It was the bright light again. There were odd, hazy memories of a bright light that Jessica could locate in her mind. But like before, there was blackness around them.
Was it a memory or was she just creating a memory from what she was seeing now?
She thought she could hear something, but the sounds were coming down a long tunnel to reach her. They were muffled and echoed, bouncing down the corridor of her mind. It took her moment to decipher them, but they were voices and the sounds of shuffling. Someone was talking and moving around.
Jessica tried to turn her head to see what was happening, but the light was suddenly blacked out. Someone was leaning over her. It was an older man with hair the color of polished silver.
The man was holding a syringe and studying her carefully, “Now don’t worry Jessica, you won’t feel a thing here,” he said through a surgical mask.
The syringe disappeared from her sight and momentarily he pulled it back full of coagulated blood, “There we go, not even a pinch.”
Jessica wanted to say something, to ask him what he was doing. Who was he?
Trying to push the words out, she managed a groan. No other sound, no enunciation, no words. She couldn’t communicate. Where had her voice gone?
As if he could tell what she was thinking, the man smiled through his mask, “You don’t breathe anymore Jessica. You have to breathe to talk.”
He lifted a gleaming scalpel and his hand disappeared from view, “Don’t worry, this will all be over soon.”
Lifting a piece of cut muscle, the man disappeared from her view. Jessica tried to lift her head and see what he was doing, but she couldn’t move. It was as if there was a hand holding her down. Moving her eyes to the side, she managed to see a strap.
“Sorry about that,” the man with the mask said, reappearing in her vision. “Your lucid periods are growing shorter so we had to strap you down.”
He lowered the scalpel again while still talking, “The viruses in your nerves are letting the cerebral cortex go. You’re becoming more animalistic,” the man chuckled, “you’re a biter now.”
“GET AWAY FROM MY GIRLFRIEND!” Jessica heard a new voice say.
The voice echoed in her head. She had heard it before. It was an important voice, very important. Rabbit! She remembered Rabbit! A floodgate of memories opened and they spilled into her mind like a tidal wave. Her parents, her brother and sister, her boyfriend, school, all of it was coming back.
Had she just remembered something? Her mind was empty, but something told her that it wasn’t really gone. Where was she?
Jessica could see the man with the mask look up and his eyes grew wide, “Now just calm down sir,” he said, raising his hands.
“I SAID GET AWAY!!” Rabbit’s voice bellowed.
“Listen,” the man with the mask said while backing away, “She’s extremely dangerous. You can’t take her out of here, she’s the source of the infection.”
Jessica was sitting up on a metal table and looking at her legs. Her blue jeans were ruined. They were covered with dried blood. How did they get covered in blood? And her sweater … it was torn and bloody too.
Looking up, she wanted to smile. Harry “Rabbit” Updike was touching her face and saying something.
“It’s me Jessie,” Rabbit said, “I’m getting you out of here. Are you okay?”
Was she smiling? She couldn’t tell. Jessica couldn’t feel her face. She could only tell he was touching her because she could see him. She wanted to tell him something, anything, but her mind was blank.
Trying to concentrate, she focused on breathing in so she could speak, but she couldn’t feel her chest. If she could cry she would, but nothing would come out. Dropping her head, she could see that Rabbit had a pistol in his hand. That was how he made the man in the mask leave.
A long groan escaped her lips.
Rabbit though, was perfect. He smiled widely and nodded.
“Don’t worry,” he helped her stand up, “I’m taking you out of here. We’ll get you help.”
A voice responded, “You can’t young man. She’s dead.”
“No she isn’t!” Rabbit yelled.
But Jessica knew the voice was right. She was dead.