Shelby opened her eyes, she was on the floor, why am I on the floor? Then she looked up and saw Lisbeth again, he stomach threatened to rebel, fortunately she hadn’t had breakfast yet. Lisbeth was, she was… The agent Sinclair was looking decidedly unsteady as he approached Lisbeth, he hadn’t made a sound. Shane was only still standing thanks to the door supporting him, for once he was not looking happy, he was looking at Lisbeth in horror. Shane was making a sound that Shelby couldn’t quite understand, then she got it, it was a suppressed scream.
Lisbeth opened her eyes.
How does something like this even happen?
Lisbeth’s room didn’t look like someone lived in it, there were sheets on the made bed, there were books on the desk and a blank piece of canvas the size of a door hanging on one of the walls. Nothing to indicate anyone actually lived in this room, well except Lisbeth standing with her back to the wall her feet in a pool of her own blood. Blood splatter covered most of the walls, not very thick but it was there. Well Lisbeth wasn’t really standing, she was sagging against her hands. Lisbeth’s hands were stretched above her head palms crossed facing outward, and nailed in place against the wall with a rusty railroad spike.
Lisbeth’s hands were varying shades of red ranging from the bright red of fresh blood, dark were it was thicker and a rusty-brown where it had dried. Her arms were similar mostly covered in large rusty-brown lines of dried blood causing her pale white skin to stand out among all the reds and browns. The blood wasn’t just isolated to her arms it had been smeared on the walls behind her like some kind of deranged snow angel of blood. Lisbeth’s chin was also similarly covered in dried blood from where she had apparently been able to cough it up, also coming out of her mouth was a plastic tube. Also in her left arm was a needle attached to an I.V. bag filled with clear liquid.
When Lisbeth slowly and painfully looked her throat was exposed. It was a deep purple with yellows and browns further out. It looked like her throat had been hit with extreme force. It probably had been. None of that had been what caused Shelby to fall to the floor, on it’s own it probably would have been enough, but it wasn’t everything. Shelby could see every muscle in Lisbeth’s chest and abdomen. She could see the thicker strands, probably even count them if she so tried. Lisbeth has very little fat clinging to her muscles, it might be that she just didn’t have much fat at all, or the fat could have been still clinging to the piece of skin on the floor.
Lisbeth’s legs we mostly untouched, simply covered in streaks of her own drying blood. She was just barely tall enough for the balls of her feet to rest on the ground. Small footprints could be seen where she had tried to move around back when she still had the strength to move. Now she just hung there limply barely enough strength to lift her head a few moments.
How is she not dead?
Shelby couldn’t remember when she was taken out of the building, but she did remember the EMT putting a blanket over her shoulders and giving her one of those oxygen masks. Her hands were shaking when they tried to take her statement, she wasn’t quite sure what she said. Not that it would help much the scene was fairly self-explanatory, or at least it seemed to be to Shelby. Why haven’t they brought Lisbeth down yet? At some point Shelby saw Shane disappear into the bushes and retching noises could be heard.
The fire department showed up at what seemed to be hours later, or maybe just after the ambulances it was hard to tell. A couple of the firefighters went in and were there for quite some time before Lisbeth was finally brought out on a stretcher. Apparently they didn’t want to put anything on top of her but they also didn’t want anyone to see her condition. So some kind of small tent had been set up over the stretcher allowing only her head to be seen. With her chin still covered in blood and the plastic tube coming out of her mouth it was still a gruesome sight.
People started taking pictures, it seemed like the entire sixth floor was there, along with most of the other floors random students and a couple of reporters. What asshole called the press? One of the reporters tried to talk to her before a cop chased him off. All of the RD’s had shown up and a number of the RA’s they seemed to be assisting the cops with crowd control. One of the RD’s tried to talk to her, she had about as much luck as the cop. For some reason nothing seemed to be real.
Eventually the EMT told her she would be fine and should go to her room to sleep it off. Dave helped her walk back into the dorm and to the elevators. When they got to the sixth floor Shelby couldn’t go any further, she could see the cop standing outside of Lisbeth’s door, she could see the yellow tape to keep people out, she could even see the flashes from a camera. She couldn’t get any closer, Shelby turned around and went back into the elevator. She would eventually fall asleep on the sofa in the RA’s lounge, not that she remembered getting there or laying down. She expected to see Lisbeth’s desecrated body in her dreams.
Shelby opened her eyes to a field of wildflowers on top of a mountain surrounded by clouds. Lisbeth was leaning over her holding out a cup of brown liquid, she looked fine but very sad. Shelby took the cup and drank from it, the cup contained hot chocolate not that crappy instant stuff either, the strong dark stuff, it even had marshmallows. Lisbeth sat down beside her
“I’m sorry you had to see me like that.”
Lisbeth might have looked sad but something about her voice was heartbreaking, Shelby had seen it before Lisbeth was on the verge of tears.
“Why didn’t you call for help?”
“Crushed my throat so I couldn’t scream, drugs to keep me awake. With those rooms there is no real need to be all that quiet.”
“Who was that agent that was looking for you.”
“My contingency, I needed someone to find me quickly.”
“You knew someone was going to attack you?”
“I broke confidentiality and the client retaliated, cause and effect all things considered.”
“Are you going to be OK?”
“They took me into surgery a little while ago, I should be fine.”
Lisbeth sounded so resigned to what had happened and so certain about her fate that it made Shelby want to cry. It took her a minute of silence to realize that she was crying silently, but increasingly less so. Lisbeth wasn’t doing much better, she wasn’t crying but the clouds had gone dark and it had started to drizzle. The droplets that landed on Lisbeth’s strained face certainly looked like tears.
“If you don’t want dreams for a while I can arrange that.”
“What about you?”
“I can’t dream, never have been able to.”
“Will you be OK if I go into a dreamless sleep?”
“No, not for some time I think.”
“Could I stay with you?”