Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Prompt: Not everyone sees the truth

Thanks to Mirella Santana for her beautiful image, Inner Loneliness

Vidan looked through the small barred window on the door. On the far side of the bare room, he saw Ulani perched on the single wooden chair. The chair faced into the room, but she rested on her knees with her chin on the low stone sill. Her long black hair fell in thick ropes against her back, and her once-white gown hung in webbed tatters. She had a careful technique for pulling the threads to make the intricate wings that she painstakingly stitched onto the back. They draped behind her, trailing almost to the floor.

He leaned his head against the glass and peered to the left. She had not eaten breakfast, despite his exhortations. He could usually convince her with a little cajoling, along with gentle reminders of the consequences. When he gave her 11 o’clock meds, he would remind her they would put her on an IV if she did not eat. She hated being in the infirmary. There was no window and they took off her wings.

Vidan was one of the good nurses. He genuinely cared about his charges. He wanted them to be well, to get better. Some did. Some didn’t. Some, like Ulani, didn’t see reality the same way the rest of the world did. To Ulani, her wings were real. When they forcibly removed her gown and wings, she screamed and fought until they rugged and restrained her. When she woke, she begged them to stop the bleeding, to restore her wings.

It was Vidan who learned how much better she behaved when they left her wings on. Vidan who learned how to talk with her, connect between their two realities. When he asked her what she saw out the window, she described a foreign landscape from a castle keep, not the dismal rooftop view of air-conditioning units and drying laundry. She spoke of cattle and battalians of soldiers sharing the fields surrounding the castle. Horsemen and giant horses training, riding, racing, hunting. A rose garden surrounding a vegetable garden planted in curved patterns of raised beds.

She would not talk about the people though. When Vidan pressed her about her family and friends, Ulani would break down in tears and curl into the chair, face pressed against the back, retreating too far into her reality for him to reach. Then he would rub her shoulders and brush her hair with a worn wooden brush, and finally leave her alone to rest and return when she felt safe enough.

When Vidan closed the heavy door behind him, and Ulani heard the bolt slide into the lock, she would sigh and stretch, reaching up to rest her forehead on the cool windowsill. Her wings unfurled and stretched behind her, gently waving in the room’s quiet stillness.

Dogs in house
Houdini, Brindle

Time writing:
~30 minutes, distracted

July word count:

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