I was sitting up, holding my head in my hands. I was in so much pain. The nurse said I'd passed out at school and been sent here. She literally said that. Not that I was sent to a hospital. I was sent here.
The lights blinded me and I noticed a doctor walk through the door. I don't know how I knew he was a doctor. I guess only from the white coat he wore. He had no equipment and carried no clipboard, but I knew he had to be a doctor. I hoped he had some painkillers for my head. I hoped he'd come over to me. But instead, he merely led the boy from Bed 1 out of the room.
It was only about three hours later, I realised something. I'd been sleeping for two hours, as advised by the nurse, but the boy still hadn't come back. Bed 1 was empty. I was confused by this, but there was no reason to ask. I felt like death, and the nurse wasn't here, she was instead feeding the boy opposite me like a baby.
Four more hours. It was dark now, around 10pm. It was cold even though the nurse insisted the heating was on. The lights were still blinding. And then the doctor returned. He noticed a girl sitting in Bed 2, looking lightheaded and as pale as snow. I could almost imagine the cold touch of her hand. The doctor made a signal, one that said 'follow me'. The girl rose to her feet beside him, obviously unstable, yet he didn't help her. He left that to the nurses, as the ill girl was taken from the room. After one hour, I felt nervous and tapped the nurse next to me, on her shoulder.
"Excuse me, but where did that boy go?" I asked politely.
"Sorry, patient confidentially," she stated.
She saw my disappointed face and leaned closer towards me.
"Ok, but you can't tell the other nurses."
I nodded as she began.
"The boy in Bed 1, Taylor. He was incredibly ill. He's been here days and not got better. The doctor decided he needed a six-hour long operation. Unfortunately, Taylor died within the fourth hour."
I sighed and looked away.
"What about the girl in Bed 2?"
The nurse sighed, as if trying not to give out too much information, but began again anyway.
"Jessy was admitted yesterday. She's just gone for a checkup."
I nodded to show I'd understood and grabbed my head in pain.
"Are you ok? Would you like some morphine?"
I was about to decline when the headache hit again, and without questioning I nodded my head. I felt the scratch of the needle on the skin of my arm, then immense pain as the needle felt like it had passed through my arm.
I didn't know what the time was. I'd been asleep apparently. The morphine had made me more tired, and this late the nurse didn't seem surprised. I noticed Bed 3 was empty, but had no strength to ask or get the nurse's attention. I felt weak, sleepy even. I recognised the doctor from before standing at the door and talking to a nurse, before approaching Bed 4. Then, like the others, the boy disappeared from the ward and everything seemed cold. I was the only child here. All the nurses were wandering aimlessly. That was until a boy reached the door and was helped into Bed 6.
Four hours. I reached out for the nurse but she either ignored me or didn't notice. I was stronger than before, but still felt pretty weak. I managed to sit up and noticed Bed 1. Still empty, but the boy was dead. Bed 2. Maybe the girl was discharged? What about Bed 3? And 4?
"Nurse!" I managed to call, and the same nurse who spoke to me earlier rushed to my side.
"What happened to beds 3 and 4?"
The nurse sighed.
"Ten minutes, wait ten minutes, ok."
I frowned at the nurse, shaking a little.
"I want to know what happened," I ordered.
"Danielle needed a scan, Phillip needed to be put down. Now don't talk to me until after ten minutes." The nurse walked off in a storm, leaving me confused.
Bed 1. Taylor died on the operating table.
Bed 2. Jessy went for a checkup and never came back.
Bed 3. Danielle went for a scan and still hadn't returned.
Bed 4. Phillip was put to sleep. Wait... it's illegal to put people to sleep.
Then I sat up and realised. Then the doctor began walking to my bed and I wanted to scream.
I tried, but my voice was dead. I was weak. I kicked and flailed but I felt another immense pain in my shoulder and soon fell into a blackout.
Beeping was my company. I forced my eyes open to a woman in a mask. I felt her holding my hand. My other was locked in place by my side, even though there was nothing to hold it there.
There were machines and tools all around which scared me. There was a blinding light positioned to stare right back into my face. The woman's eyes were all I could see, a soft hazel colour, yet they had a green tint.
"You're being so brave," the woman said.
"Where am I?"
"Still here," the woman replied, and I could tell she was smiling beneath her mask.
"We're going to make you better."
"I only had a headache. I'm fine now."
The woman laughed.
"They all say that."
I heard the door to my right open and swing shut.
"That's just the doctor. Don't move your head."
I tried, but it was stuck just like my arm. I felt so confused. I wanted to pull away from her hand holding mine, but my hand was frozen in its position. The nurse kept staring directly at me.
"I don't want this. You don't have permission," I said quickly, my voice shaking.
The woman laughed again.
"It doesn't work like that, sweetheart."
"What are you going to do?" I said quickly.
"First we need to inject another dose of something. You'll feel a sharp scratch, but that's all."
A sharp scratch. Then way too much pain. The feel of liquid on my skin. I managed to pull my frozen hands into fists, there was so much pain, yet no scream.
"You lied," I whispered in pain.
The nurse didn't reply, and suddenly there was the sound of a machine. Something horrible that made my eardrums want to burst.
"What are you doing?" I said.
"Don't worry, sweetheart, just keep still and focus on me."
"No, get off, what are you doing!!"
"I promise you won't feel a thing."
I wanted to scream but something stopped me. The horrible sound matched the agonizing pain to follow. Something was digging deep into my forearm, and every time it moved slightly, agony filled me. I couldn't scream. I couldn't even cry.
"What are you doing? Stop it, it hurts! What are you-"
The pain was too much. I felt a limb detach. I felt liquid and I felt my fingers itching even though they were no longer mine. It hurt. My body ached with the effort to move, which failed no matter how many times I tried.
"Don't worry, part one is nearly over."
I felt the same pain but now just above my knee in my left leg.
"Stop! What kind of hospital is this??"
"This isn't a hospital, silly!" the nurse laughed, and I heard the doctor join in a little.
"Where am I?"
"You're still here."
I tilted my head back but that did nothing to the pain. I still wanted to scream and I wanted them to stop.
I stared up at the light in front of me and finally my voice released a petrified scream.
"You're not here anymore," a whisper said.
Then it hit me. Bed 1, Taylor died on the operating table. Bed 2, Jessy didn't get her checkup. Bed 3, Danielle never got a scan. Bed 4, Phillip was put to sleep alright. I was in Bed 5.
Bed 6. The poor boy in Bed 6, not much older than maybe eight. He was going to die. Die in a hospital where people are meant to be helped. Saved from the one thing they were giving us.
But then again, this wasn't a hospital. Although it may look like one, it really isn't. I didn't see the signs quick enough. Especially the most obvious one.
The 'doctor' wasn't wearing a white coat. He was wearing a lab coat.
Lilly stared up from Bed 1 and to the dark ceiling.
A smiling nurse looked over. Lilly frowned at her happy mood, but continued nevertheless.
"What happened to the other people?"
"I'm sorry, patient confidentiality."
"Please," Lilly said.
The woman sighed, and leaned in with a secretive smirk.
"Fine but don't tell the other nurses."
Lilly nodded quickly before leaning in towards her.
"The boy in Bed 1 before you sadly died in an operation. The girl after that went for a checkup. Danielle in Bed 3 got a scan. Phillip had to be put down. Hannah was moved to a different ward."
Lilly looked across the room as the doctor called over the boy in Bed 6.
"Where's he going then?"
The nurse was half frowning, half smiling.
"Just wait ten minutes, sweetheart."