Looking Glass

Looking Glass Book Page

ASIN: B01BD641S6 (Kindle Unlimited)
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Excerpt

Sleep no more! Macbeth does murther sleep. This is what I know. This is what I remember. Blood-bright light through my eyelids into my eyes. Voices. Movement. Something squeezes my left arm crushingly. Something else cold presses against my chest. "Nothing! BP zero over zero, no pulse. Hook her up fast!" Patches taped to my chest. Something forced down my throat. "Clear!" Someone shouts. Hands under my body draw back urgently and I'm alone again for a moment. All is still. Something kicks me in the chest, and everything inside me squeezes tight at the same time for a moment. When it passes, I'm aware of a sudden urgent throbbing in my chest. Gasp for breath. It hisses through the tube in my throat. "We've got a pulse! Blood pressure coming up, one fifty five over a hundred, pulse a hundred and five. Respiration! Puls/ox is coming up fast. Get the jack EEG adapter."

Open my eyes into the blinding bright. Bobby must have dumped my connection, and sent the EMTs. I'm still breathing hard, like waking from a nightmare. A mass of blue medical uniforms surrounds me, clutch at me, draw me up out of the tank onto a gurney. A white-coated figure bends over me. Bald head. Glasses. He looks relieved that I'm breathing. Look back toward my tank as something's plugged into my head. I should be angry, that's … a little personal, plugging things in there without asking. I reach up to unplug it, but my hand is uncoordinated, fumbling over the spot behind my ear. Some landmark missing. Find the one jack and fumble at the cable. White coat reacts. "She's conscious! Sedate her, quick, before she goes tachycardic again! "

My arms are strapped to the gurney. Bobby's face. I notice him as the needle bites my thigh with a cold burn grown suddenly hot, tendrils of heat radiating from it upward toward my brain. When the poison reaches the heart… "Wait!" My brain forms the word, I feel my lips move around the hard plastic tube in my throat, but I can't make a sound. Anger rising within me. I strain at the straps holding my wrists, but I can feel the sedative making my thoughts soft, the urgency draining out, like blood washing down the drain. I look over at Bobby, trying to find my anger under this chemical assault. "Wait…" I try again, but the unbearable weariness washes through me and my eyes slide closed again, and at least superficially, it doesn't matter anymore.

* * *

Light, 2.0. The sun wraps my skin in a weightless, massless embrace, the warmth of it permeating me with a comfortable sense of well-being, and a desire just to lie here. Wind tickles my skin, cooling me a little. I can hear the lapping of water nearby. Smell a saltiness that is probably the ocean. Smell of coconut and pineapple and sweet from somewhere near me, taste it in my mouth. This is such a lovely feeling. I hate to do what I know I have to. I open my eyes … to a cloudless blue sky. Watch a while, uncomprehending. Some suborbital flight or other leaves a con trail through the stratosphere, heading for the vacuum and darkness above. Sound of movement to my left. Motion catches my eye, reflecting off the inside of my sunglasses.

"Shroudie?"

I turn to look toward the voice. But I know it already, even before I see the familiar face, the familiar curvy body, dressed in a low cut one piece swimsuit. Like a dream, before I recognize her, I know already who she is. A glass of something white and slushy and decorated with a gaudy little pink paper umbrella sits on the sand next to me. Beach sand under her beach chair trails out to a gently lapping blue ocean that stretches out to the horizon. Smell of salt water. Of coconut sunscreen. Of body. "Tika?"

Her dark brows disappear behind her sunglasses, furrowing. "Shroudie, are you okay?" She reaches out to touch my hand with her fingers, and after a moment I take her hand gently. Something. It feels familiar. Like a newly developed habit. I shake my head.

"Tika … you…" My voice croaks, as though still dry from the endotracheal tube in my throat. I try again. "I … don't know. I think … I missed a meeting somewhere, nothing's making any sense, and I don't know where I am."

Tika slides her sunglasses off, baring eyes the color of melted chocolate, pupils drawing tight in the sunlight. "Oh, shit." she says.

Copyright 2007-2017 James R. Strickland, All Rights Reserved.