Apologies if this had been posted previously.
Awareness slowly returned to Sarah, low noises sounding simultaneously close by and far away, a dull grey glow seeping through her closed eyelids and a smell, not burning, but something previously burned seeped into her nostrils, reminding her of BBQs as a carefree young woman.
Where was she?
Where has she been?
Her toes tingled, pins and needles preventing any comfortable movement, the same in her fingers now. Her eyelids gently opened, morphing the grey glow into a dirty beige glow directly ahead. Lying on her back, unable to move, memory evading her grasp.
An itch on her thigh, fingers not reaching to relieve the discomfort.
Where am I?
How did I get here?
A slight flash of memory there, bright lights, burning sun, dust.
Yes, desert dust. She’d been on manoeuvres. That’s right, manoeuvres through the desert with her squad.
The pins and needles easing in her feet, she tries to shift, struggling to raise her body. Giving up, she lifted her head slightly to look around, the dirty beige was a constant on the ceiling and the walls, broken only by a nondescript brown door. In the corner sat a green chair, the cover torn, foam squeezing out like a fungus.
More flashes of memory began to return as she lowered her head again, walking in the heat. Sharing a joke with a squadmate. A click.
The door had opened and someone had entered, a tired looking suit matching tired eyes and drawn features, “Awake Miss Turner” he uttered, no emotion evident, “we’ve been waiting some time for you to regain consciousness.”
Her attempt to reply was cut off by her dry mouths unwillingness to utter anymore than a scratchy cough,
“I would rest your voice Miss Turner, the damage coupled with the morphine will limit your conversations for a while yet”
Damage? Morphine? What had happened?
Memories again drifted just out of reach, agonisingly close but nothing.
“Wha…” She attempted to scrape something out.
“Do not concern yourself with the details Miss Turner, they aren’t important just now.” Again, the flat emotionless tone, but something in her pleading eyes must have prompted him to give her some information, “you were on an afternoon patrol when one of your colleagues triggered an explosive mine, you were amongst those caught in the blast.”
A mine? Blast?
The door opened again, but Sarah was too busy reeling from the information she’d received to see who entered, hushed voices followed by the door closing again dragged her from her distraction.
“So, Miss Turner, I will leave you to your rest and return later.” The man exited the room leaving her alone, tears welling in her eyes as beige turned to grey before darkness closed in.
It was several days since Sarah had first woken up in that dingy room to discover she’d been injured in an explosion. The days hadn’t been easy, as she had discovered the blast had cost her both legs and an arm, with the second arm also severely damaged. She’d spent her time mostly in a daze, not able or willing to consider what this would mean for her future.
The man who’d visited on the first day had not given her any information on her squadmates, or indeed on anything beyond her physical self. Nor had he ever enquired as to her wellbeing, physical or mental. In fact, come to think of it he’d exchanged very few words, all directed to her without emotion before disappearing. Two other men visited twice daily, once to carry her out of her room to a very similar room, and again later to put her back.
Some time later, it could have been days, weeks or months a new visitor appeared.
“Well Miss Turner,” his voice carrying enough emotion to bring tears to her eyes, “how are you fitting in?”
That stopped the tears. Fitting in?
“Is that a joke?” She snapped back, “fitting in? How can I be fitting in, I’m dragged between two rooms with no news and no company. How do you think I’m ‘fitting in?'”
Tears returned to her eyes as the frustration of not being able to raise her arms to form inverted commas making sure of that.
“Now, Miss Turner, there’s no need for that, I simply meant to the current location,” his soft tone caught her attention, “in fact, we feel it’s time to move you on.”
“Home? I can go home?” Hope kindled
“Oh, Miss Turner, I must apologise. Mr Brown can be a little uncommunicative of the details. I’m afraid you aren’t returning home. Or rather.” He paused, long enough for hope to turn to despair, “you are home. You’ll be joining us now.”
Sarah launched herself out of her chair, he legs powering her across the room at this man, fists raised to strike him when her brain caught up with her body.
“Wh..where am I?”
“Come with me Miss Turner, you’re ready for the next stage…”
The open hand reached for Sarah’s, it’s touch tingling through her new limb and darkness fell once more.