[Continued from Part 2]
Casey fought through a gray haze to bring herself back to consciousness. It took her a minute to realize where she was and how she ended up there. She slowly began to pick herself up, placing one hand on the coffee table to her right and the other hand on the sofa to her left. Sitting back down on the sofa gently, she put her hand up to her temple. There was no blood, but it hurt. She must have hit her head pretty hard.
Casey wondered what time it was. Surely Alyssa should have been here by now. She wondered if Alyssa had showed up and knocked on her door and when she didn’t receive an answer, called Casey back. Casey reached for her phone on the coffee table. As she did so, she felt oddly off-balance. More than she had earlier. Her left leg felt strange. She looked down and her pajama bottom covering her left leg was flat at the knee, as though there was nothing that extended past it. Casey’s heart began racing. She reached for her lower leg but all she grabbed was loose fabric from her pajamas.
“What? No!” she screamed.
Casey felt her upper thigh and it was still there but it seemed to end at the knee. Casey then frantically pulled up her left pant leg until she could see skin. Sure enough, just above where her knee should have been, where it was just a short time ago, was a smooth stump. Her entire lower leg was gone!
“No God No!” she screamed again.
This isn’t happening, her mind told her. This isn’t real. The same thoughts that exploded in her mind when she discovered she was missing a foot came racing back. Her fear and panic returned in a rush. It took her several minutes to calm herself down and then it was only with a tenuous grasp on rationality that she grabbed her phone.
Casey looked at the time: 9:43 p.m. She had a vague awareness that she’d called Alyssa around 7 p.m. Where was she? Casey checked to see if she had any texts or missed calls or messages. Nothing. She hit a button to redial Alyssa’s number. It rang four times before someone answered.
“Hello?” said Alyssa.
“Alyssa, where are you?” Casey cried.
“What? Who is this?” asked Alyssa.
“Wha… it’s Casey,” yelled Casey.
“Casey who?” asked Alyssa sounding confused.
“What do you mean ‘Casey who?’ It’s me. We just talked a short while ago. You were coming over, remember? Where are you?” Casey’s voice raised a bit more.
“Are you sure have the right number?” asked Alyssa. “I don’t know anyone named Casey. I think you’ve made a mistake.”
“Alyssa, this isn’t funny,” said Casey almost sobbing. “It’s not a joke. I’m in real trouble. You said you would come over here and help me.”
“You’re right, it’s not funny,” said Alyssa raising her voice a bit. “I don’t know who this is but if you call back, you will be in trouble. And how do you know my name?”
“Alyssa please…” Casey cried. “Please don’t do this. I’m sorry, ok? I’m sorry about what I said about Brad. Please don’t be mad at me. We were friends. I really need you.”
“You need professional help lady,” said Alyssa. “I’m hanging up and if you call back, I’ll report your number to the police.”
The line went dead and Casey hung her head sobbing. She couldn’t believe all of this was happening. Why had Alyssa acted like she didn’t know who Casey was? She sounded genuinely bewildered by Casey’s call.
Casey’s thoughts were interrupted by music. Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” cut through the air. “Todd!” thought Casey excitedly. She answered the call.
“Hello Todd?” Casey responded.
“Hey, what’s up lil’ sis?” asked her brother. “You sounded kind of upset in your message.”
“Oh God, you can’t believe what’s going on,” she said, half laughing, half crying with relief. “Heck, even I can’t believe what’s happening.”
“So… why don’t you tell me and we’ll go from there, ok?” Todd said calmly. This was not the first time he’d had to talk his little sister down from an anxiety attack. He knew the drill.
“Ok, but please, no matter what I tell you, you have to believe that I’m not losing my mind. I swear to you that I’m not,” Casey said, hoping she sounded calmer and more rational than she felt.
“Hey, you know me. I’m always on your side. So what’s got you so worked up?” Todd asked.
Casey started from the beginning, which is to say she recounted the days events from the time she woke up until the moment that she hung up with Alyssa. She stopped talking then and there was a long very quiet pause. Finally her brother spoke.
“Listen, Case… I hear what you’re saying. And you have to admit, that’s pretty far out. Don’t get mad at me for asking this, but have you stopped taking your meds?”
“Dammit Todd, you have to believe me! This is really happening!” Casey shouted.
“Case… Casey listen… Are you off your meds? Just yes or no,” Todd asked calmly.
“Todd please…” Casey whimpered. “I mean… yes ok, I stopped taking them about six months ago but that is not what’s causing this.”
“Ok, ok,” said Todd soothingly. “I believe you.”
“Do you really or are you just saying that?” Casey asked almost mockingly.
“I believe that you believe what you’re telling me. For now that’s about all you can expect from me, don’t you think?” Todd asked.
“Fine,” Casey whispered. She was starting to lose hope again. She’d told her brother the truth and he didn’t believe her. And if he didn’t believe her, who would?
“Listen, Case. I’m going to come see you, ok? I can tell you’re in trouble so I’ll catch a flight in the morning and I should be there sometime tomorrow afternoon. Once I get there, we’ll figure this all out. Will you be all right until then?” Todd asked in a paternal sort of way.
“I don’t know. I think so,” Casey responded with some uncertainty.
“Just stay in your apartment until I get there. No more drinking and if anything else happens, you call 9-1-1,” Todd instructed her. He paused for a moment and then added “You’ll be ok sweetie, I promise. Oh yeah… I almost forgot. Happy Birthday!”
This made Casey laugh and Todd relaxed a bit. Hearing her laugh made him realize she’d be alright until he got there. After hanging up with her brother, Casey tried to calm herself again. Everything was going to be fine. Her big brother was coming to her rescue and once he was here, the weirdness would melt away. All she had to do was make it through the night and into the afternoon tomorrow. She could do that.
Casey’s phone beeped. It was her text message alert. She checked her text messages and saw a reply from Megan.
“Hey, wats up. U freakin or wat?”
Casey quickly responded back.
“Kinda. Really need you. Where u at?” Send.
About 30 seconds later she got a reply.
“@ Cilios. met a guy. soooo hawt”
Casey rolled her eyes at her friend’s text. She loved Megan but that girl was guy crazy. Sometimes it seemed like all she wanted to do was go out and hook up with men. Casey was determined to get her friend out of the club and on her way to Casey’s apartment.
“Srry but this is 911. can you come over now?”
Casey had to wait close to five minutes before she got a reply.
“U owe me bigtime! look wat im givin up”
Megan had included a picture with her text. The picture showed a blurry face and upper torso of a young dark-haired man in a colorful button down shirt. The background was mostly dark with a few colored lights. Casey wasn’t impressed with the fellow in the picture, but then, she wasn’t attracted to the same kinds of guys that Megan liked. She texted back: “K, iou. thanx. drinks on me tonight. u be here soon?”
Casey knew where Cilio’s was. It wasn’t Megan’s usual night club haunt and it was at least a half hour from Casey’s apartment. Knowing Megan, she’d linger a while before leaving, trying to make the most of her time there before having to go. Casey didn’t expect to see Megan for at least an hour. With all the excitement, the meds, the booze an hitting her head, which still throbbed painfully, she felt exhausted. She tried not to think of her missing leg and decided to just lie down on her sofa and take a short nap before Megan arrived.
Casey wrapped herself up in the comforter she’d snuggled up in earlier in the day. She laid down on the sofa and within minutes was asleep.