23:00, a storm was brewing. The sky was pitch black with stars evenly and beautifully spread, pillows of dark clouds forming wondrous shapes. Billie Miles found herself driving home later than usual after a long day of work. She had spent over fifteen hours working on a murder case, trying to get all of the paperwork straight after a difficult week. Classic FM was playing when her phone began to ring.
"Mark, I can't talk now, I'm driving," she answered, holding her phone to her left ear. "I told you I was running late, you don't have to keep calling me every 10 bloody minutes!" She began to squint her eyes. She could see something just up ahead but couldn't work out what it was. "Look, I'll call you back in..." A little girl in a pink raincoat suddenly became visible in the headlights. "SHIT!" Billie dropped her phone and slammed both feet on the breaks. The little girl was coming closer and the car wasn't slowing down. Billie began to turn the wheel in order to miss the child. The car wheels locked. Billies' heart was in her mouth. The car skidded and then tipped over. Rolling, rolling. She screamed. The car ripped through the road barriers and fell 5ft into a small ditch, finally coming to a halt.
Gasping, Billie slowly opened her eyes. Blood was running down her face from her forehead. She found herself hanging upside down, still strapped to the driver's seat. She heard crackling and looked to the roof of the car which lay flat on the ground. Electrical wires from the car had escaped their casing due to the crash. The wires lay fizzing away, sparks flying. Lightning from the storm had finally begun in streaks, thunder booming occasionally.
"Shit." She murmured. She reached out for the wires in a bid to try and throw it out of the car window so she could unclip herself from the seat and escape the car safely. She grabbed the wire. "GAHHH!!!" She screamed and her body began to convulse, the wire sticking to her hand like glue, and at that exact moment, a huge lightning bolt came crashing down on her car. Through the metal and into her flesh, two lots of electrical currents scorching their way through her bloodstream. She could feel every fibre of her body begin to burn, moving and thrusting against her will while her throat closed up, stopping any more noise escaping her lips. Lights and sparks flashed around the car and her shaking body until...
Billie began to rouse over.
"Jane Doe, found in a car that had tipped upside down into a ditch, evidence of electrocution, faint pulse, BP 130 over 80, she's gone into hypertension..."
The hospital talk continued as she lay in a bed being wheeled down a blue and white corridor. Lights above her head passed quickly. Everything was a blur, and then...
The world slowly came into view as Billie opened her heavy eyes. She looked around and instantly knew where she was. Hospital.
"Hello?" She called out, her voice trembling and croaky.
"Ah, Miss Billie Miles." A man in a shirt, tie and white coat walked into the room. "Nice to finally see you awake."
"Why am I here?"
"You had a very nasty car accident. For a while, we weren't sure you were going to make it. You've been in an induced coma for 3 weeks."
"We were actually hoping you could answer that for us."
"I'm sorry. I don't remember a thing. Just flashes of light. All I can see is sparks."
"Ah, yes. You were reported to have had a run-in with electricity. You were found unconscious but convulsing, all while holding onto a live cable and strapped into the driver's seat. It is also believed you were struck by lightning due to the scarring on and through your skin, as well as impact residue on the car; an extremely unlucky ordeal. I must admit, this is a very rare case. In fact, I think this is the only case where someone has actually survived to tell the tale. In all honesty, you shouldn't be here. You're an anomaly of our time, Miss Miles."
"How did I survive?"
"We really don't know. I guess you just got lucky. A guardian angel, maybe?" He paused. "I'm just going to check your vitals if that's okay?"
"Uh, yes, yes of course," she stuttered slightly. The doctor walked toward her and released his stethoscope from around his neck, placed the earpieces into his ears and the drum onto Billie's chest. The coldness of the instrument gave her a quick shock, causing her to grab hold of the doctor's wrist. In that instant, her vision began to blur, and new images came to life. She could see the doctor on his phone walking the streets. He came to a crossing but didn't stop. A car was approaching at high speed. The wheels started to screech across the road and the doctor looked up, his eyes widened with fear, until...
Billie let go of his wrist and gasped for air.
"Are you okay?" The doctor asked, taking the stethoscope away from her chest.
"Yes, I just came over a little dizzy." She struggled for words. What the hell was that? Why would she envision such an awful event?
"Would you like something to calm you?"
"No, thank you." She paused for thought. "Do you know when I can get out of here?"
"You've had a very nasty run-in with death and escaped unscathed, I think you'll be here a while yet."
"But I have cases to work on. I have a killer to find!"
"Ah yes, you're a detective. I'm sure your boss will understand the circumstances. There is no way you could possibly go back to work this soon after waking from a coma."
"But I promised the victim I would find the person who killed her and give her justice."
"Well seeing as your victim is no longer with us, I'm sure they wouldn't notice nor mind you taking a few weeks off for rest."
"I've already rested, for three weeks! Either you discharge me or I'll do it myself!" She started ripping feeding tubes, drips and the catheter from her body, causing blood to squirt out.
"Please, Miss Miles, you need to calm down and stop, otherwise I'm going to have to call a psychiatrist and administer some Diazepam." He tried holding her down but, through his astonishment, she managed to muster the strength to kick him away and force her way out of the room she was being kept in. He rushed to press the alarm and then followed after her. "Miss Miles! Security is on there way. There is no way I can let you leave like this!"
"Bite my arse! I'm getting out of here." She started to run, faster than she had ever done before, and within minutes she was out of the hospital. The doctor and security lost her, leaving them with no choice but to inform the authorities of her escape and the desperation to admit her back into the hospital before she caused any more damage to her fragile body.
Unbeknownst to the doctor and the rest of the hospital staff, Billie was hiding in a bush a few metres away from the hospital. The doctor picked up his phone and began talking.
"We would like to report an escaped patient. She is in a very bad way, seems emotionally unstable. She has just awoken from a 3 week induced coma and we are concerned for her safety. Could we put an APB out for her, please? Her name is Billie Miles, 32 years old, short blonde hair, and she is currently wearing a hospital gown, no shoes on." As he continued talking, he decided to branch out the search for her himself and began to cross the road. Billie looked on as her heart began to pound heavily against her chest.
"No," she whispered to herself. "It can't be!"
A red car was on a collision course toward the doctor. He looked up at the startling sound of screeching tires, dropped his phone in fear and panic, and then...
A loud thud. The doctor was hit head-on. His body went limp as he flew over the car bonnet. He rolled across the roof until finally falling to the ground. His arm was clearly broken, and blood poured from the back of his head. Hospital staff rushed out in a blaze of panic, but it was too late. The doctor died on impact. All attempts to resuscitate him had failed. Billie felt physically sick. She saw this. She knew what was going to happen. And the worst part? It was her fault! She had to get out of there.
She couldn't go home. That would be the first place authorities would search. She eventually found herself booking into a run-down B&B, no ID, no questions asked, a great place for fugitives of the law to hide...or at least for her anyway. A police detective on the run, all because she wanted to discharge herself from the hospital. What a mess, she thought. She found some old clothes in the closet of her temporary accommodation, one size too big, but a lot better than an opened back hospital gown.
The sun was starting to rise. Billie had been awake the entire night and managed to book out a computer from the library nearby. A quick sneak in with her hood up, a signature, and back out with a laptop ready to solve the murder of her most recent case. The victim was a 17-year-old girl who was found washed up by the river in a black bin bag. No prints were found and the murder scene was yet to be confirmed. For now, all they had to go on was how she died and where she was found.
There were 3 stab wounds to her chest, with further evidence of a struggle: a black eye, cut lip, broken nose, and bloody fingernails. The last thing Billie remembered from the night of the crash was that the blood under her fingernails came back inconclusive. A spanner in the works if there ever was one. Billie opened up a news article that reported on the murder of the 17-year-old girl. Cleo Sugden. She had not long celebrated her school prom before her untimely demise. The case felt close to Billie's heart due to the loss of her own daughter ten years ago. The loss of a child never leaves you, and so she promised the victim and her family she would find the killer and bring them to justice.
A picture of Cleo was placed at the end of the article. She was beaming from ear to ear. Billie put her hand to the screen, reaching out to the young victim like something was drawing her to the image. She touched the picture...
"NO! NATHEN, NO!" Cleo screamed in fear. Her brother was furious with her, holding her by the arms and shaking. A slap. A punch. "PLASE NATHEN!" She begged, tears and blood streaming down her face.
"YOU SLUT! THIS IS FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!" Nathen pulled a knife from the kitchen drawer. Cleo screamed again, but it was too late...
"AHHH!" Billie gasped for air like before, her heart pounding, her mind spinning. "What the fuck was that?" She yelled at herself. "What the fuck is going on?" She started to cry.
BANG. BANG. BANG.
The door to her rented room.
"Police! We know you're in there Billie. Please, just come out slowly and everything will be okay. We know you are hurt. We have to get you back to the hospital!"
"I know who did it!" She rushed to the door and swung it open. "I know who killed Cleo Sugden."
"I'm sure you do but for now you have to come with us." It was the police Sargent, and he had no plans of listening to Billie any time soon.
"No, you have to listen to me!" She yelled.
"Cuff her. She's not complying." An officer stepped forward with cuffs, obeying their Sargent. Mike, her partner.
"No!! Mike! You know me!! I don't need handcuffs. I know who killed Cleo!"
"I'm sorry," Mike sighed.
"No, please! It was her brother!" Mike forced the cuffs around Billie's wrists, but she continued to kick and scream as they dragged her away from the apartment. "It was Nathen! Nathen Sugden. Her brother stabbed her. He killed her and dumped her body in the river! You must listen to me!!!" But she was met with silence and immediately carted off in a police car.
Back at the hospital, Billie lay in her own cordoned off room, police patrolling the area to ensure she didn't escape. Her left hand was cuffed to the hospital bed. How was she, a well-known detective, being treated like a criminal. Nothing was making any sense. Why was she seeing peoples deaths? It must be something to do with the crash. No wonder why everyone thought she was crazy; she started to believe she was crazy herself, until...
"Hey, Billie." Mike walked into the room.
"Mike. What are you doing here?"
"I came to check my partner in crime was okay. And to update you." He sat on the edge of her bed.
"Update me on what?"
"You was right."
"It was Cleo's brother, Nathen. We got a warrant to search his home after your big reveal. Forensics found her blood under UV light, enough blood loss to cause death. The knife he used was still in the sink, covered in her blood. We took Nathen in and he confessed to it all. Apparently, he found out Cleo had had sex with her classmate on the night of the prom, and being religious, Nathan saw red and had to punish and sacrifice her in the name of God, otherwise, the rest of the family would have to pay for her sins. A sacrificial death. How did you figure it out?"
"I don't know. I just saw it in my head. Like I saw the doctor get run over before it even happened." She rubbed her head, it was pounding.
"You saw it in your head?" His face showed his confusion.
"It must have something to do with the lightning strike in the crash I had. I really don't know, but I can see deaths before and after they take place, just at the touch of a victim."
"Well, I believe you. But don't repeat it to your psychiatrist, your next room might end up being padded."
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