Begin These Bed #2 Blues

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.

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.

Again With the Medical Emergencies

Getting into a writing groove is a wonderful thing.  Every so often, maybe once a week, I find myself getting into them.  But I usually know when they’re coming due to my habits.

It’s rare I get one on a Monday evening.  But that’s what happened.

There is a little background to that, but I’m not getting into that right now:  no, that’s fodder for a later post.  Today we’re back in the Great Hall, and that’s where Chapter Twenty-Three stays for the duration.  Enough being outside; come in and stay warm.  Or at least stay out of trouble.

When we last saw Annie she was about to kill Emma.  Well, not really–maybe?  Perhaps?  Not saying, I am, but she wasn’t a happy girl.  So we’re a little further down the line at right about the moment Kerry takes his flying tumble.  Any idea who those people he saw were?

I believe we’re about to find out.

 

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

18:41 to 18:48

The teleport alarm seemed louder that it’d been when Emma was brought in. Annie felt a tightening in her chest, because she was torn by who might appear. If it wasn’t someone bringing Kerry in, that meant he was still out there—and if it was him, then . . .

Don’t think about it. That’s what Nurse Coraline said. That was easier said that done. Right now Annie was thinking about Emma up in the ward resting while Kerry could be—

Two women popped into the teleport area. Annie recognized them immediately: Professors Kishna and Palmescoff. Jessica Kishna held the writhing and moaning Madeline Palmescoff against her body while attempting to drag her towards the triage center. Nurse Gretchen ran over and picked up the injured Maddie, while Coraline barked at Jessica as she prepared to examine the woman. “What happened?”

“We were dealing with Deconstructors.” Jessica brushed some loose strands of hair from her face. “I ran in to help Maddie, who—” She shook her head as the moaning woman was laid upon an examination table. “She’d already killed three or four when she got hit from behind with something. I grabbed her and got us out of the area, but he must have put a trace on her and popped in right behind us.” Jessice looked at Gretchen. “One of our people is down right where we teleported in; you gotta get them.”

Coraline nodded at Thebe. “Contact Fortress and tell them to set you down where they pulled in Jess. Go out and bring them back.”

“Got it.” Thebe grabbed one of the levitating stretches and quickly made her way to the teleport area. A few seconds later she vanished with a pop.

Coraline started Maddie’s examination and started frowning right away. “Oh shit, her insides are liquefying.” As if on cue Maddie convulsed and began spitting up blood. She turned to Jessica. “She just rushed in and took on a bunch of them, didn’t she?”

“Not like we didn’t try to stop her when we figured out where a group of them were, but . . .” Jessica sighed. “Yeah.”

“Nothing I can do for her here . . .” Coraline pressed her palms together as she stood over Maddie. A white glow began peeking out between her fingers, glowing brighter by the second. Coraline yanked her hands apart and spread the white glow over the dying instructor’s body. Maddie stopped moaning, stopped convulsing, stopped doing everything—

“Okay, that’ll do.” Coraline gave her monitor a quick check, then turned to Gretchen. “She’s in status for twenty minutes; get her up to the OR and prep her. We’re gonna have to counter a Liquefy spell.” The teleport alarm went off, indicating someone was inbound. “I’ll be up as soon as I give this next one a look. Go.”

 

“One of our people is down–”  Yeah, three guesses as to whom that could be?

 

Annie didn’t move from where she stood, but her eyes followed Gretchen as she hurried towards an examination table. “Male, unconscious, apparently involved in a crash.” She slipped the stretcher onto the examination table and phased it through and out of the way. “I detected no signs of respiratory or pulmonary distress.”

Coraline nodded. “Always good.” She pulled off the patient’s goggles—

Annie closed her eyes and hoped Nurse Coraline wasn’t about to speak the name she was afraid she’d speak . . .

There was a sharp intake of breath from Coraline. “Oh, god: it’s Kerry.” She reached for the jacket when she noticed the stains. “Where the hell did all this blood come from?”

Jessica cleared her throat. “That would be from the Deconstructor he hit.”

Coraline spun around. “What?”

“That’s why Maddie and I are alive: he hit the guy.” Jessica laid her index finger at a point above her jawline next to her ear. “Right about here. With his broom—” She drew in a sharp breath. “At speed.”

Thebe nodded. “I saw the body: it wasn’t decapitated, but the cranium was shattered. There was little left.”

Coraline notice noticed gray flecks on Kerry’s face and helmet. “That would explain this other crap on him—” She touched the monitor over the table as the orange glow appeared in her left hand, which she placed directly over his head. “Okay, let’s see what sort of shape he’s in . . .”

 

As it is, not in very good shape:

 

Annie walked slowly towards the table as she listened to Coraline call out the injuries. “He’s got a concussion, but there’s no swelling; skull is intact—” Her hand move slowly over his face. “Facial bones are intact; jaw in one piece.”

She couldn’t see much but a still body and the nurses and doctor standing over him. “No damage to the throat or neck; spinal cord and vertebrae are intact. Okay: broken collar bone; broken left shoulder; right shoulder dislocated; left arm broken about a third of the way above the elbow.”

Her breath came in long, slow draughts as Coraline continued her litany. “Lungs and heart are intact; no fluid in the lungs. Four ribs broken. Stomach, liver, pancreas intact; bruising on the spleen. Small and large intestines intact; no detectable perforations. Spinal column and vertebra intact.” Coraline sighed. “Lucky as hell there.”

Coraline’s hand move over the mid-section of Kerry’s body towards his feet. “Pelvic bone is intact; no ruptures or damage to the genitals. Right hip is dislocated. Ah, shit—” She looked over the table to Thebe. “His knee is screwed up again: major tears to the MCL and LCL. And his right leg is broken about a quarter of the way below the knee, so watch that.”

Annie was standing next the table now as Coraline finished. “Everything else is good.” She shut off the monitor and pointed at Nurse Thebe. “Get him up to the ward. Take him to Bed Two; that seems to be a good one for him. Strip him, clean him, bind him.” She began barking orders as she stepped away from the table. “Bianca, you’re in charge until I get back.” She turned just before entering the portal. “Thebe, you’ll need help—take Annie.”

Right.” Nurse Thebe grabbed a stretcher and phased it through Kerry’s body. She made sure it was back in-phase and holding his weight before pointing at her helper. “Annie, take the end of the stretcher.” When she didn’t move, Thebe changed her tone so she’d get Annie’s attention. “Annie, come on—move.”

“Yes, Nurse Thebe.” She took hold of the stretcher, getting it behind her. She heard the count to lift it off the examination table, and followed Thebe’s instructors to head for the portal and the first floor of the hospital ward . . .

 

Now we know what happens when you hit a guy in the head with your broom:  not very good things.

This is leading up to Annie helping to get Kerry–well, not back on his feet, but at least healed.  You’ll see him over the next few scenes, but he’s not saying anything, as being unconscious tends to keep you quiet.  Don’t worry, though:  he won’t miss anything.  ‘Cause when he wakes up, Annie’ll have plenty to tell him . . .

One scene down, a few more scenes of patching up unconscious fliers to go.

One scene down, a few more scenes of patching up unconscious fliers to go.

Broke Down and Hospital Bound

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?”

“Yeah.”

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 . . .

I'm lookin' and I don't see the Annie murders idiot boyfriend scene coming next.  So Kerry can probably rest easy.  Probably.

I’m lookin’ and I don’t see the Annie murders idiot boyfriend scene coming next. So Kerry can probably rest easy. Probably.