Comfort

Greta didn’t have a key anymore to the old house, and though her parents lived far away from civilization and had nothing worth stealing, they kept their estate secure. She’d grown up in this unfamiliar place. As she waited for her mother to walk herself to the door, she looked across the wasted farmland to the nearest semblance of a landmark, the tombstones of her grandparents.

The door opened. “Oh it’s you,” her mother said, neither joyful or dismissive. Greta followed the pace of the walker to the back of the house and her father’s bed. His deathbed, soon enough. Her mother collapsed in her favorite chair, and though she didn’t sleep and hardly ever did, Greta felt like she was alone in the room with her dad. He wasn’t awake, but he was breathing. His breathing was loud and augmented by machines.

“You’ve never felt pain,” her mother said behind her, “so you don’t understand.”

Her dad had always snored, and it was strange to see him sleep without snarling. Now that he was quiet, she wanted to talk to him.

“We kept you comfortable all your life,” her mother said. “You never so much as scraped your knee. All you know about suffering is we made you brush your teeth, we made you eat broccoli. You were spoiled, child, spoiled rotten, and you never recovered.”

Greta grabbed her father’s hand, though she couldn’t remember touching him before. He had a warmth to him she didn’t expect, because he wasn’t yet dead. Machines were keeping him alive in a way he’d never been able to do himself.

“We never beat you like we should have. We loved you too much.”

Greta never beat her parents either. And soon it would be too late.

#death, #memory, #microfiction, #parents, #sickness, #weird

Invalid

No hope of recovery meant that he didn’t have to worry anymore about the sorts of calamities that other people face. He would have no relationships. He would never have a job again, and though money was an issue, he wouldn’t have to worry about it. No one could move him from the house.

“Get up!” his brother shouted. “I know you can. You don’t fool me for a minute.”

Reggie made a sincere attempt. He held the walker with both hands and threw himself off the bed. He had no muscles, and the effort was extreme. When he collapsed in a pile of skin, his brother scoffed.

“You need to exercise more,” he said.

Reggie did his best to nod as he was lifted over the bedpan. Because his brother seemed particularly miffed, he wanted to finish quickly, but he had no control over his body.

Most of an hour later, something finally fell out of him, and he tried to apologize for taking so long.

“What’s that? Speak up.”

Reggie couldn’t raise his jaw once it had fallen.

“Why are you even alive? If you don’t die or stop faking soon, I may have to finish the job myself.” He threw Reggie back into his bed without pulling up the pajama bottoms. The blankets were on the floor.

He would never have to do his own taxes. He would never have to choose between his family and his career. Never would he have to stand in line at the DMV.

#family, #helpless, #optimism, #pitilessness, #sickness, #uncomfortable

Relief (nurse)

Tammy took a few deep breaths before she entered room 403.

“Good evening, Mr. Cartwright,” she said business-like, as polite as she could manage given the inevitable response.

“Go fuck yourself, you fat cow. I’m in pain, give me morphine.”

She was sure he wasn’t in as much pain as he should have been. According to his chart, he was probably faking. She hoped he wasn’t. If everything he said was wrong with him was correct, he had but days to live.

“Let’s see what we can do,” she said, and took the man’s arm. He tried to pull away, but she grabbed onto his wrist and held it in place. The man was weak from all this time in bed.

Taking his blood pressure and pulse, she counted the seconds on her watch, ignoring his expletives.

“Whore! Slut! Jezebel!”

She told him to hold still. Some of his IVs were coming loose, and she didn’t want to go through the fuss of sticking him again.

He swung his free arm across the bed and with his exoskeleton hand latched onto her breast. Tammy took a step back. He’d pulled out his tubes. She’d have to fix that before she left.

Taking a pair of tourniquets, she grabbed the man by the wrists and told him in no uncertain terms that he would hold still. She tied his arms to the railing, and he soon stopped resisting. He became quiet. As Tammy squirted some saline out of a needle, she did her best to ignore the man’s arousal, an incidental medical condition. She scowled.

He would get his morphine. She stabbed him in the vein, pretending she could hurt him. He would be so easy to kill.

“Goodbye, Mr. Cartwright,” she said, pretending.

#anger, #microfiction, #misogyny, #murder, #not-murder, #paraphilia, #professionals, #resentment, #sickness, #the-fetishists