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dawesbr
03-26-2009, 06:58 PM
Well I thought I may as well put some of my school work here for you to mull over:

It is just a regular check-up. No need to worry. Just a regular check-up. I think this while sitting in my car, hands grasped firmly on the wheel, even though I am parked in the hospital bays, with the engine off. I have been in this position for five minutes when I finally begin to loosen my grip. Even now, I daren’t let go of the wheel, scared of going in the hospital, afraid of the news that I may be given beyond the doors.
After another minute has passed, I let go of the strip of leather that I have been desperately clinging on to, and, breathing deeply, open the door. After triple-checking that the car is locked, and with several backward glances, I head nervously for the double doors. They slide open noiselessly before me, and suddenly I am back.


The small man walked into the reception with eager eyes. He glanced around, searching, and finally found the round desk that sat in one corner of the room. The woman that was behind the counter looked warily at the newcomer; she had seen many of his type before. Always worrying about whether they have an illness, hypochondriacs came thick and fast, especially in the winter. There wasn’t a day when a new one arrived believing the common cold was a severe case of pneumonia. This one would be no different, she thought.
As he approached, the receptionist had to force her smile before speaking. “Good day sir, welcome to Newbrook Hospital, how may I help you?” she iterated for the hundredth time that day.
“Yes, my wife is in the maternity ward,” came the surprising reply. “Room,” (here, he checked a piece of paper in his hand), “room 206?”
She typed the information into the computer. “Mr. Farshaw?” He nodded. “Take the stairs or the elevator to the second floor, it’s the fifth room on the right.”
He nodded again, smiled nervously, and began to move off. The receptionist checked her screen again, and noticed a flashing message. “Mr Farshaw?” He stopped, and turned around inquisitively. “Your wife went into labour five minutes ago, two hours after the surgery ended.”
As the look of shock dawned on his face, he turned around and started rushing towards the elevator, and the receptionist turned back to her computer and began to type.


I return to the present with a jolt. Wiping this memory from my mind, I stride up to the reception desk. A man sits behind it this time, and looks up as I approach.
“Good day, welcome to Newbrook Hospital, may I help you?” God, it’s so similar. It is as if it is happening all over again. But this is the present, years later.
I straighten myself out, and ask for Doctor Phillips’ room. Third floor, second door on the left. I thank the receptionist, and head for the elevators. The doors ping open, and I depress the button with a heavy heart, telling myself once more that it is just a regular check-up, just to see how I’m doing, nothing to worry about.
The lift begins to move, further exciting the butterflies in my stomach, and comes to a rest a few seconds later. As the doors ping open once again, I step out of the lift into the clean ward, and return once again to that mid-winter day many years ago.


The man burst into the room with a concerned look on his face. He looked worried, scared, tense, and the nurse hurried over as fast as she could.
“Are you the husband?” she asked. News of his arrival had been sent up to her by the receptionist moments previously.
“Y-yes. I am,” he stammered. “Please, let me see my wife. Please. She just came out of surgery, I have to see her.”
The nurse stood aside and let the man through. He hurried over to the bedside, and clasped his wife’s hand. She looked weak, her face was tired and pale, but she gazed up with a grateful look. Then, her face contorted in pain as another contraction hit.
The nurse at the end of the bed looked up with a worried face. “The baby’s breeched,” she cried, “we’re going to need an extra nurse in here now, and I’m sorry, sir, but you’re going to have to leave.”
They both looked at her. “No,” the man managed, “I want to stay with my wife, I need to be with her.” He pleaded with her eagerly, “Please. Let me stay.”
The nurse said firmly, “I’m sorry, sir, but we need as much space as possible. It would be easier for all of us – for your wife – if you were to wait outside.” She strode over, and gripped his arm. As she guided him out the door, she heard him say I love you to his wife, before the door was shut and he was left outside. He turned around, trying to look in through the distorted glass set into the top of the door.


I stand in front of a different door now, but it feels the same. I’m on a completely different floor, but again I feel the dreadful anticipation, wondering what awaits me on the other side. Taking a deep breath, I knock, and enter on the greeting from inside.
“Ah, Mr Farshaw, please take a seat,” Doctor Phillips says, beckoning to an armchair opposite his desk.
I sit down, and self-consciousness washes over me.
“I just wanted you to come in for a check-up, to see how you were doing.” I nod. “Have you been experiencing headaches? Nausea? Memory loss?”
“No. I had a headache last Tuesday, but nothing much except that. Have you had the test results?”
Doctor Phillips stares intently at me. It seems like forever, but eventually he picks up a sheet of paper from his desk. He glances down, and then looks back up.
“Mr Farshaw. I’m afraid I have…


…some bad news.” The doctor placed a hand on the man’s shoulder, and with the other, he rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Around an hour ago, as you know, your wife went into labour. This, coming just hours after her surgery, was very worrying, and the risks involved…” He stopped.
“Yes? How is she? Did it-” The man stopped. He had a dreadful feeling about this. The doctor was shaking his head, keeping his eyes on the man’s, and gripping harder on his shoulder.
“The baby was breeched – its legs came first – and the umbilical cord became trapped. The lack of oxygen flow was too much, Mr Farshaw. I’m afraid we couldn’t save the child.”
The man reeled, as if struck by a physical blow. He collapsed into a seat behind him with his head in his hands. He stayed like this for minutes, weeping softly, before speaking.
“And my wife? How is Julia? Is she alright?”
Doctor Phillips waited before responding. “We’ve moved her to the ICU. She is in a critical condition, Mr Farshaw. You can visit her if you like, but she must not become stressed. After her surgery, she is in a fragile state, and any change to-”
He was cut off by a nurse throwing open the door. Both sets of eyes turned to her worried face.
“Doctor, we need you now. She has gone into cardiac arrest, we need you immediately.” Both men hurried out of the door, leaving the room empty.


“Your psychological profile suggests you have PTSD – Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. After what happened five years ago, this is hardly surprising. The amount of stress you must have experienced following the death…”
I hold my head in my hands, just as I did on the day when it happened. “What can I do?” I ask. It is as if I have been approaching this moment for the last five years. I have spent countless nights reliving the events.
“Well, we can start you in therapy right away. The few sessions you had after the incident weren’t enough for you to really deal with what happened. We can arrange to have you in therapy by tomorrow. How does a six-thirty appointment sound?”
“Sure. Six-thirty. Right.” I am barely focused.
“Mr Farshaw,” Doctor Phillips says, bringing me back from thinking about my wife’s death, “do not think about it. It was a horrible catastrophe, and it will do you no good dwelling on it.”
I nod, and stand up. Shaking his hand, I say goodbye, and confirm that I will return at six-thirty tomorrow. I leave the room, and as soon as the door has closed, I begin thinking about my wife and child’s deaths all over again.


They are huddling around, impassive, forming a close circle surrounding the patch of moonlit leaves. Autumn has arrived with abruptness, sending the trees’ branches creaking in the wind and hurling torrents of golden leaves towards the clearing. The light from the moon is illuminating the small opening in the canopy, its impassive face watching silently; no different from how it was years ago.
Its staring eyes alight upon a shape moving into the clearing. Still they are watching, not moving, judging - noiseless. The shape is lifting its head and is returning their gaze, shifting from one to the other, nervous. He continues to do so, anxious for the response, but none came. Slowly, he moves fully into the clearing, dragging something behind him. The silvery light illuminates an instrument in his hand, glinting gently off of a section of metal. He stops in the middle, pressing the ground with his foot, the trail of whatever he is dragging marked in upturned leaves behind him.
Deeming the ground he is on appropriate, the man swings out his object – a long, wooden handle, sharp-edged scoop at one end, the tip of the shovel is marked with a dash of red blood. Hastily, the man begins to scoop, shovelling pile after pile of fresh dirt, digging feverishly. After five minutes, he stops, and looks at them again. He can feel them watching him, their never-faltering gaze upon his guilty head, judging him.
He starts the dig once more, frequently stopping to check on them, nervously glancing in the middle of stabbing the shovel into the ground. Still they stand, unmoving, the most impartial of judges, and still he digs. After hours, he stops for good, and straightens himself, feeling his spine popping after the hard work. Slowly, he turns to the body behind him, and seems to sigh. Her young face gazes up to the stars, not taking anything in, as still as the night air. The man grunts, and digs his tired arms under her, pushing leaves and mud out of the way to scoop up her cold corpse.
He lifts, and with an intense effort, manages to straighten up, cradling the woman in his hands. He struggles round, and heaves her into the hole, and she lands with a muffled thump, sending leaves into the air and causing the man to look around once more, searching for something, staring at them as they stare back. Then, he picks up his shovel once again, and begins to fill in the hole.
The work goes quicker now as the moons light begins to fade. The man digs with new intentness, eager for the job to be over, and soon the body of the poor young girl begins to fade too, until soon it has been submerged completely. The level of the hole is still a foot lower than the ground, however, so the man continues to dig, as a new judge arrives. The sun begins to rise over the tree tops, its searching gaze piercing the canopy into the clearing, and the man feels the gaze judging him, sees the sun illuminating all he has been doing, and digs all the harder.
He works at a feverish pace, sending dirt flying, and in his haste he sends a single acorn tumbling into the earth. When he is done, he pats the ground flat, and uses his foot to spread the orange leaves over the fresh grave. Then, he stops, and leans on his shovel, contemplating what he has done. They look on still, and the man does not care, for he is lost in his own thoughts.
A bird’s chirp brings him out of his reverie, and he straightens up. He shoulders his shovel, and walks slowly back out of the clearing, towards his normal life. The sun still shines on, marvelling at what has happened, and still they watch - the trees, impassive - as the newly planted acorn begins to shoot forward through the years, marking the grave of the poor, young girl.


Drip. I wake. The sound of the single splash causes me to jolt into consciousness. I wait. There is silence. I keep my eyes shut. Clammy, humid air against my skin. Drip. This time, I feel it. The freezing cold splash against my head, reaching into my skull, cold agony burning my brain. It fades. I try to turn, to avoid the next, inevitable drip, but feel the tight bindings on my arms and legs slice into me. My head is harnessed, held in place beneath the never ending drip. It comes again.
The splash of ice cold water against my forehead is shocking. The liquid starts to roll down my forehead, into my eyes, and I open them, and then close them quickly as a blinding light enters my retinas, eclipsing the cold pain of the water with a new, burning migraine. With my eyes still clamped closed, I open my mouth, and extend my tongue, trying to whet my thirst with the water on my cheek.
Drip. This one lands on my tongue, and tastes foul, contaminated. I swallow it anyway, feeling the cool liquid slide down my throat, doing nothing to slake my raging thirst. Drip. This time it lands in water left over from the previous drip, splashing further than those before, adding more to the cold. I start to attempt to shake my head, to wash the water away, to stop the pain. I fail – the water still burns, freezing, into my head. I wait again, anticipating, preparing myself for the next drip. It comes. I don’t feel it as much. My head is going numb. My stomach groans in its absence from food and water.
I start counting. Seconds pass, as I wait for the inevitable splash. After no more than six seconds, it arrives, cascading on my forehead, stinging my eyes and sinking into my skin. I begin to count again. Once more, on the sixth second, the water falls. It lands between my eyes, sending stinging pain through them.
I do not know how long I lie there. Every six seconds, the drop comes, regular on my forehead. It halts sleep, forbids me from thinking on anything other than the drip, the pain in my forehead. It could be hours, it could be days. After what seems like an eternity, I attempt to open my eyes. Again, the blinding light, glaring into my skull, sending tearing agony through my head. It barely makes a difference. I close my eyes slightly, squinting, trying to see my surroundings. A bare, grey ceiling is above me, with a small pipe running across it. I can see a drop forming. I dread its fall, and shut my eyes, preparing myself. As it lands, I sink into unconsciousness.
Six seconds later, I wake up. I fall back into the welcoming blackness almost immediately, and miss several drips, but inevitably, inexorably, the numbing pain of the steady drips brings me back. I count; there is nothing else I can do. Seconds pass. Drip. I begin counting again. Six; drip. Again, to six, again the drip. Over and over, I count, I count, one drip melding into the next, forming a stream of agony over my forehead. One second, two seconds, three, four, five. I tense, preparing for the drip. Seven. Eight. Nine. I keep counting.
Has the drip stopped?


The dust in my lungs scratches at my chest as I survey the land around me. The desert stretches for miles. All around me, there is nothing but dust, sparse trees, and in the north, a series of small mountains. The ground beneath my bare feet is boiling, burning my skin. The sun beats down on me, forcing its endless heat on my body, clawing at me, pulling harshly on my skin, singing it, branding it, harming it.
I collapse in the sand. The dust that fills my mouth appears as water in my delirium, and I swallow, feeling the rush of liquid flow coarsely down my throat. It tastes wonderful, pure, and clean. Then I switch back to reality. The sand tastes sour and painful. I cough it up, and great plumes of dust appear in front of my face, stinging my eyes and clogging my vision. For a moment, the sun is blocked from my vision, and all is cool. Then the dust settles, and I am once again faced with the scorching sun.
I hear scratching behind my head. I stiffen, and whatever it is stops. Slowly, ever so slowly, I turn my head, not having the energy to stand up, and see a scorpion scuttling away from me. The sun reflects off of its shiny surface, burning my retinas, and I shut my eyes, and drift into a doze.
I hear nothing. I see nothing. I feel only the pain of the burning sun. I lie there for hours, feeling the never-ending agony spread over my skin. After an eternity, I squint open my eyes. The mountains stand tall in front of them, drifting in and out of focus, in and out of reality. I blink, feeling the sand in my eyes sting once more. The mountains seem to be mocking me, laughing at me as I lie face down in the dirt - a part of the landscape. They seem to beckon at me with promises of shaded caves and flowing streams. I see one open its mouth to laugh, see its shining teeth bared at me, then blink again and it returns to normal.
I take my eyes off of the mountains, and scan the area around me. To the north-east, there is a clump of cacti, huddled in discussion, excluding me. To the north-west, there is a group of sparse trees, their branches spread close to the ground, dry and bare, and around them scuttle hundreds of tiny insects. I can hear them crawling over the dust through the ground, my burnt ear pressed deep into it, and in my delusion I feel like I hear footsteps as well.
I blackout momentarily, and when I come too the sun is lower in the sky. Its beating heat begins to fade as it sinks slowly behind the horizon, and the glaring heat that has reverberated off of the sand now begins to turn cold. The cacti seem to huddle closer, as if to share heat, and I shiver, feeling the sand cut coarsely beneath me. I try to bring my knees closer to my chest, but the heat and the cold have taken all of my energy. The outline of the mountains is still faintly visible on the horizon as I once again sink into unconsciousness.

Kog
03-26-2009, 10:42 PM
Nice, I liked Drip and the Desert most.

Morgana25
03-26-2009, 11:39 PM
I really liked the first one. Great job involving all the senses with your word choices. It's compelling and I really felt his emotions in your writing. Nice work.

Whalio Cappuccino
03-27-2009, 12:28 AM
Oh dude the "Drip" one was soooo realistic, the choice of words you used actually makes you visualize and it almost made me feel like I was there.

Chinese Torture I tell ya! ...Chinese right?

Hamsalad
03-27-2009, 12:31 AM
wow dude... your awesome.

dawesbr
03-27-2009, 08:26 AM
Hehe, I did the drip one then realised it wasn't quite what the task set was (first person descriptive writing in the present tense using all five senses yadda yadda) so I did the Desert. Thanks for the awesome, Ham :P And thanks Cog for being the first to read it and giving positive feedback. And thanks to you as well, Morgana, for more detailed stuff. :P Thanks to you ALL!