The girl inside that room stares me in the eye for the split-second that we can see each other, before a tall woman in gray scrubs exits the other room. Abruptly the door to my room closes, and I’m left staring at the cheap wood paneling of the door.
Did that girl know me? Do I know her? Maybe she’s a time traveler. Maybe it’s just a coincidence. It’s hard to tell the difference anymore. I close my eyes for a moment, trying to clear the fogginess from my head.
“Fran? Fran?” A tall black woman is speaking to me as I open my eyes. “You all right?”
I sit up– when did I lay down?– and look at the woman. “I guess I dozed off,” I say, my voice thick and crusted.
“Hmm,” the woman says. “I’m Amy, the physician’s assistant,” she adds. “Let’s have a look at you, shall we?” We go through the usual motions of a physical examination, with Amy clucking here and there as she checks my vitals. “Well.”
“Well?” I ask.
“You’re sick,” she says, with apparent finality.
“Something,” I repeat. “Can you be more specific? Is it the flu? Zombie-itis? Flesh-eating ebola?”
“Well, you’re not a zombie,” she says, “and most of you is still here, so we can rule out those last two.”