June 1, 2013
Cold! I gasp and struggle to open my eyes. The left opens easily while the right sticks closed. I close them both again when brightness hits. Where am I? What happened?
With my eyes still closed, I concentrate on each part of my body, accessing the damage. My eye seems to be the worst, but my face, neck and arm are stinging. I can smell bitter antiseptic in the air.
For another minute, I lay without moving, trying to recall where I am. Then I remember. The forest. Sam. Cutting claws reaching my face, my arm. Shards of fabric shooting in every direction.
I open my left eye, slow and careful this time. The scene is blurry at first and then transforms into a bland hospital room. There is a small TV in the corner, a doctor in a white coat to the right, standing with his back to me. Jared is at the door, wearing only shorts, his back to me also, staring out the window that peeks into the hall.
The doctor turns around and my mouth drops open. I recognize him, although we’ve never met. Sam’s descriptions of them fits the man perfectly. Pale skin, ice cold. Gold eyes—well, black right now.
My first instinct is to run but I am held in place with the knowledge that he is just as fast as Sam. The only thing left out of the description is extreme beauty. Dr. Cullen is handsome. I automatically feel guilty for thinking this and advert my eyes.
I don’t understand why Sam is letting me be near one of them, but then I realize Sam isn’t here. Maybe he doesn’t know. But how could Jared then be here with his back turned to the enemy?
The doctor notices the fear in my eyes and his lips raise into a friendly smile that meets his eyes.
“Glad to see you awake, ” he comments. “I’m Dr. Cullen. I don’t know if you already knew that or not.”
His dark eyes flicker towards Jared who has turned around. Jared gives me a weak smile but his expression turns back to a poker face. My fear doesn’t disappear though, and Dr. Cullen continues talking.
“Can you open your right eye at all?”
I try again. It still hurts, but I am able to open it just enough to see but not as wide as my other.
“Good, ” he says while he watches them closely.
“It still hurts, ” I inform.
He nods. “It probably will until the stitches come out. They’ll dissolve on their own in a few weeks. Look straight ahead.”
Dr. Cullen shines a light around into my eyes.
“Good, ” he repeats. “Is your vision normal?”
“You might want to see an optometrist anyways. Would you like a bandage on your face, neck and arm? Or you can go without. Either way, no getting any part of the wound wet for forty-eight hours, ” he says.
I think about it for a moment. If I could just see what it looked like . . .
As if he could read my mind, the doctor hands me a small mirror. It looks much worse than it feels, even with the stitches closing the wounds. From above my eyebrow started one claw mark and was joined by two others around my eye. The corner of my eye was pulled down and the stitches came so close to my eye that I wondered how the doctor could have possibly sewed them in. The lines traveled down my face and took a break under my chin. They resumed at my collar bone and went over my arm, ending just before my elbow.
If Sam saw this . . . he would never forgive himself. I probably needed to keep it bandaged so he wouldn’t see it, at least until the stitches came out.
“Bandage. And can I get some extra bandages to last until the stitches come out please?”
Dr. Cullen doesn’t seem surprised by my answer. He must know the whole story. What in the world am I supposed to say happened?
“Sure. Does anything else hurt?”
“Okay.” Dr. Cullen turns slowly, like a human, and grabs something. “Close your eye, ” he directs and goes about bandaging my face.
“Jared?” I say, when the doctor has moved onto my arm.
Jared looks at me again but doesn’t say anything.
“Honestly, I have no clue. He’s having a hard time phasing back right now.”
I frown. “Do you know when he’ll be back?” I think I already know the answer but I have to hear it anyways.
Jared shakes his head. “He’s pretty torn up.”
Dr. Cullen looks up from his work and Jared having realized what he said, apologizes. I don’t ask anything more.
“Well, Emily, I think you’re set. If your vision changes, see an optometrist. Maybe go just for good measure anyways. Don’t get your bandages wet for forty-eight hours, and change them every couple of days. Clean the wounds regularly but cover them after to avoid infection. If they bleed in the first week, that’s normal. Anytime after that, have it checked out. And of course, look for signs of infection: heat, swelling, pus, and abnormal pain. “
“Okay, ” I say. “Thank you.”
“Your very welcome. If there’s anything else–”
“There won’t be, ” Jared interrupts.
Dr. Cullen nods. “You can get up then, Emily. You’re fine to leave.”
I sit up slowly and Jared comes to the side of the bed. He offers his arm to me. I take it gratefully and stand up, my head spinning. Jared helps me into the hallway and we follow the doctor to the waiting room. Oddly, the doctor had seemed almost human. Maybe Sam was wrong about them.
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