by Brianna G. Harte
As I relaxed, the frantic lights settled into a steady dim illumination.
Odessa smiled at me, a gentle glow brightening her face. “Now, can you please put the lights back on? It’s too dark and I should really find where they put my clothes. This smock is rather uncomfortable.” She paused. “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know how to do that.”
“But you did it before, didn’t you?” Her voice rose as though accusing me. I shrank back, confused, alone.
“I don’t know.” I tried to strain my brain to find the answer, but it didn’t appear. Frustrated, I stomped forward without a sound. This had always been a sour point of being whatever I was, ghost, hallucination, or something in-between. When I wanted to rip apart the research Wallace wrote on hallucinations, and how people claiming to see souls or supernatural beings had something psychologically wrong with them, I couldn’t. My hands always fell through the sheets and computer. I couldn’t even stomp really. How could Odessa expect me to change the lights? I was practically useless.
“It’s okay,” she decided. “I’ll find my way. I think I came from this direction.” She began walking, careful to sidestep so she would avoid going through me. The cloth shoes brushed the floor, combining echoes with grating sounds. I stayed close to her in case the roaring thunder returned or the man lurked behind the corners we turned into. What she could do in case of anything, I had no clue. Protect me? No noises, pounding or howling, rose.
Odessa halted at the fourth or fifth corner, I forget which.
“What?” I whispered, forgetting that no one else could hear me anyway.
With a low, soft voice, she answered, “The nurse. I need to avoid her. By the looks of it, she was planning on sending me to an asylum. I know I’m not crazy, so there is no way I’m paying to be there. Could you check the area, see if she’s there?”
I almost laughed. “You’re scared? You’re an adult!”
“And as far as I can see, you’re a child. Anyone can be scared. Let me clarify, though, that I am not scared. Merely cautious.”
I shrugged before walking through the doors. A chill instantly hit me. The lights were completely off here. No surge of electricity could be found. I couldn’t see. But I could hear. Someone shuffled to my left. The click of heels on the tile floor. The light hiss of an object being dragged against the floor. It may not have been a particularly smart choice, but I turned to it and slowly approached. Searching for the source of the sound proved more challenging than I had imagined. The location seemed to change every few moments. It was like a game of Marco-Polo with the laughter missing.
Copyright © 2015 Brianna G. Harte. All rights reserved.
Part 1: “On the Other Side, 1”
Part 2: “On the Other Side, 2”
Part 3: “On the Other Side, 3”
Part 4: “On the Other Side, 4”
Part 5: “On the Other Side, 5”
Part 6: “On the Other Side, 6”