The Turning – Preview
The decision to go out after my med school finals changed my life and I’m still not sure if it was for the better or worse.
Who wouldn’t think a few drinks were in order after an accomplishment like that? And here, when I didn’t see a line to the restroom I thought how lucky I was—I would get in and out quickly and back to my friends—and it almost seemed an omen that things would be a little calmer in my life.
Silly? Yeah, but stress does that to a person.
I doubt luck had anything to do with what happened to me next. Fate maybe. I might not hate her for where I ended up, but I still wanted to kick the bitch’s ass for sticking her nose where it didn’t belong.
Turning at the noise I heard down the hall, I felt a sharp pain in my neck, and my world went black.
I woke up three days later when my phone vibrated. I reached right into my pocket and pulled it out. I always kept it in the same spot and had answered it so many times in my sleep after exams or late night study sessions that it was second nature to me.
“Hello?” I croaked as I glanced left then right. The hallway was strangely familiar though it wasn’t the one I remembered being in. And then it hit me… It was my hallway! I was sitting outside my apartment leaning against the wall without my purse.
“Kelly, where the hell have you been? I have your purse. You left it the other night when you ditched us. You scared all of us half to death! What did you do? Hook up with some guy on the way to the bathroom?” Nicole blared from my phone.
“Nicole, stop yelling at me! I have no idea what you’re talking about or what happened last night. I just woke up outside my apartment door, dying of thirst and feeling very weird.” The long pause on the other end of the line spoke more to me than anything she could have ever said. “Nicole, what’s wrong? Are you okay?”
My shoulders went tight as suddenly everything started moving too fast—not that I understood that because she wasn’t speaking. She wasn’t the type to yell, and she really wasn’t the type to ever be at a loss for words.
“What do you mean last night?” Her forced cool tone had me shivering. Something was seriously wrong.
“Last night at the bar, after our finals. I don’t remember what happened. I remember seeing you guys, taking a shot—and then I woke up here.”
Her voice softened, but I didn’t miss the hint of panic. “Kelly, that was three days ago. Where have you been since then?”
“Ha ha, Nicole, three days ago? You are so funny.” I scoffed, thinking it was some prank for getting too drunk at the bar last night and passing out. I wasn’t sure what I’d done to deserve the prank but I had to commend Nicole on a stellar performance.
“Kelly, I’m not kidding, that was three days ago. None of us have heard from you. I called your parents yesterday, and they filed a police report.”
She was serious. She wouldn’t joke about involving my parents.
“What? How can I not remember three days?”
“I don’t know, but the bar was three days ago. Check your phone.”
I did and felt nauseous. “Holy shit, what was in that drink? I don’t remember a thing—Nicole let me call you back. I have to tell my parents to call off the search.” Now it was my turn to panic.
“Call me later, Kelly, we’ll figure this out.” And with that she hung up.
I searched my pockets for my keys, found them, and with utter dismay, opened the door to my apartment. Everything was exactly as I had last seen it. The light from the windows was blinding me, but even as I shielded myself from the light I realized I could see every detail across my apartment without my glasses.
Oh right, I’d have my contacts in from going out. But then wouldn’t they be really dry from three days in my eyes? I found myself reaching up automatically and trying to take them out… No contacts. So really, how was I seeing like I had them in?
Thinking that was incredibly strange, I closed the blinds and went to the kitchen to get something to drink. I grabbed a bottle of water and took a long, very long drink. Standing there, I became aware that it didn’t make me any less thirsty so I chugged the whole bottle. My throat was still dry, and I wondered how I could be so dehydrated? I grabbed a pop this time and decided to call my parents.
“Hello?” my mom answered the phone.
“Ma, it’s me, Kelly.”
“Oh my god! Are you all right? What happened to you? Are you hurt?”
“Mom, I’m fine.” I looked down to double check myself and nothing was out of order in my appearance. I didn’t feel pain anywhere. “I don’t know what happened, but I’m not hurt. I’m perfect except for being really, really thirsty.”
“What do you mean you don’t know what happened?” Then my mom yelled in the phone for my dad to pick up.
“Kelly? Kelly, is that really you?” My dad, always the cop, proceeded to grill me with a questions to prove it was me.
“Dad, yes, it’s really me. My sister’s name is Marie and she lives in New York. Your name is Matt, as well as my younger brother, and Mom’s name is Jen. I’m fine, just hazy on what happened.” I kept going, running down our family, knowing if I didn’t just answer him, he’d ask a barrage of more questions.
“Kel, what the hell happened to you?” my mom asked. I could tell she was holding back tears.
I quickly rehashed what I remembered—which took only a minute since there wasn’t much… And that alone was distressing.
“Everything in between the bar and now is a total blank. It’s not hazy details, or fuzzy—I’ve got nothing. Nicole filled me in that I’ve been missing and how long I’ve been gone. Can you guys call the police or whomever you have searching for me and tell them I’m found?”
“Are you going to the hospital? Did you check for bruises? Never mind, we’re coming over,” my dad rattled and then hung up the phone. I wanted to laugh; some things never changed, but it wasn’t a laughing time right now. I sat on my couch with my pop, wondering where I had been.
Checking my phone, I saw I had a lot of missed calls. The pop didn’t seem to help my thirst so I finished that and got a bottle of juice. That wasn’t working either. Thinking it was odd, I yawned and realized I was really tired. I laid down just to close my eyes for a minute, but promptly fell asleep.
The knocking at the door woke me with a start and hearing my parents’ panicked voices made me immediately go to open it. It seemed I was there instantly.
Wow, I must be still out of it because I don’t usually move that fast.
As I opened the door, I could swear I heard something that sounded like two heartbeats. Staring strangely at my parents as they came in, I dismissed it. They must have been very anxious from not knowing where I was and had rapid heartbeats.
“Kelly, oh my god, you really are okay!” My mom started gushing as she came in and just about tackled me with a massive hug.
“Mom, I’m fine. I swear,” I whispered, glad for something familiar right then.
“Jen, let the girl breathe, you’re choking the air out of her.” I looked up at my dad to say thank you and realized I saw something I hadn’t seen for years. He was crying. “Are you sure you’re all right, Kel? I think we should take you to the hospital to get checked out and—ah— well, get a rape kit done.”
“Dad!” I balked, completely shocked. My dad and I had never discussed anything like that before, not even a birds and the bees talk. “I’m sure nothing like that happened, Dad. Everything is, well, kind of as it should be. I mean there’s no way when I was drugged or whatever, taken, that I was raped. I have no bruises or cuts and not a button out of place.”
As I was talking I was drawn back to my mom. She smelled great, sweet even. I sat down next to her, and I know she was talking, but I wasn’t listening to a word she said. I just couldn’t get over how great she smelled. I just wanted to eat her up!
Until I bit my tongue. “Ouch, damn that hurt!”
“What, are you okay?” Mom reached for me, her eyes darting all over me.
“Yeah, Ma, I’m fine. I bit my tongue, hang on it’s bleeding.” The next instant it seemed I was in the bathroom.
“Wow, Kelly, you sure are moving fast these days,” my dad called out from the living room, but there was a twitch of something in his voice. Now why would that make him antsy?
“Got to keep up with the docs at the hospital,” I joked, trying to laugh it off. The blood from my tongue tasted so good in my mouth it was starting to weird me out. I opened my mouth to see how much damage I had done. What I saw made me think I was hallucinating. “Holy shit!”
“What? What’s wrong?” my dad hollered from the living room. I heard him start to get up.
“Dad, don’t get up. I’m fine, just tripped.”
“How did you know I was getting up? You can’t see me from there.”
“I heard you,” I dismissed. I wasn’t as concerned about my hearing as I was with the teeth I thought I saw in my mouth. I opened my mouth and looked in the mirror again. How the hell did I all of a sudden have, well, fangs? I touched them, just to make sure. Could it be a hallucination if you could touch them?
“I didn’t make a sound. How did you hear me?”
“I heard the floor board creek and it was where you were sitting.” Okay breathe. Just breathe slowly and deeply. As I relaxed, the fangs seemed to shrink back into normal teeth. Well shit! Did that just happen?
“Kelly, he didn’t make a sound. You’re starting to really worry me.” I could feel the concern from my mother, and it snapped me back. In the next instant I was standing right next to her. “Crap, Kelly, how did you get over here so fast? You scared the shit out of me. You seem so pale, but your skin is flawless. Did you start using a new moisturizer?”
I cocked my head and gazed at her as if she was growing another head. My look must have said how bizarre her comment was because she got up and walked to the window, effectively changing the topic.
“You’ve got to open these blinds more often, it’s not like you are a vampire living in a coffin.” She smiled at her own joke but it hit me like a ton of bricks and then she opened the blinds.
“Ahh, Mom, close them! The light is killing me,” I bellowed a little louder than I meant to.
“Are you all right?” My dad raised a brow, but I was too busy focusing on what my mom had said—vampire.
“I’m fine. I just need to get some rest,” I hinted. I had a lot to think about, and the sound of their hearts beating was drawing me closer to them. I was just so thirsty I didn’t know how much more I could take. After what my mom said I was scared to think why I was so drawn to them.
Crap, I watch way too many horror films!
“Are you sure you don’t want us to stay? I mean, you seem fine, but obviously something isn’t right.” My mom’s eyes gave away her emotions. She was more scared than I have ever seen her.
“I’m fine. I’m sure it’s just some aftereffect from whatever happened to me.” Even I didn’t believe what I was saying, but I had to smile like I did.
“Okay, Kelly, call us after you get some rest. Also let us know if you need anything. By the way, did your finals end up going well?” My dad, always making sure every base was covered.
I started laughing even as I felt as if I was choking on another emotion. I couldn’t help but react like that with everything that had happened.
“I think they did, it’s not even crossed my mind. I guess I’ll have to check into it tomorrow morning. Thanks again for coming to check on me. I promise I’ll call if I need anything or remember anything.”
Seeing me laugh must have worked, because after a few hugs and tears, they left.
I leaned against the door and slid to the floor. What the hell was going on? Numbness set in and not paying attention, I realized that I’d started crying. And I never cried. Wiping the tears away, they felt weird. I raised my hand and black spots formed in my vision as I found my fingers covered in blood.
I didn’t want to concentrate on what I had become. It was too much to wrap my mind around without breaking it down. Sitting there for a while, I realized what I had to do. I had to eat.
And hell, what the fuck did I eat? It had turned dark and I felt closed in. How the hell had it even gotten so late? That meant I’d been sitting on the floor for a few hours, lost in my own new form of crazy.
So I would first figure out what new things I could do. Yes, I could do that without wanting to crawl into the fetal position. One step at a time. I grabbed my keys and ran out the door.
And by run I mean like a flash.
Okay, so that might be kind of cool; I’d never liked running. The logical being I was decided to start testing theories and the legends I had heard over the years. I mean obviously whoever or whatever did this to me wasn’t really going to teach me the ropes.
What kind of asshole just does this to a person and abandons them?
Like any good theory there are steps to prove or disprove it.
Step one, what could I do?
I gazed down the street to assess how far I could see clearly. One block was no problem. Two blocks, three, four, five blocks started to look far away, and I laughed out loud.
Who thinks five blocks away is far when they can’t see that clearly? I could see almost a half mile away with no trouble at all. Wow, I won’t miss my glasses. That was a nice plus, and I started to get a grip on the hurricane inside of me.
Next, figure out my speed and agility and then discover how to control it so I didn’t freak people out.
I saw a point about six blocks away, got ready to run, and glanced at my watch. As soon as it hit a new minute, I would go. Three, two, one—I ran as hard as I could. I checked at my watch the moment I hit the goal.
“Five seconds!” I gasped. How could I have run six blocks in five seconds? I must have misread my watch.
So I tried again, six seconds this time, but that might be more because I was scared to look that time.
Not only had I run six blocks in five seconds, I wasn’t even breathing heavily… And that’s when I realized something and it was like running into a brick wall. I wasn’t breathing.
Taking my pulse was the next logical step, but no pulse. Okay, I had to have one somewhere but after three minutes I couldn’t find one and my heart wasn’t beating.
This is a nightmare I need to wake up from. Panic tried clawing up my throat again and I couldn’t let that happen. Just breathe. Keep breathing. I shivered and rubbed my arms. Oh wait, never mind.
After quite a few more tests to see how far I could go before I got tired, I headed off in the direction of my parents’ house. I arrived there in about five minutes. Over twenty miles in five minutes?
Well that was kind of cool, but I had to figure out how to tone it down if I was going to fit in. Something definitely had happened to me, but was it permanent or temporary?
“I’m really worried about Kelly. She seemed so different to me,” I heard my mother say. Turning towards the house, I very slowly started to comprehend that I’d heard my mother from inside. “How did she move that fast?”
“I’m sure we just weren’t paying attention to her. We were overcome with relief that she’s fine and were so focused on that we missed the rest.” Ah, my father always so logical, I wonder who I got that from? It made me smile to myself. They made me feel secure without even needing to talk to them, amazing what love could do.
“I guess you’re right, Matt,” my mom conceded, sounding relieved. That thought seemed to work for her, which made me feel calmer. I couldn’t bear if what was happening to me stressed them out.
“Jen, I do want you to talk to her again about getting a rape test done.” I heard my mom gasp when he said that. “I know she said she was okay, but she could just be blocking this all out. She doesn’t have to go to the hospital, but just make an appointment with Dr. Warshak. She’s known her since she was thirteen. It’s someone she trusts and can feel comfortable with. It would make me feel better. Please just think about it? I can’t stand to worry that someone did that to my little girl.” My dad started to sniff, and I knew I wouldn’t say no when my mom asked.
How would I hide the rest of what was going on from someone I’ve known for thirteen years? I loved her like an aunt, but maybe she could help. I made a quick decision and called.
“Dr. Warshak’s office,” the lady answered the phone.
“Hi, it’s Kelly Murphy. I’d like to make an appointment. It’s an emergency. I have no memory of the past three days, no one had heard from me, and then I just showed up outside my apartment. I’d like to get some tests run and a rape kit done. I know Thursday is her late night and I don’t want to keep her any longer, but I would really like to try and get in tonight.”
“Let me check. Can you hold on?”
“Sure.” I thought about ways to tell my doctor or show her what was going on.
“Kelly, Dr. Warshak said to come over as soon as you can and she will see you immediately.”
“Thank you so much. I’ll see you in a few minutes,” I agreed before I hung up the phone with my doc’s office. Time to make the next call. Hopefully this would go the way I wanted, easing my parents’ minds.
“Hey, Mom, it’s Kelly. I thought about what you and Dad said so I called Dr. Warshak. I’m on my way there now. I’ll let you know what she finds out, especially about the rape kit results, okay?”
“Oh, Kelly, that’s great. I’ll tell Dad. We’re both so relieved you’re safe, honey. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
“Night, Mom, I love you and Dad.” And with that I ran the few blocks to the hospital. I walked through the front door consciously slowing down to what I thought was normal. Then I rode the elevator up to my doctor’s office, wondering how this would go.