The Break Room Collective Novella
The following collection -- a tale with no end in sight -- was gleaned from a previous related thread, each morsel of fanciful writing selected from the innermost endless thought-stream of our esteemed, worldly-wise, skewed, cockeyed, and passionate members.
Please add to the oozing and bubbling cauldron of creation below.
Take us where we have never been before (within the Terms of Service, of course)!
Sep15 by Horseshoe
"It was a hot and sultry night as I approached the nursing station for my shift. Though the temperature was oppressively high as I signed in at the computer, I felt a chill at the dark and moody atmosphere oozing from every pore of the unit. This did not bode well..."
Sep 15 by Hygiene Queen
Suddenly,a tortured cry shook my foundations. It crumbled me to the core. It shattered my shimmies. I ran, though I ran blindly, not seeing but hearing, feeling, the anguish which I knew I must quell. All my senses, but my eyesight,beckoned me to go.
Rounding the corner, I could finally see what had called me. My eyes had opened like a defiant flower in Spring. It was a man. A very handsome man... who had entrusted his life to me... and he was in pain. My heart melted,but I knew I must be strong. Somebody had to save him. I readily accepted the challenge..."
Sep15 by amoLucia
"But to what expense all my other great needy ones would feel the bane of my neglect. Oh, the choice is tearing me apart! Deep gut wrenching sobbing escapes my lips. Salty tears cascade down my otherwise pale, but flushed cheeks. My bosom heaves as I race to be by his side.
Onward I fight my way to my beleaguered patient. I look away from all the others waving desperately as they vie for my attentions already so precariously stretched to their overburdened limits. No matter to meeting their seemingly petty needs. HE needs me. HE is my calling. For HIM I will forego all others ..."
Sept 16 by amoLucia
"Tormented, I think, how do I assuage his pain. Oh, how I long to hold him in my aching arms until my longing dissipates. But my sense of duty and propriety gnaws at my anguished core. Where are my limits? Do I abandon my ethics to broach that imaginary boundary crossing over into that dark netherland of guilty bonding closeness.
Ever so silently like a church mouse, I approach his bedside. His respirations slowly rise and fall. Lying there on crumpled sheets like a discarded tissue, I see him. All my deepest instincts well up in me. Multi tubing lines fall into a swarming huddle as I struggle to untwine them. My fingertips singe as I touch his pillow. Gently and softly, ever so softly ...
But alas, ever so faint and remote school time memories of my mentors come flooding back to me. Like marble monuments to times long gone they stand to observe my every move. I float awash, like flotsam caught in a river of whitewater. Admonished, I hear the others nearby. They too have their own wants of me. Down my unit's long darkened hallway, I behold a view of call lights like a swarm of fireflies on a hot, humid summer night flickering. The incessant roar of monitor beeps and pump alarms play an unsynchronized chorus to me.
Their hunger, thirst, wakefulness, hot and cold all beg my attention. So much needed. And so to them I turn, slowly, and with mixed regrets ..."
Sep21 by amoLucia
"Reluctantly I start down that shrouded hallway. Dim moonlight peers through some windows only to emphasize the isolation and loneliness felt by others in this deserted place. Is there anyone who visits these lonely ones? Does anyone love them? Did they love anyone?
I approach the first room to my left. I gaze upon the bed's occupant. Her withered, gnarly hands tightly clutch the rails that almost seem to imprison her within her bed. I think to myself "did she ever feel the emotions I do at this time?". Did she ever love someone deeply, but deeper still, did anyone love HER as deeply as I love HIM? She smiles ever so faintly as I come close. "I know all about it, dear. I understand him now. Yes, you should". I look at her, startled and bewildered. Am I such an easy read? Does she know the torment I am facing? "Stay with me til my love comes home to me", she pleads. With a muffled gasp I leave her.
By sheer force I stop to check the ancient mariner across mid-hall. Angry words, hurtful words hiss out of his mouth. The anger just bubbles from him, much like the bubbling air machine that provides the precious air which he uses to spew such awfulness. NO family remembers him. No long-lost children or grandchildren ever visit. No prayers will ever be offered when the time comes for him to cross over into that Great Abyss. His eyes squint to focus on me, but they are unseeing. "Why did you let this happen to me", he bellows as spittle drips. "Fix me", he demands. Immense waves of impotency flood my senses. I can do very little do meet his demand, but I feel some twinge of guilt that I must. Darkness and quiet becomes overwhelming.
I so desperately want to retreat to my sheltered safe place, my safe harbor. ...
Oct1 by amoLucia
"I stumble out of his room to continue my rounds only to hear some faint cry of "I'm hungry", "is it breakfast time?", "is that the breakfast bell"? Tracing those sounds down the far end on the darkened hall I hear those distant calls again. Echoing in the silence, I hear them, and then I remember.
'Once a nurse, always a nurse' as I was once scolded. A member of the class of 1913, revered and respected by the many who followed in her footsteps. Her voice, clear as a bell, could still bark out orders. A military career in the day when women nurses first served their country, she demanded and rightfully earned distinction. Posture straight as an arrow, she commanded attention.
An honored and beloved professor emeritus in her late career, she was now calling out in her mind's mixed jumble of realities and memories. What stories she told us naïve students of duty shifts long past. But now revisiting some distant time and place none of us could travel with her. How lonely for her and others like her.
A cup of ginger tea gently relaxed time and chased the shadows for the moment. Such a small effort. And soon all was quiet again.
With overwhelming trepidation I face the return back the hall. I still need to face my fear .. my passion ...
Oct5 by amoLucia
"I turn pushing my steps out to the finally quiet corridor. Suddenly a new voice is calling aloud. I recognize that voice and I stop in my steps. Suddenly the urge to flee is all but overwhelming. The stairs to the back hall, rarely used, beckon to me. I could slip out; no one would be the wiser. I would be able to avoid all the conflict that tears at me. I pass thru those portals, ready to bound down those cob-webbed steps, but I stop in the foyer.
Abandonment. That's what it would be. The coward's way out. I AM braver than that. Or am I! I have to face him. I HAVE TO. He has to know. I owe that to him. But I also owe it to myself.
Ever so quietly, I tiptoe his room. He gazes upon me as he whispers my name. Almost like half a secret, half a prayer. I start to involuntarily respond; my eyes finely pierce the darkness, my breath catches in short rapid gasps, my heart rate flutters away bounding in my ears. I feel my adrenaline surge. Fight or flight! How I wish I had fled down those stairwell steps! But I am here now.
Our fingertips touch ever so lightly. A wisp of my tresses falls to my shoulders and he brushes it away. Just the briefest feather of touches. I back away. 'Not now, not ever'. There are the others'. There. I finally uttered those terrible words. Our pasts come jumbling out to catch up to our presents, like thunder and lightening from distant malevolent storms. Previous loves, previous avocations, promises made long ago. I can't back away far enough. Demons long thought buried are alive as ever. And ever present.
'But I will wait', he husks. That awful roar is starting to muffle. A sense of calm begins to appear. A cool breeze blows through the corridor. Refreshing. Renewing. Affirming. Just like his wistful smile."
Oct21 by amoLucia
I struggled to wait. Six years of 'waiting' Six years. "Time DOES NOT fly. I suffered an excruciating, abruptly painful, agonizingly slow 6 year journey. Like a prison sentence. I hesitated until I believed all was well, believing that he would wait as he said he would all those years long past. But he followed a mistress too intriguing, too powerful and so demanding that I was no competition' albeit my pitiful efforts.
I tried to follow. My travels took me afar, to many a foreign locale. To the many women with children and old men, I was "doctora" or "enferma". I saw humanity at it worst, but also at its best. People needing my skills, the application of all I knew as an art & science was of little import when it could do little for myself. But just the knowledge that HE was somewhere near made it all worthwhile and bearable.
I could face the solitude. Or so I thought. Until that one night, ...
Oct 29 by No Stars In My Eyes
Having accepted an assignment to a tiny group of islands that were nearly swallowed by the vastness of the ocean which loomed as a living presence all around us, I thought to lose myself in the difficult work of saving lives in primitive conditions with outdated supplies.The islands were so isolated, but the need, that oh so critical need was what lured me to them. Hoping to forget my past, hoping to forget... everything!
I took to wandering at night when I could not sleep. My soul echoed in the restless heaving of ocean waves as they endlessly crashed on the lonely, empty shores. Empty, like me, longing for more than the insistent thundering of the tides.
Those restless tides cried out again and again, with no peace, no respite, like my heart continued to beat with the longing still alive inside me, clutching at my heart, refusing to be banished.
As I walked with a listless and bereft gait, tears ran down my face as if by their own accord. So often were they on my cheeks, I barely noticed them anymore. I had no need for a handkerchief as the ocean breezes dried my tears as they fell. My thin cotton dress teased around my body, the hem lifting and falling, at the mercy of the ever changing winds.
Something intruded on my reverie, all these years the sole companion of my physical being.
Suddenly I noticed an unusual sight: a faint light coming from a small bungalow in the distance. I began to walk a little more quickly. When I arrived at the doorway that was ajar, I slowed and stood listening. There was barely any sound except the waves now coming to my ears from a distance. Yet, I sensed another being within that shack. Curiosity overtook me, so I eased my slender, lithe body through the door, my chest quivering nervously with the effort of breathing quietly, so as not to be discovered.
As I crept into the shabby treatment bay, I saw a tall shadowy figure standing with it's back toward me, concentrating on what was on the table below, where a flashlight with a fading battery was set on end. It's puny light pointing upwards cast a faint halo around the figure.I gasped with a shock of unbelieving recognition. The adrenaline shot through me. Could it be...?
The figure turned at the sound of my breath of shock. As it turned, I knew the rapid beating of my heart was amplified in the silent room.
So filled with emotion I could barely whisper, I panted out just one word...."YOU!"
Oct30 by NoStars In My Eyes
The man took the flashlight from the table and shone it's weak light upon my face, then down my trembling body, before coming back to my face. The sound of the deep, warm voice I feared I would never hear again made my knees buckle. I had been hanging tightly, my knuckles white with the strain, on to the back of a chair. I sat suddenly , and then the words he had spoken penetrated, confusing me. It wasn't the first words I'd been expecting or hoping him to say.
"Do you have electricity in this place?"
I sat in silence, but my mind was racing. Didn't he recognize me? Had I changed so much during the six years we'd been apart? In the dim light, my hungry eyes traveled his face. I remembered that strong square chin, the aqualine nose that gave him such a noble profile, his dark, thickly-lashed grey eyes, those neatly set ears, the curly, tousled hair that dipped forward over his brow. And those broad shoulders that always made me catch my breath, those strong, well-muscled arms I longed to have hold me in his embrace. He spoke again, with soft kindness in his tone.
"Do you speak English?"
I could say nothing. I didn't know where to start. I thought of our first meeting, his pain, the long dark hallways at the hospital, where I could hear him say my name over all the ambient sounds of a hospital ward at night, the connection we'd felt. He cleared his throat,
I flushed with embarrassment and stuttered out haltingly, "The, um, the gen-generators are t-turned off at nine. O'clock, that is. We, uh, have to conserve the fuel that runs them." I couldn't think clearly. I was stunned by his presence. What was he doing here? WHY was he here?
He nodded solemnly. "I see." he said, and as he spoke those two words, the flashlight battery died and we were plunged into darkness. He chuckled softly and at the sound, my insides melted as if I had just swallowed a shot of whiskey.
"I suppose I should introduce myself properly," he said, "My name is Peter Richards Quillingsly, but my friends call me 'Quill'. You may call me that as well, for I feel we are going to become good friends."
"Quillingsly?" I thought with a shock, "But no, your name is Richard Peters Quillingsly!" I thought I wasn't hearing him correctly. I still could not find any words.
As he asked me, "And you are....? Your name, please?", my heart sunk with despair. He didn't know me. Although I was sure it was HIM. I knew it was not him. What was going on here?
Finally finding my voice, I said "Richard Peters Quillingsly?" and he laughed again, this time with some bitterness.
"No, I am Peter Richards Quillingsly. Richard is my twin brother."
My mouth dropped open, I blinked rapidly. I was glad it was dark and he could not see my expression. I'm sure I was gaping like a fish unable to breath the air.
My hands began to shake and I managed to ask him what bungalow he was going to be staying in. He mentioned the name of the little cottage right next to mine. Oh my Lord!
I told him I'd show him the way to his quarters, and as I moved past him to lead the way, he took my hand in his large warm hand. My heart leaped. He said."I'm afraid I can't see my way very well in the dark; lead the way." We stepped out into the light ocean breeze, the sound of waves now murmuring in the distance. He spoke again, "Oh, yes, I think I'm really going to like it here."
I had to smile.Last edit by tnbutterfly on Nov 1, '17
About dianah, ADN Admin
dianah has '42' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Cath Lab/Radiology'. 62 Years Old; Joined Apr '02; Posts: 30,012; Likes: 18,548.Nov 2, '17 by amoLuciaI had to smile, but it was a wistful smile. One full of thoughts of sadness and remorse for opportunities lost. A long smoldering forgotten warmth flooded my senses. So hard to think, but so easy to feel. All those long lost years came rushing back at me, like some giant tsunami, unannounced, relentless, pounding and unstoppable. Could Quill ever have any inkling what I had endured? Or what was yet to come.
"I'll see you in the morning", Quill said as we parted.
This would be a difficult night. How would I continue on? There would be NO sleep tonight for me. Loneliness was gnawing at me. Tossing and turning in the darkness would cease only when I would trade places to stand transfixed at my window gazing thru the cracked glass to look out to his cottage. So near yet so agonizingly so far. I grasped the sill to steady my stance. I could only remember ...
Those nights so long ago with time spent working together under the most desperate of conditions. And then hopeful talks of our futures together. Better times awaited us. Time to travel and just to relish the unbridled joy the company of one another - two bodies just side by side.
Quill had once promised he would wait. Would he be waiting in the morning?
A troubled world had intruded upon us. And now daylight was piercing a grey cloudy sky. The smell of rain was carried on the increasing breeze that was now whipping up angry whitecaps on the ocean in the distance.
I shivered ...Nov 3, '17 by amoLuciaFolks, COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!!!!!!! Suggestions too.
And again, anyone is welcome to jump in and add to the storyline.
Be creative! Let your wild side come out! Add a new character. Tag on to one there already. Travel!
I'd like for one of the guys out there to let the testosterone flow!Nov 3, '17 by toomuchbaloneyOn the other side of the world, a small but powerfully built man struggled to close the flap on his emergency shelter. A distant memory haunted his efforts adding lost cries for help to the flapping fabric and whistling wind. The snow and storm wind muffled the sound of his cabin collapsing onto itself in the firestorm that woke him. Nothing muffled the voices calling to him as if mocking his efforts.
With a final exhausted effort, James, threw his full strength into his stiff and painful fingers and felt the zipper slide closed. He fell backward into the tiny space and might have rested had the backpack not clicked in the cold, reminding him of the larger game that he played. James carefully removed the pack and contemplated his next move.
If only he had volunteered to fly to the tropics rather than stay behind and continue the research.Nov 4, '17 by No Stars In My EyesSuddenly, James heard a whimpering outside the flap he had just barely managed to close. One of his dogs had survived! He fumbled with the flap, couldn't get it open fast enough! His heart was in his throat and tears began to fall as his beloved canine squeezed into the shelter. James laughed and hugged the trembling dog close, to warm up the both of them.Nov 20, '17 by amoLuciaAt my cabin's cracked door, amidst the non-stopping howl of the sub freezing wind came a plaintive call "Missy". Little Imani, daughter to the camp laundress, could only wave to me to follow her. We stopped at James' shambled cabin, where she plaintively called "James Sir" breathlessly. Trying to out-shout the wind.
At first, James could only stare at we two shivering figures in the darkness. With us scrambling inside, his Pookie merely raised his head off a floor blanket to acknowledge us. "Please, Sir, come", as she pulled at him and me. "Maman needs help".
"Maman" hadn't made her pick-up for 2 days. Eight months pregnant, swollen and slow-moving, she continued to struggle with her camp 'job' to earn some income to supplement her spouse's wages for some fresh water fishing. He would accompany James on those prolonged boating excursions, weather permitting. But the weather was not in any kind permissive mood in recent days, so income was scarce. Research was on hold as air flight was down and land travel relegated to perilous sleigh.
With his team down to only weary Pookie and the inexperienced novice dog, Apple, even our sleigh travel was seriously doubtful. But how to convey this to Imani who looked pleadingly to the few researchers lingering on as the saviors for her stricken mother. I was the clinician, James was my tech support. Hardly a 'crack' team of professionals for a population of indigenous Artic natives with health issues.
Imani pulled at us again. I could only look at James as he steeled himself. Pulling on his heavy duty travel garments, he then harnessed the dogs to the sleigh. We packed what meager supplies we thought we might need. With Imani in tow, we set off into the darkness to her isolated village.
Travelling in blizzard conditions, we reached their shelter. Barely a shelter. Secretly I feared an anticipated imminent childbirth. Local midwives and doulas were usually the norm to 'run the show'. But I was now on my own with only James for my support.
Long buried skills in maternity flooded back easily. But I feared my worst concern was about to become a reality.
This baby was to become a breech ...Dec 22, '17 by amoLuciaA breech baby.
All those years as a new nurse on the ward, I visited the Mothers' Unit every chance I could sneak in. No great need for experienced nurses, much less a novice nurse like myself. But oh, how I loved to watch! Senior fellows delivered 'difficult' babies in the theatre. Home births were the rule, healthy babies delivered by knowledgeable midwives to robust mothers who were laying in their beds. And that glorious feeling of new life entering the world so humbled me. I would learn someday. Looking at those blessed little lives. No way to know how their lives would turn out, but for now, all was an equal field.
But here, Maman and baby were depending on me. With James at my side and a trembling hand, I touched the scalpel he handed me. Never had I made a surgical incision. Despite the outside's bone chilling winter bite, I was damp with a sweat of pure fear. I could barely see thru the room's haze as Maman lay there. Another cry escaped. Imani was crying too. I could only lay the scalpel back down.
What else ... what else could I do? Silently, James moved past me. With a laying of his huge weathered hands on Maman's belly he brushed her with the brown solution from his emergency bag. With a blazing glance to me and then to Maman, he lifted that scalpel from the table he prepared with other instruments that shimmered in the dim lighting of the shelter.
Deftly, a horizontal incision was made across Maman's lower abdomen. For a moment, I thought I saw steam rise from the incision line as a womb became visible. Another incision and a small human creature was handed to me. With a quick rub and a baby's cry, I lay it in its woven blanket on his mother's chest.
So quickly and so assuredly did all this transpire. I felt myself starting to sway as this man took charge so smoothly. Where did those skills come from? Who knew? I wondered what else drove this man. As mother and baby rested, James and I prepared for the drive back to our camp. I felt I would soon learn more about James. A lot more.
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