Fiction, Monologues, Plays & More
I can’t feel my legs. I’ve been trying to move them, I think about them, try to imagine the feeling of running, of my toes gripping the ground as they throw distances beneath and behind me. I imagine grass, cool and slippery, cushioning my pace as a breeze whips across my cheeks, leaving them chapped and rushed with blood. I imagine gravel driveways, the harsh stones cutting into the soles of my feet, skin being shaved away, leaving a trail of red behind me.
I imagine. But it does no good. My legs don’t listen. My feet ignore me. I refocus to my arms but it’s the same story.
Part of my neck listens. My eyelids. I open my eyes –a grey hospital room. My neck moves my head toward the window. I blink. I see the rooftop of another building. Vents whirl, dark watermarks stretch their fingertips across its floor. Seems so far away. City lights play across the rooftop, leaving it completely isolated and completely exposed at the same time.
I realize now that I’m not alone in the room. My neck moves my head. I blink. The ventilator tubes strapped to my mouth, forcing breath into my lungs, lurch a bit as I see him. Yellowed and bald, skin of sand paper, eyes purple and bloodshot. He is staring. I see a glimmer of teeth beneath thin sneering lips. He’s a young man, but looks ancient. A mummy. I want to run away from him. I try. My legs ignore me.
My neck turns my head back to the window. I want to pretend I don’t see him. I’m alone. I want to be alone.
On the rooftop through the window, I see a doctor and a nurse in blue scrubs emerge from the stairway. They whisper, they kiss, they kneel together. The nervous gestures of two escapees. Two people who don’t want to be caught.
I wish I were them.
I hear a squeaking of metal and rubber. My ears have not betrayed me. My neck moves my head. I blink. The man across the room has lifted himself into a wheelchair. He’s closer. I blink again. Broken blood vessels dot his skin. His fingernails are long and curling and yellow – they scrap against the wheels. A clicking chipping sound. Shallow puffs of breath. I smell – my nose has not betrayed me – moth balls, onion, bile. I don’t want him near me. Please, don’t come near me. I can’t fight back. I can’t run. It’s not fair.
My eyelids flutter. My tubes lurch again. He’s at my bedside now. He lays his hand on my arm. I’m thankful I can’t feel it. He is studying me. I can see my paralysis is confusing and exciting to him. I see him squeezing. I can’t feel it. He takes a long sharp fingernail and digs into my skin. Deep. Hard. Blood trickles down.
I think I feel pain. Some phantom semblance of it. Then it’s gone.
He licks the blood from his fingernail.
He’s leaning over me now. I see his arm brush again my breasts. Breasts that no longer belong to me. This body is no longer mine. It won’t listen to me. Move damnit. Runaway.
His mouth is near my neck. I feel a small pinch in the part that’s still mine. My neck moves my head back to the window. I blink. The doctor and nurse are in full coitus now. Still half dressed against the cold.
He has climbed on top of me. His mouth is covered in blood. My blood I think. No, not my blood. No my body, not my blood.
He is different. His skin is whiter. Less rough. His teeth are gleaming. It is harder to focus now. I try to watch the lovers. I try not to notice when he takes a bite out of my chest, nearest my heart. Maybe it’s a piece of my breast. I can’t tell. I don’t care. I don’t want to know.
He rubs his face along my jaw line, like a cat. A thank you? I want to be on that rooftop, in the arms of a stranger.
He’s off me. He’s standing by the window. He’s taller. He’s glowing. He follows my gaze to the rooftop. He steps out the window and falls into the air. I’m alone finally. Alone with the lovers on the rooftop.
The doctor and nurse are finished. The doctor pecks her cheek and hurries away. A shadow flits across the rooftop. I can see her startled face. I close my eyes. I don’t want to see what is about to happen.
When my eyelids open, she’s dead. Stained in red.
And I’m alone, staring the corpse, faraway, on the rooftop.
Time passes. I don’t think I’m breathing anymore. I can’t blink. My neck won’t move. A sheet has been pulled over me. Only a shadowy whiteness.
The sheet flutters as a doctor wheels me down the hallway. I hear beeps and coughs and the squeaks of gurneys. My ears have not betrayed me.
The doctor clears his throat. He scratches at some paperwork. My paperwork.
“How are you tonight?” A nurse. I recognize her voice. She changed tubes, bags, bandages. I’m dead. That’s how I am.
“Long night. Pulling a double. I was hoping she’d be conscious, so I could explain what happened to her.”
“It’s too bad.”
“Could you check on Mr. Pilbury’s charts? He’s scheduled for a blood transfusion but he must have been taken early. Wasn’t in the room. See who authorized that.”
Squeaking of wheels. Humming of an elevator.
The doors open to a smell of chemicals. Bleaching out the dead.
More paperwork. The doctor leaves me here.
The sound of metal. All darkness. The smell of cold.
No. I’m not dead. I imagine running, pushing, blinking, making love. I’m not dead yet. Not quite. Please.
My right toes begin to wiggle.
Chelsea Sutton holds a BA in Literature from The College of Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara. Her plays have had readings and productions in Santa Barbara, New York and Los Angeles and she is currently participating in workshops with the Skylight Theatre Playlab and The Vagrancy Writers Group, as well as spearheading ECT’s writers group, Eclectic Voices. Her play The Dead Woman, was recently named a Semifinalist in the Eugene O’Neill Playwrighting Conference 2013. Her fiction has appeared in The Best of Farmhouse Magazine, The Catalyst, Spectrum, and Fictionade, and she was the 2011 Winner of NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction Contest. Her story The Tick and the Tocking received Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers. She is a member of the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative. WithCoffeeSpoons.com