I’m linking up to the Master Class again this week.  The prompt gives you the first line of a book, with which you’re meant to write your own story.  This week it was Kelle Groom’s book I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl.

Check out the other responses at Sinistral Scribblings, or submit your own.  Click through the image to get more information on the photograph’s artist, and see some of his other work.


Morphine makes me weightless, airborne.

So did the impact, if there was an impact, if I recall correctly.  My dreams and memories are intertwined in a macabre circus of the unreal and unbelievable.

They tell me I’m showing signs of improvement.  They’re vague about what I’m improving on, long pauses in their cautious answers, like my ears are stuffed with cotton.  I’d be terrified, but I’m so high above it, above me, a thick fog cutting off any kind of strong emotion.

Que sera, sera, whatever will be… I hum for a time until the lyrics turn into gibberish, if they hadn’t always been.  She knows them better, has a better voice for it.  The steady beep of monitors threw off my timing anyways.

Morphine dulls, but I still can’t help but wonder what they’re monitoring.  After the first time I tried to take the bandages off my face, they strapped me in bed, wrist restraints and all.

The sunlight creeps slowly across my cotton-shrouded body and I wish, with a longing that pierces the fog, that I could feel that warmth on my face.  I feel so cold.

“What happened, really?”

The whisper-soft tread stops.  I can picture Lilac Perfume’s surprised expression, frozen in going about her business, convinced mere moments before that I was unaware of her presence.

“I-I’ll go fetch the doctor” she stammers, voice tight and anxious.

The haze around my memory lifts enough for a vague sense that I ought to apologize to her.  Perhaps it wasn’t just the attempt to take off my bandages that led to my being bound to my bed.  Was I screaming?  Am I screaming now?  Morphine.  I’m so glad none of these memories are real.

Moments and an eternity later, the steady clacking of Doctor Old Spice’s shoes, the sound of paper as he pores over my charts.  Though for all I knew, he could be paging through Angela’s Ashes.  Always meant to read that one.

The name strikes a chord.  “Angela?”  My voice is disused, a rusty chain pulled through gravel.  The scream of metal being crushed on impact.

“What was that?”

“Nothing.  Just something about… nothing.  It’s crazy.”

“You’re remembering?”

“Only crazy things.  Impossible things.  It’s the drugs, I guess.”

“You’ve been off all drugs for eight days.”

The words trickle through the fog around my brain, followed more slowly by their meaning.

“What does that mean?”  my voice is getting stronger as it warms up, smoother.  Familiar.

I am met with silence and struggle to sift through the terrifying circus of oddities that swims through the pea-soup in my mind.

“No morphine?” My voice cracks, but why?

“No morphine.”

“Why is my face bandaged?”

“You were in a car accident, John.  Do you remember?”

The impact left me weightless, airborne.

Angela.  I hate the light piercing the thick fog, it burns my eyes and cuts me to the quick.

“Is she…” I hate my own hesitation.  That mustn’t be real.  “Was anyone else hurt?”

The silence is unbearable.  The dread, like a tsunami, looming overhead.

I turn away from the light.

“I think I’d like some more painkillers… please.  The morphine helps me sleep.”

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  1. I love the suspense in this story. I hope we get to read what happens next.

    • Thanks 🙂 I couldn’t think of anything past that last line, so I don’t know if it’ll ever be continued, though.

  2. I’m with Deana!

  3. Awesome job lady. I want to know what happens next, too!

    • Thanks! I’m starting to feel the pressure now… to figure out what does happen to the guy apart from a hefty dose of depression.

  4. I love your descriptions and naming the nurse and doctor by how they smell. Well done!

  5. 2old2tap

     /  January 28, 2013

    Nicely done, you drew me directly to the bedside.
    And like everyone else? What’s next?
    No pressure though…

    • hah, I feel kind of bad – really haven’t thought past this section of story, but you never know… a prompt might inspire me!

  6. How terrible, to start remembering something in flashes that makes you wish you couldn’t remember at all. Nice job!

    • or that feeling that whatever you aren’t remembering will be devastating, and better to avoid entirely. Thanks!

  7. All the little details are terrific in pulling together the whole story. The way the doctors smell, the disused voice, and the best of all – she’s not on drugs. She doesn’t want to break through the fog of her memory. I was thoroughly involved. As others have said – it’s a great start to possibly something longer if you wanted to take it there.

    • Thanks 🙂 My issue is that I can’t see the guy waking up again – some things are too terrible to remember and I don’t think he’s strong enough to be willing to try. At most, I could do a piece from the perspective of the other characters, to explain why he isn’t coming ‘out’ of it.

  8. argh, yes, the details are what create the impact. good one!

  9. Excellent job. Very descriptive. I felt like I was there. 🙂

  10. You had me. I thought it was a ‘she’ in the bed. Like the others what I liked was how he identified his care-givers by what they smelled like. Very nicely written.

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