The Swerve

I could see the car clearly, glistening a neon blue as it raced toward me. I looked up, tears rolling down my face silently. Why was I crying? I don’t know. I watched as the car got closer, lowering my head. I didn’t try to move, or scream, or anything. I just closed my eyes and squeezed my hands into fists. “I deserve it,” I muttered, sobbing. Why did I deserve it? What did I do? I can’t remember. Suddenly, I saw it out of the corner of my eyes. It reached a hand out, and I gasped, my body breaking into a cold sweat. I had the sudden urge to run, and as my brain finally realized that I was about to get hit by a car, I screamed.

My eyes flutter open and I sit up, gasping. My nurse, Katara, looks at me sympathetically. Her black hair is pulled back into a tight bun, and her lips are smothered in blood-red lipstick. “Same one?” She asks, tilting her head to the side. I nod, fidgeting with the white blanket on my bed.

I’m in the hospital, the only place I can recall actually living in. Ever since the car crash three and a half weeks ago, I haven’t been able to remember anything about my life. All I can remember is waking up in the ICU and that weird nightmarish dream. “Why was I crying?” I ask myself for the millionth time. “I must have done something bad if I thought I deserved to die… But what could it be? I have to remember at least something… The doctors say my brain wasn’t damaged! You don’t just suddenly forget your whole life!” I sigh, laying back down. “Do you want me to leave you alone?” Katara asks, and I nod again. She gathers the medical equipment and leaves.

Left alone with my thoughts, my mind races. I stare at the ceiling, realizing how clean it is. “Not many people bother to clean their ceiling”, I realize. “I wonder who does it here? That sounds like a horrible job.” I swallow. “Did I have a job? What job did I want? I really can’t remember… what kind of person am I, really? Someone melancholy, or someone bold and opinionated? Was I girly or a tomboy? Did I have many friends? What were my grades like?” I shake my head slightly. “I’m fifteen years old, and I don’t know who I am or what my life was like. That’s pretty pathetic.” I glance over at my straight, brown hair, my small hands. “What do I look like? I haven’t looked in any mirrors yet… What if I’m ugly? And what did I do? Why did I say I deserved it? I want answers!” I clutch my blanket. “But I should really get some sleep.”

    —

“You want to know what you look like?” Katara looks at me in surprise, her lips extra red and a ridiculous amount of blush on her face. “You… don’t know? Ahh… I hadn’t realized…” She looks at the floor with a guilty expression. “Hey, it’s fine”, I say in a tone that I try to make pleasant. “Just bring me a mirror or something? I want to see.” Katara nods, and reaches into her pocket.

When she takes her hand out, she’s clutching a portable mirror with fake jewels. “Why do you carry that around?” I ask. She chuckles slightly. “Why not? I want to make sure I look good.” I raise an eyebrow. “Yeah? In the hospital?” She stares at me, and I stare back. “Anyway”, she says, opening the mirror and bringing it to my face. I gasp. My face is narrow and framed by slick brown hair. My skin is a ghostly color, and my eyes are a light gray, so that they look empty and haunted. My pupils are narrow and small, and for some reason, I look really angry. I look scary. “Oh my god”, I mutter, and then I remember something.

She’s walking beside me, her red curls bouncing up and down. I look at her, and I can’t help but feel her enthusiasm. She’s such a good person. An amazing, kind, smart, happy child. Someone who has friends and a family. My best friend.

But I’m not like her.

She laughs happily, and something inside me snaps. For a second I feel a weird mix of intense happiness and anger, but the happiness dies quickly. I clench my hands into fists. “Is something wrong?” She asks, that innocent smile on her face. “No, I’m fine!” I snap at her. She draws back with a concerned expression. “What’s wrong, Neveah? You can tell me. I want to help!” I stare at her, at her beautiful blue eyes. “How can she act like that? Her life is perfect! Everything is better for her than for me! She wouldn’t understand anyway, so why does she lie and say she actually cares?” My face contorts with anger and grief. “You don’t understand! You always had everything perfect! But I’m not like you! I don’t understand how you can be so selfish! I don’t understand why you got a good life and I didn’t! You don’t even deserve to have this life. What did I do wrong? Why can’t I be like you? I deserve more than you! You’re just a selfish brat!” I scream and push her as hard as I can. I watch her face, amazement and sadness and fear and… delight?

“Neveah. Neveah! Are you okay? Hello?” Katara is shaking my shoulder. I blink, my vision blurry. “Woah… what…?” I mumble. Katara shakes her head. “I don’t know. You were mumbling something weird. Are you okay? Do you need a doctor?” I shake my head. “I’m fine, but… woah… can you please leave?” Katara studies me, clearly concerned, but leaves my room. I lean against the back of the hospital bed, my head whirling. “Was that… a memory?” I wonder. “But… why was I such a brat? Why did I scream at that girl like that? What was that… feeling?” I frown, slightly panicked. “Is that the kind of person I am? But… no… that’s wrong! I want to be a nice person! I want to make the world a better place, and I think that bullies and murderers are wrong and should die! But… oh, no.” My body trembles slightly. “That’s… the current me. But maybe I was different before the car crash… But then… who am I?” My eyes widen. “I have no idea who I am”, I mutter. A twisted smile appears on my face. “Ha… I have no idea who I was…” I chuckle. “Well, this is getting interesting, isn’t it?”

One day, Katara comes into my room with a determined look on her face. “I’m going to tell you more about yourself today”, She states, and I look up from my book. I’m reading some random thing about a boy who is mean to everyone, and then his classmates get revenge on him and he realizes how bad he was. The whole time reading, I chastise the boy for being so mean and cruel. “How could people be like this? Why?” I would ask myself while reading, trying to remember something else from my past.

But now I smile slightly, excited to figure out who I am “That’s nice. Maybe I can remember something!” I say, and Katara looks at me. Her hair is dyed neon blue, and atrocious gray lipstick is splattered across her face in uneven lines. I flinch. “Have you seen yourself?” I ask, and Katara blushes. “I wanted to go for a unique look”, She says, coughing. “But you failed miserably”, I add on, and she smiles. “What would you like to know about first?” She asks, sitting down on my bed. “How come you’re telling me this, instead of a doctor, or my parents, or my friends? And where are my parents and friends?” Katara bites her lip. “Ahh, about that. I’m afraid you don’t have any parents. They died in a car crash when you were ten…” I frown. “Oh. Well, that’s nice-”

I’m crying. Tears are streaming down my face, and I can’t breathe. I’m at a funeral, apparently. Someone comes over and hugs me. It’s her again. “I’m so sorry”, she says, her red curls smelling like lavender shampoo. “Don’t worry. I’m here. My parents will help you.” She’s crying too, and I lean into her, comforted by her presence. “Thanks…” I mutter, not sure if anything will ever be the same again. “I appreciate it.”

“Woah, Neveah!” Katara is staring at me as if I just grew another eye. Something wet splashes against my hand, and I realize I’m crying. “Uhh…” I say, not sure what I had just remembered. “Can we continue this another time?” I ask. “Thanks.” Without waiting, I turn around and lay down. I hear Katara standing up and leaving. “Oh my god”, I mutter. “Oh my god. That girl… The funeral… Oh god.”

I’m looking at myself in a full-length mirror for the first time I can remember. My complexion would be attractive, except I look severely underweight and the cast, sling, and bandages don’t help. Katara is helping me get used to the crutches the hospital has lent me. She says I’ll be able to leave and go home soon. “But where’s home?” I ask, and she sucks in her lips. “Ahh… Well… I was thinking about adopting you, if that’s okay?” I look at her with a perplexed expression. “But… Don’t I have somewhere to go? I mean, I don’t mind being adopted, but don’t I have friends or relatives to live with? Plus, are you even allowed to adopt me? I’m pretty sure you need to fill in some paperwork for that. And you’re my nurse. Is that even legal?” Katara scratches her head. “It was just a suggestion”, she says, sighing. “If I can’t adopt you, you’d have to go to an orphanage, and the ones around here aren’t very good.” I look at her, slightly startled. “If I remember correctly, I lived with my friend before. What happened to that?” I ask. Katara sighs. “Are you sure you want to hear this?” I nod.

“You don’t have any relatives left, and your friends… She died.” My eyes widen. “What? She died? No way! What happened?” “Did someone murder her?” My mind whispers. “No, no, stop. You’re just scaring yourself! That’s really irrational. Why was that the first thing that I thought of?” The more I wonder, the more convinced I am. “It’s true,” my mind mutters. “You remember it. She was killed.” I frown. “But as far as I know, she was such a kind person, and mistreated by me. How could she die? She probably had a lot to offer to the world. This is wrong..!” I push my thoughts away, eager to hear what Katara says. “Well, the police said it was an accident, but it just doesn’t seem right,” Katara continues. I gasp. “She was murdered?!” “My suspicion was correct?” My mind added. “No way! This isn’t right! How could anyone kill such a kind and innocent person? She just wanted to help! This is so wrong. Whoever killed her…” I growl. Katara looks at me with a startled expression. “H-hey! It’s probably not a murder anyway. And…” I scowl. “You look really scary right now”, Katara mutters. I turn around to face the mirror and realize that Katara’s right. My face looks angry and mean, and my hands are balled up into fists. I look ready to actually kill someone.

“Did I… No. That’s not possible. I’m being stupid!” I try to forget the thought immediately. “There’s no way. She was my best friend. Why would I ever harm her?” But the more I think about it, the more scared I get. “Stop!” I tell myself. “Okay, I think that’s enough for now”, I state, and Katara looks relieved. “Let’s practice walking a bit more”, she suggest, and I nod. “Then we can adjust your pain medication and do some blood tests, and then you can leave!”

It’s the dream again. I’m standing on the road, watching the blue neon car. I see it approaching, but something is different. I’m not crying. I’m not scared. I see the black shadow out of the corner of my vision, and for some reason, I decide to turn around. The creature stares back at me. It’s a dark silhouette with shining gray eyes. This time, however, I notice something. The silhouette seems to resemble me. “Hello?” I mutter, and the silhouette walks onto the road. I watch as it comes up to the car and stops it. It stares back at me with red, glowing eyes, and I notice a peculiar detail. In its hand is a big, grey rock. “Huh?” I gasp as the silhouette flickers, and then vanishes completely. “What is this?” I think. “This isn’t the usual nightmare… “

    I wake up with a start. “What just happened?” I say out loud. “What…?” I close my eyes. “Whatever. I guess it’s okay.” I go back to sleep.

    “Today is the day you’re leaving the hospital!” Katara says with a smile. I chuckle. “Yup. How long has it been?” “Five months”, Katara says. I shake my head. “Wow…” We’re in the check-in room, a strangely pretty place with about twenty couches and even more chairs. A desk stands at the end of the room, with a lady I assume is the receptionist standing behind it and typing something on her computer. I’m using my crutches, and Katara is standing next to me, her eyes shining with excitement. “This is great!” She gushes. “You can live with me, and I’ll help you adapt, and we can have a good life together!” I smile, feeling guilty for not sharing her enthusiasm. “I can’t believe you were actually able to adopt me”, I mutter, and Katara looks down at me. Her makeup is smoky black and her hair is in a simple ponytail, a strange contrast from what she usually wears. “Something feels off today”, I realize just as Katara starts speaking. “I’m surprised myself,” she says. “I think the people in charge of the process just felt bad for you. It’s not completely finalized yet, though.” Katara laughs and I nod, not caring much about the details. “Let’s just hope living with Katara is enjoyable”, I add in my head. Suddenly, a woman comes into the room. She walks up to the desk with a worried expression. “How is Amber Levana doing?” She asks. The receptionist frowns. “I’m afraid I’m not able to give away any personal information about our patients.” The woman looks desperate. “Amber is my child! Please let me see her!” The woman takes an ID out of her purse and shows it to the receptionist, who nods. “Okay, I’ll call the doctor over here.” I look at the woman in confusion. Something about her face is familiar. The look of anxiety on it, the way she stands. Something in my head clicks, a thousand trains of thought coming together to form a memory. I…

    My hands make contact with the girl, and she falls, her head hitting a sharp rock. Blood spills onto the floor and she stares up at me, her eyes dull and lifeless, her mouth slightly open. Her hair is tangled and stuck to her face. I open my mouth in a silent scream, and then gag. “Oh no. Oh no, oh no! I killed her! I killed her! I fall onto my knees, crying. After a second, I pull out my phone and call 911. “Please help”, I sob into the phone. “My friend is dying..!” I rock back and forth, my knees pulled to my chest. “Bullying those kids… killing my best friend..! I don’t deserve to live.”

    “Neveah!” Katara shrieks as I fall down. Tears are streaming from my eyes. “I killed her! I killed her! I killed my best friend! I killed Rebecca!” Katara freezes. “What? You what?” “Ikilledmyownbestfriendoutofjealousyohmygod”, I choked out. Katara backed away. “I…” “Report me”, I sobbed. “I need to go to jail. Please. I don’t deserve to have a normal life. I’m a horrible person!” Katara and the receptionist are staring at me. I sigh.

 

“I need to fix this mess.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: