Hey guys! So this chapter is a little less scary, but we start to see Isabelle's anger taking control of her again. And there are a few swear words in the chapter. But no more spoilers. Enjoy!
I slept fitfully that night, finding it hard to get comfortable while propped up and connected to two machines. Still, I managed to relive the nightmare I had the night before, except this time when the snake bit into my throat, I felt a burning sensation that made my throat grow hotter and hotter. The girl and the snake laughed cruelly at me as I clutched my throat and slowly writhed on the ground. The girl’s laugh was high-pitched and sounded absolutely crazy, while the snake had a deep chuckle that made me quiver with fear. My throat felt ready to burst.
I woke up with a start, sweaty and groggy. The sheets on my bed were damp with my sweat. I reached up for the necklace around my neck to comfort me, but drew back with a gasp. It was hot. My fingers were already turning bright pink from the white hot metal. I thought that perhaps the necklace acted sort of as a mood detectot, growing hot with mood change, thus waking someone up from a nightmare. I wrapped my hand in the sheets and then touched it again, still feeling some of the heat. It slowly began to cool down, but my fingers had what appeared to be a cursive ‘Vi’ imprinted on them.
I remembered that my mom’s name was Violet, and she must’ve had her nickname engraved on it. I smiled, imagining a young Violet Springer walking to school with her big ‘80s ‘do and her colorful sweater, wearing this necklace. For some reason, I always pictured her with light brown hair and blue eyes like Gramps, even though she apparently had the same dark brown hair as I do. I’d seen the pictures, and she did look very similar to me and Memaw, except I had hazel eyes, a trait that I must have inherited from my mysterious father.
I looked over at Memaw and Gramps and saw they were still sleeping lightly, as the sky outside my window was still a dark blue. I was still very tired, so I managed to fall asleep and stay asleep. That is, until I heard rough knocking on the door followed by a cheery, “Hello there, my name is Dr. Reynolds!”
My eyes slowly fluttered open to see a handsome raven-haired doctor smiling at the foot of my bed. He appeared young, probably fresh out of medical school and no older than twenty-six or twenty-seven. Memaw and Gramps stretched and yawned.
“So, Isabelle, your chart tells me that you got ill while working on the farm and vomited blood and…feathers?” he looked politely baffled, as though the nurse made some kind of mistake.
“Any idea how feathers wound up in your stomach?”
“Do you drink or smoke?”
He asked a series of questions before ordering blood work and a possible scope of my stomach.
“Well Isabelle, I still have no explanation for the feathers, but it’s probable that you have an ulcer,” he remarked almost casually, his pen furiously scratching a few more notes.
“What else could I have?” I asked, dreading the answer.
“You could have simply swallowed blood from a recent nosebleed or an irritated esophagus,” he paused, not making eye contact. “Or it could be a stomach tumor.”
“A-a tumor?” I stammered.
My heart sank. A tumor. I didn’t do anything that would cause a tumor, but then, how many people got cancer from secondhand smoke? I shut my eyes and buried my head in my hands.
He cleared his throat awkwardly, searching for something comforting to say. “If it is a tumor, it may be benign…”
I heard Memaw let out a small sob.
“She’s our only granddaughter,” she choked out. “She can’t have a tumor.”
“I promise that I’ll do my best for her if that happens. But we’ll find out what’s wrong with her first before we jump to conclusions about something so serious, okay?”
I looked up, breathing deeply in and out of my mouth.
“You’re going to be fine, I promise,” he said, putting a hand on my shoulder and looking into my eyes.
I nodded and tried to smile back at him, making a promise to myself that, no matter what it turned out to be, I would be strong for my grandparents. Panicking before the diagnosis was not an option.
“I’ll get the nurse to take some blood now, okay?” he left without waiting for an answer.
Memaw continued to sob quietly, wringing her hands nervously. Gramps sat next to her and put his arm around her shoulders.
“She’ll be fine Gloria,” he said, pecking her on the cheek.
“That’s what they said about Violet!” she snapped.
I saw the look of hurt in his face, and the uncontrollable anger that I had yesterday surged up again.
“Don’t yell at him, he’s trying to be helpful!” I shouted.
She looked surprised to hear me actually make such an outburst.
“Isabelle Rose, how dare you yell at me? This doesn’t concern you.”
“It does concern me because you can’t just fling shit around like that!” she flinched when I said ‘shit’ but I continued. “Her death was an accident.
And maybe it’s still painful for us to talk about!”
I knew I shouldn’t be screaming at her like this, but it all came rushing out before I could stop it.
“She was my daughter and I still miss her!” she was screaming back at me now.
“She was my mother AND I CAN’T EVEN REMEMBER HER!”
Angrily I picked up my own pillow and threw it across the room. Memaw burst into tears at this, but I was too angry to care. I was in pain too, bringing her up all the time didn’t help.
“I just miss her! You don’t think I know how painful it is?” Her voice was shaky and she wasn’t yelling anymore.
“No, I really don’t! I don’t have a mom, or a dad, or even LEGS!”
She didn’t even respond. Still sobbing, she picked up her purse and stormed out of the room. Gramps gave me a disgusted look.
“What’s wrong with you? She’s scared and instead of being comforting, you bark at her!”
“She deserved it!” tears were pouring down my face now. “She knows it’s a touchy subject and she brought it up anyways!”
“You know what, there’s still a lot of work to be done on the farm, and it’s obvious you don’t want us here with you anyways. Call us when they discharge you,” he said curtly, slamming the door behind him as well.
“Bye!” I said sarcastically as he left.
I stared at the ceiling, still feeling self-righteous. When the nurse came in to take my blood, she simply asked for my right arm, quickly swabbed it with rubbing alcohol and started to collect the blood. I was sort of relieved that she didn’t want to talk anyhow, as I wasn’t really in the mood. She quickly took a couple of vials of blood and left without another word. I could tell she heard our fight and didn’t want to stick around because of it, but I didn’t care.
I touched the necklace and noticed that it was hot again, but not as unbearably hot as it had been earlier. Holding it gently in my hands, I made a quick prayer. Lord, please help me control my anger, I prayed silently. I don’t want to drive everyone away from me.
The necklace grew burning hot once more but I didn’t let go, grasping it tighter as it seared my skin. This is what happens when you lose control, I scolded myself. You get burned. At last I withdrew my hands and looked at the damage. They were red and sore, all accept for the little white cursive “Vi” imprinted on my left palm. Seeing my mom’s nickname printed on my hand made me feel guilty, knowing that she wouldn’t have wanted me to hurt myself. I grabbed the small bucket of ice on my bedside table and dipped them in it, letting out a small sigh of relief. Most of the ice had melted, but it was still cold.
I heard the doctor’s sharp rap on the door and quickly pulled my hands out of the bucket and wiped them on my sheet.
“Come in!” I called.
“Hello,” he grinned. “Why did your grandparents leave so soon?”
“They went out for breakfast,” I lied.
He nodded. “Well, we tested your blood and it doesn’t seem like you have an ulcer or tumor. You don’t have any serious blood loss either, so I think you may have just swallowed too much blood. Probably from a nosebleed or sore throat-“
I shook my head. “I haven’t had a nosebleed in a long time. And I can’t remember the last time I had a sore throat.”
He shrugged. “I can’t find anything serious. It’s probable you simply had a nosebleed while you were asleep and didn’t know it.”
I decided to drop it, knowing that I couldn’t explain to him what I believed had really happened. “Oh,” I replied, nodding in agreement.
“I’ll have the nurse check you out once more and then we’ll discharge you.” He patted my knee and left.
I called my grandparents to tell them the good news and ask to get picked up. They were still angry at first, but when I told them it wasn’t serious and that I was being discharged, they breathed a sigh of relief and forgot their anger. But deep down, I couldn’t be happy, not entirely at least. For while I believed the doctor was right about being tumor-free, I knew that it was not a nosebleed that made me ill. I could tell it was something far worse.