A to Z 2017: QUESTIONS

Molly woke with a start, jolting forward and inhaling sharply.

"I need to go back!" she screamed, figments of a dream — or nightmare — drifting from her memory. Nothing more than glimpses of ghost-like apparitions quickly fading in time.

"Jesus." A startled quip from her side, caused her to tense, but she resisted lashing out. A woman in scrubs rushed off before she could apologize. It may have been comical under different circumstances.

With a sigh, Molly attempted to relax and gather her bearings. She sunk back into the bed, covered with a light blanket that was enough to keep her warm in the blue gown she found herself in. She examined the room. A single window, with the blinds partially drawn, to her left. An adjoining room with a tiled floor, its door wide open, she assumed was a small bathroom. There was a scrunched curtain attached to a track bolted to the ceiling that wasn't being used. The room accommodated two patients, but the second bed was empty. Matching pillows and blankets neatly arranged, prepared for its next guest.

A knock came from the main doorway and in the frame stood a short woman in a long white jacket, a unreadable name-tag clipped to her shirt pocket. Her dark hair was pulled back into a ponytail, her bubbly caramel cheeks raised with her smile.

"I heard you were finally awake." The doctor entered the room, clipboard in hand, closing the door behind her. "Gave the nurse quite a scare."

Molly gave a soft smile, trying to keep her mind focused and not wandering back to recent events that had transpired. The memories were flowing in now that she was awake and healed. The inevitability of it all. "What happened?" Knowing she knew more than the doctor ever would.

"I'm Doctor Schultz," the woman offered as she positioned herself at the foot of her bed, "and I was going to ask you the same thing. But first things first, what's your name?"

Her mind raced, momentarily unable to recall the name she was currently using. Just use anything! "Justine." The doctor didn't respond, just raised a brow and tilted her head forward expectantly. "Sorry, Justine Johnson."

"Justine Johnson." A flash of disbelief crossed Dr. Schultz's face. "I guess it's better than Jane Doe." The doctor tapped the clipboard on the bed frame in thought. "How about in an act of good faith, I go first. I'll tell you what I know and then you can tell me what you know? How's that sound?"

Molly remained silent, which the woman seemingly took to mean the same as compliance.

"What I know," the doctor began, "is that there was an incident at Faraday Park. An explosion." Molly became frustrated she had no clear recollection of that, despite it being repeated a few times. "I know that I had units sent out to the scene to retrieve any dead or wounded." The woman began pacing back and forth in front of the bed. "And what I know is that I now have a pair of paramedics who were dispatched strongly reconsidering their life choices. Good, reliable people. Any idea as to why that is?"

She wasn't sure how to answer the doctor. She didn't think she'd have to. As the woman continued on her rant, Molly attempted to piece together the missing gaps of events at Faraday Park. Her fight with the superhuman psychopath. Her son showing up out of the blue. The both of them tag-teaming said psycho. But then things began to get incredibly fuzzy. Until she found herself in the back of an ambulance...

"They thought you were dead at the scene. Taking the full brunt of whatever the blast was. Ground Zero." She pointed at her with the clipboard. "But then they found a pulse and loaded you up, apparently at great risk to themselves..."

Molly's attention honed in and she interrupted. "What do you mean, great risk to themselves? Was there more explosions after the first?"

"No, there was only the one, but whatever it was, was radioactive. They have the place quarantined now. People exposed to the blast's radius had radiation burns. Police officers, some bystanders. The EMT unit that found you said you were burnt to hell, but they didn't think it was radiation obviously." Dr. Schultz paused and took a deep breath, lowering the clipboard and resting it by Molly's feet on the bed. "They swear to God that you sporadically began to heal over time. A Miracle"

The two locked eyes, Molly knew the doctor was attempting to feel out any semblance of truth.

"First you were dead, at least that's what the paramedics believe. Then alive, but at Death's door. And then..." the lady trailed off, once again lost in thought. "What I know is you don't have a single mark on your body, contrary to initial reports from my team. I get a patient with no name, no identification. Nothing. To be fair, you arrived buck naked." Dr. Schultz's eye narrowed. "But what I also know is that there were F.B.I. and Homeland Security agents asking about you. When seeing the pristine nature of your pretty little self, though, they said it was impossible you were anywhere near the blast, let alone in the thick of it." The doctor gripped the bed frame with both hands, leaning towards her. "And I know those same agents are still interested in talking to you, wanting to be contacted once you were awake. To answer some questions."

Dr. Schultz stood erect, crossing her arms across her chest, never shifting her eyes away. "So you have questions? You want to know what happened? How about you start answering mine, Justine Johnson. I've only avoided contacting the authorities because your condition inadvertently saved my techs from being quarantined. But that gratitude can change in an instant." The doctor snapped the fingers of her right hand. "So how about you start by telling me what the fuck is going on."

Thanks for reading! What did you think about the piece? Any constructive criticism is welcomed!