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Viewing Single Post From: V4 Epilogue: Peace Accords
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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
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It was hard to tell how long had passed. Kimberly's room was bereft of calendar and clock. It had been a few days since her first awakening, she thought. Life had acquired a strange sort of routine.

The tube was gone. She was eating on her own again, eating canned soups and buttered toast and scrambled eggs and, at regular intervals, a mountain of pills that seemed to be getting a bit smaller each time it appeared. She was doing other things, too, like taking showers in the bathroom that adjoined her bedchamber. The bathroom did not have a mirror. That didn't matter. Kimberly had examined herself as thoroughly as she could when she'd felt able to cope with anything she found.

The results had been a strange mixture of horrifying and relieving. Her shoulder was bandaged, though she'd seen the stitches when the bandages had been changed (another part of the routine by which she marked the passage of time). They were regular, professional, in black thread. She had also seen the scars from Sarah's makeshift job, and the scars at the edges of the puncture wound. Her shoulder was looking like it was going to be a massive mess of scars. Somehow, she didn't much give a shit anymore.

She also had stitches on her right leg, on the mystery cut. It had been deeper than she'd thought. Her legs were somewhat hairy. It had been at least two and a half weeks since she'd shaved them, probably a bit longer. She'd always been pretty lax about keeping up with that as long as she wasn't dating anybody or taking gym class. She wore jeans every day, so who the fuck could tell if she'd shaved her legs recently?

There were hygiene items in the bathroom, but no razor. She did have a toothbrush, floss, mouthwash, and a nail file. No clippers. It didn't matter. She'd spent a long time filing her nails back to a reasonable length. It hadn't been easy, especially since her left hand wasn't working so well yet, but she'd been stubborn.

She was sure they were still watching her, but for the most part she was alone. The nurses came and checked on her fairly regularly, and the doctor made appearances now and then, but everyone seemed relatively content to let Kimberly stew on her own. That was fine with her. She didn't like interacting with anyone involved with the terrorists, especially people who seemed fairly reasonable. It was easier for her when she could imagine them all as faceless agents of malice, or as violent maniacs like Greynolds.

Kimberly had been ready to cut her hair short just to get rid of the tangles, but while she'd been provided with a brush, there were no scissors. She'd spent what felt like over an hour working all the matted bits loose, and had ended up tearing out a large number of strands in the process, leaving her scalp somewhat sore. It didn't matter. She could run her fingers through her hair again. There was shampoo and conditioner in the shower, so her hair even felt smooth. They brought her clean clothes every day, and she'd figured out how to get changed without aggravating her shoulder. She'd left her clothes from before alone in favor of the button down pajama tops and baggy pants the terrorists seemed to have on hand in endless supply. They were easier to get on and off. She wondered after their origin for a time, but decided not to press the matter, realizing it was all too likely she was wearing shit they'd looted from some dead kid's bag.

The rest of the time, she read. Among the belongings of hers they'd retrieved and returned were her books and her journals. After what had happened, Stephen King wasn't exactly comforting, but it beat sitting bored. More than that, nightmares about supernatural terrors were almost a relief from the dreams about the island. Kimberly had never remembered her dreams very well, and was even now left with little more than vague impressions and snippets of images upon waking, but it was enough to stir memories, to keep her brooding on all the things she didn't want to recall or deal with.

Her own writings were worse. It was the same stupid, angsty shit she'd occupied her time with when boys and parties had been worth getting pissed off over. The self pity she found and remembered now inspired anger. She wasn't anywhere close to acknowledging anything about her time on the island as positive, but she was pretty fucking glad her head had been pulled out of her ass when it came to the subject of pain and suffering.

Other times, she'd just look at her hat and the scrunchie. She hadn't touched either. Both had blood on them. She wondered who Ivan's girl had been. She couldn't even remember the name Greynolds had read now, which meant she couldn't conjure an image at all. She almost wanted to ask, but she wasn't sure she wanted to deal with the face that would have certainly brought to mind. Kimberly had known most of her classmates by sight.

She wondered how many she'd ever see again. The rescued kids, plus all those lucky fucks who'd gotten sick or had flunked out or shit like that, they'd all still be around. There were probably more than she'd expect. She wondered if they'd gone ahead and run graduation for those who were left, wondered what all those families who'd been planning to come into town for the weekend had done.

Her dad had been coming. Her mom, too.

She hadn't seen either in what felt like a long time. Trying to remember was tough. Mom was Easter, a shit holiday none of them celebrated except insofar as it was an excuse to get together and have dinner. Dad, that had been more like a decade. She'd been looking forward to having him around again for a weekend, catching up and figuring out just who he was now that she was old enough to understand.

What were they doing right now? She didn't know what anyone in the outside world knew. Maybe they thought she was dead. Maybe she really wouldn't ever see them again. Maybe they wanted to pretend she'd never existed, after all the shit she'd done and said. Maybe they'd met up and talked and agreed to pretend they hadn't fucked up and had remembered to use a condom.

About all she was sure of at the moment was that she wasn't going to die on this boat unless something went seriously wrong. The terrorists had invested way too much time and energy in her health to kill her now.

Time was slipping away again. Had she been thinking for five minutes or several hours? She was only snapped out of her reverie by the sound of the door opening. Glancing up, Kimberly saw the doctor, a rather squat man who appeared to be in his late thirties, with a head covered in incongruously thick, long, wavy blonde hair. Aside from that, he was the picture of formality, in a suit and white coat. Kimberly hadn't learned his name. She pretended he didn't have one.

"How are we feeling today?" he asked.

Kimberly shifted, sat up a bit straighter in bed.

"Fine," she said.

"Good, good. Anything unusual? Any pains to report? Food staying down alright?"

"Fine," she said. "I'm fine."

He scribbled something on the papers he carried. He was always writing on his stack of papers, keeping the clipboard carefully angled so Kimberly couldn't read any of it. She wondered if he was actually writing anything of consequence. It wasn't like this shit was gonna go in her medical records back home.

"Good," he said. "We're going to do something a little different today. We're going to start your physical therapy."

"You're qualified for that?" Kimberly's question was mostly spite. She wasn't about to turn down help, not when it came to getting her arm working again.

"Actually, yes." He took some more notes. Perhaps he was moonlighting as a psychologist as well. "And, on a cursory assessment, I'd say you'll probably make a good recovery. You were very lucky, you know. The bullet didn't totally destroy your shoulder joint. It didn't hit any blood vessels or destroy your nerves or pulp your muscle too badly. I mean, that's why you're alive."

He chuckled. Kimberly didn't like it when he chuckled. He sounded far too friendly, like he really was a general practitioner chatting with his regular patients.

"In fact," he continued, "I think you may even recover sixty to eighty percent mobility."


He repeated himself, but Kimberly didn't hear. That wasn't right. Sixty to eighty percent mobility? That wasn't how things worked. She was supposed to go home, to recover, to maybe have a scar to hide but to otherwise be unscathed. She wasn't supposed to be fucked up for life, wasn't supposed to be qualify for a handicapped sticker before she even got her fucking driver's license.

"Are you ready to begin?" The words startled her, and she realized that she'd been ignoring the doctor for more than just his repetition of her prognosis.


He sighed, scratched on the papers, and explained again, detailing the exercises she was to do and their benefits, telling her how far was too far to push. Kimberly listened and registered the information and did her exercises, but the whole time those five words were bouncing around in her head, preventing her from concentrating.

Sixty to eighty percent mobility.

Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
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