Trans·Fer·Ence: A Novel(4)

By: Ava Harrison


“I don’t really remember, but my heart has been racing quite a bit recently and I guess I’ve been feeling kind of dizzy, like I can’t breathe.”

“How long have you had these symptoms?” Leaning forward, he places the cold metal against my skin. I start to breathe in deeply, then exhale my breath.

“I guess maybe they started when Richard died.”

“And you never experienced any of these symptoms before his death?” He pulls away from me and straightens my gown.

“Not that I recall.” My memories are blurry, like a fading dream. I search through them, grasping at anything that will make sense of what happened. A strange clarity forms as I begin to remember feeling a cold sweat, the knots that formed in my muscles and so much more. “I actually kind of remember—”

“What do you remember?” Sydney cuts in, her voice rising in surprise.

A rush of images from the accident starts to play out in my mind. I recall every pain as the memories resurface.

I NEEDED DISTANCE.

I needed to escape this reality hovering all around me.

My muscles constrict, alerting me to run. My heart would explode if I stayed.

“Where are you going?” Sydney whispered as she reached out to stop me. I didn’t allow her to halt my progress.

I needed out of here.

With shaky arms, I pushed open the door and a sharp gust of wind battered my frail body. Small pellets of water hit me as I stepped out into the cold winter air. The distance to the car stretched out in front of me. Chilled droplets of water clung to every inch of my sweat soaked skin. Rain and tears melded together.

I tilted my head back and looked to the sky. If only the rain could wash away this moment. Transport me back to a time when everything was still right.

But it wouldn’t.

It couldn’t.

Nothing could wash this pain away. Today was a day of sadness.

Unsteady steps carried me to the zip car I rented to go to the cemetery. I flung the door open and slid into the driver’s seat. My body was chilled to the bone from the rain that coated my skin during my walk, but I did nothing to lessen the bite. I welcomed the pain. It reminded me of what I lost.

Pulling out of the parking lot, I made my way back to the city. The farther away I got, the more air entered my lungs. My body was barely able to function in that room. Seeing the body . . .

It was crippling.

My vision blurred as new tears threatened to spill. In the distance, the glare from the opposing traffic shone and stung my eyes. Lights swirled in the distance as rain hit the windshield.

I should have said good-bye.

I owed it to him.

No . . .

I had to go.

I couldn’t stay there.

I couldn’t see that.

A flash of light descended.

The hiss of tires echoed in my ears.

Then all sound faded away.

“I REMEMBER my arm going numb. I remember the flash of lights. I remember thinking I was having a heart attack. Oh, my God, do you think I had a heart attack?”

The machine next to me beeps faster as panic kicks in and my heart rate accelerates considerably. The faces around me start to sway . . .

“What’s happening? What’s wrong with me?”

“Ms. Hamilton, I need you to take a deep breath. Please, take a deep breath.”

My brain feels as if it’s stuck in a vice being squeezed tight. My chest constricts. It’s too much. Black spots dance in my vision.

Crushing . . .

Suffocating . . .

Thud, thud

Thud, thud

I gasp for air as the world shrinks around me. White noise drifts in. I’m being blanketed by it. Immersed in a storm.

It envelops me . . .





“OPEN YOUR EYES. IT’S OKAY.”

A voice hums in the background.

“You can do it,” the voice commands again.

My eyes flutter open. “Wh-what?” I mumble, trying to get my bearings. “I’m . . . What’s happening to me?”

“You’re okay. Inhale . . . now exhale.” Sharp lines etch away at the handsome stranger’s face as he studies me.

He has the most mesmerizing pale blue eyes I’ve ever seen. Hypnotic eyes. They remind me of a cloudless sky on a summer day. I continue to survey him, trailing down to his lips then across his chiseled jaw. It’s dusted with the perfect five o’clock shadow.

Lifting my chin to get a better look, his blue eyes pierce the distance between us and I realize I’m openly gawking at this stranger. Heat spreads through my body until it coils deep inside my belly.

“Who . . . who are you?”

“I’m Dr. Preston Montgomery. I’m one of the hospital psychologists.”

“Therapist?”

“Yes. Before the hospital is able to discharge you, they wanted me to talk to you. Are you okay to talk now?” No . . .

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