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 Collide: Part 2                                                                                   

Derrick figures he could slip out during the “free time” they have every day and get away. He looks across the room at the clock on the far wall and sees that the time is 9:30 and their “free time” is in an hour and a half. So, with nothing else to do, he kills time by turning to talk to his new pain in the ass buddy Jerry. “Hey Jer, can you spare a cig for your new favorite buddy over here?” He watches Jerry sigh and put down the newspaper. He knows he’s pissed off because he’s messing with his “Current Events” time, but he could care less.

 Jerry hands him a cig from the carton and he grabs his lighter from under the pillow. One thing he loves about this time is that you can smoke wherever you want, and he considers that a win. Derrick lights the end of his cig and takes a long puff. “Do you ever think about home?” he asks, playing along with this whole dream thing. He takes a long puff of his cig before taking it out of his mouth and twisting it around between his pointer and middle index fingers.

Derrick waits for the guy to say something, but nothing comes. Maybe his dreamland is starting to implode and he’s about to wake the hell up. “Yeah, I do. You could say that I think about it too much.” He nods and hands over the picture. Derrick reaches over and grabs it from him. He stares at it for a second and his eyes zero in on the girl standing in the middle. She’s cute but not the type of girl he usually goes for, with her hair pinned up and her cookie cutter dress. “I see you found Little Lilly.” Derrick looks over at him and he gives him a wink. “Little Lilly, huh? he asks, pretending he gives a damn about some imaginary WWII chick. “Don’t even think about it, Skip. That’s my little sister, so eyes off.” he says, sounding kinda pissed, but also playing with him. He’s never been the type of guy that has a good imagination, but this guy is as close to a real soldier that he’d expect to meet in this time.

If he was real, he’s sure that they’d be buddies. He then feels his smirk widen, as he puts his hands up in surrender. “I wouldn’t dream of it, Jer.” He feels Jerry’s eyes start to burn holes into him, as he hands back the picture. Derrick knows he’s getting to him, and he figures it wouldn’t hurt to egg him on some more. “Why do you call her Little Lilly? I mean, it’s a damn cool name, but I know your strait-laced parents wouldn’t have named her that.” He watches Jerry drop his glare and a smile replace it. “When she was little and a pain in my ass, she used to beg me to go to the seed store and get her some seeds to grow her favorite flower, lilies. She’d asked every day, follow me around, being a real pest. So, one day, I had enough, called her that. She was so mad that she hid in the barn and didn’t talk to me for a week. Ever since then, I’ve called her that, even though she still gets into a tizzy over it.” Jerry says, as he takes a puff on his cig, and slips the picture back underneath his pillow. “Night, Skip.” Derrick gives him a nod. “Yeah, Night, Jer.” he says, inhaling the good ole’ nicotine from his cig, while picturing a way out of this place.

 He knows that there’s a way out through the basement, a secret door, that he heard one of the nurses talking about earlier today. Nurse Hamlin, aka crazy nurse, was training a new nurse to the hospital. She told the new nurse, Nurse Blue, he found out later, about that secret door in the attic. It seemed like a damn conspiracy the way she was talking about it. She said that they didn’t even bother locking the door to the attic because the patients didn’t know it existed. Crazy Nurse then went all on scary and basically told her if she spilled to the patients about the escape door, her head would be put on the chopping block. Derrick takes another puff from his cig, hoping that his plan will work, and he can finally get the hell out of this nightmare for good.

 May Bell’s heart is pounding, as the machine finally stops its terrifying pounding. In all her life, she has never felt such an overwhelming sense of suffocation or discomfort. When the machine finally begins to move her out, she releases a shaky breath, relieved that the process has finally ended. As her eyes adjust to the blinding lights of the hospital, she looks up to see the nurse from before. “How are you doing?” May Bell meets her eyes. “I’m not well, doctor.” The doctor nods, giving her a sympathetic look. “I didn’t detect anything on the scans, but we would still like to keep you overnight for observation.” She stares at the doctor in confusion. “I am sorry, but what do you mean by observation?” The doctor gives her a strange look before answering her. “It means we’ll keep you here overnight in the hospital, so we can find out what’s going on psychologically, since the scan didn’t reveal any tumors.” she says, with a clinical air of seriousness and professionalism.

 She feels anger churn inside of her at the nurse’s insinuation. She takes a steadying breath before she says more. “I think there has been a mistake. I do not need any psychological treatment. I am feeling perfectly swell.” she says confidently, meeting the eyes of the doctor treating her. May Bell watches the doctor frown at her words. What had she just said that made her look at her in such a disapproving way? The doctor says nothing else but helps her into a sitting position.

 May Bell can feel her blood boiling, as a nurse ushers her out of the examination room. As they weave through the bustling halls, May Bell can feel herself growing increasingly irritated by the silence the doctor left her with.

She resents the notion that she is somehow out of her mind, when it seems as if, the whole rest of the world is what’s out of its mind.

The nurse leads her to an elevator, and they step in. May Bell is immediately struck by how large the car is. Yet, another bizarre happening in this place, she finds herself in. She also takes notice that there is no elevator attendant present and wonders how the doors will close. May Bell watches two doctors and a nurse enter the car and is shocked, when the doors close on their own. At this moment, she would like nothing more than to shut her eyes and return home.

Derrick and Jerry make their way into the main space for “free time”. He has a skip in his step, feeling like he’s about to win the freaking lottery. As soon as they step into the room, as he expects, his good buddy Jerry turns to him. “I’m going to play cards, see you later, Skip.” he says, like he’s a kid on the playground and he has all the freedom in the world. Derrick gives him a nod and watches him hobble off slowly towards the rest of his buddies at the card table in the corner. He had told him that he was shot in his hip a couple months back, trying to save a buddy who was wounded on the battlefield. He had practically carried the guy across the muddy fields towards their bunker, but a bullet went through his hip before he could get there. Unfortunately for Jer, the buddy had bled to death before a medic could get to them, and that’s the last he heard of it.

He shakes his head. What the hell is he even thinking about? Jer doesn’t exist, none of this does. He needs to put his head on straight, even if this place seems real.

He walks snaps out of it and heads over to the couch to sit down. He pretends to listen closely to the radio broadcast giving news updates about the war for a couple of minutes before he gets and walks over to one of the nurses standing in the corner of the room. Her black hair and unibrow make him take a step back. She looks freaking tough. “I need to go to the can.” he says, hoping she’ll let him go. She gives him a glare before she sighs and then gives him a nod.

He takes off down the hallway towards the fire alarm, just past the bathroom. Derrick makes sure the coast is clear before he pulls the alarm. He hears the telltale siren and quickly takes a left turn at the end of the hallway. He knows that most of the nurses are on their lunch break right now, in their own little lounge, the next hall over, so he makes a beeline towards the door leading to the basement. Derrick opens the door and closes it behind him. He runs down the creaking stairs and starts to look around for the secret door. He starts moving shit around for several minutes, as the fire alarm in the distance stops.

He knows he doesn’t have a whole lot of time to find it. He can’t get caught, otherwise, he’ll probably never wake up and get back to his own time. As Derrick checks the first of the last two places the door could be, he moves an old headboard away from the area, and sees what he’s been looking for. “X marks the spot.” he whispers to himself, as he knocks the cobwebs out of the way, and twists the knob on the door to open it. Derrick smirks as he steps out the door and makes a run for it. He can feel the adrenaline rush through his whole body, as he makes it to the busy street, feeling like a champion. Any minute now, he knows he’ll be free from this nightmare. Derrick is just about to take a victory lap, when he steps off the curb, and is slammed into by a big red bus. 

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