STUBBORN:

The Emotion of Complete and Utter Ignorance

"It's simple. One foot in front the other, Kylie."

I took a breath, fighting back the urge to tell him it was Ky. My Dad had a hard enough time as it was with my...mother...and me.

So here I was, taking my first steps-well, technically not my first steps, but it sure felt like it. A few days had passed since the morning from when I had first awoken from my coma, and my father was teaching me how to walk again. Miraculously, from all the unanswered questions swirling around in my emptied mind, I had fallen asleep almost instantly from when I had closed my eyes. Dad said it was because my medication could cause fatigue. I wasn't sure if it was as simple as that.

"Once you relearn how to walk, you'll be back to school in no time," Dad told me with a reassuring smile. I returned his warm gesture, grasping the edges of the table as I slowly slid off the top. I wiggled my toes, preparing myself as my feet dropped onto the cool tile. I took a breath, my knuckles white as I released the table.

My legs wobbled like Jell-O as the tile floor came into view way to fast. I felt my dad's arms around me, breaking my fall.

"I gotcha," he grunted, setting me back on my feet. I nodded my thanks, waiting for his tight grip to stop squeezing my forearms. Independence was a key in walking-well, I figured anyways. I couldn't remember a time I did walk. If Dad could do it, so could I.

One foot in front the other. One foot in front the other. This mediocre attempt would be slowly paced. I held my breath, my knees trembling when my right foot left the safety of the tile. I tottered, quickly regaining my balance when my legs threatened to give out on me. One foot in front the other. One foot in front the other. I could do this.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" Dad asked, his voice tight with worry. I nodded, not meeting his eyes. One foot in front the other. Right.

My first steps. I watched my feet in awe as they moved, wondering how such tiny features of the body could support my weight. Dad trailed closely behind me and I couldn't help but feel like a toddler. One foot in front the other. One foot after the other, I was soon across the room and heading out the door. I stopped dead in my tracks when I met a flight of stairs. My eyes widened.

"Oh boy," I exhaled.

"Ky?"

"I-I can do this." I assured him. "I need to."

"Okay. Just hold onto the rail for me, Dear."

One foot in front the other. That saying was sure getting old. I gripped the railing with my good hand, slowly making my way up each step. As always, Dad was right on my tail, repeating my footsteps, his eyes calculating as if he was making mental notes.

"How are you feeling?"

"I'm fine."

"I know you're fine," Dad acknowledged. "But give me your emotional climate."

Ten steps away from the top. I had to do it...I had to...

"Ky? You haven't answered my question,"

I panted as sudden wave of fatigue washed over me. Ten more steps and I would have made it-

"Kylie? Are you alright?"

"Don't fuss over me," I managed to whisper as I waved him away, slowly turning to grip the rail with both hands. I gasped for breath, wondering where this sudden languor had come from.

"Let's go back down, okay?" Dad's voice sounded almost as exhausted as mine as he grabbed my shoulder.

"I can do this!" Once again, I slipped out of his grip, teetering lightheadedly. He clutched my arm again, this time his grip more secure.

"I really think we should get you sitting back down..."

I panted, nodding. "Maybe that is a good idea,"

I made to walk down the stairs, but my dad scooped me up, carrying me back to my table. I didn't complain for the exhaustion seemed to have taken control of my tongue also.

"Dad…" I started but I was interrupted.

"You overexerted yourself," he responded quickly. He then took out his clipboard and a silver box.

"What are you-?" I was cut off once again as he checked my blood pressure and pulse.

"I need to check your vital signs to make sure you're healthy," he said. Dad's pen sprinted across the paper on the clipboard as he continued on with the check-up. He checked my breathing with a stethoscope and then my reflexes.

"Perfectly healthy," he finished with a smile and a glimmer of triumph in his eyes. I stared at him, curious why he seemed to look so demonic and hungry for facts.

"Can we try again now?"

"Try what?"

"The stairs,"

My father shook his head, his eyes not leaving his clipboard as he scribbled. "No, not right now. You need to rest."

I ignored the weight tugging on my eyelids, forcing them open so I could shoot my dad a look. "Dad I want to try again."

"No, Kylie,"

"Dad-"

He gave me a firm glance, shaking his head. The corners of his lips twitched as if he was fighting back a grin as he wrote faster.

I was squinting, my vision beginning to grow black as I fixated on a miniscule dot on the faraway ceiling. "But…"

I couldn't get another protest out before me head clunked back on the table and a snore emerged from my lips as I plunged into unconsciousness.

~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~

I didn't understand what was so bad about getting up during the passing time. Time seemed endless in the sterile dungeon that my father called his lab. I slept the lingering hours away, lethargic with boredom. I was often left to my own devices, tethered to my table by the hip guard my father put on as I slept. The nonexistent seizures he warned me of never came. My stomach growled constantly, the meals my father did supply never keeping me full for long. I spent my time sitting half-way up, resisting the pull of the cuff as I memorized each and every detail of the high-roofed room. This activity became very tedious for I already knew each nook and cranny of my lugubrious prison the first time I had scanned the room. It was all permanently welded into my memory.

Impulsive and itching for something else to examine and "explore" resulted in the boredom, which in turn resulted in sleeping. The repose led to the slothful attitude.

I awoke from my doze, my stomach roaring with hunger. My eyes shot to my abdomen as I yawned and slumped up, propped up on my hands. I groaned, irritated at my constant desire for supplements. I stopped abruptly noticing a nick in the strap around my hips. I focused in my vision on it, calculating the length of the minute crack. I placed a finger on the diminutive gash, following the cut diagonally down the surface of the metal. My heart raced as my mind whirled. I could get out of here in a fraction of a second if I positioned my hand correctly. But my father would get mad if I did for he was the one who ordered me to stay put. I drew in a breath, tasting the air around me. I could smell the food upstairs. My stomach replied with a bellow and my mind was set. The positives outweighed the negatives.

I gripped the tool of my isolation, flexing my wrist to the right as power surged though my arm down to my fingertips. With a screech and crack, the cuff broke in two. I stifled a laugh at my own brilliance, grinning as I pushed the two halves apart. I slipped off the table, steadying myself with the table edge.

My legs wobbled as I moved up the stairs and I pushed away the weariness to the back of my mind. I gripped the railing, my steps silent. At the top I opened the door, inhaling a breath of freedom.

I beamed, my eyes spinning in their sockets as they flitted over each detail of the new room. A square room with dark furniture, validated certificates decorating the pale walls, an array of books and folders jam-packed with papers shoved into bookshelves...

My knees were trembling as the exhaustion emerged from the corners of my brain, rapidly consuming my consciousness. A pang of fear hit me, glueing me to the spot where I stood.

"Dad?" I called. My arms twitched with weakness. "Dad?!"

"Kylie?" His pounding footsteps struck my ears as he thundered down the stairs. He emerged into the edge of my peripheral vision and I turned to meet him, releasing the railing to reach for him.

My legs gave out from under me as I toppled backwards, my head crashing against a stair. The basement rushed much to fast into my vision, obscuring my shrieking father. My elbow banged against one step, my knees hitting the next while head hammered against another. I crashed into the ground, finally stationary.

The pain took a second to register over the shock of my fall and the fatigue. Something hot and wet was tricking down my face. I raised a battered arm as touched my forehead, my hand coming back painted with gore.

"Kylie!" Three of my fathers hovered over me. I laughed, groping out for the rocking men.

"How could you be so stupid, Kylie? What were you thinking? You're much smarter than that! Just look at you! I told you not to come upstairs without me! Why didn't you listen? How on earth did you get out?"

"Whoa is-is this twenty questions or something?" I slurred, giddy with foreign joy. My hand found the middle father's face, splattering his cheek with blood. I giggled at the hand print, tracing his nose. "I broke out, silly!"

The dads turned their head simultaneously, glancing at the twisted metal.

"Don't ever scare me again like this, you hear me? You could have been killed! How could you be such a child?"

Sorrow melted my gaiety, my insides empty and numb.

"'Srry," I replied, my eyes prickling. "I'm s-s-sorry."

"You better be," my father grumbled as the drowsiness overwhelmed me and the bodies merged to one anger stricken doctor. I blinked as my heavy eyes closed, shutting out the pain from my fall. I welcomed the darkness.