Monday September 21, 2015
“Hey, Jess,” someone whispered through the darkness. A heavy metal door closed and the person kicked off their shoes in the corner. I could tell that it was a woman from the slender yet curvy silhouette walking towards me slowly. “How are you feeling today?” she asked, her voice was deep and soft. I quickly glanced around the room, it was unfamiliar to me. “Where am I? Who are you?” I questioned with a nervous shakiness. The woman strode across the floor, which creaked with each step. She turned the knob on top of a hot pink desk lamp and my eyes adjusted to observe my surroundings. Posters on the walls of T.V. show characters and classic horror and thriller movies seemed familiar.
The girl turned to face me, “I’m Nikki, your best friend. Right now, we are in my room. We were released from Maine Med this morning.”
“Wait,” I said suddenly, “why were we at Maine Med and why don’t I remember it?” Fear was audible in my voice. What the hell is going on here?!
I examined the girl who claimed to be my friend. As I sat there staring at her, I could recognize her for the most part, but there were a few prominent differences in her appearance. Firstly, there was a streak of pure white hair starting from the root at her part that divided the cascade of caramel colored waves atop her head. Also, from what I think I remember, Nikki was exceptionally tan, even in the middle of the dark New England winters. However, her skin was pale white, whiter than I had ever been in my life. And her milk chocolate eyes were now dull gray orbs. It seemed Nikki was still trying to find the words to tell me what happened, if she even knew it herself.
“What happened to you?” I blurted out, startling her a bit. With an exhausted sigh, she told me, “The doctors said we were suffering from psychosomatic shock after a traumatic event. That’s the only real diagnosis they could give us. You were also in a catatonic state, and no one was really sure if you’d ever come out of it. I knew you would come back because you’re a fighter.” Still confused, I shot a puzzled look at my friend.
“What was the traumatic event that got us sent to the hospital? Do you remember?”
Nikki turned around and leaned over the dormitory style bed across from me. “The nurse in the ICU told me that the EMTs were called to pick us up at a small gas station in center Sebago. I was dragging you along, and I was in hysterics. I had to be restrained and sedated. They said you quietly followed them into the ambulance and sat silently staring off into space the whole way to Portland. Thankfully, they found your nursing student badge for Maine Med when checking out your backpack. If they hadn’t, we would have been sent to Bridgeton Hospital instead.”
I suddenly felt extremely dizzy and I laid down on the bed where I had been sitting. I covered my face and rubbed my eyes. There were too many thoughts cluttering my mind, it made me want to scream. The cold hand of my best friend landing softly on my leg made me jump. It snapped me out of my chaotic whirlpool of thoughts. “Jessie,” she whispered as she slid her hand up to wrap around my back, “when they found us, our clothes were caked in blood.”
I bolted upwards and stared at her dumbfounded as I pushed her off of me. “They were WHAT?!” I almost screamed in terror. “How the- how the hell did we get covered in blood?! Was it ours?! Did we,” I paused as I came to a sudden realization. “Did we kill someone?!” I shrieked and then began to bawl even though I hadn’t gotten an answer. “Jessie, Jessie!” she began to shout as she grabbed hold of my shoulders. Her grip was much stronger than it used to be. “Stop it! Would you let me finish explaining what the nurse told me? Okay?” After taking a few rough, wet breaths, I agreed, “Okay.”
“The nurse told me that Friday, after we were picked up, local police found our cars parked in the main lot at Douglas Mountain that night. I think we were there for a quick hike after I had finished with classes for the day. At least that’s what I kind of remember. They also found another car in the other lot up the hill. At first light on Saturday morning, a search and rescue team was sent out to find us and the other missing hikers. When they got the report that we had been picked up in town, they focused their search on the others.”
She took a moment to remember the next part of the story. “They found the other pair of hikers by an abandoned mountain shack foundation towards the base of one of the trails. Their skulls had been smashed open by some kind of animal. The M.E. determined that we were covered in their blood because we tried to resuscitate them. They had postmortem bruising and a few broken ribs that were consistent with proper chest compressions. All we did was try to save their lives. Jess, we did nothing wrong.” Nikki sat on the bed next to me and wrapped her arms around me. I allowed a small sigh of relief to escape my lips as I slumped over.
“Nikki, why do I feel like we did something to hurt those people?”