By Genevieve Mills–
She really does not like her new roommate.
The roommate, whose name Elizabeth cannot remember, one of the many things she cannot remember since the Accident, is never blatantly rude to her, but it’s the little things. Things like turning on the lights whenever she comes in, without checking to see if Elizabeth’s asleep, and taking up far more than half the space in the tiny dorm room, and never turning her TV off.
But Elizabeth supposes she is not the best roommate either. After all, she keeps having nightmares of the Accident, nightmares so bad that she wakes up shrieking but all she can remember of them is blood, everywhere. She knows that her screams wake her roommate up, and she tries to apologize, but each time the other girl just shakes her head, face white, clutching the blankets to her face until she rolls over and goes back to sleep. Elizabeth can never go back to sleep, so she goes down the hall, gets a drink of water, maybe takes a nice relaxing shower. She likes her dorm in the middle of the night, with no rude girls that bump into her and don’t apologize, and never smile back at her when she tries to say hello.
Sometimes Elizabeth tries to remember the Accident, but all she really remembers is the blood, and then bits of the hospital: her mom crying, her former-roommate panicking, doctors and nurses and clinical jargon. She must have amnesia, but she doesn’t even remember a doctor telling her that.
She really does not like her roommate, but she feels a little bit sorry for her. Because she’s noticing that since the school year started, her roommate has been getting more and more stressed. It started with just some bags under her eyes from lack of sleep, but now Elizabeth notices how the girl has lost weight. She starts leaving food around for her, with a nice note if she remembers, but later she finds the food in the trash. Whenever Elizabeth tries to talk to her about it, she just flinches before she can get past “Hi” and scurries out of the dorm. She starts sleeping with earplugs, and so Elizabeth’s screams don’t wake her up every night, but she still seems pale, thin, and stressed. There’s an air of panic about her, and one day Elizabeth stands outside the door and listens to her roommate’s cell phone-conversation with her mother, and hears the words “crazy”, “seeing things”, and “blood everywhere”.
Elizabeth feels bad about the blood, really she does, but she can’t help that either. She just seems to cut herself all the time, and she can’t always remember how, sometimes paper-cuts, sometimes nicking herself shaving, but every time it just won’t stop bleeding and she ends up dripping blood on the floor. She tries to clean it all up, but she seems to always forget at least a drop.
Then her roommate gets worse. She brings boys home every night, and leaves her things all over their room. So Elizabeth stops trying to be considerate, doesn’t bother cleaning up the blood, just throws the girl’s stuff across the room back onto her side, and has nightmares every night. At this, her roommate stops coming back to the dorm, only darting in occasionally to grab a textbook and leave, which Elizabeth is absolutely fine with, the girl was a jerk anyway.
The final straw is when her roommate stumbles in, drunk, and flips the light on, waking Elizabeth up at four in the morning. She has had it, and so she gets out of bed and just starts screaming at her, telling her all the things she does wrong, and her roommate, a weird look of terror and rage on her face, screams back. The RA hears them, and unlocks the door herself when they refuse to let her in. Elizabeth is still shouting, about personal space and consideration, and her roommate is shouting right back, about how she should just go away, when the RA comes in, looks at the girl, and, seeming confused, tries to calm her down.
But Elizabeth and her roommate won’t calm down, and so the RA comes back with reinforcements, the security guard from the desk, and drag her roommate away, the girl’s arms flailing and legs kicking wildly.
She never sees her roommate again, just hears the other girls in the hall talk about her. Things like “psycho” and “I never heard any screaming” and “imaginary blood”. They never say anything to Elizabeth, never even acknowledge her, but it seems like they’re on her side.
“Wait, wasn’t she living in the room where that girl died last year?” Elizabeth overhears one of her floor-mates say to the other.
“Yeah. That girl that had an accident, like, fell and broke her head open or something.”
“That’s horrible! People in that room must have the worst luck.”
“Yeah, it’s like, haunted or something.”
“Haunted? Yeah right.”
Photo: Flickr/The Raggedy-man