Chapter 6

Written by: Joe Labrum

Gary opened his eyes and tried to focus on the voices around him. A blast of early autumn sunlight blazed through a window flooding his small, crowded hospital room. He squinted to make out the features of the woman sitting next to him, leaning over him, whispering words to him that he couldn’t understand.

“He’s awake,” Glenda, his kid sister and closest sibling, said in a quiet voice filled with relief.

She sat on the edge of his bed silhouetted by brilliance of the sun streaming in full force through the window. He blinked in vain to clear his vision but the light was too bright. Then he closed his eyes again. The other people in the room, Gary’s siblings and their spouses, stopped talking among themselves and turned their attention to Glenda. She stood up from his bedside and leaned to pull the curtains together.

“There, that’s better,” she said, turning back to study Gary’s every sigh and twitch. There were none.

Was he finally awake, or was it just unconscious eye movement, she couldn’t be sure. It has been several months since the accident and this was the first sign.

Glenda reached for the call button and within minutes the door opened, “Is there a problem?” a nurse asked as she rushed in.

Glenda told her about the apparent awakening but said it only lasted a moment then he was gone again.

“There does seem to be more activity on the monitor now than there has been,” the nurse told her, and started checking his vitals… blood pressure, respiration, pulse, all up.

“I’ll order a brain activity scan,” she said over her shoulder as she left the room.

Two orderlies arrived with a gurney and took Gary away.
“Someone should call Shirley,” Glenda spoke the thought aloud, not wanting to be the one to do it.

“Could you call her,” Grace, the eldest, asked. “We didn’t exactly part on friendly terms the last time she was here.”

Shirley was still in her bed in her darkened room at half past two. The gloom that invaded her soul and drained her spirit when she lost Michael returned with this new tragedy, consuming her and filling every corner of her home. She often remained in her bed well into the afternoon. But, this day she woke suddenly. She was no longer alone in the house. The feeling of the two, yet single, spirits that gave her comfort were once again with her.

Shirley learned the skill over time. A kind of fine-tuning of her senses made it possible to communicate with them. She didn’t know why they left her for a while, leaving her completely alone for weeks. However, now her boys were back with her and she knew. She heard the words as plainly as though spoken by any mortal, “mommy, we sent daddy away. We don’t want him here”.

Joseph Labrum (USA)


This is a really good example of how a story can take off in a fresh direction, changing the scene and giving the reader a new insight into other characters involved from another point of view. Opening up the wider implications of the story, Joe has provided the next writer with plenty of options. I'm not sure a nurse would take several minutes to answer a call button or have the authority to order a brain scan but hell, they do worse things on 'General Hospital' soap on TV so maybe I'm being hypa critical.
These chapters are starting to look human; we are getting an insight into the characters thoughts and feelings. At last we are seeing the surroundings but I'm still waiting to see what these people look like. A good chapter, Joe.
Good idea, putting Gary in a coma for several months. I also like the way you moved the focus to his family rather than Shirley. The only problem is you have to be real careful about juggling that many charcters in a 500 word serial. It is going to create an interesting challange for the next four writers to open and close in the four remaining chapters. So what now? Does Gary have amnesia? How is he going to react when he is told both boys are now dead and he is responsible. Will the boys "appear" to him? How is Shirley going to feel about him now that he is awake and back? Lots of good stuff to work on. Good job Joe!
Relationships and lives will change if someone has been in an induced coma for a few months. I'm just assuming it's an induced coma because that is often what happens in intensive care when people have been in accidents. It will take Gary quite a while to get back to normal but to be living with the death of his 2 children he'll have a lot of emotion to deal with.
Nicely written. You've followed along from chapter 5 and kept the pace slow, but even, which was necessary to get your idea across for this chapter. Chapter 7 could start fresh or continue on the same theme. Skies the limit.