Golden Age, Episode 6, Part 3
People always talk about where they were when they first heard about The Correspondent. She came out of nowhere and tried to make a difference. Some saw her as a beacon of hope, others as a sign of how far down the slope we had come. I never paid attention to all of that. I was too busy. Too busy working to pay my bills, too busy trying to figure out life. I was seventeen when it started. I was The Correspondent. This is my story.
I was a zombie at school. I went through the motions of a high school student, but I could barely keep my eyes open. My classes flew by and drug on at the same time. Shelby was a notable absence from my day and I felt guilty for getting him involved. After school I was supposed to go to the police station to talk to Mendez, but instead I went to the hospital.
Going to the hospital pulled up all of the emotions I had packed down when my dad was shot. Walking through the door a flood of despair and sadness filled me. I felt tears fill my eyes, which I quickly wipped away. I needed to be strong for Shelby.
Figuring out what room he was in was easy, finding the floor was hard. The hospital was divided up into four section by letter and each letter had numerous floors. Shelby’s room was A333 and I went to B333 instead. A helpful nurse pointed me in the right direction and I was finally standing outside his closed door.
I stood in front of the door for five minutes, building up the courage to knock. As I gave up and turned away, the door opened. Stepping outside the door was Mrs. Phillips, cellphone in hand, looking like she was on a mission. I gave her a small wave and she stopped, a look of surprise on her face.
“Hey, Mrs. Phillips,” I said, trying to smile.
“Ellie?” she asked.
“He has been asking for you,” she pointed towards the hospital room, “I had just gotten your phone number out of his phone to call you.”
“Oh,” was all I could manage as she ushered me into the room.
Shelby had changed. His hair was stark white and when he looked towards the door I could see that his eyes had no color. His skin was covered in fine wrinkles, making him look far older than his seventeen years. I sat down next to him and took his hand. Glancing around I noticed that he wasn’t hooked up to any machines and no IVs ran from his arms.
“Hey Shelby,” I said, keeping my voice even.
“Ellie,” he said, a broad smile lighting up his face.
“I’ll leave you two alone,” Mrs. Phillips said, exiting the room, somehow making it awkward.
Silence filled the room. The chair I was sitting in was too hard and the smell of antiseptic overwhelmed my nose. I wiped my nose as it started running. Why was it so weird to be here with Shelby?
“How are you feeling?” I asked, just to break the silence.
“I’m feeling good,” he said, “The docs want me to stay for a while longer, they don’t know what is wrong with me.”
“Apparently, whatever was in the collar made me age at a rapid pace,” he motioned to his hair, “My hair is a perfect example, they ran tests and I have the hair of an eighty-year-old.”
“Yeah,” he said, followed by a pause, “Why were you there?”
Dylan Reed has always been interested in a good story. Raised without a TV he spent a lot of time with books and loves reading. Dylan has been a professional entertainer, studied commercial diving, and loves random trivia. He brings all of this and more together in his stories.