Except when she opened her eyes, there the damn thing was, hovering just in front of her nose… staring?
“Holy Hell…” she muttered breathing out.
The glowing visitor continued to hover.
She moved her head to the left, it floated left. She moved her head to the right, it floated right. Cross eyed she looked at the glow and decided if she was going to be nuts, she should probably go all in at this point.
“What exactly, do you want? I see, quite clearly that you want something. I doubt highly that I, as a non glowing… creatures have anything of value to you. I do not want to relinquish my soul, I do not want affirmation of a higher power, it is doubtful that I can help… you (?) achieve a cosmic goal. I am a teacher, a blind teacher at that. What would you have me do? Leave the Shire to destroy a ring? I’m not about to go through a looking-glass. I’m not interested in discovering if my wardrobe extends out the back into a land of goat people. You’ve got the wrong girl. I never got my letter, so unless you are interested in upping your reading score or learning Braille, I just don’t see what you need from me!” She told the glowing ball in great frustration. It continued to hover in front of her face. Slowly it, floated up as if to stand about five in a half… no six feet into the air. She rolled off the back of her chair. Using most of her strength, after all it had been a long day, she lifted her chair up and back onto four legs. Looking around she saw a bright red blob on her white carpet, her robe. Picking it up, she put it on and stood once again facing the glowing orange globe.
Knock knock. Her front door sounded and she heard Mr. Thane her downstairs neighbor holler in, “You alright there girlie? Do I need to call someone? I heard a crash, and I know you probably just tripped but…. it was loud.”
She rushed to the door, and called through, “I’m fine! Just tripped over one of my chairs, you know,I can be so clumsy!”
“Are you sure? I don’t mind calling anyone, Gladys would have my hide if you were hurt, bless your heart.”
“No worries Mr. Thane, I will live. Tell your wife thank you!” She put her ear to the door and hear him sigh and shuffle off towards the elevator. She let out a sigh of her own. Turning around, she hoped her hallucination was gone. Nope. There, the glowing orange orb hung over her bed.
“Oh boy, you must be a man. Look I’m not ready to get into bed and certainly not with you… So if you’re looking for some sort of host parasitic or symbiotic, you better back off! I’m talking to a light. A light that isn’t there.”
Eyeing the globe warily, she counted her steps to her counter, then to the table, past her musical keyboard, into her bedroom to her desk. Searching for her on switch she utilized VoiceOver and slowly and clearly told her computer to google hallucinations and traumatic events (she felt she really wasn’t traumatized, but then again she was the one seeing things.), hallucinations and head injuries (though she didn’t notice any bumps or lumps in the shower), and finally, a good old-fashioned psychotic break. unsatisfied with the results, she shut down her computer.
Going to her nightstand, she had Siri call her school’s automated call out system and scheduled a day off.
Turning around, the orange ball of light seemed to be gone, but maybe she needed to go ahead and sleep. Tomorrow would be better.
She woke up stiff and aching, not quite sure why, as the events of yesterday slowly cleared those morning cobwebs away. She began to remember the sounds and feelings of the pavement that bit into her skin and being patched up by the paramedic. Cobwebs still hung in her mind as she gingerly sat up in bed. Making sure she felt up to it, she swung her legs out to the side of the bed and came face to face with the detail her mind so graciously left out.
There, I front of her face hovered that orange glowing ball.
In complete exasperation and a little fear she jumped up and didn’t even bother to count her way to the bathroom. The huge winged back chair was electric blue, bathroom was a pit of darkness; nothing too hard to find. Smacking the switch to engage the lights she slammed the door, went to the bathroom, did her morning facial routine and applied gloss to her lips. During this period there was no orange ball. Flinging the door open she sailed across her bedroom to the closet, doors also painted electric blue, and shoved those open. Looking through her closet for her favorite sweater, a bright red one her mother said complemented her skin tone, she went down to the bottom shelf and snagged the topmost pair of jeans and threw a pair of black shoes at her bed.
Almost intrigued, the orange globe seemed to dance around at her activity. Grabbing undergarments she turned and faced the sphere and said forcefully, “Out. Now.” It glided into the bathroom and went behind the door.
She dressed like a woman possessed, perhaps because she was, and made her way to the living area/ kitchen again without counting but passing by her red living room set and ignoring the rumble of her stomach, she scowled at her red appliances. Making her way to the door, she snatched her cane and yelled out into the apartment, “Are you coming?”
The orange globe zoomed out of the bedroom and zagged around her as she opened the door. “Chill out… thing…!”
She turned towards the elevator, and sped down the hallway. Out into the streets she turned to her usual bus stop, the globe hovering beside her as she weaved in and out of the mass of people filling the sidewalk. Large red canopy on the right, cross the street, in the distance she smelled breakfast coming from the Mexican restaurant by her stop. Pass the blue travel agency and other little stops, cross the street again. Third block she could smell the cumin and chiles but Joe was not there today and given the time, she was not surprised. Onto the bus, she rode past her usual school stop, exiting when the bus driver let her know that she was at Huntington Regional Hospital.
Getting off she tap, tap, tapped her way into the front doors. Getting to the front desk, she asked the way to the emergency room. Kindly, a staff member led her to that section of the hospital. She was guided to the check in desk where she explained who she was, provided her personal information card and her insurance card. Explaining about the accident, the patch up, and the light in her vision, she was directed to the waiting room.
She knew she wasn’t dying so she would be there awhile. She was hoping to read but closing her eyes and leaning back made the exploring orange globe disappear. Exploring because it floated all around the waiting room, flying into open privacy windows at the check in desk, around the various blurred people and floating in front of the admittance doors. There it hovered for quite a while, almost as if it were waiting.
Eventually she was called back and described her symptoms. Given that her sight was not gone, she was given some basic visual tests. Many she failed, as she knew she would. She was asked to explain the “auras” she saw to the doctor but try as she might, the doctor was confused. She wasn’t seeing many but one and it kept moving around. It seemed to really enjoy the doctor actually, hovering over her shoulder and over the notes she was taking, almost as if it were reading along.
She was scheduled for tests, MRI, scans and blood work. All day she was poked, scanned, bombarded with strange smells and sounds (the MRI machine sounds like a large train in your ear, quite unsettling).
While she waited, the orange globe would follow her from place to place then wait by the door or the elevator until she was moved in that direction.
It was decided by the doctors that besides dehydration, low electrolyte levels, that every scan was clean, normal, and clearly not worth a visit to the ER. However, doctors decided that she would be checked into a room to receive fluids, and to await a specialist.
From what she understood, half of the third floor was general check ins and half was intensive care. She was being escorted to a room at the end of the general unit right next to the doors leading to the ICU.
Her nurse, Sandy was a chatty woman. Plumping her pillows and talking a mile a minute, Sandy talked about how strange it was for her check in, that the other two people involved in yesterday’s crash ended up here too (which was common knowledge if you watched last night’s news report which, she did not). It was so sad because didn’t you know their very own Doctor Flores was one of the crash victims. How sad it all was. Once she was comfortable, Sandy efficiently found a vein and hooked her up. Her chattering seemed to interest the orange light, it glowed almost excitedly as Sandy spoke.
Once Sandy left, she was once again alone with the sphere. It glowed brightly, and rushed to her. Circling around her it landed warmly on her hand that had the IV in it. Almost like tugging, the light seemed to want to pull her to her door. The sky outside the hospital was dark and she wanted to finish up and go home. She wanted to go home alone. She wanted to never see the color orange again.
The doctor returned and told her she was going to be admitted overnight, for observation. She was asked if she still saw the light, and she told her that a specialist was coming in the morning to see her, and a routine conversation with their psychologist would also happen in the morning.
She didn’t blame them. While she never attributed human characteristics to the globe, the fact that she was so agitated worried the doctor. Heck it worried her.
So she had settled in. Until the light became very insistent. Paging her nurse, she asked if she could possibly get dinner? It was dark outside but it wasn’t too late to eat. Sandy happily left to go order her some dinner and she decided to get up and use the restroom.
Maneuvering the fluids was not actually hard to do with her cane and soon she finished her business. Then she heard it. A code was sounding in the floor and floods of people rushed past to go into the ICU. The orange light rushed at her and then to the door, flying out into the hallway.
“What the Hell,” she exclaimed and she rolled her IV through the doors right before they clicked shut. A couple of nurses could be seen turning the corner as she realized she was alone with the light in front of another room. The orange sphere slowly floated into this room.
Inside, it was dark except a small light illuminating a patient and the orange orb. It slowly trailed up the body of a person illuminating dark-colored hair and a dark complexion. The dark blob was short peeping through white bandages and the body long, leaving her to believe, possibly in a sexist way, that the patient was male.
The orange globe went very close to the patient’s face and slowly floated away to her once more. Again she felt an almost tugging sensation as the orange globe floated to her hand and seemed to pull it. She walked to the bedside where it was obvious someone had been keeping a vigil. A coat or sweater of some sort, brown and large, was flung over the back of the chair and various colorful wrappers for unidentifiable foods littered the table next to the chair. Faintly, she smelled a familiar blend of spices, Chili and Cumin and looked towards the bed.
Her breathing caught.
The orange light hovered over the man’s face, for it was his face that she actually saw. She had never seen her own face, black hair and skin tone aside, but his face was strong. He was darkly handsome, black hair, golden tanned skin that looked a little washed out. He had rather attractive eye lines, crows feet if you will, denoting he laughed or smiled often. He had a wide mouth that again, based on the lines looked like he laughed a lot. His head was bandaged and she could just make out the actual fibers in the wrap.
Completely transfixed, she walked closer to him, towards the sight of him. She touched his cheek gently, and he was warm. He was real. The orange light flowed into her palm and gently tugged her hand towards his chest, taking her sight with it. Just above this chest it hovered, pulling her hand downwards. It stopped, waiting.
Suddenly feeling very driven to push that light into the man’s chest, she did just that.
Light exploded around the room and shimmered a bright orange deepening into red and then completely going out.
The heart rate monitor started to accelerate, becoming steady and strong and in shock she pulled her hand away only to hear a very faint voice say, “I’m sorry.”
Turning towards the voice she realized the man on the bed had spoken. She backed up and sat down hard in the chair by his bedside.
“I’m sorry I was so insistent but I really had to get back…” he trailed off.
A surprised shout came from the door as a familiar voice said tearfully, “Hijo estás despierto!”
It was Joe. Joe from her stop. “Hija, what are you doing here with Mateo?!” He asked, walking towards her. “Are you alright?” She felt his hand in her shoulder.
In a daze she turned towards who obviously had to be Mateo, who said simply, “Well papá, I was lost but she found me.”
Coming around to Mateo his father knelt and kissed his son’s cheek and the before she knew it, he kissed her cheek as well.
“I told you hija, you should meet him!” Said Joe smugly, as he reached for the call button.
Mateo shifted in his bed slightly so he could see her better. “Though it seems a little backwards,” he said weakly, “since I truly believe I’ve spent the last 24 hours with you… what is your name?”
“Angelica.” She said, “Angelica Stromwell.”