Her deeds will change her world forever. Dying is a dreary business. Helen V. For a ninety-something-old woman whose thoughts and actions had always, ultimately, mattered, it was a bitter pill to swallow. As was not having anything to look forward to but the final hammerblow to the back of her neck at the end of the slaughterhouse chute. Some days he whistled. One had been beeping away for half an hour valiantly trying to alert an uncaring world that her blood pressure was high. Well, of course it was, and would remain so, too, until somebody switched the damned thing off.
It hurt to turn her head, but Helen made the sacrifice so she could move her glare from the monitors to the nurse on the far side of the jungle of plastic vines that moved fluids in and out of the desiccated sack of flesh that had once given her so much pleasure.
How are you ever going to get better with an attitude like that? He locked a gurney to the side of the bed and with a tug and a shove rolled Helen onto it. Then he changed the sheets, rolled her back again, and made the gurney go away. A crackly roar of laughter flooded the room.
Least jolly sound in the universe. Still, she had to concede that it was doing its best to hide the profound silence of her life dwindling away. Yet she was unable to refrain from making them. She was stuffed so full of cultural trivia that she could no longer hold it all in; it seeped from every orifice and psychic wound in humiliating little dribbles and oozes. Early in her career, when she was a mere scribbler, Helen had learned that every scene should be anchored by at least three evocations of the senses.
Everything jarring, unclean, or worth looking at had been smoothed away or removed. There were no sharp corners. All the sounds were hushed: distant, emotionless voices, the unhurried squeak of soft shoes on linoleum in the hallway. The colors were all some variant of grayish off-white: eggshell, taupe, cream, cornsilk, pearl, latte, gainsboro, beige.
Worst of all were the smells: bland, anodyne hospital smells. Now that all the unpleasant things had been made to go away, she found she missed them. A hospital was a place of elimination. These things happened. Helen felt a twinge of pain and tried hard to ignore it. The night nurse began unclipping tubes and unhooking drained plastic sacks so they could be replaced with plump new ones.
Here be Dragons (Damnation Day #3)
She never talked when she did so; she gave the task her full attention. Admirable, one supposed. For transferring fluids. Lord Jesus has his hand out to pull you back. You need only accept his grace in order to be saved. But what do you do? You pretend that life is nothing but chuckles and smirks. Out of pride and arrogance, you are laughing yourself right into eternal damnation. The night nurse preached a righteous sermon.
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- Meridian Metaphors, Psychology of the Meridians and Major Organs (Best Practices in Energy Medicine Series Book 3);
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Direct, no nonsense, straight from the heart. But did she hear an amen? She did not. Not from Helen, anyway. Anyway, it would be hypocritical for her to pretend to believe in a God who, the nuns of her distant childhood had all agreed, hates hypocrites. The pain twisted, making her gasp. She put the book back, face down. The night nurse had probably led a hard life. One could understand her withholding drugs from extremely annoying old women just because that was the only power she had. Not that Helen, in her final days, was extremely anything.
But probably the people charged with ushering her into the next world with as little fuss as possible thought of her only as the difficult old lady in room Well within the normal range of human rudeness. For finding me a pill. If there is no God. Then the goddamned zeitgeist.
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Of our collective unconscious. Will forgive you. The petty, petty, petty. Then the night nurse was back. There was a ripping noise of plastic being removed from packaging.
Small fiddling sounds as she did something with the tubes and plastic bags. That cut no mustard with the night nurse. Only whether you love God more than you do the sound of your own smart mouth. You better think about that.
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You better think about that long and hard. Amen, sister, Helen thought. In assisted living, she had expended a great deal of energy pretending to work on her memoirs, Writ in Water. Well, now the time had come to admit that not only was she never going to finish them but she had never really intended to make a proper start. Life was for the living, memoirs were for those who had something to say, and she had been a failure on both fronts for a very long time. Once again, it seemed, Helen had been awake and talking for some time.
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Emily was a little dumpling of a woman with a round, pink face and thin blond hair. She was also, or so Helen V. She must have known a lot of pain in her life. I could do a show about either one. Must be her second wind.
Her last wind, rather. Not that her breathing was any the easier for it. Who infuriates everybody without realizing it. Chirpy, positive, upbeat. A sitcom, of course. Female, it goes without saying.
satingmegarme.ga God forbid a man should be cast as such a ditz. The pilot writes itself.
Related Damnation Day: Here be Dragons
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