Glad you could join us for the next x-traordinary episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
“Well?” The fierce predator blinked repeatedly, her flaming eyes flashing off and on in the dark. It was an intimidating effect she had perfected over the years to capture the attention of many broods of squabbling owlets.
The two tiny gastropods embracing in her nest pulled apart with a slight sucking sound. The larger one addressed her with a polite bow.
“Please accept our sincere apologies for dropping into your inviting… uh, Xanadu, uninvited. You see, we have just escaped the clutches of a deranged evangelist, and must have taken a wrong turn in our haste. We are the unwitting victims of gravity.”
Xanadu, indeed, she thought with chagrin, catching the smaller one stealing a glance around her home. It had been several days since she last tidied up. Spotting a chunk of shrew skull lying in the fluffy lining beside her unexpected guests, she casually extended a talon, and poked the bone into the twigs beneath the down. Perhaps they hadn’t noticed.
She had spent countless years maintaining order for the benefit of her offspring and gossipy neighbors. It had worn her down like a beak on stone. Even as she tucked the trash away, she insisted to herself, I can’t begin that life again. I won’t. After The Fire, she had become a confirmed recluse, retired and unaffected by her solitary deteriorating circumstances. She had expended great effort to permit herself the luxury of clutter that sometimes rose to just this side of squalor, but if she were honest with herself, she still hadn’t shaken her compulsion to show well to others.
A plan to be rid of these charming interlopers began to glimmer in her mind. This was the perfect night for it.
To be continued…
Today’s twofer from May 1, 2016: (See how far behind I was?)
X-rays and Fluoroscopes and Blood, Oh My!
My youth was full of doctors. I won’t bore you with medical details because what’s the point?
The point is that post- the most significant part of my medical past, I endured an extended-followup that lasted from age 5 through age 22, when I stopped going. Every year, I submitted to either an X-ray or a fluoroscope, and one of two sets of blood tests. The classic “1 from Column A and 1 from Column B” choice. Except I didn’t make the choice. If the choice had been mine, I would have gone out for Italian.
The X-rays weren’t so bad. Sure the glass plate was cold, and I had to lie on it in whatever uncomfortable position the X-ray technician told me to lie just before he aimed the ray gun and ran off in his lead-lined blacksmith’s apron to hide behind a lead-lined door, peering into the room through a little window I now assume was 24% lead crystal, to hit the button that triggered the x-rays that left an image on the glass plate.
We all know now that X-rays are BAD for us. Seems the doctors always knew.
The fluoroscope is kind of like a video x-ray (not to be confused with an x-rated video), but without the video. The doctor just stood (or sat) in front of the screen and watched. The set up looked a lot like this:
The worst part was having to swallow the Barium first. It tasted like chalk and was thicker than exterior wall paint. It smelled like that, too, but cut with milk of magnesia. Yum.
In even years, after the x-ray, I had blood drawn by a finger prick (this is not meant to insult the person who did the pricking — I think finger pricker was the technical term), to be dripped on glass slides or sucked by magic into the thinnest possible glass tubes. (I think the blood set aside in those was for weaning teeny-tiny baby vampire bats.) They would have made delicate drinking straws for Barbie. Now, only the nanotube is thinner.
In odd years, after the fluoroscope-con-barium, I rode the elevator to the basement for a series of blood tests requiring gallons and gallons of blood to be drawn from the crook of my elbow through a quarter-inch-diameter needle attached to a garden hose that emptied my blood into an oak barrel once used to age wine. I may or may not be exaggerating. I hated that kind of blood draw. I had to prepare myself mentally days in advance.
Except for that one even year — a finger prick year — when someone higher up, I suspect Dracula himself, decreed I should go to the basement where one of his minions, a lobotomized phlebotomist vampire with a rubber hose dangling from his mouth, I kid you not, sat framed in a 2’x2′ walk up window cut out of the wall at the end of a long dark hallway. It was straight out of that Twilight Zone episode where there’s
“Room for one more.” Creepy Twilight Zone episode
That was the moment I understood how my blood would be leaving my body. Thirty seconds wasn’t advance enough to prepare. Thirty days would have been better.
I was 13, and my mother was with me. Good thing, or I would have turned tail for the elevator. I remember looking up at her, pleading with my eyes not to make me do this, as my stomach sank to my ankle socks. I believe I whimpered. I felt like crying. Or fainting. Or both.
But I did neither, and I survived. I was learning just how strong I really am.
When have you surprised yourself with your own strength? Any kind of strength. Physical, emotional, mental, spiritual? What changes could you see in yourself afterward?
#AtoZChallenge A-to-Z Fictioneers: Interested in original fiction? Here’s a list of writers who are writing stories for the 2017 A to Z Challenge. The author’s link will take you to their “A” post. If you know of any other story writers I can share, please drop the link in the comments!
- Aditi’s Indian myths from a female POV at Aditi’s Pen
- Andrea’s fantasy novel, “The Impatiens Chronicles”, as writing instruction at Andrea Lundgren
- Arpan’s horror stories at Tales of Unusual Strangeness
- Atherton’s Victorian murder mystery, “Stranded!”, at Atherton’s Magic Vapour
- Debs’s song-inspired fiction at Bunny and the Bloke
- Diane’s 100-word tales at LadiesWhoLunchReviews,etc
- Dipanwita’s 100-word stories at Cocktails Mocktails and Life
- Iain’s alphabet puzzle-inspired murder mystery serial at Iain Kelly Writing
- Jo’s upbeat emotion stories at Jo Hawk the Writer
- Joe’s excerpts from his upcoming post-Civil War historical fiction, “Steel Horse Saviors”, at Fiction Playground
- John’s flash fiction crime stories with a twist at John Davis Frain
- Keith’s everyday life in fictional Amble Bay at Keith’s Ramblings
- Lenni’s speculative fiction, “What Are They” at J Lenni Dorner
- Marquessa’s short stories spun from her larger work, “Living to Die” at Simply Marquessa
- Natalie’s “Secret Diary of a Serial Killer” at Natalie Westgate
- Raven’s 100-word flash fiction at everywhere and nowhere
- Shailaja’s 100-word oxymoronic stories at The Moving Quill
- Shilpa’s 55-word crime stories at A Rose Is A Rose Is A Rose!
- Shweta’s Tiny Tales at My Random Ramblings
- Sorchia’s Gothic fantasy, “A Cold Spring” at Sorchia’s Universe
- S.T. Ranscht’s fantasy/adventure serial, “Elliot’s Adventures”at Space, Time, and Raspberries
Vanessa’s build-a-30-word-story at Vanessence