Girl in the Mermaid Tail – The Conclusion
Sorry for my absence on Monday. I was trapped on an AmTrack Train for 15 hours with no internet. Egadds! I’ll save that adventure for next week. In the meantime, let me post the last installment and the conclusion of Girl in the Mermaid Tail.
As I’ve stated before, this is a work in progress. I am still editing.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my story thus far and welcome your feed back.
Until Monday, Write On!
Girl in the Mermaid Tail
by K. L. Parry
The beeping and buzzing of alarms drew Jade from the void of the womb that cradled her like an unborn child. She wanted to quiet them, but could not speak – her tongue a stone in her mouth. Involuntarily, her throat constricted against something lodged there. She thought she would gag, but even that she could not do. Nor could she stop the tears of helplessness from trickling down her face.
She thought to turn back, longing for the stillness of the long sleep and away from the noise of the machines when someone spoke her name.
“Jade. We’re taking you off the respirator. You’re going to experience some discomfort.”
From the window of her sixth floor room in Southern Hills Hospital, Jade watched the world go by. A new world at times, her memories of it spotty in places. She remembered nothing of the accident that put her there. She was told, she had been alone in her father’s car when it was hit by the speeding truck.
Nor did she remember the majority of the last two months having been in a coma for most of it and heavily medicated through a good part of the rest. But none of that mattered now. The doctors had released her and she was going home, home to the house at the west end of town with the salt-water pool and a view of Red Rock Canyon.
She had thought them ugly, the canyon hills, all stark stone rising up from the flat desert floor. Looking at them now, she could see their beauty. It was in the rise and fall of their ridge lines and the smooth polished curves of the ancient river worn stone.
Jade looked out to the hills, watching their ever-changing hues until the sound of movement drew her attention; it was her mother gathering up their belongings. A wave of joy washed over Jade, causing her eyes to mist. The site of her mother often did that to her. Jade could not explain why, only that to see her – to know she was there – made her happy.
She dabbed her cheeks dry as her mother finished collecting up the last of the cards and gifts left by classmates and family friends. Some had arrived with offers to help Jade when she was ready to return to school. She appreciated that, but knew it would be several months before she would regain full use of the limbs left weakened by the brain injury. Still, Jade was lucky to be alive and she had every intention of making the best of that gift.
“I can use the walker,” she told her nurse as she watched her roll in a wheel chair.
“As per hospital policy,” the wiry grey haired woman replied. She set the chair’s brakes. “Besides, I’m not quite sure you can go the distance with the walker. It is a lot further than you think.”
Jade knew better than to argue with the nurse. Yasmin Azarian was the veteran on the hospital’s nursing staff. There was no getting past her procedures. Yet, despite her ridged exterior, Jade liked her and had to admit she would miss the woman – just a little.
Jade obediently took to the chair.
With her mother at the rear, the nurse steering the wheelchair, Jade rolled out into the hall. They followed it to its end, rounding the corner to the alcove that housed the elevators. A sign on the doors read “Out Of Order”.
Jade’s mother came up alongside. “That’s strange. They were working earlier.”
The nurse spun Jade‘s wheel chair around. “Not a problem. We’ll use the service elevators down the hall.”
They went only a short distance further to gain access to the lifts used for transporting equipment and bedridden patients. It was no surprise when the first one opened on a hospital bed flanked by two attendants.
Jade suspected the bed’s occupant deceased when the attendants moved quickly to cover him up.
“Is that Mister Paloma?” Nurse Azarian asked.
“We’re taking him to Retrieval,” one of the attendants answered.
“His transfer was scheduled for noon. It’s only 10:00.” Jade’s nurse frowned.
“You know how it goes went a “Donor” becomes available. Everyone’s in a hurry.”
“Well then, someone should have informed me. He is my patient.” Her grey head shook with disappointment as she mumbled. “What good is protocol if no one follows it?” Then she steeled her gaze looking from one attendant to the next. “See to it that he’s treated properly, and by that I mean, you stay with Mister Paloma until the surgical nurse has hands on him.”
“Sure thing,” came the response as the elevator doors closed.
The door to another lift opened. Unoccupied, Jade was rolled in. Nurse Azarian pressed the button on the panel marked “Lobby”, then brought her hand back to rest on the shoulder of her charge.
“I am sorry for that, dear. I hope it didn’t upset you.” She looked apologetically over to Jade’s mother, whose eyes were glistening.
Jade stared ahead, working to bring forth a memory that lay just beyond reach. “What happened to him?”
Jade watched her mother and Nurse Azarian exchange looks, then her mother nodded and the nurse answered. “Head trauma. He was driving the truck that struck you – brake failure. All of us here held out hope that you’d both get through it. You were our miracle.”
Jade thought for a minute, she had a nagging feeling that she forgotten something important. “You said his name was Paloma?
“Edward Paloma. He was 19.”
Jade’s mother interjected, a pained looked etched on her face. “Let’s not discuss this further. You’re here with us and that’s all that matters.”
Mrs. Azarian patted Jade’s shoulder. “Your mother’s right. Let’s discuss what you’re going to be doing at home to further your recovery.”
Within a few short minutes Jade was wheeled into the lobby. Through the glass wall that fronted it, saw her father waiting outside.
“You ready to go home, young lady?” the security guard asked, triggering the automatic door to slide open.
Jade dabbed at her watery eyes and answered him with a nod, returning his kind smile with one of her own as she rolled past him.
“Thank you, Guillermo,” she heard her nurse say.
Outside, Jade’s father greeted her, his eyes warm with love. “Let’s get you home.”
“Home – that sounds good.” Jade smiled and was about to say something more when a pain shot through her head. She winced then caught the look of concern on her father’s face.
“I’m okay. It’s just a headache.”