Sleeping

Sleeping

I was 18 when I saw someone receive CPR for the first time, and immediately I noticed how incredibly violent a thing it was to do to a human being. The sound of bones breaking from the depth of compressions. The jolt of the body from the electricity of defibrillation. The blood from the mouth after the endotracheal tube is shoved down the throat. Even if they survive this, I thought, I’m not sure the pain they feel upon waking would be worth it. And as if he was reading my thoughts, the victim I was observing from the sidelines refused to be resuscitated. After the doctor called time of death, everyone left the room except the charge nurse and me.

“Your job now,” he told me, “is to prepare the body for the family to see it.”

I gawked at him. Blood covered the man and the bed, trash covered the floor, and tubes were protruding everywhere with no apparent source. Methodically, the charge nurse wiped the man clean, gently raising and lowering his head to clean the pillow. He expertly located the entrances of tubes and set them free while I removed all traces of trash from the floor. Together we rolled the man from side to side, replacing his dirty, blood-stained sheet with a clean one. As the nurse closed the man’s eyes, he told me to fetch two blankets from the warmer, and upon returning, he looked me directly in the eyes and said, “This is the most important part of prepping the body.” He draped the warm blankets from the man’s shoulders to his feet to keep his family members from feeling the cold of his body. He placed the lifeless left arm on top and moved a chair to the left side of the bed. After bringing in the family, I watched as they automatically took the seat prepared for them, cradling the dead hand in theirs.

Continue reading at The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature

Wonder Woman’s Journey

Wonder Woman’s Journey, Part I

“This was nothing you ate,” she said. “This was nothing you did wrong. This is happening simply because you are a woman.”

Woman.

Wonder Woman waiting, watching waiting women weakening, wondering, “Why?”

“Why me? I have no symptoms; I feel fine.”

Fine.

Fabricating falsehoods, fearing futures for female family, favoring flawed features forthwith flat.

“I will begin four to six weeks of chemo.”

Chemo?

Chemically caging carcinogens, consciously consenting, chaotically collapsing, constantly containing contaminates, converting courageous characteristics, cursing, crashing.

“Does this mean you’ll be bald?”

Bald!

Beautifully bald, brazenly baring breasts broken but bouncing back, boldly becoming braver, but breaking, battling, balancing, begging, bruising, but becoming…better.

“Then I will undergo removal of lymph nodes and bilateral mastectomy surgery.”

Surgery.

Surgeon’s scalpel sectioning skin, skillfully severing, slicing; scarily succumbing, slipping slowly, softly, sweetly, support system screaming, “Savior: save, support, sustain, stay.”

“I am remaining positive, and I want you to know, I will overcome.”

 

Published by The Write Launch, “Wonder Woman’s Journey: Parts I, II, and III” are inspired by a close family member’s battle with breast cancer. Continue reading at https://thewritelaunch.com/2017/08/wonder-womans-journey-parts-i-ii-and-iii/

Selection Ceremony

Novel Summary

Audrey Meddler lives on the International Space Station (ISS), where people from around the world moved after the Final War on Earth. Every year, students are sorted into various future careers chosen for them by the ISS government. A small group is selected for Earth Explorations, and their job is to travel to Earth to find possible viable locations for habitation and report their progress back to the ISS…or so they think. The following chapter, “Selection Ceremony,” provides a small glimpse into the world and sorting process of the ISS.

CHAPTER ONE

“Adkins, Christina. Teacher,” Commander Henry Knave screeches. Standing at a menacing 5’4”, he always stands on a footstool to assign our places. He’s the one who decides where we go and what we do, so our lives and futures lie in his tiny, gloved hands. His voice is an octave higher than any prepubescent boy’s, and his receding hairline is even higher than that.

“Aide, Kiza. Nurse.”

“Aliment, Thom. Cook.” I’m staring at Commander Knave and watching his every move as if doing so could change our fates.

“Stop doing that, you’re driving me crazy! It’s like an earthquake,” Clarissa whispers to me, breaking my concentration on Knave. I’d been shaking my leg up and down. Nervous habit.

“And how would you know what an earthquake’s like?” I said, laughing. Her mouth breaks into a smile, revealing her straight, white teeth.

“Shut up.” She takes my hand in hers. “And calm down. Everything is going to be okay.”

“Armor, Andrew. Guard.”

“Of course,” Clarissa says under her breath. “He’s only been vying for that job since he was what? Ten?”

“At least. Have you ever seen him in the gym? He lifts things twice my weight.” Clarissa keeps me grounded at assemblies. We’re all herded in the auditorium like cattle and forced to sit in alphabetical order. Clarissa’s been by my side since we were five years old. The first time we met, our age bloc banded together to take a mandatory photo. She scooted next to me, turned, and looked straight at me. As our teacher took the picture, she said, “We’re going to be best friends.” Our group photo hangs on the wall of our classroom, and everyone in the picture is staring blankly ahead. Except for us. Two little girls, heads turned away from the camera smiling at each other. It’s quite evocative of our relationship, really. Conspiratorial now. Conspiratorial then.

 

Follow the link below to continue reading “Selection Ceremony” at The Write Launch.

https://thewritelaunch.com/2017/06/30/slection-ceremony-novel-excerpt-jacquelyn-scott/