Depression is a mess. Besides being tired and completely out of it for most of the morning, about noon I was hit with a bout of crushing depression. I mean, the sort that has you locking up the sharp objects and has you taking to bed for the day. Even the joking and kidding of some of my friends on line didn’t do much to bring me out of the funk.
Needless to say, I was also writing, because hell, yeah, I do that even when I’m alone, depressed, and crying.
I started out with this:
(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
Kerry was beginning to feel as if he were on trial.
He had no recollection of what was done to him once Emma and he were picked up and moved to the hospital; Nurse Coraline put him under within minutes of determining his injuries. When he woke up he was in pajamas and lying in bed—the wall to his left told him he was back in Bed #2. The right side of his head was bandaged and he felt something pressing against a few of the ribs on his right side. There was a bright blue cast around his lowly right leg and foot, and his left knee rested upon a triangular pillow, held immobile by an invisible force.
From the first word, “Kerry”, to the last one, “force”, there was a period of maybe ninety minutes that flowed by slowly. But, hey: I’ve written through my depression before. Besides, I needed to get this scene out–
Because I’ve got a couple of broke down kids in the hospital.
Emma sat on the edge of the bed next to him, Bed #1 where Annie had lay when they came in after their gardening a month ago, dressed in street clothes, her left forearm encased in the same type of blue cast as leg. Nurse Coraline stood at the end of his bed; Professor Salomon and Annie stood next to her. All had walked up moments before, probably having met outside Coraline’s office. The professor was still in her flying leathers, but Annie had changed back into her uniform before coming to the hospital, which likely meant the professor and she had taken Emma and his brooms back to the hanger after the crash.
Nurse Coraline pointed at Emma, who tried not to look at anyone when she was being discusses. “Your little moon princess over there got lucky. A lot of bruises and scrapes, and the only serious injury is a broken left forearm. I’m releasing her pretty much as soon as we’re done here so she can eat dinner with the rest of her covenmates.”
Vicky nodded, then looked at the boy in the bed. “And Kerry?”
“Oh, he’s a bit worse for the wear.” Coraline moved to his left side. “He’s got a nasty bump on his head and a slight concussion—”
“Did you tell him?”
Kerry looked up at Coraline. “Tell me what?”
“Anyone with a concussion is automatically grounded for a minimum of seventy-two hours. You can’t get back on a PAV until you’re cleared by the Flight Surgeon.” The right corner of her mouth curled upward. “That’s me, by the way.”
Kerry looked away, focusing on a spot between his other visitors. “Oh.”
“He’s also got two broken ribs, though it looks like his torso was compressed to cause them to break—”
Emma cleared her throat as she stared at the floor. “I fell on top of him.” Annie didn’t say a word, but she burned holes in Emma with her eyes. Kerry saw it; he was pretty sure Nurse Coraline caught it at well.
The good nurse continued with the litany of Kerry’s injuries. “He’s also has a broken right ankle, which should heal up completely before morning. But this—” Her hands hovered over the raised left knee. “This right here is gonna keep him confined to bed for the whole night and part of the morning.”
“Knee damage?” Vicky had suffered a broken knee when she’d crashed during a race while a D Level, and recognized the same immobilization she went through.
Coraline shook her head. “Oh, this isn’t just damage, Vicky. This is the trifecta of knee damage. He has an ACL tear, as well as tears to his medial and lateral collateral ligaments. I can’t figure out how it was screwed up so badly—”
Emma looked up, her face a mask of sorrow. “I did that, too. I slid into him and hit his knee with the shaft of my broom.”
“Humph.” This time Annie didn’t bother hiding her displeasure. She took a step closer to Kerry, touching the foot board of the hospital bed. “He’ll have to spend the night here?”
“Afraid so, Annie.” She slowly moved to the end of the bed, standing directly across from the girl. “I’ve got the keep the knee immobilized while my little enchanted nanoids work on getting everything back almost good as new.” She flipped a withering look Kerry’s way. “You’re lucky this happened here. In a Normal hospital you’d probably be bedridden for over a month, and in physical therapy for months after. Here I’ll have you walking around tomorrow, though you’ll have to take it slow and easy.”
Kerry folded his hands across his stomach. “If I can’t get out of bed, how am I gonna go to the bathroom?”
“Ever heard of bedpans?” Coraline looked across Kerry’s bed at Emma. “You’re lucky you didn’t take his lower leg off. Then he’d be here for two or three days while it was reattached.”
Yeah, Emma, that’s the way to do things. Not only screw up Kerry, but prove to his Soul Mate that everything she’s starting to think about you is true!
And this leads to our School Nurse/Doctor starting to ask Vicky why a couple of her kids are in the hospital with broken bones and torn up knees. But, of course, Vicky has answers . . .
The was a five second pause while the professor gave though to a myriad of answers before settling on the truth. “A long ways out. They took off near Gate Jump and I lost them. I had to go airborne and didn’t see them again until they were racing down West End—”
“Where were you when you lost them?” Coraline hadn’t ever raced, but as the school doctor she knew the locations of every section of all three courses.
“Just coming into The Narrows.”
“And you shot over to West End and found them there?” Coraline shook her head. “Why didn’t you stop them there?”
There was another pause, and when Vicky spoke her answer was half muttered. “I didn’t want to stop them because it was obvious they were flying pretty fast.”
Coraline took a step closer to Vicky. “You wanna define ‘pretty fast’ for me, ‘cause I know you, Vic: you’ve already had a peek at their flight recorders, so you know exactly how fast they were going.”
Vicky pressed the back of her index finger against her lips. “Emma hit a top speed of three hundred forty-seven kilometers per hour; Kerry hit three hundred fifty-one.”
Coraline’s eyes widened considerably. “Why didn’t you stop them in Sunset Boulevard—”
“Because both of them went through there between two twenty-five and two forty.”
“Kilometers an hour?”
The little finger of Coraline’s left hand began to twitch as she unloaded on Vicky. “We have kids who’ve raced for a couple of years that won’t fly two forty through Sunset Boulevard.” She turned and shouted at Emma and Kerry. “What the hell is wrong with you two? Three fifty through West End? You both could have been killed.” She turned back to Vicky. “And you waited until they were heading into Double Dip—”
“Because it’s a chicane and they’d have to slow—”
“Look how wonderfully that worked out.”
Yeah, Coraline’s not a happy woman. Something about kids flying at high speed in unsafe conditions–it gets her riled up.
And because I know some of you are hung up on Imperial measurements, let me do the conversions for you:
“Emma hit a top speed of two hundred fifteen miles per hour; Kerry hit two hundred seventeen.”
“Because both of them went through there between one forty and one fifty.”
There you are: they took Sunset Boulevard between 140 and 150 mph, and were zipping along West End at 215 and 217 mph. I should point out that, if you’re a racing fan, 215 is almost as fast as the fastest recorded time set by a NASCAR stock car on a closed oval course–a speed of 216.309 mph, set by Rusty Wallace on June 9, 2004, at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. When he did, however, he was locked up inside a car with a roll cage and a sitting in a special seat, and was pretty much strapped in so tight that if he had rolled he probably would have climbed from the wreckage without much help. He wasn’t riding on a thin piece of flying carbon-carbon filament with his butt plated in a bicycle seat. And he wasn’t eleven or twelve, either.
Oh, wait: 217 is faster, so Kerry says, “In your face, Rusty!” Bring on the endorsements, guys, these kids could be your new superstars.
Assuming the girl friend of one of them doesn’t flip out . . .