Authors: Amy H. Allworden
Dying For A Chance
Copyright © 2013
Blue Ribbon Books
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.
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If you want to know what it's like to die, I'll tell you. It's a lot like being spun on one of those merry go round things you rode on as a kid. Remember how the biggest kid around always got roped into pushing everyone else around and around? Eventually, the poor kid got so damn tired he just wanted to go see-saw or something. So, with one prepubescent burst of energy he would grip the bars with both hands and let fly for one last mighty spin. I remember clinging to the cold metal rungs of those merry go rounds, arms wrapped so tight they were nearly falling asleep, and it felt like my brains were going to melt and run out of my ears. That's what it feels like to die.
I didn't plan on dying, of course. When I was sixteen I wanted to be a trendy cosmetologist and work in a posh shop at the heart of Chicago. Then, later on I found out no one says 'posh' anymore and Chicago doesn't have a heart. So, with slightly less ambitious goals I pursued my second biggest dream, restaurant hostess. I know it's not incredibly smart or inspiring and I'm never going to get rich but I always thought getting dressed up for work, looking fancy and serving the well to do would make me feel like my life was more interesting. Well, I guess what I'm getting at here is that I may not have lead the most exciting life in Time magazine but it was still mine and I was sorely pissed off when it looked like I wouldn't get to eventually live the tiny dreams that I still had.
Every once in a while I heard a nurses voice. I assumed it was a nurse because I don't believe in Heaven and honestly why would an angel be talking about Dancing With the Stars anyway? Unless it's gotten that popular without me knowing. Whatever happened to sitcoms?
“Blood Pressure...” warm and fuzzy voices wrapped around me. I couldn't see anything, couldn't feel anything. I wasn't even sure I could smell anymore. I must be some sort of disembodied thought just floating around. Beeps and the hush of pumps whispered to me.
“Sam, help me lift her to the side...” I expected to feel something, a breeze at the very least. I have yet to see a hospital gown with a modest back end. There was a long pause. I felt nothing.
“I'll get Dr. Swaresh...” A quick patter of footsteps there and back.
“Infection...lumbar...” The voices murmured in and out of thought. I struggled to stay with them. This sounded important.
“Prep...surgical suite 3...anyone to notify in case?” I listened for the answer. There had to be someone who would come. Wasn't there anyone who would want to know if I disappeared from the earth?
I stopped listening. Could I feel fear?
I can't remember the accident. Atleast, I'm fairly certain that was what happened, unless the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma suddenly came under attack by space zombies. If I missed the invasion by space zombies I would be seriously pissed in the afterlife, if there was an afterlife. What I can remember is where I was going. The Juniper Restaurant and Martini Lounge. I had looked it up on Yelp when I applied for their job as a hostess. Four and a half stars. Attire: Dressy. Ambiance: Classy. This job was going to turn my life around. That was the master plan anyway. Suffice it to say that nothing really went 'as planned' once I got into Tulsa. Interview for potentially great job- late, indefinitely. My only silk shirt with matching trendy black skirt- ruined. Old but reliable Mazda, my sole source of transportation- scrapped. If I hadn't been hooked to a variety of tubes and needles...and best I could tell lingering in some kind of coma...I would have been cursing and pitching an epic fit.
Voices pulled me back in to a buzz of activity.
“Dr. Swaresh...Suite 1 is crashing” A jumble of noises all blended together to create a chaotic mix of sounds.
“Continue prep I'm going to Suite 1” a strong and steady voice said, hushed voices trailed that one and left two smaller ones behind.
“What d'you reckon?” she sounded plump, and like she was used to smiling. I think I would have liked her.
“He doesn't have a chance.” this voice sounded old and burnt out. She may have been nice at one time but I don't think I would have liked her now.
“That's sad,” said the Smiley Voice “he looked so young, like he could have done something special.”
“If you ask me, this one doesn't have much chance either.” Burnt Out Voice sounded certain “at best, she's going to lose this leg.”
My leg? I didn't even know which one she was pointing at. Was it the left or right? I had an unattractive birth mark on the left so if I had to choose then that would be the one. But thinking longer on it I decided I didn't want to lose either of them. Finding that interview had been difficult at my best, how was I going to Hostess with just one leg? Table for two then? Follow me please...Hop, Hop, Hop. This dying stuff was starting to get a bit bull shit-ery. I decided to stop paying attention to what the voices were talking about.
An angry machine buzzed suddenly into the already noisy air of Surgical Suite 3. It was quite annoying, I willed it to stop. Couldn't I just slip away in peace? Nurses and doctors voices blended together, none of what they said made any sense. Like I was Charlie Brown and they were the “Waa-Waa” voices of all the adults. A simultaneous buzz and clatter heralded the decline of what could have been my heart rate. A scurry of bootied feet and raised voices confirmed my suspicions. This was it. I was finally leaving my broken shell behind. I didn't feel particularly bad about it. I mean, I'd never really gotten the full use out of it anyway.
With calm surety I felt my thoughts spin further from the noise and chaos. In dizzying speed my thoughts fled the commotion. They were only a pinprick of sound, a distant memory of something best forgotten. I started looking forward to the next step. How exciting. If I still had a heart it would have been racing. My permanent darkness ebbed behind my thoughts and I knew that if I focused just enough I could make out the horizon of some land in the far distance. My unbeating heart raced faster still. A soft chiming, bells or the clattering of seashells welcomed me. What could it be? What amazing new adventure was in store for me, I could hardly contain my excitement. And then, rather suddenly a cold and icy grip seized me.
I fought. Not hard at first. I was confused. Wasn't this the next step? This was where I was meant to be going. But, the harder I focused, the further away the horizon seemed to be. That damned icy shackle was pulling me back towards the noise and chaos. All at once, I hated that shackle. That obscene force which had robbed me of the splendor that could have been my next step. I lashed out with imaginary hands, fought with all the rage and fury in my thoughts. Who did this, whatever it was, think it was? Lips curled, I bared my teeth to shout out my anger.
“Get Off!” the sound of my shout quieted Surgical Suite 3.
“Stabilized, we've got her back...” a new chorus of unwelcome sounds invaded my pained ears. Sounds, like a mix of relief and renewed vigor burst all through suite 3. I would have joined them but suddenly and for the first time since finding myself in the most awkward position of being comatose- I fell asleep.
I couldn't recall what the offending truck had looked like. I wasn't looking when it ran the red light and melded with my drivers side door. It happened fast and it happened when I wasn't paying attention. What I do remember is the blue light on my phone- I had just got a text message. Maybe it was about the interview, a new place to meet, a new time? I tried to focus on the screen. What did the numbers mean? They blurred and wobbled, suddenly the phone shot off from the passenger seat and crashed into the passenger side window. All it's internal pieces burst out like mechanical confetti. I looked past it, out the window, but what I saw wouldn't make any sense. It stubbornly refused to pull itself together into anything I could recognize. My mind raced to figure it out, this was important. My heart pounded painfully in my chest and my breath came in gasps. I was running out of time, if I didn't figure this out...
“Ms. Tern, can you hear my voice?” I heard it. The voice was deep and full of concern with some sort of accent. I couldn't place it, maybe East Indian-ish. I'm no good at that kind of thing. My body made an involuntary groan of recognition. I pulled myself out of the quagmire of sleep. What was I dreaming about just now? Where was I?
“Ms. Tern, Samantha?” His voice was smooth and I desperately wanted to see what he looked like. I may have been almost dead but you have got to be prepared any time to meet Mr. Right or at least Mr. Right Now. I tried to open my eyes but found that they were stuck. What? I shot a hand up to my face, it was covered in a bandage.
“Don't worry Samantha, your eyes are just fine. This is merely temporary. Please lay back and relax.” His warm hands pulled my arms back to the soft covers and he tucked a blanket snugly around me. How very sweet.
“Wh, what..” my voice croaked like a distressed frog. What fresh hell is this, I couldn't talk?
“Your voice will return quickly, do not attempt to force it. Drink this.” The bed shuffled up in a buzz of compliance and promptly a cool plastic straw touched my lips. I drank eagerly and listened to him talk.
“I am sorry to tell you this, Samantha. But, you have been in a car accident.” he paused to let me process the information. I knew what had happened, it was no surprise and yet I found tears swamping my cheeks in choking sobs. Why was I crying? I was alive wasn't I? His strong hand smoothed my hair back and he made consoling noises. It took me several minutes before I was decently composed again.
“H, how” I croaked out.
“We can tell you more as you recover, for now I will tell you that your car was hit on the drivers side by a truck running a red light.” the straw and drink disappeared, the bed was replaced to its original position. He used his warm hands to direct mine to the rail of the bed. “If you need anything, push this button for a nurse,” and I heard his footsteps move to the door. “We'll have someone come in to speak with you later. Your job now is to sleep and recover.”
I laid back on the pillow and contemplated. A car, no that wasn't it... a truck, had come crashing into my life and derailed all my plans. I was suddenly furious along with feeling grieved. Everything hurt, there wasn't a place on me that didn't feel some kind of pain. The meds they were giving me were likely very strong so why was I still sore? I tested each of my assets.