Thursday, November 17, 2005

Footsteps, Part 4 (Fiction)

(Just joining us? Go back to Part 1)

       In the jaws of delirium, Melissa fought the restraints. Her neck muscles thrashed, pulling against the pins bored into her skull. The bed vibrated. Her mouth twisted into a sneer.
       "Look at her!"
       Melissa's mother was perched at the bed rail. Hands like talons gripped the metal. "Look at what she's doing to herself!"
       "Mrs. Carr, perhaps you should wait outside," the nurse said as she tightened the blood pressure cuff.
       "Melissa!" Mrs. Carr shouted, bending close, "Melissa!" But the girl didn't respond.
       On the opposite side of the bed, Anne, a hospital volunteer, clutched one of the girl's burning hands. She marveled at the dry skin. Not a bead of sweat. Melissa's furnaces blazed. Without interruption.
       "We're going to give her sedative," one of the resident internists said.
       Behind him, the attending physician was already preparing the dose.
       "A relaxant. And something stronger for the fever. It should calm her."
       Anne's eyes were fixed on the syringe as Mrs. Carr draped a cold cloth on Melissa's forehead. The attending shot the drugs into the IV, and almost instantly, a wave of stillness washed over Melissa. The anxious, hitched breaths slowed and evened. The tension drained.
       Anne slumped in relief. Mom wiped at her stubborn tears.
       And inside, very alone, Melissa saw the mist become sand, the sand become stillness, and all the universe sprinkle out of existence.

On to Part 5
Back to Part 3


Kara Alison said...

She's trapped in her own body! This is just driving me crazy. It's like one of those dreams where you can't seem to make yourself scream. Can't they tell that she's conscious? Why aren't they investigating brain activity???

anne said...

Or is she having a Linda Blair moment?
That was... (in)tense.

Anonymous said...

Kara, sorry this story is painful! (Okay, I'm not sorry. I'm actually happy that it's compelling enough to evoke an emotion).

Anne, yes, it is intense. I'm thankful, however, that YOU are in there with her!

anne said...

Yes, I thought it might be me. The "slumping in relief" was a dead giveaway. ;)

Anonymous said...

I can't get this Melissa woman out of my head & it's all your fault :)
I don't know where you are taking us in part 5, but you really got my attention... Very nice!

This baby needs to be PUBLISHED!

Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

  And inside, very alone, Melissa saw the mist become sand, the sand become stillness, and all the universe sprinkle out of existence.

Very strong ending, Jason. The story is going great!

Mary Louisa said...

Jason, what a gripping story. I've just now had a moment to find your site and browse around. Great job. I can't wait to read on...

Anonymous said...

Farzad, I'm humbled by your compliments. Thank you!

Kelly, glad it's not too weird. Sometimes I get a little carried away....

Mary Louisa, thanks for stopping over! Feel free to bring the aliens with you next time. ;)

Bernita said...

Not sure you can silence a nurse, particularly one in presumeably intensive care with a patient in obvious distress with a "vicious wave of the hand." Had to re-read that, first though Mum had slapped the nurse. Mum is more apt to be tackled out of the way without ceremony. A small thing, but it bothered me.
Kelly is right, it's a strong passage endit and a powerful, evocative metaphor.

Anonymous said...

Bernita, that's a good point. Since so little time is elapsing in this section, I could just have the mother ignore her rather than silence her.