Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Prompt: If you’re not part of my solution, get the %^&* out of my way!

When the alarm sounded, Rachel was stitching up the wing membrane of a hotshot teen vorgrath who had flown into power lines Above. She’s already lectured him about being careless in the human world, and he sulked, facing away from her as she made a neat line of crosstie stitches that would hold the membrane in place without binding it while it fused back together. She wasn’t even consciously tracking the alarm pattern until she realized it was Unknown. Her head snapped up when she heard running footsteps and shouts down the hall.

Patting the vorgrath’s shoulder, she said, “All right. It’s all stitched up, but I need you to stay here so we can make sure the alignment is good. Otherwise, the fusion will scar.” Anticipating his interest, she added sternly, “And it could limit your flying.” He sagged, and she patted him again before reaching for the door. She didn’t want him to be alarmed in his current vulnerable state. That could get ugly fast.

Outside the room, she closed the door firmly and punched the alarm to silence it. Then she took off at a run towards the shouting. She skidded around the corner and stared at the scene in front of her. A tall woman stood in front of the counter, holding Janeane, the receptionist, by her throat so that her feet dangled at least three feet off the ground. Rachel saw the glint of silver webbing along the woman’s arms. A bound demon. She was in a rage and growing fast. The silver bonds were beginning to snap under the strain. Her eyes were already fully black, and red sparks flicked along her skin.

Rachel shook her head, thinking fast. She put on her best nurse’s face and stepped forward confidently. She stepped in close to the demon and said loudly, “Why don’t you put Janeane down so we can help you. Are you hurt? What do you need?” Everyone in the room froze, staring at her brazen approach. The demon turned her head to look at Rachel, and she saw her pale face reflected in those obsidian eyes. Slowly, the demon lowered Janeane to the ground. She released the terrified girl’s neck, and before Janeane could collapse, a shantuck nurse and a boowen guard grabbed her and pulled her away. Rachel wanted to snap at them, “Where were you a moment ago?” But she had the demon’s full attention and couldn’t squander it.

The demon trembled against her silver web. Rachel saw she was growing and straining against the chains. She didn’t see any obvious injury. Treating demons was tricky business, given their frequent responses to pain and threat. Rachel was the ranking ER nurse, and she had seen a lot, but she had never seen this type of demon before. That’s why the alarm hadn’t registered. Knowing she couldn’t afford a misstep, she asked again, “Are you hurt? How can we help you?”

Rachel realized the demon was struggling to control herself. She wasn’t on a deliberate rampage. Something had forced her rage. If it wasn’t injury, what could it be? Rachel held up her hands and asked again, “How can I help you?”

The demon worked her mouth, and Rachel saw her jaw had elongated and filled with long pointed teeth that made speech difficult. Finally, the demon whispered in a voice that grated across Rachel’s skin, “Pleeeeease…Chiiiiiiiiiild…..”

Rachel turned her head to Janeane, who had recovered enough to stand on her own, even if she was behind the boowen’s bulk. “Janeane, did we have a child come in earlier today without a parent?”

Janeane frowned and then her eyes widened. “Yes, we did. A girl. But she’s not…” she gestured to the demon.

Rachel gritted her teeth. “How old is the girl, Janeane?”

“She came in unconscious, but they thought she might be seven or eight.”

Rachel lifted her eyebrows. “So, before puberty?” she said softly. The nurses knew she was more dangerous the quitter she became. Janeane paled. “Um, I guess? Ohhhhh….”

“Where is the child now?” Rachel asked through gritted teeth. She would have a talk with Janeane about demon puberty later.

Janeane pointed to the triage board. “She’s in L-7.”

Rachel turned to the demon. “Come with me. I’ll take you to her.” The demon nodded and took trembling steps that thundered against the hall tiles. Rachel led her to L-7 and opened the door. A small, pale girl with long blond hair lay sleeping in the bed. She had an IV tube in her arm and electrode wires connected to the monitors maintaining fast unsteady beeps behind her bed. Rachel saw the silver bracelets on each wrist.

The demon rushed in and gathered the girl in her arms, sliding under her small body with more grace than Rachel could have imagined. As she settled on the bed, rocking the girl in her arms without disturbing a single wire, the child’s arms reached around and clasped her shoulders. The monitor beeps slowed as Rachel counted several seconds. She watched the demon’s body shift and the silver net loosened to a draped weave along her arms and across her chest. She looked up at Rachel, and her eyes glowed a soft emerald green. She mouthed, “Thank you,” then bent her head over her child.

Rachel smiled and nodded, closing the door behind her. She stood outside the room for a moment and a shudder ran the length of her body. Reaction. She needed coffee. Fortunately, the portal to the human hospital was on this floor, and there was a Starbucks in their lobby.

Dogs in house:

Kate Earl, One Woman Army

Time writing:
~45 minutes

June word count:


  1. Prompt: If you’re not part of my solution, get the %^&* out of my way!

    In the reflection of the spoon, the world was upside down and distorted -- unnaturally skinny and slightly curled. Little upside down men in suits scurried through a world of bulging walls. I tilted the spoon. Now everyone was foreshortened, squashed, like chubby penguins shuffling along a circular iceberg.

    "Stop looking at that spoon!"

    I flicked my eyes up to see Alex bending over me. I put the spoon down and lifted a fork. He grabbed the fork from my hands, and I got another spoon.

    "If everyone spent a little time with a different perspective, we'd all be better off," I said.

    "That's your solution?"

    "Of course not." I returned the spoon to the table, lining it up along the edges of a red cloth napkin. "That's a prophylactic. We are far past that now."

    "What do you think is happening now?"

    I shrugged. Alex cared more about the company; I cared more about the people. And the experiments. I couldn't get back to them until Father and the others made whatever decisions they were working on. Whether it ruined Alex's financial comfort was little concern to me.

    Time writing: 15 minutes

    1. Nice character development here and playing with the spoons etc. Good dramatic tension...

  2. Very immediate! Good action and tension. I'm a bit confused by the terminology, but I suspect others might not be. Makes me want to know about demon puberty.

    1. Thanks! I like Rachel, actually, and may return to this soon. I'm afraid it's bordering on fanfic, so I'll have to see if I can make it my own. But she has more story to tell, regardless...