Frankness in the Hospital Ward

I didn’t intend to write last night, no, really.  I finished up a scene early in the morning, then settled down into the afternoon to hand write a six page letter that ran about nine hundred words.  Yeah, even then I’m yappy.  Then Breaking Bad was on and I didn’t want to miss that–

Except I knew most of the episodes they were running last night, so in between the moments where the show wasn’t being completely awesome, I managed to set up the next scene of Annie sitting in the hospital ward while someone near her slept, and a certain ginger head nurse comes  along and and tries to talk her into doing something else.  Usually the results are hilarious:  tonight they’re a little more grim.

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

20:45 to 21:00

“Why don’t we get something to eat?”

Annie didn’t bother looking at Nurse Coraline. She kept looking straight ahead, watching the unconscious Kerry breath slowly and untroubled. She watched his chest rise and drop, his face calm yet impassive, his body unmoving. Since they’d treated the last patient fifteen minutes ago, Annie was comfortable. She didn’t want to move; she didn’t want to leave.

She didn’t want Kerry out of her sight.

“Thank you.” She finally turned to look up at Nurse Coraline. “But I’m not hungry.”

Coraline smirked. “Bullshit.” The head nurse leaned against the foot of Kerry’s bed. “You’re had as much to eat today as me, and I know that’s not been a hell of a lot. You gotta be hungry ‘cause I’m hungry.” She softened her tone, hoping to get through to her young friend. “Come on, Annie: let’s get something to eat. They’re only going to keep the kitchen open for another ninety minutes.”

Annie’s face was as emotionless as Kerry’s. “I’m not hungry.”

“Oh, okay.” Coraline nodded slowly. “So you gonna sit here instead and stare at Kerry and think about how Emma is responsible for putting him in that bed?”

 

As noted, my instructors can get a little coarse with their language at times, particularly when they’re tired and hungry and not feeling sorry for little girls with mad death skills.  The thing is, she knows that’s exactly what’s going through Annie’s mind at the moment, and she won’t let her forget that she’s transparent right now:

 

“Um, huh.” Coraline took a step closer to Annie, sighing loudly. “I’m going to say something I know you’re not going to want to hear, but it’s true. You want to know who put Kerry in this bed?” She reached out and lightly touch his blanked-covered right leg. “This guy. Every decision he made led to this.” She gave him a light pat. “I can see it all over your face; you know it’s true.”

She wanted to argue, but Annie knew Coraline was right. I won’t ever tell you what to do or try either, Kerry. I can offer suggestions, or give advice, but you have to gain these experiences on your own. That’s what she’d told him that night, while he sat in this same bed, just over a week ago. He needed to do things he wanted to do and learn from the experience—thought Annie knew it wouldn’t always be easy. Learning about new experiences that way could be dangerous, and that was a lesson Kerry discovered today. “I know.”

 

I’ve spoken with people about this story, and one of the things I’ve always come back to his how quickly everyone here grows up.  The first two months at this school have been a real leaning experience for most people, and it’s continuing.  Three months ago Kerry was just another kid waiting for school to start in Cardiff, and probably moping about the house and playing on his computer.  Now he’s flying patrols, fighting monsters, and almost dying.  Not to mention the lying in the hospital unconscious and broken.

Coraline relates that one of her people and one of Isis’ people spoke with Emma–who’s now resting down in the Dining Room since she’s not as shook up any more–and she said Kerry saved her life long before she was attacked by a Lovecraftian monstrosity.  And she says–

 

“It happened when the breach occurred. They were between the points and got caught by one of the drain spells. Emma said Kerry yelled at her to land and then dropped straight down, and she followed him. She said if it hadn’t been for him doing that she’d have probably died, ‘cause she froze up.” Coraline cleared her voice. “They were a hundred and fifty meters up. That’s a long fall to your death.

“The point is, Kerry didn’t loose his head—probably because he’d heard that thing Helena says all the time—”

“A good sorceress keeps her wits about her—” Annie stared at Kerry with a slight smile affixed upon her face. “—while everything is going to hell around her.”

“Yep, that one. Kerry did just that. He’s smart and he knew how to keep his wits about him.” Coraline turned her head and looked at him as Annie was. “He was smart enough to know that Emma’s plan wasn’t that bad, and what to do when she was attacked. He figured out how to keep from being killed, and how to follow orders when he was probably scared to death.” She turned to Annie. “He put himself in that bed with those decisions, Annie. Someone not as smart would have put themselves in the morgue.” She waited for Annie to look at her. “You know that as well.” Coraline looked down the hall towards her office. “I’m being summoned; I’ll be right back.”

 

Yes, that’s what you want to hear when you’re a few weeks beyond 12:  your boyfriend was smart enough to end up in the hospital bed broken, instead of ending up dead.  It’s kind of a hard burn, but one that Coraline uses to put Annie in a different frame of mine.  “Yeah, your boyfriend did some stuff that screwed him up badly, but he might have really jacked himself and wound up dead.”  In a way it’s a nice way of telling her that she should stop feeling sad about what happened,

"Look on the bright side:  I don't have to learn Necromancy to call his ghost back so I can yell at him for being stupid."

“Look on the bright side: I don’t have to learn Necromancy so I can call his spirit back and yell at him for being stupid.”

Almost seven hundred words, and since I can see the end of this scene clearly now, I’m of the mind that another seven or eight hundred are gonna clear it up, because Nurse Coraline has something big to say–

You just have to wait to find out what.