Sunday August 25th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: recovery.

Today's theme was resting. For me, it was due to yesterday being market day and never getting enough sleep on Friday nights. For Kat, it was thanks to her being up half the night on Friday throwing up and then spending most of Saturday in bed recovering.

She's doing better today but she's still not 100% back from... whatever it was that hit her so hard. We're both very glad that her parents have been available to watch Max so that we can get some much needed sleep.


The easternmost wing of the hospital's fifth floor was eerily quiet as midnight approached. No machines sent beeps drifting through the hallways, there were no staff or patients up and about to produce footfalls.

It almost seemed abandoned, but it was not. At least, not quite.

For one room was occupied, its patient still as death on his lonely bed. The medical equipment had been turned off weeks ago but still his chest rose and fell, still breath passed through his nostrils. Still he lived.

His doctors had given up on him and had stopped checking on his progress months ago. The nurses had done the same, but had maintained their routine of daily visits... right up until one of them had quietly shut off his monitor and support machines.

The nurses claimed they didn't know which of their number had done it, but only amongst themselves. No one else seemed to have noticed.

But he had seen her. He knew her name. He had vowed revenge on all of them, but she had risen to the top of his list in that moment. They would all pay, though her price would be dearest.

As soon as he was fully recovered.


Greg said...

Wow, I hope Kat's feeling back to her old self again soon! That doesn't sound pleasant.
Hmm, that's an interesting little situation you've set up there, and the language describing the ward is excellent. You get a real sense of a cavernous, dark place that no-one really goes to, with just one malevolent presence biding its time in there, ready to emerge and wreak havoc. Nice work!
I wouldn't want to be the nurse who turned off the machines though....

The rescue helicopter landed on flat ground not far from the Kilauea caldera and the team waited before getting out. Only when the guy with the instruments looked up and nodded did they leap from the helicopter and start unpacking their stuff. You couldn't tell by looking that the crater was emitting poisonous gases.
There was an easy descent into the caldera, which was fortunate as they were carrying a stretcher and bags of medical kit. And also because the distress point was actually in the Hilauea crater which was 270ft down inside the caldera. It still took them nearly twenty-five minutes to get to the crater, and everytime one of them started breathing heavily they'd look at each other anxiously and pull little strips of litmus paper from their pockets and check the acidity of the air. At the lip of the crater, they could hear her.
"Help! For fuck's sake, help me already! I've been here hours! Help!"
"Gratitude," muttered one of the rescuers, and the others grumbled agreement.
The pit was shallow, probably only thirty or forty feet deep, but they couldn't see her, until finally one of them pointed. She had been tied to a rock and was mostly hidden by the rock as she was faced away from them.
"We're here!" the leader called out. "How did you get tied to the rock?" They started looking for a safe path across the crater floor; it looked solid but it often wasn't.
"Oh finally!" Her tone was more acidic than the volcano air. "I thought this Pelly dude was going to show up before you!"
"Pélé?" aksed the leader. He waved his hand at the others, telling them to wait.
"Yes! The people who tied me here, they said that Pelly would come and get me. Can you believe their cheek?"
Silently the leader and his men turned back, heading for their helicopter. Interfering with sacrifices to Pélé, goddess of volcanos and love, was not something they were prepared to do.
"Hey? Hey! Hey you little foreign gooks, where's my rescue? Where are you? Why can't I hear you anymore?"
Her voiced faded as they climbed out of the caldera, and one commented, "I used to wonder how they picked the tourists for the sacrifices. Now I know that Pélé guides them."

David said...

The fresh vomit stains covered her once white blouse. It had started violently. Uncontrollable tightness in her belly, throwing her forward. Hunching her over. Coughs and sputters. Collapsing to her knees, missing the edge of the toilet by an inch. Last night's dinner covered the yellow shag bath mat.

The feeling consumed her again. Last week's dinner spewed forth.

What the hell did I do to deserve this? She wondered.

More tension. And release. But no more meals. Instead, there they were, six little capsules. Still intact. Falling to the bathroom tile. Saving her life.

Aholiab said...


Jake paused in the doorway of the lounge to let his eyes grow accustomed to the gloom. When he saw Walter sitting at the bar, he worked his way past the scattered tables and took the stool next to him.

“Hey, you’re here awfully late.”

Walter looked up from his beer with a mournful look on his face. “Melissa left me.”

Jake looked for the bartender so that his friend wouldn't see the expression on his face. He tried to keep his voice neutral, even sympathetic. “Ah, man… that’s rough.”

They sat in silence for a few moments. Finally, Jake decided to press for some details, “Did she kick you out of her house?”

The silence continued for a while longer before Walter nodded. “Yeah, she even made me give her the key.”

“Did she take the car keys, too?”

Again the morose silence lengthened around them. “Yeah. Doesn't she know I’ll need a car to try to find a job?”

Jake almost couldn't control the shake of his head, but realized Walter was probably watching him in the mirror behind the bar. He scratched the wood surface, then reached for the bowl of nuts. “So what’re you going to do?”

This time there was only a slight hesitation. “I’m going to make things right. I really am. I’m going to go through one of those 12-step recovery programs. You know the ones?”

Jake had never heard the combination of fear and wistfulness and determination in his friend’s voice before. Maybe this was what he had needed all along: some sort of drastic wake-up call. He looked Walter in the eye. “Are you serious? You really mean it?”

Walter nodded. “I do. And I've always heard that the first step of recovery is denial.” He signaled the bartender for another boilermaker. “And this is going to be a long, long recovery.”

Marc said...

Greg - thanks for the kind comments on mine :)

Great setting and characters here. And it seems like Pele has chosen wisely...

David - nasty little scene here with some great details. Excellent build to the ending as well.

Aholiab - good to see more of your writing here :)

Really enjoyed this scene, with all its atmosphere and characterization. Nice work!