My Soul to Lose Page 6

Paul stepped past me, and I followed him to the last door on the left, which he pushed open for me.

I shoved my hands into my pockets to hide how badly they were shaking, then made myself cross the threshold.

Another white room, not much bigger than the first one. The bed was a mattress set in a heavy wooden frame, too narrow and too low. Draped with a plain white blanket. Empty, open shelves were bolted to the wall in place of a dresser, and there was one long, high window. No closet.

My stringless shoes lay at the end of the bed. They were the only things I recognized in the entire room. Everything else was foreign. Cold. Scary.

“So…I’ve been committed?” My voice shook. I couldn’t help it.

“You’ve been hospitalized,” Paul said from the doorway.

“What’s the difference?” I stood at the end of the bed, unwilling to sit. To get comfortable.

“This is temporary.”

“How temporary?”

“That’s up to you and your doctor.” He gave me a sympathetic smile, then backed into the hall. “One of the nurses will be by in a minute to get you settled in. Hang in there, Kaylee.”

I could only nod. A second later, Paul was gone. I was alone. Again.

From outside the room came the steady rattle-clank of a cart being pushed down the hall. Shoes squeaked on the floor. And somewhere nearby, someone cried in great, dramatic sobs. I stared at my feet, unwilling to touch anything for fear that it would make the whole thing sink in. Make it real.

Am I crazy?

I was still standing there like an idiot when the door opened, and a woman in pale pink scrubs came in carrying a clipboard and pen. Her name tag read: Nancy Briggs, R.N.

“Hi, Kaylee, how are you feeling?” Her smile was wide and friendly, but felt somehow…measured. As if she knew just how much to give. How to appear friendly without welcoming actual conversation.

I missed Paul already.

“Confused and homesick.” I gripped the edge of the shelf with one hand, willing it to dissolve beneath my touch. To fade into the bad dream I’d surely wake up from any minute.

“Well, let’s see if we can’t fix at least the first part of that.” The nurse’s smile grew bigger, but no warmer. “There’s a phone in the hall. Someone’s on it right now, but when it’s free, you’re welcome to use it. Local numbers, legal guardians only. Tell someone at the front desk who you want to call, and we’ll connect you.”

Numb, I could only blink. This wasn’t a hospital, it was a prison.

I patted my pocket, feeling for my phone. It was gone. Fresh panic exploded in my chest and I shoved my hand into my other pocket. Aunt Val’s credit card was gone. She’d kill me if I lost it! “Where’s my stuff?” I demanded, trying to stop the tears that blurred my vision. “Ihad a phone, and some lip gloss, and a twenty-dollar bill. And my aunt’s credit card.”

Nurse Nancy’s smile thawed a bit then, either because of my tears or the fear they no doubt magnified. “We keep all personal items locked up until you’re discharged. Everything’s there except the credit card. Your aunt took it when she left last night.”

“Aunt Val was here?” I used my bare hands to wipe my eyes, but they filled again instantly. If she was here, why didn’t she take me home?

“She rode in the ambulance with you.”

Ambulance. Discharged. Locked up. Those words played over and over in my head, a litany of fear and confusion. “What time is it?”

“Eleven-thirty. They’ll bring lunch in about half an hour. You can eat in the common area, down the hall and to the left. Breakfast is at seven. Dinner’s at six.” She reached to her left with the hand holding her pen and pushed open a door I hadn’t noticed, revealing a tall, white industrial toilet and a shower stall. “You can shower whenever you like. Just come to the nurse’s station first for your hygiene kit.”

“Hygiene kit?” My eyes went wide as my insides went numb. This isn’t real. It can’t be.

“We hand out soap and shampoo as needed. If you want to shave, you’ll have to be monitored by a staff member.” I blinked, uncomprehending, but she continued. “There’s a group session about anger management at nine, one about coping with depression at eleven, and one at two this afternoon about symptoms of mental illness. That’s a good one to start with.”

She smiled patiently, like she expected to be thanked for passing out information, but I just stared at the empty shelf. Her entire briefing was irrelevant to me. I’d be out very soon, surely, and the only group I was interested in was the group of my own family members who could make that happen.

“The boys’ rooms are in the opposite wing, on the other side of the common area. Girls are not allowed on that wing, and vice versa. Visitation is every night from seven to nine. Lights out at ten-thirty. Someone will check on you every fifteen minutes when you’re out of sight of the nurses’ station.” She paused again, and I made myself look up to meet her detached gaze. “Do you have any more questions?”

My eyes watered again, and I didn’t bother to wipe them. “Why am I here?”

“That’s a question for your doctor.” She glanced briefly at her clipboard. “Dr. Nelson. He makes rounds after lunch, Monday through Friday. So you’ll see him tomorrow.” She hesitated, and this time set the clipboard on the shelf bolted to the cinder-block wall. “How’s your neck? You didn’t need stitches, but they did clean out the wounds…”

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies