(third blog bite of a short sci fi/fantasy story)
Alex woke with a jolt in his own personal penitentiary, aching to feel the response of his body. Hope glimmered. “Doc” said there’d be other times…
“Stupid, stupid idiot!” he admonished himself “Doc” was a fragment of dreams, a character created by his subconscious due to his administering the medication. It was all an illusion, a paradise conjured by the meeting of a desperate mind hallucinogenic drugs.
Would the real doctor return? He had no way of knowing. Fear seized him. Night came with its nightmares, but none as bad as his waking state.
Morning dawned, faces swam and retreated, the drip rattled as it was changed. Then there he was, Doc.
“Bet you thought I wasn’t coming!” he grinned as Alex felt the prick of the needle.
The hospital gown was gone; replaced by a shirt and loose, brown, cotton pants.
“Do you like your new look?” Doc chirped. “I thought you might want to blend in more.”
“Well it sure beats that gown! Simple and functional, suits me!”
“Yes, I think it does,” Doc said slowly, looking him over. “No multi-million fashion industry here!” he added, as if picturing with pleasure its demise, “or Anorexia.” A cloud of sadness passed his face, then he continued. “No gyms either, there’s plenty of “work out” to be got out in the fields. No uncomfortable business suits for anyone! The air is fresh and unpolluted, there’s plenty of good food for all, rest and exercise, the little ones thrive on it.” Alex remembered the healthy, laughing children at the pool.
“My kind of place!” he agreed. (If only it were real)…
“Let’s look at the school!” Doc grinned. Strolling over the hillside they sighted a crowd of children sitting under an oak, a vivacious young woman standing among them.”The location can change with each lesson.” Doc informed him. “Today it’s here.”
The children flocked to him. He gathered them in his arms as they laughed and squealed. They seemed to know him. The teacher was unconcerned at the interruption of her lesson, smiling flirtatiously at Alex. They began telling Doc some of the places they’d been and things they’d done. Alex listened enthralled. This school was no longer about books it seemed one joyous festival of learning, doing and experiencing!
“There are whole areas for them to come where they can learn constructively. ” Doc explained, “They come any time they want, it’s not required. Some parents also teach them at home, but they like to come, there’s no need of cajoling. Even reading and writing are not compulsory, though they all learn because there are so many beautiful books and stories. Some things must be learnt the hard way and reading is one of them, but it’s taught without pressure so some learn early others late. You’d enjoy teaching here.”
“Me a teacher?”
“But what would I teach?”
“Oh, believe me you’d have plenty to teach! As you can see this school system is quite different!” He laughed and the sound was pure joy reflected in the laughter of the children. It all became one and blended together as darkness invaded.
(from September 2014
I live in a bubble. It seems I’ve lived in it my whole life to greater or lesser extents, but as I get older it’s more noticeable.
I enjoy, a retirement pension that supplies all I need, UK law, police force, and NHS. I am free of war, want and oppression. Along with these I live in a small, old, English town still encompassing qualities England had when I was a child, (before its decline) kindness, good manners, honesty and quiet concern. There are three lakes, woodland, an allotment, half hour rail link to central London, shops, and a big supermarket within 5-10 mins. walk, all of which I can traverse safely even late at night.
My apartment is drenched in light from huge windows, rooms perfectly painted with nice furniture. There’s even a spare bedroom where friends and family can stay, and my neighbor just happens to be the…
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Time trickled past in agonizing slowness, blurred faces peering as the doctors did their rounds, as the nurse adjusted the drip… He longed for contact, to feel the touch of sensation on his skin, to look into the eyes of another. He remembered the eye contact; strange… there was something special about that young doctor, a certain empathy…
The ward emptied, he was alone again, alone with maddening thoughts. He tried to focus, picturing the birds, the peace… Then quite suddenly he was there, hypo in hand, a tiny squirt of liquid like a fountain of relief. Alex tried to speak but his mouth would not obey him, tried to read the name tag but his eyes wouldn’t focus. He felt the prick, relief coursed through him as the blanket of darkness swept over him.
The sound of water assailed his ears. He opened his eyes. Gushing waterfalls cascaded down an immense rock face converging in a small lake. The doctor sat beside him smiling broadly.
“You wanted to feel something?” He inclined his head towards the water. Alex needed no further enticement. Pulling off the hospital gown he dived into the pool. Overwhelmed by sensation as the tingling fresh water enveloped him he surfaced laughing. “Doc” as he’d begun to call him sat on the bank smiling. Sun was gleaming between the trees – early morning Alex surmised. Reclining on his back he looked up at the sky. Tropics? … he could feel the warmth of the sun on his skin, a hundred memories invaded his consciousness as he swam in cool relaxed strokes across the lake reveling in the sensation of rippling muscle once more, of power, of command.
The sun now showed its face above the trees as his ears alerted him to Doc’s calls. He was standing on the bank waving a shirt of some kind and pointing. Gliding back to shore Alex scrambled out of the water.
“You might feel more comfortable in these, there are others coming,” he said with a grin. Alex looked down. Of course he was naked. The hospital gown appeared to be gone, instead Doc held a pair of light cotton shorts and T shirt. Alex pulled them on. He was enjoying this “dream”.
He could hear merry voices on the wind. There were children coming, a whole crowd of children, boys and girls, mixed races, the older holding the hands of the younger, but none older than ten and some as young as five or six.
Excitedly they tumbled out of their things and went splashing uninhibitedly into the water at the shallow end of the lake.
“Seems they don’t need these either,” Alex said laughing, pulling at his T shirt.
“No, but I thought you might feel more comfortable with some on.”
“For sure! Don’t want them thinking I’m some sort of perv, especially as there’s no adult with them!”
“There’s no need much of the time. There are no perverts, nothing that would hurt them.” Doc looked at the splashing children a faint smile hovering around his lips.
“I always loved children,” he continued, “Here they have a place that’s good for them to live and no more school, at least not the kind they used to have.” The smile grew to a grin. “Would you like to see a school?” Alex nodded.
“You might have to wait till next time, your visit is almost up.” He glanced at his watch.
“There will be a next time then?”
“Oh yes, lots of next times.”
“But what is it…?” the question was drowned as a blanket of forgetfulness enshrouded him once more, muscles twitched and became unresponsive.
(From September 2014)
Darkness enshrouded him. Gasping for breath he looked around seeing little in the enshrouding dust of the cave in. The glimmering light on his helmet did little to reassure, catching glimpses of crushed bodies, rock, smashed timbers, and pervading dust.
Heart pounding, he tentatively flexed each limb. Pain throbbed through one leg where a soft oozing spoke of blood, his arms ached but not past moving. He stumbled to his feet seeking a path out, his head spinning as the tiny circle of light focused again and again, scanning the rock where the tunnel had been. He was walled in!
“Don’t panic man! Don’t panic!” he told himself as his pulse raced, and mind swirled.
“There’ll be a rescue party. They’ll dig us out…” Grimly he checked the bodies, some mere hands protruding oddly from the debris, some half buried in reddened rock. He alone was spared, his “five minute…
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Total desperation seized him squeezing inert muscles. There was no response. It formed words on lips that couldn’t be uttered. He, “the great adventurer” was trapped, encased in a shell that wouldn’t respond, eyes that couldn’t focus on white coated doctors and their clip boards.
Panic finally receded leaving in its place a desolation of spirit so overwhelming he was drowning in it…
A fresh faced young doctor entered the room. He smiled, strangely making eye contact. In his hand he held a hypodermic needle.
“I’m just going to give you a little shot Alex, something to help,” the smile turned to a grin.
A deep wave of darkness swept over engulfing him in slumber…
He “awoke” alone on a mountain side. In awe he realized… He was standing! He raised his hand. It moved. A dream he reasoned…
He gazed astonished as colossal flocks of birds arose, curved and soared in the sky above. Like a rush of soft sound and colour they wheeled to and fro interweaving their songs. The sky, a brilliantly soft shade of deep blue faded into purple at the horizon as the flocks wove in and out in giant loops of song.
A finch stopped to perch on his hand, fearless as Alex’ finger stroked the resplendent, downy chest, so soft and fragile, but the heart seemed to burst forth from within in song. It was all so sublimely beautiful he could only stand and watch.
The young doctor appeared beside him.
“What is this?” Alex asked.
“The birds fly forth to celebrate the coming of peace. They soar across the skies lending their joy to the creation bursting forth below, new buds, new beginnings.”
Alex became aware of other watchers coming forth from the small village below, children yelling, jumping up and down, mothers, dish cloths in hand, all with eyes bent skywards taking in the sight.
“Most don’t know what it means” the doctor explained. “They know only it is the celebration of a new beginning. This evening and tomorrow morning will be the first day of peace.”
Light faded as the sun descended behind the hills. Alex’ eyelids grew unbearably heavy as the blanket of night swept over him. His hand no longer obeyed him.
He woke once more to the blank white walls of his prison…A dream, a drug induced dream… He wondered if it was part of their health care plan, he doubted it… perhaps the young doctor had acted in compassion? Whatever it was he desperately wanted more, addiction couldn’t be worse than this hell he was living in, nothing could, not even death!
(from September 2014)
Leaves rustled in the early morning breeze, the trees seemed to quiver at her approach as if in sympathy. She had to go, come to her special place, the place she felt the comfort of eons.
Sitting beneath the old oak that had sheltered her as a child she let go, face in hands, sobs rending the silent stillness. When she could no longer hold on to her smile, when she felt the pressure build to an unbearable pitch she came here.
John was slowly wasting away and there was nothing they could do to stop it. His giant frame that had once carried her across the threshold was now worn and shriveled like a deceased nut in its skeletal shell, skin stretched over bone in lurid relief, a travesty of her man.
She had to smile for him, had to go on loving till her heart tore in tiny…
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