Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Thanksgiving (04/18/05)
TITLE: Technicolor Slap
By Kelly Klepfer
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Sara rolled her head, stretching and twisting her neck muscles, being rewarded with a pop. Amanda had curled into a fetal position, as much as she could with tubes attached. She had stopped shivering and chattering. Sara stood, watching Amanda, ready to comfort if Amanda stirred. Amanda didn’t move. The sedatives and shock had done their job.
Sara walked to the marker board and read Amanda’s vital signs, the pain level chart with smiley and sad faces, and the names of Amanda’s nurse and aide.
A prayer continued to loop through Sara’s mind. The Lord’s Prayer. It didn’t sit well, like a greasy chili dog meal at an amusement park. Sara walked to the bed again, and her eyes were drawn to Amanda’s hands.
Amanda had finally relaxed enough to give up the cell phone. Sara had noticed Amanda’s broken fingernail in the ambulance, such an insignificant thing, a fingernail. Now all of Amanda’s cotton candy pink nail tips were gone. The nurse had clipped them into a small sterile container.
Sara felt tears fill her eyes again. She shook her head. How did she have any tears left? Pieces of comments, questions and answers peeked over the edge of the box in Sara’s brain where she had filed them. Ugly images slithered toward the boundary that she had set up.
Sara shook her head again. “Happy thoughts, think happy thoughts.” she whispered. Amanda stirred and moaned. Sara froze, and a deep shudder undulated through her body. “The Lord is my shepherd, I will not want, He leadeth me beside still waters”, she whispered over Amanda. Rote words of comfort, funeral words. Amanda was still again, Sara walked to the door and opened it.
Cushioned noise assaulted her. Like a library, only required polite, noise allowed. The police officer looked up from his notebook. “You okay?” He asked.
Sara shrugged at the stupid question. She wasn’t the one curled up on the bed. She was not the one who had her virginity brutally stolen on a cold concrete slab by a couple of guys out having a good time.
Sara walked to the nurse’s station. A handful of people were scattered around the waiting room. A man slept, his head resting on the back of the chair, his mouth open. A woman crocheted and rocked, and stared at the wall. Another woman was curled up on two chairs, a coat for a pillow. Sara wanted to ask them about their tragedies, but poured a cup of coffee instead.
“Sara” She turned to the voice.
“Pastor” Her eyes slid away and sought cream. She poured too much in. She took a sip of her eggshell colored coffee.
“Will you sit with me for awhile?” Sara shrugged. She had a split second urge to scream and controlled it. She sat in a chair and stared at him. “You’re angry.”
“You picked up on that? Maybe you haven’t seen Amanda yet.” Sara had lost polite conversation halfway through the police questioning and the evidence gathering segment of the evening.
“Well, when you do, you are going to want to puke, and then you’re going to want to send them straight to hell where they belong.” Sara’s eyes burned with another onslaught of salt water. She looked through the quavering curtain at Pastor Mark who had his eyes closed. His lips moved. Sara jumped to her feet. “Tell Him thanks for protecting Amanda for me.”
Sara rushed down the hall toward Amanda’s room. The door swooshed behind her entombing her in the near silence. Someone had adjusted the lighting, the room had softened. Sara took Amanda’s hand into hers.
“Sara” Amanda smiled and winced as her injured face moved. “Thanks.”
“Thanks for what Amanda, I didn’t protect you. I can’t help you. I can’t make it go away.”
“I thought I was going to die.”
Sara put her head down on the blanket and wept. She heard whispered words. What was Amanda whispering? And then she made them out. “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”
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