Ashley Freund and Ashlyn Halperin were tanning in their bed-shaped device's when they noticed something was wrong with the bed. The temperature was getting a little higher than Ashlyn had thought.
"I don't think I set it this high," Ashlyn thought.
"I fucked up. I set it too hot in here," she said out loud.
But Ashley didn't hear her best friend right and took off one of her earbuds and asked, "Huh?"
Suddenly, Ashley's phone began to ring from her duffle bag, and due to the tone of music blaring through the headphones in their ears, the girls couldn't hear anything. All was eerily quiet except for the air vent, which was blowing slightly harder due to the rising temperature. Ashley's cell phone continued to ring, and due to it's heavy weight, knocked over the coat rack, which followed suit with the shelf with stacks of spare CDs that tumbled onto the beds. The girls heard the commotion and Ashley attempted to leave her bed, which in turn caused one of the shelves over into the opening slot of Ashlyn's bed.
"What the hell is happening?!" Ashlyn cried out over to Ashley as she tried to get out herself but the bulbs were too hot and stung her hands. The girls tried getting out but the shelf blocked them, preventing them from escaping.
As the temperature got higher, they started screaming for help and used all their might to get out, but no success. They were too focused in pain to realize the shelf board was preventing the bed to open.
Not only were they screaming for help, but screaming in pain. Ashlyn was banging on the fan in hope of knocking it off of the bed to escape, but it stayed still.
While the temperature continues to rise in a dangerous level, Ashlyn's skin bubbled and she tried to take off her blue goggles but it started fusing into her eyes.
The employee, Yuri, was outside behind the building, talking to his wife on the phone outside when he heard the screaming. He tried to open the back door. Seeing that it was locked, he ran to the front door, but it was locked too with a sign that said, "Back in 30 mins!". He yelled, "Hey, open the door!" but to no avail and decided to call 911.
Both girls continued pounding on the beds before Ashley's bed glass shattered and Ashlyn let out a final scream before the fire ignited them and burned them. It was bad enough their skin was burned from the overheating temperature, but with the fire as an addition, worsens their pain and suffering. They screamed in agony for 45 seconds before there was silence.
A minute later, a group of firefighters broke into the smoke filled room and quickly took out their extinguishers and put out the flames.
After the flames disappeared, one of them chopped the shelf board with an axe once and dropped them on the floor.
They opened the beds, as the smoke hissed, revealing two charred bodies and one of the firefighters nearly puked at the sight. They checked Ashley's pulse, and finding that there is none, they declared her dead.
They checked on Ashlyn, too. It was nothing they had ever seen. Her body was black as a silhouette and her once glowing skin, crumbling like cookies on the bed. The blue goggles, almost black from the fire, were still stuck to her eyes. One of the fighters, named David Houston, checked her pulse. He had a shocked look on his face once he felt a weak pulse on her wrist.
"Oh my God… she's still alive!" He exclaimed. Ashlyn, awoke and barely conscious, moaned in pain and pressed her hand against her forehead. She was so exhausted from the fire that she barely had energy left. Everything hurt.
An ambulance was called and Ashlyn was rushed to hospital while Ashley was transported to the morgue. The Burns Unit had never seen a patient with such bad injuries. Nevertheless, they worked tirelessly on her, going around the clock, trying their best to save her life, even though their expectations of her survival was slim. She was in and out of consciousness. It still struck doctors in surprise that she somehow survived such horrific burns that no one had ever endured before.
Dr. Morgan, who was the head surgeon, called Ashlyn's parents and told them to come to the burns unit because their daughter was injured. They panicked and scurried over to the said unit, their minds running amok as they imagined what their daughter's conditions is like.
"Maybe it isn't as bad as I think. Probably a minor burn. Oh please, let it be minor," Her mother, Eilidh, thought as she frantically drove to where Ashlyn was located.
As she ran inside, she saw her husband, Jian, sitting by the front office with the petrified look on his face. He looked up and before he have a chance to say anything, Dr. Morgan went up to them.
"Are you the parents of Ashlyn Halperin?"
They quickly confirmed, preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.
"Your daughter…" He began, unsure of how to word it carefully. "She suffered third degree burns at every inch of her body."
"W-What…?" Her mom was perplexed. "How did it… how did it happen?"
"We found out that she was using the tanning bed and they malfunctioned and caught fire."
As they were left to piece together the situation Ashlyn was in, they were lead to Ashlyn's room in Intensive Care.
"You're gonna want to prepare yourself," he said as they reached her room.
As they walked in, they saw her charred body with the gauze over her eyes, covering up the goggles that's still stuck to her eyeballs. Ashlyn would be there for quite awhile, as she will have a very long, difficult journey to go before she got anywhere near better.
They also told her she suffered with third degree burns over 95% of her body. They were devastated and heartbroken; their daughter would never be the same again.
Eilidh got closer to Ashlyn, barely touching her charred, swelling head.
"Ashlyn… it's your mom. I know you can hear me. It's gonna be okay," Eilidh choked up, barely holding back tears as she takes in her daughter's conditions.
Ashlyn gurgled a little before saying, "M-Mom…"
"It'll be okay, we'll be by your side all the way through."
"Where's… Ash…ley?" Ashlyn moaned hoarsely, trying her best to talk. Her parents exchanged glances. Ashley was like their second daughter, she would come hang out at their house almost every single day. They don't know what happened to her.
"Where is she?" Her mom asked Dr. Morgan. He didn't answer them as he was afraid to break the news.
"Was she with you at the tanning place?" Jian asked. It took awhile for Ashlyn to remember.
"Yes," She dryly confirmed.
Her parents looked at each other again before Jian went to Dr. Morgan and ask about what happened to Ashley. Dr. Morgan slowly walked to Ashlyn and broke the news as gently as he could.
"Ashlyn… she didn't make it." Dr. Morgan stated hesitantly. Ashlyn moaned in sadness. She'll miss her dearly. But at the same time, she was relieved. She won't have to go through any more pain than she already went through.
"She won't… suffer… at least…" She said gravelly.
Her parents nodded before the doctor told them that they had to finish their job before transferring her to her room.
Her parents left hesitantly. The doctor knocked her out with morphine and used their time wisely to concentrate on not harming her anymore. They carved off the black, charred skin with a long razor blade before working on her eyes. They removed the gauze and spent a long time carefully removed the fused plastic.
After the goggles were finally removed, her eyes were shut tightly. They applied eye drops before opening them to find that they have irreparable damages and had to remove them, sewing the lids shut and wrapping a bandage around her eyes.
All of her fingers had to be amputated because of the dead bones and applied a hard water spray to clean off the dead tissues on her body. During the process, her nose, lips, and ears fell off, as well as her fingers and toes being cut off because they have been thinning. The doctors and nurses had to bandage Ashlyn from head to toe. She looked like an Egyptian mummy by the end of the whole process. As she was transferred rooms, her parents were informed about what had happened during the surgery, and were prepared for when they got to see her again. Even though they were told about all the bandages, they couldn't hold back the gasp of shock when they saw her.
Sometime later, they had to give Ashlyn a bath, as it had been three days since the fire and so they peeled off the bandages. They told Ashlyn the procedure, as burn victims take warm baths with weak Clorox and listened to loud music to distract them from excruciating pain.
They wheeled her to the room, with a big stainless steel tub that was already filled with water. They gave Ashlyn a fresh dose of morphine before sitting her down on the slinger and moved her into warm water. The nurse set up the loud, distracting music to keep her mind off the pain while another nurse gently clean her wound with soap. Even though she had been given morphine it still hurt.
Ashlyn moaned in pain and is not enjoying a second of this torture chamber, as burn victims likes it call it.
"Make it stop!" Ashlyn cried.
"It's okay. We'll get everything done for you."
After what seemed like forever, the "torture chamber" session was over for the day. Her nurse Gina gently wiped her off and lead her back to her room.
Over the course of the next few months, Ashlyn had battled infections and high fevers. At one point, she threw up on the floor in the hallway while she left the bathing room. She also had dreams about her old body. Sometimes, she dreamt that she is looking in the mirror at her old reflection. Other times, was looking down nervously at her healthy body, afraid that the sun might burn her.
Her parents felt that she would feel better if her friends could see her. But they are too upset that she can no longer see. But they reassured themselves that at least she can hear, despite her ears being torn off, leaving a tiny hole each side.
Ashlyn was a little stoned from all the morphine. She constantly asked how she looks. Her parents dreaded traumatizing her any further. First, she was severely burned, she lost her best friend, and now she look completely unrecognizable and is totally dependent. They put off telling her the truth and asks visitors to deflect her questions.
Her parents couldn't really come up with an explanation. All they could say was, "You look better than the last time."
Ashlyn accepted the answer. But they kept having to tell her that every single day because she was on morphine and forgets the answer. Same goes for her question for her fingers and toes.
When Ashlyn became more sober, her parents invited her friends to see her.
When her friends had found out what had happened, they were astonished at first by what happened and unsure how she had survived.
"Poor Ashlyn..." Julie whispered while holding Wendy's hand for support. Wendy slowly nodded and was trying her best not to cry despite the tears that were slowly making their way down her cheeks. It was the first time she had seen Ashlyn since school that day when she and Ashley had both invited her to go with them to the salon after the candlelight vigil for Jason, Carrie and the others that were tragically killed from the roller coaster.
"I feel like I should've done more to save both her and Ashley," she whispered solemnly. "I should've seen this coming."
"You can't blame yourself," Kevin replied softly. "We just simply miscalculated the clues in the photos a bit."
"Death could still be watching us," Wendy replied, her voice trembling slightly as she started to feel her knees buckle out from underneath her.
"We have to do something," said Kevin after a moment of silence observing Ashlyn's body and wincing as he saw her eyes.
"How?" asked Lewis, also observing Ashlyn's burned, scarred body.
Wendy's eyes scanned all over Ashlyn's body as an icy cold chill suddenly ran through her chilling her to the bone. Her teeth began to rattle inside her mouth, the hairs on the back of her neck began to stand on end and she could feel her body beginning to tremor and shake. Something was wrong.
"Wen? You okay?" Her sister Julie turned to look at her as Wendy started backing away now unable to speak as the words became lost inside of her. Her head started to spin now as black spots filled her vision.
"Wendy? Hey, you alright?" She could hear Kevin's voice of concern hitting her as everyone's eyes turned toward her.
"Is it happening again? Are you seeing something?" Kevin whispered softly while placing a comforting hand upon her shoulder.
"I think so…" She answered hesitantly. "Who was behind Ashley and Ashlyn on the ride?"
"That would be me," Frankie replied miserably.
"That's right," Kevin said pointing it out. "You had your camera and Frankie had his video camera 'cause he was trying to record Ashley and Ashlyn."
Frankie stared down hard at the floor in a sad daze as he began to remember those tragic events that had taken place. "If I hadn't have been such a pathetic ass, then everyone we knew would still be alive, and Ashlyn wouldn't be lying here suffering in so much agony." Tears began to fall down his face to the floor as he kept his head down to avoid being detected. Everyone did their best to conceal their anger. If they weren't in the hospital right now, his ass is grass.
They heard Ashlyn trying to say his name. Frankie's face lifted up. "Come here…"