I put my hand up on the glass as if to reach out and tell him he wasn’t alone in this strange room.
“It’s okay,” I whispered.
He raised his hand and put it to mine, his smile returning, weak and pained. His eyes, the brightest of blues and full of confusion and betrayal, bore holes into my soul.
Within seconds, the glass shattered and the man was on the floor, laughing hysterically. Wailing sirens began to scream into the air and bounce off the walls as the lights flickered rapidly around us. A large door on the opposite end of the room swung open and slammed against the opposing wall with a loud bang. Four men in knee-length lab coats, each armed with long cattle prods, entered through the doorway. They only took two steps toward us before one of them stopped dead in his tracks, wide-eyed and full of panic.
One of the men in the white coats gripped at his throat, confused as he coughed and gurgled desperately, water spewing from his mouth and nose. He fell to his knees and continued to struggle for air as his friends yelled for all of this to stop. I looked over at the man from the shattered tank. He was standing straight, water dripping from his fingertips. One arm was outstretched, his bright blue eyes narrowed in on the man who was somehow drowning in the middle of this large room. He didn’t flinch; he didn’t blink. He stood completely still until the man fell over, blue-faced and gone.
“I’m not the bad guy. They are.” He spoke calmly as he moved to his next victim and walked up to him as he choked and coughed up water.
The Man In The Tank stared him in the eyes, inches from his face, until the last bit of life left his victim behind.
“You should run.” The Man From The Tank smiled at me as a few more men in white lab coats entered with more large cattle prods.
I didn’t bother asking questions or arguing with the guy who could make men drown on dry land with a flick of his wrist, so I did as I was told and ran for the main door. A few hurried steps and I felt the metal prongs of one the cattle prods jam hard into the back of my neck, releasing strong electrical currents through my spine that sent me to the floor, convulsing.