I’ve written before about how sometimes you gotta hurt your characters, how it’s necessary to make them suffer a little so they’ll grow. Though sometimes you just want them to hurt because–well, it’s good for the story. Sometimes people get hurt and wounded and injured and beat all to hell because it’s gonna happen from time to time, and there’s little you can do about it.
That’s where I’m at right now: one kid down with a case of broken body and unconsciousness, and the other there to see the effects after the cause. And the nurse who’d trying to get it organized so she can fix the one who’s broken.
How’s that working out?
All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
When they reached the bay with Bed #2 Annie acted at the pivot while Nurse Thebe swung Kerry’s head towards the head of the bed. She instructed Annie to release the stretcher, then phased it through Kerry’s body, lifted it over head, then swung it around and laid it atop Bed #1. She didn’t begin working on Kerry, however: Nurse Thebe instead turned and approached Annie.
“I know why Coraline wanted you to help me: she figured you’d work better if you knew what was happening to him, rather than imagining.” She half-turned back towards the unconscious boy. “This isn’t going to be pretty, Annie: he has two broken limbs and his knee is torn up again. He’s dislocated his shoulder and hip, and we’ll have to reset those. It’s likely he’s bruised over most of his body, and his complexion is going to vary from normal to red to purple to black.” She moved uncomfortably close to the staring girl. “You’ve never seen him like this before, and you might find it difficult to assist once you see him this way. If you think you’ll be unable to help, go—”
“I can do this.” Annie slowly drew in a breath and released it just as slowly. She never allowed her gaze to leave Nurse Thebe’s. “I know he won’t look good—but I can assist.” She quickly glanced at Kerry, then back to the nurse. “I can do this.”
Thebe slowly smiled. “Okay, then—” She tapped Annie on the shoulder. “Let’s get to work.” She immediately turned towards Kerry as she started giving orders. “Take a cart and go into the supply closet.” She turned just enough to point to the wall separating the bay from the waiting area. “I’m going to need the following: two Number One nanobindings; a Number Three nanobinding; Number Two skull cap; two dozen cleans wipes; a dozen Number Two bio-hazard bags; a half dozen Number Four bio-hazard bags; a half dozen medium towels.”
As Annie grabbed a nearby cart Thebe gave her the names of four IV units she’d need to give to Kerry for pain and mending, and to bring a quad IV stand. Annie reached the door to the supply closet just as Thebe shouted out the last item. “And a Number One catheter.”
Annie stepped back so she could see the nurse. “Really?”
Thebe turned and gave Annie as disbelieving a stare as she could muster. “You want him to pee the bed tonight?”
Annie shook her head. “No.” She slid open the doors to the closet and stepped inside.
That’s right, Annie: don’t let Kerry pee the bed! I liked writing this section only because it shows that in a world that knows about magic, there’s still a tie-back to advanced technology. And there’s no better combination than Nurse Thebe herself, who is an AP, and Artificial Person, a self-aware android with magical enhancements built into her body. You didn’t think someone taught her that magic, did you?
Now it’s time to get to business. What was that Coraline said? “Strip him, clean him, bind him.” Let’s start with the first . . .
“All done.” She wheeled the cart to the foot of the bed and unhooked the IV stand from the corner.
“Fantastic.” Thebe held something in her right hand. “Hold out your hands.” Annie did as told, and the nurse slid form fitting gloves over her hands. “There, you don’t have to worry about contamination now. She pointed to the smock hanging just inside the bay. “Put that on.” As Annie slipped off her jacket and shrugged on the smock, Thebe moved the cart to the end of Bed #1. “Do you know how to phase clothing?”
“No, Nurse.” Annie understood the concept, but it was something she’d yet to learn, even with a little of her mother’s help.
“No problem. I’ll do most of that, then. Number Four bio-hazard bag.” Annie pulled on off the cart and was instructed to hold it open. Thebe stripped off Kerry’s jacket, folded it, and stuffed it into the bag. “Seal it and lay it on the stretcher. I’ll need to send this down to get it decontaminated.”
“Will he get this back?” Annie did as she was instructed.
“Sure. It’s just that it’s got human and Abomination blood all over it, and it’s going to need more than a normal cleaning. Another Number Four, please.”
Annie nodded and opened the bag; Thebe dumped Kerry’s flight pants in. Annie had noticed the blueish-green stains on the jacket and wondered if it had come from the Abomination: Thebe had just confirmed that fact. He not only fought it— She laid the pants next to the jacket. He damaged it. He was trying to kill it . . .
Kerry, aka Mr. Clueless, really was trying to off the Spawn of Cthulhu, and this is Annie’s first hint of this extremely stupid action–at least from her point of view. But it only gets better:
They removed his boots and socks next, followed by his flight helmet and goggles. All that remained were his thermal undergarments, which were stained with dark splotches of blood. Thebe turned to Annie. “Do you know if Kerry wears his underpants under thermals?”
“I don’t know.” Annie didn’t. She worn her panties under hers, but she knew how different boys could be, and this was one of those areas that she’d never discussed—
“We’ll find out in a moment. Bag.” Annie held the bag while Thebe first stripped off the thermal shirt, then his leggings. She grinned as she stuffed them into the waiting bag. “I guess he does.”
Annie wasn’t paying attention to Kerry’s twisted and bruised body; her eyes were glue to his briefs. “Thebe, there’s something wrong—”
“Seal that, then wheel over the Number Two Bio-hazard container.” Thebe pointed to a green container in the examination bay across the hall. “Then ready a Number Two bio-bag. Okay?”
“Yes, Nurse Thebe.” She had the container next to them in a matter of second, then had the smaller bio-hazard bag open. “Okay, I’m—”
Thebe didn’t wait for Annie to finish. She pulled off Kerry’s underwear and dumped it in the open bag she held. “Dump it in the container, then get another bag ready.”
Before she could seal the bag, Annie was almost overwhelmed by the pungent oder emanating from Kerry’s underwear. “That’s—”
“Abominations are engineered to produce a flight or fright response in most people. I’m not surprised he lost his bowls.” Annie sealed the bag and flipped open the container with Thebe watching her. “I detected urine there as well.”
“He peed himself, too.” The more these facts pressed home, the angrier she grew with Emma, who was somewhere at the far end of the ward. She started down the quite hallway, wondering which bay held Bed #14. All I need is a minute with you. He literally had the crap scared out of him saving your worthless life—
“Annie.” Thebe wanted for the girl to face her before continuing. “We have Kerry stripped; we need to clean him before I can set his wounds. Give me a half dozen of those clean wipes and ready another Number Two bag.”
There you go: he fought and ran from a monster that literally scares the shit and piss out of you–and Annie is not happy. Do not leave this girl alone on the ward floor with Emma, or it would seem there’s gonna be a bloody mess on Bed #14 to clean up. And Annie probably doesn’t even need a minute with Emma–which is kind of a scary thought . . .
It was a strange night of writing, mostly because I managed almost thirteen hundred words, but I kept bouncing up and down emotionally throughout the night. And since I was in public–it was “Write at Panera Wednesday”–it wasn’t like I could break down and start sobbing at my computer just to get it out of my system. That’s one of the sucky things about writing in public. That, and the possibility that someone will ask you what you’re doing.
I never get asked; I must look like I’m working on spreadsheets, or something.
Now to bind up Kerry–who I should point out is without garments while his girlfriend stands next to the bed–and move on to the next scene. Yes, Twenty-three is coming along nicely.
The more of Act Two I finish now, the more of Act Three I can torture myself with in November.