13. Live Dead Girl

When I woke up again, I was not in the morgue. I was in bed in a private hospital room. It was 2:03 in the morning. At least this is what the luminous hands on the face of the bedside clock indicated. The room was dark, its door ajar. The fluorescent light from the corridor made a big, pie-shaped wedge on the floor. There was a table not far from the bedside. On it was a tray full of plastic-covered dishes and plates full of food. That’s what my nose told me.

Suddenly I felt famished. But I didn’t want food. My hunger was of an entirely different nature. I could feel it racing with this pulse, my pulse, in the silent dark. I could feel the blood pumping through my body—faster, as my excitement rose. I pushed aside the covers and sat up.

The hall, at 2:06 a.m., was a jumble of movement and sound, but with the door nearly closed, it was not too painfully bright. There was a window in the room to the right of the bed, but the curtains were drawn. The space became gradually clearer, the eyes—my eyes—adjusting. Unadorned walls, the rolling table, two plastic chairs, linoleum of the same lemon yellow—I could see from the hall light—as the corridor floor. I noticed my hands were trembling. I gave my body its lead. I got up. I crossed the room, slid my bare feet over the cold linoleum, dragged my fingers across the Formica top of the table. The surface was cool and smooth. I leaned over and pressed my hot cheek against it.

From that odd angle, I noticed a cotton bag on the corner chair. I raised my head, straightened, walked over and picked it up. It was tied shut and labeled: “Orison/deceased.”

—DEAD LOVE/Chapter 13/Live Dead Girl