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 The Observer

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PostSubject: The Observer   Fri May 25, 2012 5:32 am

So I've had this idea for a story for a while. In English class, we had to write a story (or the beginning of one, at least) so I had a reason to write it. Anyway, without further ado, here it is: The Observer. (Or at least the beginning of it, anyway. Crap, this is further ado. Oh well.)

I opened my eyes groggily. There was a flat, white surface scrolling by in front of me. No, it was above me, and I was on my back, moving. The world suddenly darkened as I passed out.
The next time my eyes opened, I could see more. I was propped up in a bed, a heart monitor beeping near my head. I could see doctors rushing all over the place, grouped around two other beds near mine. Nobody seemed to notice that I was awake. Near my feet was a clipboard attached to my bed. It read

Bed #: 2-091
Patient Name: Matthew Palmer
Age: 35
Ht.: 5’10”
Wt.: 170 lbs.
Condition: Apparently stable, comatose
Notes/other: In car crash with two other victims, placed in beds 2-090 and 2-092

My name is Matthew Palmer? Car crash? None of this was sounding familiar. I couldn’t remember anything. I tried to sit up... Nothing happened. Arms, legs, head, nothing moved at all. At least I wasn’t in any pain.
All I could move was my eyes. A door across the room from me burst open. Four people rushed in, two men and two women.
“...Internal bleeding, head trauma, glass in her abdomen, face, and neck,” one of the women was saying. She led the other three over to one of the beds, parting the wall of people surrounding it. For a second I could see the face of the woman lying there.
FLASH! It was as if someone had thrown a bucket of ice-cold water in my face. I knew this woman. This wasn’t just another patient, it was Eloise! My wife, Eloise. Memories, emotions, ideas, all came flooding into my head. Everything she meant to me, everything she was, I could remember - but still, nothing more.
The massive amount of data with which I had just been bombarded was simply too much, so I did what I was quickly learning was my main coping mechanism: I blacked out.
I glanced nervously at my watch, straightened my tie, flattened my hair, all for the millionth time; I didn’t want to look sloppy for my blind date. My watch read 7:45, so I grabbed my keys, locked the door behind me, and climbed into my car. Glancing at the slip of paper I’d been given with her address written on it, I started the car and accelerated in that direction.
When I pulled up in her driveway I saw a window shade upstairs hastily yanked shut. It was 7:57 - right on time. The door had a large brass knocker, and only seconds after I’d banged it on the door three times did the door open, and I saw Eloise for the first time.
Her brown hair was in curls all around somewhat round face. Her eyes were a deep yellow-green, like the dress she wore. Her hand, still on the door handle, was shaking ever so slightly - was she as nervous as I was?
"Hi," she said, "I'm Eloise." She extended her now-steady hand, which I shook.
"I'm Matthew," I said, and I stepped back from the door so Eloise could get past me to my car. It began to rain lightly.
Minutes later, we were sitting quietly in the car as we cruised down a road through a large, wooded area. Neither of us were able to think of anything to talk about.
"So, have you ever eaten here before?" I asked in a somewhat awkward attempt to make conversation.
"Just once," replied Eloise, "with my ex-husband." My bid to lighten the awkwardness of the situation had failed. Backfired, even.
That's when it happened. A fawn darted out of the woods to the right. Caught in the headlights of my car, it froze in its tracks.
"Look out!" screamed Eloise as I slammed on my brakes, trying to stop. The wet road had other plans for us, though, and we slid out of control. We spun off the side of the road, sliding through the muddy grass toward the nearby tree line... And gently came to a stop inches from a tall pine tree. The headlights, pointed back at the road, illuminated the baby deer as it pranced off into the woods.
As my white knuckles relaxed their death-grip on the steering wheel and I remembered how to breathe, Eloise began to laugh. After being momentarily startled, I began to laugh along with her, the pair of us just happy to be alive. We laughed and laughed, and just like that our relationship started with a bang.
My eyelids slid back slowly, as if they were reluctant to wake from a long nap. The clock, however, told me that I'd only been out for five minutes. Doctors were still milling about, checking blood pressure and occasionally even pulling out chunks of glass from my two neighboring patients.
The curtain on the second bed had been drawn back, revealing the face lying there. It was a teenage boy, no more than sixteen or seventeen. There were cuts in his face and neck, and a doctor removed a shard of glass from his cheek even as I watched.
Not that his face would have been unblemished before the accident; his nose was pierced in two places along with his eyebrow, lip, chin, and ears. A paramedic was scrubbing what looked like black makeup from under the boy's eyes, and another was tying back the hair that obscured his forehead.
Suddenly, a bright light flashed on directly above me, hurting my eyes and forcing me to close them. I just sat like that for a few moments, listening to the bustle around me. Then I heard voices.
I opened my eyes for only as long as I could stand, and in that brief stretch I saw the surgeon and another man drawing near my bed. I recognized the surgeon as being one of the four people who had burst into the room earlier to see Eloise. It occurred to me that they probably inspected me and the boy while I was unconscious.
"...And at such a young age," said one of the voices as the pair drew within earshot, and I momentarily cracked my eyelids to see that it was the surgeon talking. He continued, "It's a shame. Drunk driving at sixteen, what will Jason Hume turn into?"
A lower voice which I assumed belonged to the second man responded, "He may not turn into anything unless you operate on him, Dr. Reynolds; the only other surgeon we have who's qualified for such a high-profile procedure is Johnson, and 'qualified' may be... Something of an overstatement in his case."
Dr. Reynolds made a noise of agreement.
"He's botched every assignment he's received since his breakdown; I'd hate to see another life lost at his hands. Especially after what he did to that poor little girl..."
The lower voiced man grunted. "I've never seen so much blood in all my experience. One more catastrophe like that and I'll discharge him myself."
"That may happen all too soon," said Reynolds, "He'll have to operate today one way or another. You said it yourself, sir, he's the only qualified surgeon beside me who we have. The operations on Hume and Palmer will have to happen simultaneously or we won't have time to save both."
"That's true," replied the other man gruffly, "I just wish it didn't have to be this way."
"But does it, sir?" asked Reynolds. "Why don't you take one and I'll take the other?"
"I can't, Ms. Geller's in to have her appendix out and she's awfully delicate. I have no choice but to be there."
Dr. Reynolds sighed.
"Who are you assigning to who?" he asked.
"I can't decide. You pick which one you want to operate on, and Johnson will get the other. I think you're qualified enough to make a decision like that."
"Ah. Yes, I think I can handle that, sir."
A beeping noise came from where I'd been hearing the lower voice, which said, "I'm being paged. Ms. Geller is here. Good luck, and choose well, Dr. Reynolds." I heard one pair of feet moving away from my cot.
Moments later, another, very quickly moving pair approached.
"Hello, nurse Tyler, how are you?" said Dr. Reynolds.
"Hello, Dr. Reynolds, I'm doing well. Has Mr. Collins assigned you an operation yet?" asked a high-pitched woman's voice.
"No... Not yet. He just left to remove Ms. Geller's appendix."
"Well, let's hope for word soon," said Nurse Tyler, "neither of them can be sustained too much longer"
Dr. Reynolds didn't say anything.
Nurse Tyler continued, "It's funny; I actually know Ms. Palmer. Not directly, but through the community. She's a wonderful woman. Always donating to charities, always giving back. She hosts an annual bake sale to raise money for orphans in Malaysia. She never thinks of herself... Such a generous woman...." The nurse's voice trailed off, and both people just stood there for a time, presumably lost in thought. Nurse Tyler snapped back to attention rather suddenly.
"Well, good luck. I hope you are assigned Hume, for the pay raise."
"The what?" asked Reynolds, also suddenly at attention.
"The raise. You mean they haven't told you yet?" she asked. "I overheard Mr. Collins on the phone in his office one day. He said that your salary was to improve by 'A significant amount' in his words, if you proved able to handle an operation on a minor. I wonder why you haven't been informed yet..."
There was another silent moment. Then Dr. Reynolds spoke.
"Thank you, nurse Tyler."
"You're welcome, Dr. Reynolds." I heard the same high-speed footsteps I had heard approaching my bed minutes before fading away. Soon I heard one last set of footsteps slowly leaving my bedside. I heard the beep of some sort of walkie-talkie, then Dr. Reynolds' fading voice said "Mr. Collins? I've decided which patient I'll take...." Then he was out of earshot.
The Observer
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