Tales From an Active Imagination: Part 2

This is chapter 2 of the short story I am working on called, The Rose Garden. If you are new to this story, or need a refresher, feel free to read the beginning before moving on to the post below.

I’m in the rose garden again. How did I get back here? It’s still so beautiful, still smells so sweet. But there’s another smell I hadn’t noticed before. Are there Crown Imperials somewhere around here? The odor of sulfur starts to overtake the sweet smell of the rose. It’s almost more than I can bear.

I need to get out of here. Where’s the exit? I can’t remember how I got in. Where is it? I panic. If this were a Hodgson Burnett story there would be a robin showing me the way. But the bird is nowhere to be seen. In fact, there’s no one here. Whoever was with me before, the ones making so much noise, must have gone. I’m completely alone. There is no one who can guide me.

I want to get out of here, but I don’t know how. I want to run, but I can’t move. My feet refuse to carry me from this place. Oh, God, will I be stuck here forever?

God? When did he come into this. I don’t need him. He hasn’t helped me before, why would he help me now? But I’m stuck. Fine. I close my eyes and pray for the first time in what seems like forever.

“God, please. Help me get out of here. I’m lost. I’m stuck. Help me.

My eyes open, and I’m no longer in the garden. Where am I? I look around. White. I see a lot of white. White walls, white ceiling. I’m in a bed, but this isn’t my bedroom. There’s an incessant beeping sound somewhere close by. I can feel another presence, but I can’t see who it is. The smell of the rose garden lingers. A feint smell of the Crown Imperials is still present as well.

“You’re awake!”

I turn to the voice. A woman is smiling as she looks down at me. She gently grabs my wrist and looks at her watch.

“Where…where am I?” I ask.

“Oh sweetheart, you’re in the hospital. Do you remember what happened?”

I close my eyes and try to think. So many visions dance around in my mind. But then I remember. The crash. “I was in a car accident. But why am I in the hospital? I’m fine.” Suddenly, I remember the other driver. I sit up quickly, but the woman – the nurse? – stops me.

“Woah, okay. Take it easy. You’ve been through quite the experience.”

“But what about the other driver? How are they? What happened to them?”

The nurse looks past me, smiles, and asks, “Would you like to explain?”

I turn to see who she’s talking to. An older woman, closer to my grandmother’s age, is sitting in a chair on the opposite side of the bed. She has short white hair in loose curls. Her eyes seem kind, if not a little worn. She smiles back at the nurse. “Do you think it’s alright?”

“I think it’s a good time to let her know.”

Know what? What were they talking about? I look from one woman to the other, confused.

 Alright. That word catches my attention, but why? Who was saying it? Is she alright? Will she be alright? Someone was asking those questions at the accident. Was it her? Does she know what happened to the person whose car I hit?

“Nicole,” the sound of my name brings me back. But how does she know my name? My ID. Someone must have found it and told her. I guess it only makes sense.

“My name is Rose. I was the driver of the other car.”

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