Remember, these are no where near final drafts... this is just the first business that will be rewritten many times before they can be considered even a rough draft.
The therapy gymnasium was one of the worst places in the hospital that Cassandra could think of. Every second being in the large room was a reminder of how much she wished she could do anything on her own. Her existence was an embarrassment to herself. There wasn’t one thing that she could do on her own. She had to be fed, walked, dressed and the most embarrassing… she needed to be changed and cleaned. There was nothing worse than a good looking male nurse having to change your diaper and clean your bottom like some oversized baby.
“Squeeze the ball.” A jaded looking young woman in a short lab coat requested. She was one of Cassandra’s many therapists. This young woman’s sole job was to get the upper body back into shape and in full use again. The job sounded simple enough for the most part. Too bad Cassandra hadn’t been able to be able to make much use of her limbs since she had started these therapy sessions. Instead of ball squeezing Cassandra would have sessions of concentrating on doing the action, but with no results except sweat stinging her eyes. “Cassandra—“
“I can’t” Cassandra cut her off bluntly.
“Of course you can, you could do it before right?” The young therapist tilted her head and when she thought Cassandra wasn’t looking, she rolled her eyes and sighed almost too gently to hear.
“Of course I could. I remember running as a child. I remember playing the piano!” Her grandfather had managed to keep a piano in full working order over the years, and even allowed her to play it on special occasions. A full grand piano was rare. Every year local museums would beg him to allow them to showcase it in their culture showcases, but he would never let something so precocious out of his hands.
“Then, we just need to find the proper connection to make them work again.”
“We’ve been doing this for weeks… its useless…” tensed with her outburst, Cassandra looked away from the woman, wishing that she would just give up on her.
Frowning, the therapist sat up in her seat crossing her arms over her chest. The lady had turned from bored and working into an angry school teacher in seconds, “I have done this too many times to count, you need to keep doing this to regain your strength to—“
“I can’t!” Cassandra cut in again.
“Yes, you can!” The therapist disagreed trying to keep as calm as possible, but still raising her voice to match Cassandra.
Across the room Cody and his therapist paused in their walking exercises. Unlike Cassandra, Cody was almost on his feet within days of leaving the Ready Chamber. Doctors called him a prodigy and excitedly patted him on the back. Then, those same doctors would see her and whisper to each other. They would shake their heads and write on the clipboards from a distance. They might as well have been openly admonishing her, because it hurt all the same. She was a let down.
Her only comfort was that she didn’t end up like Christopher. Nothing could get her to forget the blood curdling screams he belted out when they opened his Ready Chamber. Cassandra didn’t know what exactly happened to him, but when he turned his head toward her she swore he said, ‘please, let me die.’ over and over again, until his vitals bottomed out on him.
“No, I can’t.” Without noticing Cassandra leaned forward to get closer to the therapist, “So, you can take your ball and shove it up your ass!” With the ball firmly griped in her hand, Cassandra threw it as hard as she could at the woman’s face. The sound of the collision was a loud slap that echoed off the slate wall nearby. The hit to the face frightened the therapist backwards, falling out of her chair and crashing to the floor.
Cassandra’s eyes widened seeing herself move with such agility and … and… hell, moving at all! Her arm was still out in front of herself. She was holding it up. Then, she noticed that she was also leaning forward in her wheelchair as well. Her mouth dropped open, but she didn’t know what to say.
“Well, the notes were right about you and your anger…” The therapist said rising from the floor. She gently touched her left eye, which was starting to become puffy. Soon, that eye would become discolored and look rather nasty.
“Oh my god, I’m so sorry!” Cassandra said, covering her mouth with both of her hands. “I didn’t mean to…”
The therapist nodded and smiled, “Looks like we made some connections today.”
Cassandra put her hands out in front of herself and moved them slowly. She flexed her fingers and rotated her wrists. The awe of her body working properly overwhelmed her and it caused her to tear up.
Then, she looked up at the woman in front of her and smiled. Quickly, Cassandra gripped the arms of her wheelchair and started to push herself up. The therapist quickly came to her side, “I’m not so sure that is a good idea…”
“I need to try…” Cassandra said as she pushed up, and promptly fell forward almost to the floor. The therapist’s grip was tight and her strength held true and kept Cassandra from falling.
“Cassy’s not totally broken after all!” Cody was working on his leg muscles on the other side of the room with another male therapist. “Good work, I’ll let you use my cane when you finally get your legs working. I won’t need it too much longer.”
His snarky remarks burned at Cassandra and made the left side of her face twitch, wanting to snarl, and she hated it when he called her Cassy. As her therapist got her back into the wheelchair, she gripped the armrests so tightly that the metal creaked under the pressure… and then something popped and the right armrest slipped.
“Cassandra, ignore him.” The therapist urged, stepping in between them. “How about I wheel you back to your room and we’ll inform Dr. Isaac about your progress?”
“Sure.” Was all Cassandra could muster without exploding.
The night was cold and empty, but at least it wasn’t the darkness that Cassandra remembered. There were shadows and moved slightly and small lights that lit small areas around them. The clock in the corner of the room hummed with electricity, and other monitoring devices around her had their subtle noises that kept her company.
Then, a larger than normal shadow crossed her half open door. It had to be the shadow of a person, but the only people that walked these halls at night were the male nurses, and they didn’t skulk around in the dark, plus they kept one of those guards close to them at all times.
Cassandra’s interest was peeked. Things around this place followed very strict schedules, and no one would dare to go against them. To the side of her bed was Cody’s cane that the jerk gave to her earlier to celebrate his advancement in therapy.
Quickly, she grabbed it and tried to pull her wheelchair close to the bed. The crooked end of the cane caught the arm of the chair, and Cassandra started pulling it toward her. The wheelchair was collapsed together, and didn’t move well. The cane managed to turn the chair slightly, but it didn’t come any closer to the bed.
With a sigh, Cassandra squeezed her eyes shut and yanked the cane back to her. The jolt sent the wheelchair to the floor in a clatter of metal. The sound broke the silence and she sat still waiting for anything to happen or from a guard to come running, but nothing responded.
Cassandra pulled herself to the edge of the bed and threw her legs over the side. Sitting up she concentrated on her toes, and they wiggled. She concentrated on her ankles, and they turned. Her knees swiveled… then, like her therapist suggested, she moved them all at once. She would have to walk if she were to find out who was running around in the dark.
Clutching the cane tightly, Cassandra pushed herself forward off the bed. Using the cane to keep herself from collapsing, she stood swaying for a few seconds. A small smile broke across her face. First stand… be comfortable… then take slow steps… she told herself and she shuffled forward.
Slowly, she made her way to the half open door. It was heavy and solid. The hinges were tough though, and didn’t make opening it the rest of the way easy in the least. It did open though, and Cassandra peered into the dark hallway.
Far down a shadow raced past an emergency light. There was no way to walk after that person. Cassandra bit her lip, and then looked back into the room. She would have to get into a wheelchair to keep up, but getting hers off the floor wasn’t conceivable. Luckily, across the hall a lone wheelchair sat open for anyone to sit in.
Hobbling as fast as she could, Cassandra raced to the wheelchair and plopped herself into the plastic seat. Quickly, she unlatched the breaks, crammed the cane into a crevasse, and started wheeling down the hallway.
Since being able to use her arms, Cassandra was surprised to find such strength within her. It was stunning that she felt as fit as an athlete even though her memory told her that people who wake from commas need tons of exercise to return to their normal state.
Plowing down the dark hallway as quickly as she could, but remaining as safe as she could, Cassandra eventually came to a lit room. The door was ajar and a soft light spilled out into the hallway. It was silent, but she still approached slowly.
The door’s plate read ‘Break Room’. Through the opening Cassandra could see a table, some chairs and a kitchen area. There wasn’t any sound of people inside. With a shrug, she let herself in.
Off to the side she couldn’t see were a few couches and some lockers. That stuff didn’t matter to her; she was more interested in the kitchen. There was a gloriously large refrigerator that gleamed with anticipation. This could mean the first scraps of real food since waking up in her Ready Chamber.
The door to the fridge pulled open easily, as the magnetic sealing strip was pulled away from the edges. Inside were numerous bags, small duffels, cans, and condiments. In fact, it was rather disgusting inside. Cassandra opened bags and searched for fruit, sandwiches, or anything edible. The first thing she found was an orange, which she quickly tore open and sucked on.
The juices were succulent and woke taste buds in her mouth that had been given only hospital food for the past month. She closed her eyes and leaned back into her chair as she slowly devoured the fruit.
“Cassy?” a voice chuckled behind her.
Frightened, Cassandra quickly turned her chair around to face the voice. It was Cody standing indignantly in the door. “Honestly, you put all the effort to get out of your room… for some fruit?”
A shiver raced down from the base of Cassandra’s neck through her arms. For the first time, she was glad she was facing Cody. “I actually was chasing you!”
“In a refrigerator?”
“No! You were sneaking around in the dark.”
Cody nodded smiling, “Yep. I’ve been doing that for awhile now.”
Cassandra grabbed the cane and got out of the chair. She wasn’t going to sit in front of Cody if she didn’t have to. He would see that she could use her legs too. Slowly she walked up to Cody, who just smiled with that almost sinister smile.
“Glad to see you’re making good use of my cane.” Cody grinned as he leaned against the doorframe.
“Why are you running around in the night?” Cassandra asked as she tried to stand tall in front of Cody, even if he stood about seven inches taller than her.
“If I told you what I knew about this place… you wouldn’t believe me.”
Cassandra took a step closer, “Try me.”
Cody shrugged and huffed a short laugh, “Okay Cassy, I’ll tell you one thing… but just one.”
“I saw Christopher today.” Cody whispered.
Confused, Cassandra looked around to see why he was whispering, but saw nothing. “In the morgue?”
Cody shook his head, “No… he was doing cognitive tests in a padded room.”
“but here is the weird part…” as if that wasn’t unbelievable as it was. “Whatever they were doing wasn’t making him happy… and he started breaking stuff…” Cody hesitated, and Cassandra saw something she thought she may have never seen in his face before… a hint of fear, “Everything in fact… even the doctor.”
“He broke… the doctor?” Cassandra repeated not believing that part.
“He tore the man’s limbs off.” Cody was visibly still in disbelief, “Then I heard technicians yelling about Christopher’s limiters…. They had some device that they used on him that apparently stripped him of his strength.”
Cassandra normally would consider this all rubbish, but Cody was obviously convinced of what he saw. “So… they have a device…”
“I’m going to find it.” Cody said regaining his usual confidence.
“To release Christopher on the technicians?”
“No… I’m going to use it on me.”
“How do you know it’ll work on you?”
Cody leaned in to Cassandra and put his hand on her shoulder, “After they subdued Christopher one of the technicians said that it’s a godsend that the limiters are working on the other patients so far…”
Three small lights scanned the hallway behind Cody. A voice called out, “Sam, you better not be sleeping on the couch again!”
“Shit.” Cody cussed under his breath. “Well, at least they aren’t looking for us.” He looked at Cassandra, then at her wheelchair. “We have to hurry.” Cassandra tried to say something, but Cody shoved her backwards into her wheelchair and spun her around and out the door, away from the lights.
Normally, this would have been one of the worst situations that Cassandra could think of, being pushed in her wheelchair by Cody, but at the moment it was a necessary evil. He wheeled her around a corned and out of the sight of the approaching nurses and back in the direction of her room. “If that device works, I’m going to break out of this hell hole.”