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To Find Her Voice In The Silence

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White.

Everything was white when she opened her eyes. Not as bright white as it had been a moment ago when she was following her son’s voice in that strange place. No, here it was simply... white.

Regina blinked. Once. Twice. Her eyes felt dry. Her face hurt. There was this dull throbbing in her head. The feeling could almost be compared to having a really bad headache, but at the same time not quite. This was different. More intense.

Her throat hurt. Badly. It felt like it was constricting. Regina tried to clear it, but there was something in her mouth. Something preventing her from doing so. She tried to look down to see what it was, but the movement made her head hurt.

Pain.

It wasn’t just her throat and head that hurt. All of her did. Regina became aware of this persistent throbbing in her abdomen. Breathing hurt. It had to be because of her ribs. It couldn’t be anything else.

She blinked. Became aware that she was cross eyed. Why was she cross eyed? Did she have a concussion? Why? What had happened to her? And what was that thing in her mouth?

Regina slowly lifted her left hand- the only part of her body she could get to move right now- and brought it upwards to her mouth. She winced when she brushed against her upper lip by accident. Something hurt there. A cut or a bruise. She continued the journey upwards and was slightly disturbed when she came into contact with something plastic like sticking out of her mouth. A tube. Why is there a tube in her mouth? She tried to move her head again, but nothing happened. Her head hurt too badly to move. She felt dizzy when she tried. So she lied still. And waited. Tried not to panic when thinking about that strange tube sticking out of her mouth. Where was she? What had happened? And where was Henry? He was... God, Regina couldn’t remember where he was. Everything was so blurred.

She tried to remember what had happened, but she couldn’t. There was this big, blank space in her mind where her memories was supposed to be.

She had to try and focus on what she knew for sure.

Something had happened to her. Something that made her entire body hurt and feel like one big bruise. And it was really all of her. Even the space between her thighs ached. Regina tried to shift in the bed she was laying in. Tried to find a comfortable position, but she could not get comfortable. She was too confused. If only her head would stop hurt so she could think. She could not move much either.

Her body was too heavy.

Something flittered through her mind. Something about her head slamming into something repeatedly. But what? And why? A steering wheel, perhaps? Had she been in a car crash?

Judging by the way her body ached, it felt more like a plane crash.

Regina tried taking a deep breath without wincing. But breathing hurt. A lot. She still had double vision, and the more she became aware of herself, the more parts of her started hurting. Like her eyes.

They were throbbing. And there was something wrong with her left cheek too. It was thumping.

Her heart was thumping too. Rapidly. Regina could hear it. Boom-boom-boom. Boom-Boom-Boom. Blip-blip-blip. No, wait, that wasn’t her heart. With much trouble, she managed to turn her head. It made her nauseous, but it was worth it. Now she knew what caused the blipping sounds in the room. Some kind of machines. Monitoring something. Her? One of the machines was making a sound every time she took a breath. Was this thing helping her breathe? Why?

With much trouble, Regina managed to look down at her hand. There was something there too. Something sticking out of her hand. A needle. Regina believed that the correct term was ‘IV catheter’.

She tried shifting again. More throbbing followed. Throbbing in her head. Throbbing radiating from her ribs. And between her legs. Why did it hurt there? It didn’t make any sense. And why did it feel like her throat wasfull of flames? Burning. So terribly sore she could barely think about anything else.

Another faint ‘something’ flittered through Regina’s mind. Something about a staircase. Had she perhaps fallen down the stairs? No. No, she had been running up the stairs. Not down. Regina wasn’t the clumsy type. She didn’t trip on her way up the stairs. But she never ran up the stairs either. She was a walker. Not a runner. There had to have been a reason she had been running up the stairs, but what?

God, if only she could remember more!

Her entire body protested again as she turned her head once again. She could see a door. A white door. There was this muffled sound behind it. Voices, maybe?

Regina wanted to use her own voice. She wanted to call out and ask someone to please come in here and explain what had happened to her. But she couldn’t. Because there was a tube in her mouth.

Regina found it to become more and more irritating. She wanted it out of her mouth right now. So she did something unladylike. Tried to spit the blastered thing in her mouth out. She didn't succeed and just as well. She shouldn’t be spitting. Killian wouldn’t like that. Where was Killian? He should be here. She had been in an accident. He should be here. By her bedside. So why wasn’t he?

Things were making less and less sense to her. More than anything, she wished that she could rip the tube out of her mouth, sit up and get out of this bed. She didn’t like this. Felt unsafe. Was she starting to panic? Maybe.

Regina turned her head, looked back at the white, white ceiling. Her throat pulled tight, or so it felt. It hurt. The pain made tears well up in her sore eyes. Why were her eyes so sore? Regina found that she suddenly was capable of lifting her other hand. She brought it up to her face. Carefully touched the skin underneath her left eye. Ouch. It was all swollen and puffy. She winced. Whatever it was that had happened to her, had given her a right bang in the head.

She was thirsty. So thirsty. Her throat was dry, so dry. Maybe that was the reason why it hurt so bad. Or maybe it wasn’t. Surely, thirst couldn’t make the muscles contract this painfully, could it?

If only someone would come. Regina was scared of the beeping sounds from the machines. She was scared of her body and how she couldn’t get it to move or do her bidding. And mostly, she was scared of the tube in her throat that felt like it was going to choke her any moment.

Choke. Choke...

Something stirred in the back of Regina’s mind. Something she was certain was important, but she couldn’t seem to hold on to the memory. As soon as it had flittered past, it was gone again. Just like that. That scared her too. Regina had never suffered from amnesia or blackouts before. Maybe that was what had happened. Had she been driving and had a blackout? Crashed the car? Was she suffering from some mysterious, neurological condition?

Where was Henry?

Where was Killian?

Why wasn’t she surrounded by her family? Why was she all alone?

Was she.... Was she dying? Or was she perhaps already dead?

No. No don’t be silly, Regina. Of course she wasn’t dead. Dead wouldn’t be this painful. And her dad would have been waiting for her in some kind of way. She had to be alive. Alive but sore all over.

Terribly so. It felt a bit like flames every time she took a deep breath. Ouch. Her ribs were definitely more than bruised. They had to be broken. But how many of them? Regina couldn’t quite figure that out. All of them? No. No, not all of them. If that had been the case, she probably wouldn’t have been capable of breathing at all. And she was. Thankfully so.

Regina looked down at her left hand. She couldn’t look at the ceiling all the time. It was making the back of her neck hurt. And now that she was looking down at her hand, she suddenly noticed that her engagement ring seemed to be missing. There was a big, white spot where it normally sat. Why was her engagement ring gone? Killian wouldn’t like that. He wanted her to wear it all the time. But maybe he wouldn’t get so mad at her now that she was this sick. And he probably wouldn’t try to have sex with her either. Surely, her body wasn’t up for all that right now. Thank god. Regina was grateful.

Hopeful. This would definitely change things, right? When he came in and saw how ill she was, it would make him reflect and think about the things he had done to her. He’d change. He’d stop hitting her once and for all. He would finally find the right path and become the man he once had been. They would find the right path. This had to have happened for a reason. It had to be the turning point she had been waiting for.

Suddenly the white door was opened. The sound startled Regina and made her do something kind of involuntary jolt. She doesn’t like the sound it made when the door opened. But why? She couldn’t remember. And before she could make even the smallest attempt at holding onto the faint memory that flittered through her mind, Zelena stepped through the door. Regina might have had double vision, but she could see how tired her sister looked. There were deep dark circles under her eyes. Her normally so well-combed hair was unruly and bushy. She looked too pale. Zelena had always had a fair complexion, but this was a bit extreme. She looked exhausted. Regina was so confused. Zelena lived in Vancouver. Not in Montreal. Wasn’t Regina in Montreal right now? She had to be, right?

Regina was tired of not knowing of not having clue what was going on. She would get to the bottom of this once and for all. She’d ask her sister what the hell was going on. She lifted her right hand- she seemed to getting a little more control over herself- and brought it up to her mouth again. She found the plastic tube and wrapped her fingers around it with some trouble. Then she pulled. It hurt. And the tube didn’t move. She pulled again. A little harder. It sent jolts of pain through her throat, and it had her jerking violently on the bed.

The movement made Zelena look her way. She dropped something on the floor. Not something that could break, but Regina could hear liquid splatter onto the floor. Regina tugged at the tube again. It made her feel like she was choking. She just wanted it out of her mouth already, and she felt wave after wave of panic when she couldn’t. Her legs twitched underneath the blanket.

“No-no-no-no-no!” Zelena exclaimed, rushing to her side and grasping her hand, forcing her to let go of the tube. “Don’t pull at it, sweetie! The tube has to stay there!”

Regina blinked. To make her double vision go away, but also because she was confused. Sweetie? Since when did Zelena call her ‘sweetie’?

“Oh my god,” Zelena said thickly. “You’re awake! Thank god!” She squeezed Regina’s hand.

It didn’t feel good. Having her hand squeezed like that. It made Regina’s skin crawl, and she wiggled her hand until Zelena let go of it. Regina lifted her other hand and gestured to the tube in her mouth. Could Zelena please help her get it out? It made her throat hurt.

“I know the tube is irritating,” Zelena said gently. “But once Doctor Auburn comes to check on you, she might decide that you can be rid of it soon.”

Regina had no other option than to accept that. She probably shouldn’t try to yank it out of her mouth. She had a feeling that that would be idea. So she nodded and looked up at her sister. Right now, Zelena’s presence was a light in the darkness. The only thing that could comfort Regina right now. She was frightened, but she couldn’t remember why. And she was confused. The blank spaces in her memory made her anxious. The more she tried to remember, the more her head hurt. There was that flash of her head colliding with something. Slamming into something. Several times. But how? And why? God, there were so many things that didn’t make sense to her.

“I’m so relieved that you’re awake,” Zelena croaked. “I’ve been so... w-worried.” She sniffled, reached for Regina’s hand again.

Regina immediately jerked her hand away from the touch. The next second she was both shocked and appalled. Why? Why would she do that? Why would she not want her sister to hold her hand?

“Okay, it’s okay. I won’t touch you,” Zelena said. “I promise.”

There was so much pain in her voice when she said it. And not one bit surprise. Like she had expected Regina to react this way. Again, why? Why would she assume that Regina didn’t want to be touched?

Why did she know that Regina didn’t want to be touched when Regina didn’t?

Regina lifted her head slightly. Tried to say something but couldn’t with the tube in her mouth. She had to find a different way to communicate. She lifted her arms and gestured to her mouth, hoping that Zelena would understand what she was trying to say.

And Zelena did. “Hold on one second, little sis,” she said gently and reached down. Regina heard her fidget with something. There was a scratching sound of a zipper being tugged at. The sound made
Regina’s insides curl in on themselves. It reminded her of... something. The sound of the zipper intensified in her mind. Was the sound followed by another? A tearing sound. Fabric being torn apart. It didn’t make sense. Regina couldn’t hold on to the memory. It escaped her when Zelena presented her with something. A sheet of paper and a pencil. “Do you think you can write on this?” she asked gently.

Regina honestly wasn’t sure. Her hands trembled when she held on to the sheet of paper, and the pencil kept slipping between her fingers. Her usually neat handwriting looked like a right mess, but she still managed to write down a single word on the paper. ‘Henry?’. Nothing was more important than finding out where her son was. She tapped the sheet of paper and turned her head with some trouble to look at Zelena.

“Henry is here, sweetie,” Zelena said softly. “Do you want to see him?”

Regina shook her head. Not yet. Not when she was this confused and out of it. She raised the pencil again and scribbled another question underneath the first one: ‘Hospital?’

“Yes, sweetie. Hospital. In Toronto.” Zelena confirmed and was clearly biting her lip to hold her emotions back.

Regina frowned. Toronto? How did she get here? She lived in Montreal. Toronto was far away. She wrote another question. ‘How long?’. God, her handwriting looked awful!

“You’ve been here for a week. You’ve been.... You’ve been asleep. You were airlifted here.”

Regina was shocked. Airlifted?! A week?! She had been here for a week?! Why?! Her handwriting was getting worse and worse as she scribbled another question, but she needed answers: ‘accident?’

“I...” Zelena sniffled. “No. No, it wasn’t an accident, honey. Something bad happened, but it wasn’t an accident.”

Okay, now Regina was really confused. It was like the certainty that it wasn’t an accident, tickled something in the back of her mind. Something that refused to come to light. And it was making her dizzy, thinking about it. She had to focus on something else. And with the way her head throbbed, it wasn’t all that difficult. She scribbled again. ‘Head hurts. Concussion?’

“Yes, you have a concussion,” Zelena confirmed. “A pretty bad one, but the doctor says that you’re going to be okay.”

Okay. The pain in her head will stop. That was good. What about the rest of her then? ‘Throat hurts bad. Tube out please.’. Thinking about the intense, throbbing sensation in her throat all the more painful.

“The doctor will come in soon and check up on you. Then the tube will come out, I promise,” Zelena soothed.

Regina wasn’t satisfied. ‘Thirsty!!’. So, so thirsty. Her throat was all parched.

“As soon as the tube will come out you can have a little water,” Zelena promised.

Not exactly the answer Regina had hoped for, but she would take it. And she had another question for her sister now. ‘Killian here?’

Zelena’s features immediately darkened, and she appeared to be holding something else back as she said: “no, sweetie. No. He’s not here.”

The dismissive tone confused Regina and made her feel hurt. Why wasn’t her fiancé here? When she was this banged up? He should be. So why wasn’t he? The confusion made tears well up in her eyes and spill onto her cheeks and there was this ragged sound that could have been a sob if the tube hadn’t been in her mouth.

“Oh, sweetie, it’s going to be okay,” Zelena assured, reaching for her hand again, but once again, Regina jerked away from the touch. It wasn’t okay. Something was wrong, and she could feel it. It had to be something serious, but she was running out of options. She grasped the pencil and sheet of paper and began writing again. The pencil shook in her hand, and the words seemed to be all over the page, but she still managed to send her question into the universe. Meaning Zelena. ‘Am I going to die?’. Regina could think of no other reason why Zelena looked like that. What else could possibly have happened?

“No!” Zelena yelped as soon as she had read the question. “No, no, no, no! God, no! You’re going to be fine, do you hear me? Absolutely fine. You are NOT going to die!” she wiped her cheeks with the back of her hand.

Regina immediately breathed a little easier. She wasn’t going to die. That was a relief. But something was still wrong. She could feel it. Maybe... Maybe she would feel better once the tube had been removed from her throat. She took a deep breath and felt how it stung. That prompted another question. ‘Breathing hurts. Broken ribs?’

“Yes, you have some broken ribs,” Zelena said with a slight sniffle. “But they’ve been wrapped up tightly. They’ll heal. You just have to take it easy for a while.”

Regina nodded, and the movement made a spot on her shoulder ache. She closed her eyes and managed to hold onto a memory that flittered through her mind. Her shoulders being grabbed too tightly by strong hands. She must have a bruise there. But who grabbed her? And why? Her head hurt, but she was determined to hold onto whatever next flittered through her mind. Ritsj-ritsj. Material being torn apart. Clothes. Clothes being torn. Her... blouse? Yes. If she concentrated, Regina could see the buttons fly everywhere.

“Sweetie?” Zelena asked gently. “Can you tell me what you’re thinking about right now?”

No, Regina could not. But she could write it. And she did. ‘My blouse was ripped apart. The buttons landed on the floor.’

“Oh god,” Zelena said wetly. “Regina...”

Maybe she was saying something more, but Regina couldn’t seem to concentrate on it. She kept thinking about the ruined blouse. It had been ripped apart. Into two halves and then roughly thrown onto the floor. Her bra had been... red? Yes. Red. She had been wearing her new bra. The lace one that Killian had instructed her to choose. That had been a nice bra. What had happened to it? Had that been torn apart too? That would be a shame. Such fine material. Like her blouse. That had been silk. Silk wasn’t meant to be torn apart like that.

“I’m gonna send for the doctor, okay?” Zelena said gently, leaning forward and pressing a red button above Regina’s bed. “Maybe she'll get that nasty tube out of your mouth so you can have something to drink.”

Regina nodded eagerly. She really was very thirsty.

It didn’t take long before a doctor came into the room. She was tall. Had coiffed hair. Smiled at her. Regina couldn’t return the smile.

“Hello, Regina, I am Doctor Auburn,” she softly greeted her. “It’s good to see you awake. How are we feeling?”

Regina lifted a hand and gestured to the tube in her mouth. She wanted it out. Looked pleadingly up at the doctor.

“I know that the tube is very annoying,” Doctor Auburn said. “But we have to be sure you can breathe on your own before we remove it.”

Regina might be frowning a little bit. She COULD breathe on her own. And when that horrible tube was removed from her throat, she was gonna prove it!

“My sister is very thirsty,” Zelena interjected. “I think she’d like some water.”

Regina nodded in approval, tapping her throat slightly. It hurt so badly. The tube in it was making it hurt.

“And her throat is quite sore,” Zelena added.

“I understand. We’ll be running a few tests, and if everything looks good, we’ll remove the tube,” Doctor Auburn assured and smiled at her. “I’ll pop by in a moment. It really is good to see you awake, Regina.”

Regina supposed she would have to settle with that. She nodded vaguely, looked at the white ceiling again. The torn blouse haunted her. There was something about that blouse. She knew that clothes sometimes would have to be cut away to treat a patient, but her blouse hadn’t been cut with a scissor. It had been ripped apart. She remembered that. All the pearl buttons scattered across the floor. The... the bedroom floor. Back in Montreal. Another flash of something in her mind. So brief, but still there. She couldn’t hold on to it. She tried, but it was impossible. She was too tired. Too sore. Too... everything. But maybe when the horrible tube was gone, she would be able to concentrate and string thoughts together. For now, she settled for looking up at the ceiling.

“Are you sure you don’t want to see Henry?” Zelena asked gently. “He’s right outside with Chad.”

Regina shook her head. No, she didn’t want to see Henry. Not like this. Not when there was a tube sticking out of her mouth. She didn’t want to scare her son.

“I promised I would tell him as soon as you woke up,” Zelena continued. “Are you gonna be okay on your own for two minutes?”

Regina nodded. Yes. At least she thought so.

 

Getting the tube out of her mouth was exactly as uncomfortable as she had seen on “Grey’s Anatomy”. Doctor Auburn conducted her tests, and determined that Regina was capable of breathing on her own. The tube was pulled out of her mouth. Doctor Auburn was being very gentle, but it still felt extremely painful. Regina refused to let Zelena hold her hand and opted for squeezing the sheet instead.

Her throat burned and tightened. Tears sprung to Regina’s eyes. Tears of pain and relief when the tube finally was out of her mouth. She was asked to take deep breaths to prove that she could breathe on her own. And even though it was difficult, she did it. The tube was then replaced with a nasal cannula to give her lungs ‘a bit of extra help’.

“That’s better, isn’t it, Regina?” Doctor Auburn said kindly. “You did very well.”

Regina opened her mouth to answer, but no words came out of her mouth. Not even a whisper. She could feel her eyes widen and her hand instantly went to her throat. Why couldn’t she talk?!

“It’s because you’ve been intubated for so long,” Doctor Auburn soothed. “And because of the pressure on your windpipes. It’s only temporarily. Don’t you worry.”

Regina nodded. But she did worry. And wonder. Pressure on her windpipes? What pressure?

Doctor Auburn left her room, and Zelena moved her chair a little closer to Regina’s bed. “Are you sure you don’t want to see Henry, sweetie?”

Regina shook her head. She still felt out of it. Beside herself. The fog in her head had to clear before she could see her son. The loose ends had to come together. She needed clarity.

“Alright. It’s your decision,” Zelena said gently.

Regina licked her dry lips. Pointed to the word ‘water’ on the sheet of paper. Her throat was dry as sandpaper.

“Of course,” Zelena said, standing from the chair. “I’ll find you something to drink. I’ll be right back. Do you feel okay?”

Regina nodded. She felt... okay. Sore. Tired. But a kind of okay.

Zelena stood from her chair and left the room. Regina could hear the clack-clack-clack of her high heeled shoes as she disappeared down the hallway. Regina was alone in the room. Alone and confused.

It was like she was missing some major point. It was like everyone knew something except her. Regina could see it in their eyes. In Doctor Auburn’s eyes. In Zelena’s. The nurses. There was something wrong. Had she lost a limb or something? Regina carefully lifted one arm. Then the other. Then her left leg. A bit weak. But definitely still there. Same for her right leg. She had all her limbs still. And she wasn’t going to die. Henry was fine too. He hadn’t been involved in whatever accident she had been in. Then what could it be? What had happened to her that was so terrible no one wanted to tell her?

A door slammed somewhere down the hallway, and the sound made Regina jolt. It sent echoes right through her. A slamming door. She closed her eyes tightly. Saw her bedroom door back in Montreal.

Saw herself slam it shut and lean against it.

And that was when she remembered.

REMEMBERED.

It all came back to her. Not in flashes, but in red, hot angry waves that left her gasping for breath. She remembered her decision about finally leaving Killian. He had done the impossible. He had
threatened the only thing that truly mattered in this world. Her son. Her little prince. She remembered arranging that Henry went to Zelena’s place. She remembered saying goodbye to him. She remembered that he was excited about staying at his aunt. Chad came and picked him up so they could fly back to Toronto together. Regina remembered that she had considered going with them then and there, but she had dropped it because she wanted to pack her belongings. Photo albums. It had seemed important at the time. Making sure that Killian didn’t get his hands on anymore of her memories.

She remembered that she had stuffed a suitcase full of clothes. Her palms had been sweaty. And then Killian had come home. Earlier than expected, but in a good mood. Ironically enough. Somehow, that had encouraged Regina. She had thought that maybe this was the time she finally would get through to him once and for all.

She had told him that it was over. That she wished to break the engagement.

He had gone ballistic. Had grabbed her wrist too tightly and screamed in her face. Then he hit her. Again. And again. The memory was sharp in Regina’s mind. She could hear herself scream. Stop it, stop it, stop it, you’re hurting me! He hadn’t stopped. Instead he used his fists. Grabbed the back of her neck and slammed her head into a wall. It had been a blitz attack, and at first Regina had been more surprised than scared, really. He had never done that before. Stars were exploding behind her eyes. She had been on the brink of passing out, and he had taken advantage of that. He had grabbed her around the throat. Squeezed. Hard. Regina had hacked and coughed. Still reeling from having her head slammed into the wall. But then the survival instinct had kicked in. She had punched back. Had hit him square in the face, and poetically enough, her engagement ring had caught. His cheek had started bleeding, and he had roared like a wounded animal and grabbed his bloodied cheek. Regina had seen an opportunity. She had run. Up the stairs instead of out through the front door. She hadn’t... been thinking. She had locked the door and pushed her suitcase in front of it to barricade it. She had called the police.

He's going to kill me!

That was what she had screamed into the phone when someone answered. And the only thing she had gotten the chance to say before the door was kicked open. The suitcase had been sent flying into the nearest wall, and Killian came charging in. He grabbed her. Twisted her arm. Slammed her head into the wall again. And again. Lights popping behind her eyes. Star lights.

His voice in her ear. ‘You fucking bitch! I’ll make you regret you were ever born!’. He spun her around and ripped her blouse open. Buttons were flying onto the floor. The blouse were yanked off of her body. He pushed her onto the floor. Ripped her shirt off of her with one hand and opened his pants with the other. Yanked her underwear down and forced her legs apart.

Then he was above her. Inside her. He was hard. Of course he was. Hurting her was what he enjoyed most. The tearing pain had been excruciating. The feeling of blood trickling down her legs.

He was weighing her down. Groping her too roughly.

Fingers digging into the soft skin on her hips. The same very spot he once upon a time had kissed so gently.

Regina had screamed. He had been spurred on by this. Groaning and moaning and breathing insults in her ear. ‘You like this, you stupid bitch? This drives you wild, doesn’t it? Oh yes, just keep screaming, babe. No one’s around to hear you!’. Regina had switched tactic to pleading instead. Begged him to leave her alone. And she had fought like hell! He had held her down, but there had been a moment of weakness where his grip went slack and his moans and groans more guttural. That’s when Regina had struck. She had hiked her knee up and slammed it right into his ribcage. Killian roared and tumbled off of her. Regina had tried to get on her feet, but she was weak. Bleeding between her legs. Bleeding from her lip where he had hit her. And it didn’t take long before Killian had recovered.

He had kicked her. In the ribs. Regina had wheezed and nearly vomited from the burning pain in her ribs and between her legs. She had been too weak to fight back.

Killian had grabbed her by the hair. Yanked her up and forced her back on her feet. The bedroom had blurred completely before her eyes.

I’m tired of listening to your bullshit, you stupid, ugly bitch! I’m gonna make sure you’ll stay silent forever!’

That’s what he had hissed in her ear. Regina had felt something cool around her neck. Leather. A belt. She had barely registered it before Killian started to tighten it around her neck.

Tighter and tighter.

Regina had clawed and clawed at the belt. She had fought to breathe, but the oxygen was leaving her quickly. The fighter instinct was leaving her. She started to become numb. Suddenly she was no longer in the bedroom with the belt around her neck. She was walking down the street with Henry by her side. The sun was shining, and they were eating ice cream and talking and laughing.

I love you, Henry.

I love you too, mom!

This was the end. She was going to die at the hands of Killian Jones. A man she once had loved. The prince turned monster. The bedroom started to blur before her eyes.

Bang! A door being slammed open.

‘Police! Let her go!’

Regina couldn’t remember anything past that. And suddenly she was back in the hospital room. Back in the bed. She was trembling. When had she started to tremble? Her body had moved on its own accord. Her knees had been drawn up to her chest. She had curled up in a tight ball. A tight, shaking ball. Rocking back and forward, back and forward.

How was she alive? How?

The door to her hospital room was opened. The sound had Regina jolting again. Tears sprung in her eyes and she hugged herself tighter. Couldn’t stop shaking. Was that him coming back for her? Coming back to finish what he’d started? Coming back to rape her again...

“Regina?”

It wasn’t him. It was Zelena. And she would never hurt her. Deep down, Regina knew that, but right now she couldn’t stop thinking about the sound it made when Killian kicked the door down and came for her. She was back on the bedroom floor. Back to fighting for her life while he was on top of her. The breath hitched in her burning throat. Every inch of her was still trembling.

“Regina? Sweetie?”

Even if the tube hadn’t left her unable to speak, Regina couldn’t have answered. She felt completely raw. Afraid. Aching. And at the same unable to fully grasp it. That she had... That she had been beaten by Killian.

The very same man she once upon a time had given her heart to.

And he had promised to keep it safe.

He had promised...

“Regina?”

A hand was put on her shoulder. Very gently, but every last memory about having been hit by Killian flared up within Regina and she squirmed away from the touch so abruptly she nearly fell out of bed.

No one could touch her! Never again!

“Oh god....” Zelena’s voice was thick with emotion. “You remember, don’t you?”

Regina released a ragged breath. Body shaking worse than ever. She could feel him all over her. Groping and hurting her. She could feel the belt tighten around her neck, and she made a sound that could have been a dry heave. Or a gag. By now, her rocking back and forward was making her dizzy.

“Regina! Regina, listen to me,” Zelena said. “He’ll never be able to hurt you again! Not ever!”

That might be the case, but it was too late. Regina wanted to tell her sister that. He already had hurt her. He had said that he was going to kill her. And in many ways, he had. A piece of her had died that night in the bedroom. The very last shred of hope and optimism. The last echo of the wide eyed girl she once had been. The wide eyed girl who still believed that love could conquer everything.

She had been wrong. So, so very wrong! Her mistake had cost her everything. She would never trust anyone ever again.

She wanted the earth to open up and swallow her whole. She wanted to disappear forever.

She wished that she never had woken up.

Because how could she possibly live with this?

She would never be the same person ever again.

It was becoming increasingly difficult for her to breathe. She was wound tight. Rocking back and forward as the phantom belt kept tightening and tightening around her throat. He was here in the hospital room with her. Grinning menacingly at her as he slowly choked the life out of her with the belt.

The world shifted. Killian’s shadow disappeared from the room, but the belt was still very much around her neck. She wasn’t rocking back and forward anymore. She was thrashing in the bed, clawing at her throat, puncturing the skin with her fingernails, but barely registering the pain. She had to get the belt off! Had to get it off, had to get it off, had to get it off... She was screaming, but not a sound was coming out of her mouth.

The machinery monitoring her heartbeat and pulse was beeping loudly.

Regina was vaguely aware that Zelena had jumped to her feet and was now slamming her finger down on the red alarm button again and again whilst yelling for help. ‘She’s going into shock, she’s going into shock!’

The door was slammed open again. Doctor Auburn stormed into the room followed by two nurses. She was calling out for Regina. Asking her to ‘stay’ with her. To listen to her.

But Regina couldn’t stay. Couldn’t listen. She had to get the belt off her neck! She was choking! Why couldn’t anyone see that?! Why weren’t they helping her?!

Someone took her arm, and Regina saw her own leg kick upwards. He was holding her down again! He was going to kill her! She had to fight back! She had to do something! Anything!

A sharp pricking in her arm. Zelena’s face became sharp in her vision for a moment. She was talking. ‘It’s okay, it’s okay. It’s going to be okay!’.

Regina couldn’t fight. Something was making her feel heavy. But at the same time it was becoming easier to breathe. The belt loosened around her neck.

Zelena took her hand, and this time Regina didn’t protest. She recognized her sister’s hand. And her voice. ‘It’s okay, sweetie. It’s gone now. You can breathe now.’

And she could. Regina understood that someone had loosened the belt and removed it from her throat. Thank god. The machinery next to her stopped beeping. The voices around her grew muffled. She felt Zelena’s hand on her forehead. Brushing her hair away like Regina was a little girl. The blanket was being tugged up past her shoulders. Zelena again. She was talking. ‘Get some rest, honey. I’ll stay right here. I’m not going anywhere, I promise. I’m so sorry, Regina. I am so, so sorry I wasn’t there when you needed me the most! I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you!’

Protect her? From what? What was Zelena talking about? Regina didn’t know. The warm, pleasant feeling in her body overshadowed everything else. She felt heavy. Sleepy. Her eyelids drooped. She had to surrender to the feeling.

Then nothing. Absolutely nothing. Blessed nothing.

 

To Be Continued.........