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This is just a little one shot about Josh during his recovery. It’s been sitting on my laptop with nowhere to go since November last year. This is the first thing I ever wrote, before I got into writing Blind Sided. I originally intended it to be part of the Blind Sided story as a flashback, but in the end, I never put it in because it just didn’t seem to fit anywhere. I wasn’t sure about posting this as I wrote it last year, and the time for this storyline has kind of passed, but KittCatt has persuaded me to post it anyway. So here it is. I hope you enjoy it!





Type of Fic: One Shot

Main Characters: Josh, Andy, Evie, Hannah.

Genre: Drama 

BTTB Rating:  T/A

Warnings: No

Does it contain spoilers: No

Summary: Josh has just woken from his coma but he is unable to communicate in any way and the doctors all think that he’s in a vegetative state and simply unresponsive. In reality, he is ‘locked in’.



'I can't move!  Why can't I move?' thought Josh, 'I can hear Hannah and Andy, and I think that's Evie?'. He could hear them but he couldn't see them. 'It's so dark in here. I don’t know where we are', he thought to himself feeling frightened and disoriented.  He felt dizzy and strange, like coming out of an anaesthetic. There was a raw feeling in his stomach and his throat felt like it had been burnt. It hurt to breathe in. His body felt strange, like every part of him was glued down. He tried to move his head but it felt like lead. Then it hit him. He must be in hospital! There was something wrong with him and he was in hospital, and Andy and Evie were there.... and he couldn't remember how he got there...

'Oh God, what's happened?!' cried his inner voice, feeling a rising sense of panic. 'Okay calm down! Think Josh, think! What's the last thing you remember?... Evie! Evie was in trouble, Tank had her somewhere, the text message, the map. I needed to find her!'. But he could hear her now, beside him, so she must have been ok? He couldn't remember anything after that, everything a fog.

He was trying to concentrate on the voices of the people close by but he was finding it difficult to follow the words. Whoever was speaking now, he didn't think he recognised the voice. He started to decipher the occasional word. Everything sounded distant and echoey.

"MRI......................intracranial pressure..........................vegetative state.................response to pain..................GCS..................need to wait and see.......... long term damage"

'Oh, my God' thought Josh, 'are they talking about me?! They're talking about brain damage!'

Someone was holding his hand. He thought 'I can feel that!'.   It was a small hand and they kept running their thumb along his thumb. It felt nice, reassuring. He needed that right now. He was pretty sure it was Evie. He thought he could smell her perfume, mingling with the antiseptic smells of the hospital. 'Why can't I squeeze her hand back? Why can't I move?!' he thought as his muscles refused to do what he told them.



He woke up again, there were people in his room. Had he been asleep? He slowly become aware that someone was talking to him, and holding his hand. He could hear Andy's voice, full of emotion, and pleading with him. He was trying really hard to concentrate on what he was saying. Why was this so hard?!

"Mate, please just look at me, squeeze my hand, anything... Just, please, let us know you're in there. C'mon Josh, squeeze my hand! You can do it!"

'I'm trying to!' He wanted desperately to let Andy know that he could hear him, and to let him know that he was ok. He wanted to squeeze Andy's hand but nothing was working. He couldn't understand why it was so dark. He was pretty sure his eyes were open. There wasn't a chink of light anywhere. The room was completely and totally black. With a jolt of panic, like someone had just kicked him in the stomach, he suddenly grasped the awful truth. He was blind!


'Ow! That really hurt!'. Josh was woken by a sharp pain as someone rubbed their knuckles over his sternum. It left a burning sensation under the skin on his chest.


"...today he's responding to pain! It’s a huge improvement!"

"I told you so"

"Yeah, you did"


'Yes, I'm responding to pain! That really hurt!' he shouted in his head.

He began to panic 'Oh God, this is bad!  This is really really bad! I can't even open my eyes!  So, I can't move, I can't talk, and it looks like I can't even see! What am I going to do?! Oh God, oh my God, oh Jesus! What do I do now?'

He tried to calm his breathing, the panic was making him nauseous 'Breathe Josh, just breathe... This is a nightmare. It has to be. This can't be real. You'll wake up soon, it's not real, it's not real, it can't be, it's not real!'

'Locked in', he thought 'That’s what they call it, isn't it? Locked in. When you can't move anything at all but you're fully conscious inside. There was that guy in France, wasn't there? He was locked in for years before anyone realised that he was conscious. How did he not go completely crazy? How am I gonna do this?!!! …I have to show them that I'm here! I'm here! I'm still in here!'




He spent his days being manhandled and hauled around the bed, dressed and undressed, washed, and shaved. Sometimes they were gentle hands, accompanied by soft murmurings of reassurance, and sometimes he was roughly dragged about in aggressive silence. Either way, they didn't seem to think that he was in there, or aware of what was going on. Hands would appear out of nowhere, groping at him and touching him in intimate places, often without any warning. He would wake to find that he was being washed, or that someone was checking his catheter, but no-one seemed to think that he should have any say in the matter. He had no way of knowing what was coming, or when. It was terrifying and more humiliating than he could put into words. Not that he could put anything into words anymore. Having no voice was the worst thing of all! No way to say when he was uncomfortable or in pain. No way to say ‘stop!’. Torture victims were treated better than this, he thought to himself.


'Okay, concentrate. Move your finger. Just one of your fingers. Surely that's not too much to ask!? Come on, twitch, gggggrrrrrrrrrrrr!' He'd never felt so weak or so helpless.

The fingers on his left hand twitched slightly. Then he moved his index finger.

'Oh my God, I moved! I think I moved! I did, didn't I? Is anyone there? Did they see me move? I can't hear anyone. All I can hear is beeping. Some stupid machine beep beep beeping. Please, someone come back! I want to show you that I can move, that I'm here! I'm listening!'

With excitement, he heard footsteps approaching. 'Oh thank God! Look, look, I'm moving my fingers! Look at my fingers!'

Suddenly he found himself on his side, as the bedsheets were whipped out from under him, and new ones pulled across. A second set of hands, pulled him onto his back again, and then he was thrown up onto his other side so the sheets could be pulled across and tucked in. He was crying on the inside but he had no idea if they could tell. What was the point? No-one knew that he was in there!

***** A few days later *****

The frustration was unbearable. He couldn't make his body do anything that he wanted it to. Any movements he did make took an enormous amount of energy and concentration, and even then they weren't fluid movements. His left side was easier than his right, which felt heavy and weak. Every movement was like walking under water. He'd never felt so tired.

They'd finally figured out that he was blind. "Cortical Blindness" they'd said, due to swelling and scarring in his brain. They weren't sure if it was permanent or not. At least they'd been honest. He had so many questions but no way to ask them. Hannah had been the only one to actually speak to him like a person, like someone who still had a brain, and like he might have questions. He was glad that she was there.

No one had bothered to tell him what had happened. He'd had to piece it together from overheard conversations, and the whispers of nurses who came in to change him. People often talked as though he wasn't there. Talked over him. The kinds of conversations that they would never have had if they’d known he was listening. He knew now that Tank had done this to him. One punch to the back of the head. A 'coward punch'. Andy should have told him that, he thought. He was angry with his brother for that. He wondered why no one thought that he deserved to know what had happened. Wouldn't they want to know if it was them?! Wouldn’t they want to know why they were lying here like this?!

Evie was being sickeningly sweet, and pawing all over him, but he couldn't think of her the same way now. For a while he had craved her touch. Now it sickened him, and made his blood boil. It was Evie that had caused this, he thought. Obviously, it had been Tank who threw the punch, but it had been Evie who had brought him into their lives. She had refused to listen to him when he had tried to tell her, time and time again, that Tank was trouble. He had been nothing but a good friend to her, through everything, and this was what it had got him.

'Brain damage!' he thought, 'Is this my life now? Am I going to spend the rest of my life in this bed?!' The injustice he felt was overwhelming. He couldn't stand having Evie around him, witnessing this, and seeing what was left of him. This pitiful shell of the person he had been. He felt small, and helpless, and pathetic. This was her doing. This was what she had reduced him to!  Why should she get to play nursemaid now? Why should she get to ease her guilt? He wanted her to feel bad. He thought that she should feel bad for what she'd done.

"YOUR FAULT" he had managed to scrawl on that piece of paper, hoping that she'd leave. He wanted to die, and he wanted her to feel bad when he was gone…





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