By: Blake Charlton
Read by: Mur Lafferty
Originally published in Seeds of Change
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All stories by Blake Charlton
All stories read by Mur Lafferty
Rated PG-13: Swearing (one f-bomb) and disturbing hospital images
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“Do you know what day it is? What year?”
“It’s like mid August, 2017?” her voice squeaked. Jesus, had she really lost her mind?
“That’s right.” She smiled. “Don’t be scared. I just wanted to be sure.”
“What do you mean don’t be scared?” she blurted. “Sure about what? Jesus! How long have I been here? How many times have you seen me before?”
Jani held up her hand. “Slow down; it’s okay…I’m not an oncologist, but I’m following your case. The cancer responded well to the treatment. And our research suggests that the side effects are temporary.”
Stephanie started to protest but then stopped. A terrifying memory flashed through her mind. “Mom said they might take me to a hospital for the dead.” She didn’t know what that meant but the memory was clear. “She said you’d keep me here to fool me into thinking I’m still alive.”
Jani was holding up both hands now. “Slow down. The survival rates are scary but they’re far better—”
“You’re not listening. She said they’d take me to a hospital for people who’ve _already_ died. I have to escape before—”
Stephanie started to stand but Jani put a heavy hand on her shoulder and said “Lullaby.”
The word opened a bloom of orange light across Stephanie’s vision. A static hiss exploded into her ears, and she felt herself falling. There was a firecracker yellow flash and then…nothing.