Chapter 6

Written by: Timbo

Jim’s pleased with himself today. Things are looking up. God bless Lithium, keeping him on the straight and narrow, sort of. In the month since the insurance pay-out, everything has turned around. Great new job, a hair weave and Cate well on the road to recovery.

His new shoes squeak on the hospital linoleum as he turns into Cate’s corridor. They’ve moved her to a private room and given her an electric wheel chair so as she can drive herself to Physiotherapy and all around the hospital.

There are ten private rooms off the corridor and something’s going on in the one next to Cate’s. People are running in and out; frantic hospital stuff. Heading for Cate’s door he can see the broad rump of detective De la Cruz waddling away at a fast trot. Good riddance.

“What’s up?” he says, entering Cate’s room.

She’s sitting in her chair, staring out the window and there’s no welcoming smile. No reaction.

“Cate?”

She turns to him, tears streaking her makeup.

“It’s Joe,” she says, sobbing.

“Joe?”

“Joe Keating.”

“The rugby player?” Jim has read he’d broken his neck - something about a scrum collapsing.

“He did.” She nods. “He’s in the next room and on life support.”

Jim absorbs the information and feels a heavy weight of concern in the pit of his stomach.

“Life support?”

Cate’s scrunching a tissue with her good hand.

“He broke his neck at the first cervical - he can’t even speak - a respirator does his breathing for him. It’s so horrible...” Her voice is like chalk on a board.

“And you know this...how?” Jim decides to take charge of the situation.

“I got confused about which room I was in and wheeled into his by mistake. I recognised him. We’d known each other years ago - we were an item for a while,” says Cate.

“I see.”

“No you bloody don’t.” The words are like a slap. “He can’t talk; he’s trapped in his head. He communicates by blinking - one blink for yes, two for no and it is sometimes really hard to make out because his eye’s keep filling with tears......” she goes quiet.

 “They’re good here,” Jim says, “they’ll be able to take care of him.”

“You just don’t get it, do you Jim,” she says softly. “Joe Keating is never going to recover - not like me. I’ll be fine in a month or two but he’ll be just the same, unable to speak, a mass of bedsores and crying silently for hours after his family visit. I had to do something.”

“You did?” He’s surprised that he can still speak as a sense of foreboding overtakes him.

 “I asked him if he’d like me to pull the plug and he blinked - one blink for yes,” she says, “so I did, Jim. I pulled the plug.”

Timothy Booth (IRL)

 

Comments

Third person present? I would have preferred to see this carried on in the tense we started with but none the less an interesting piece of writing that we do not see too often in today's literary market. It is also a little top heavy in dialogue but Tim has given the story another little twist in this well written chapter.
My favourite phrase? "God bless Lithium" This made me laugh and kept me very interested in the story. Excellent chapter to write and move the story on.