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        Sarah awkwardly made her way up the long stairway to her apartment.  Awkwardly because she made the trip while carrying two paper bags full of groceries, leaving her unable to hold the railing, and unable to see her feet as she carefully made her way up the steps.  
She had lived in this apartment for a while, and was pretty familiar with the steps, but she was a little underconfident in her footing these days, since she had only a few days earlier gotten her foot out of a plaster cast, which had held it still while two broken bones in her arch healed over the past six weeks.
Still, she was able to make it safely to the top of the stairs, where she began to awkwardly reach into her purse for her keys while struggling to maintain her grip on the grocery bags.  She had just found them and was pulling them out of her purse when she heard it.
*crack*
At the same time as she heard the small sound, she felt a stab of pain in her recently healed right foot.  She gasped in pain, and instinctively shifted her weight to her left foot and held her right foot a few inches off the floor; her flip-flop slipped from her toes and landed on the floor.
No sooner had she become aware of the suddenly increased awkwardness of her position than she heard another crack, this one accompanied by a sharp pain in her left wrist.  The bags of groceries dropped to the ground; Sarah barely noticed, focused now only on the pain in her foot and wrist, and totally bewildered as to how this was happening: her foot hadn't twisted, and she hadn't dropped anything on it or banged it on anything.  She hadn't even been doing anything with her wrist aside from holding the bag of groceries, which wasn't THAT heavy.  Were her bones breaking for no reason?
Before she had time to contemplate this more, another crack, this one louder, came from her left lower leg.  This time she screamed in agony, and, without a good leg to stand on, she began tumbling down the long staircase from her 5th-floor apartment to the ground floor.
The painful cracking continued as she bounced down the stairs, some obviously from the fall, others just as seemingly random as the earlier cracks: Her left knee.   Her right collarbone.  Her right femur.  A handful of ribs, cracking in quick succession.  More and more snaps and cracks and crunches, more and more agony, more now than she could ever have imagined, as she fell painfully down the steps.
By the time she landed at the bottom, in a twisted, aching, shattered heap, her entire body was burning with excruciating pain, her limbs twisted into unnatural contortions.  As she lay on the ground, gasping for shallow breaths that sent pain shooting through her numerous broken ribs, she heard a few final cracks: three in a row in her left upper arm.  A couple in her right leg, and a few more in her left, and, finally, a loud one in her pelvis.  Her broken limbs twitched painfully as her muscles spasmed, and she struggled to cry for help, but couldn't find her voice inside of the wrecked mass of her once lovely frame.  The whole thing had taken less than a minute.  Her eyes welled with tears of pain and frustration, as she wondered what in the world had just happened...


Crystal breathed in the crisp autumn air and smiled.  Now that the cast had been removed from her left leg, she was free to hike again, and she was enjoying the opportunity immensely.  Maggie, her bright, friendly golden retriever, was by her side as she climbed Mount Monroe: not a big mountain, actually more an overgrown hill, just a quick ninety minute hike, but a good warm up for someone who had just spent two months on crutches.
As she neared the peak, she carefully made her way up the slightly rocky path, Maggie following close at her heels.  She had been worried that her leg would make the climb difficult, but she was having an easy enough time with-
*crack*
Crystal gasped and stumbled.  She barely had time to realize that her left leg had re-broken before she heard another crack from her left leg and fell to the rocky ground.  She heard another two cracks from her right forearm.  Then...more.  Faster.  All over her body.  The pain became overwhelming and just kept getting worse.  She cried out as Maggie moved to her side, whimpered, and licked her face.
"Get help, girl," Crystal gasped.  "Heeeelllp..."  That was all she managed to get out before bursting out in sobs.  Maggie whimpered again and left her side as a few more cracks sounded: her left shoulder blade, her right thigh, three or four in her left foot.
The pain had almost dragged her into unconsciousness when she heard Maggie bark, and shortly after heard the dog's footsteps grow near, along with those of a person.  The last thing she heard before blacking out was a nasal voice asking "Uh, are you OK?  Do you need help?"
She could only moan in response.  Then everything went black.



Amy glanced at the clock on her car dashboard and muttered a curse to herself.  She was late to her date.  Again.  
She sped the car up a bit.  She had already told Allison that she was coming from a doctor's appointment to remove the cast from her left arm, so she would probably understand, but...well, it was only the third date.  Amy didn't want to take any chances.  She sped up a bit more.
As she turned the corner she saw the coffee house ahead of her.  She had already started daydreaming about Allison and some of her more...appealing features when she felt a sharp pain in what she still instinctively thought of as her "bad" arm, even after it had healed and the sling and cast had been removed.  The pain was accompanied by a cracking noise.  Then more cracking noises, all over her body,  followed in quick succession, each accompanied by pain.  Excruciating pain.
Amy cried out as her body writhed in response to the agony, not even realizing that her right foot had inadvertently stomped on the gas pedal.  She saw the coffee shop rushing at her as the car accelerated, and realized, before she had a chance to react, that the car was about to smash through the large window on the front of the building.  The last thing she saw was Allison, sitting alone at a table in front of the window, staring at her in horror...



Allison had been waiting patiently for a while, fiddling around on her phone, sipping a hot chocolate, and generally bursting with excitement to see Amy again.  They had hit it off fantastically the last two dates, and Allison was pretty sure that their future together would be-
Allison was interrupted from her thoughts when she heard yelling outside; she looked up from Facebook to see a car speeding directly for the coffee house, barely having time to recognize Amy's face behind the steering wheel, twisted into a heartbreaking grimace of pain.  She heard a loud crash of metal and glass and felt several sharp bursts of pain before she fell mercifully into unconsciousness.


When Allison awoke, her entire body ached.  It took her a few seconds to get her bearings, but when she remembered the car smashing into the building, she gasped in shock and tried to sit up.  The aches in her body intensified with the effort.
"Whoah!  Settle down, you had a nasty accident.  How are you feeling?"
Allison tried to turn her head to face the voice but found that a foam cervical collar was keeping her neck more or less immobile.  She brought her left hand up to touch it, almost not believing it was real, and noticed that her left wrist was in a plaster cast up to her elbow.  Her right leg was also casted in bright white plaster, from the top of her thigh to the base of her pedicured toes, her knee held straight and her ankle at a ninety degree angle.  The sharp pain in her chest when she gasped in surprise suggested she had probably fractured some ribs, as well.
"Um...uh, what...what happened?"  As soon as she asked, Allison knew it was kind of a dumb question: she had seen the car crash into the coffee house.  Heck, she had even been able to recognize the...
Wait.
"Amy!  Where's Amy?"  she asked, her own voice coming out more as an awkward croak than how she remembered it.  
"She...was she a friend of your, dearie?"  The voice responded.  As the speaker leaned into her limited range of vision, Allison could see that the voice belonged to a smiling, forty-something nurse with short blond hair.  
"She...yeah, we're...wait, what?  'Was'?!  Is she...is she OK?"
The nurse seemed to hesitate briefly.
"Sh-she...I think the doctor would know more about that than I would, dear.  She'll be in to see you soon, just try to relax."
Allison's head started spinning.  This was all too much to handle.  She tried to take deep breaths to keep herself from panicking, but the sharp pain in her ribs brought a whimper to her lips and a tear to her left eye.
Before she had time to react further, a slender woman in her mid-thirties, with dark hair pulled up in a tight bun, strolled into the room, smiling calmly.
"Hello, Allison, I'm Doctor Jackson.  How are you fee-"
"Where's Amy?" Allison demanded.
"Well, she was injured pretty badly in the crash.  She's being kept in a...special ward for serious cases.  Don't worry, we'll take good care of her."   The Doctor smiled again, unnerving Allison, who was already upset about Amy.  "How are YOU feeling?"
"Umm...achey.  But I guess I'll be ok.  Right?"
"We expect you to make a complete recovery, yes.  But you'll be kept here for a few days, until we're sure there aren't any complications from your injuries."
A troubling thought suddenly occurred to Allison.
"Um...wait, I...don't have any health insurance.  I'm not sure I'll be able to pay for any of this."  She felt panic rising inside of her again.
The Doctor smiled, even more broadly and disturbingly than before.
"Well, I think we can arrange something.  You see, we have a program in place: we're doing a research project on bone injuries and experimental treatments, testing a drug that helps speed healing and increase bone density.  We would monitor you during your treatment, and keep checking in every few years to track your bone density, to see if the drug might also be useful in preventing osteoporosis in postmenopausal women."
"P-p-postmenopausal?  But I'm only 28, I don't...:
"Don't worry, Allison.  Once your fractures heal, we'll just schedule a brief examination every 5 years.  It'll barely take any of your time, in the long run.  And if you participate, 100% of your medical expenses will be covered by the program's funding."
"100%?  Well...I guess, sure...it's better than being in debt for the rest of my life, right?"
"A very reasonable way to look at it, Allison," the doctor said reassuringly.  If that means you're interested, I have some paperwork for you to sign..."
The contract she handed Allison was about eight pages long, and written in virtually incomprehensible legalese.  Doctor Jackson smiled again (why won't she stop smiling?, Allison thought) and pointed to the paper.
"Just sign here...and here...and here.  And initial here and here...and here...and here...and here, here, and here..."
Allison, overwhelmed by the day's events but still recognizing that she had no other real options, obediently signed and initialed where instructed.  The Doctor took back the contract and placed it carefully in a black briefcase.
"Wonderful.  Now we can start your treatments.  I'll send Susan in to check your vitals and give you your first pill."  She squeezed Allison's good hand reassuringly.  "Don't worry, everything's going to be fine."
"When can I see Amy?" Allison blurted out.  
The doctor smiled.  Again.
"Well, as I said, she was very badly injured.  But she's expected to make a complete recovery with time, and I'll make sure you can see her as soon as she's well enough to have visitors.  But I'll be sure to let her know you asked about her."
"Um...OK," Allison mumbled.  "Thanks, doctor."
Doctor Jackson smiled one last time.
"No, Allison...thank you."



Moments later, Doctor Jackson strolled briskly through one of the long corridors of the hospital, stopping at a door labeled with nothing except a large "AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY" sign.  She carefully unlocked the three locks on the door, glanced quickly up and down the hall, and, seeing no one, opened the door and slipped inside, locking the door securely behind her.
The room she entered stretched out before her, hospital beds lining the walls to her left and right.  Most of the beds were occupied: women with plaster casts on multiple limbs, held aloft by traction slings or propped up on stacks of pillows, with back and neck braces holding their spines steady, and with wired jaws or heavily bandaged faces.  All of their eyes stared in fear at the doctor (well, the ones who could turn their heads to see her, anyway) as she entered and briskly walked to the newest occupants of the wards: a handful of women in large full body casts, covering almost their entire bodies, their limbs hanging in traction.  The few openings left little exposed: fingers and toes, an eye or two, mouth and/or nose, and private parts (the latter covered by sheets to allow a bit of modesty).
Doctor Jackson examined the charts at the foot of each newly occupied bed, scanning the names of her newest patients: Sarah Baines, Crystal Davis...she finally stopped when she saw "Wilson, Amy".  She moved to the bedside and stood over Amy's plaster-covered face: one large, beautiful, brown eye was uncovered, as well as a small hole over her mouth allowing her to breathe.
"How are you feeling, Amy?" the doctor asked with a smile.  She examined the large plaster cast Amy's shattered body was encased in.  The plaster was brand new, and gleaming white.
Doctor Jackson moved to the foot of the bed and checked the chart again.  
"Seventy-three fractures!  Well, that IS impressive, isn't it?"  she brought one of her long fingernails to Amy's left foot and lightly tickled the base of her big toe.  The toes twitched and the doctor smiled as she heard an anguished but muffled wail of pain come from the small opening over Amy's mouth.
The doctor looked Amy in the eye again and smiled.
"It seems you've helped find us another subject, Amy.  I'm sure your friend Allison will feel quite at home with us here on Ward 13..."
As Amy's eye bulged in fear, and muffled, but insistent, sounds of protest escaped the mouth of giant cast, the doctor laughed softly to herself and strode out of the ward, the clicking sounds of her high heels echoing through the large room full of shattered women.
A new story I'm trying out: a sci-fi/mystery/suspense/horror thing. Hope everyone enjoys.

Feel free to leave comments here or email me at DrGimpy1@gmail.com.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconquixote008:
QUIXOTE008 Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2013
I donot like break up the page
I donot think it make reading easier
and every time I have to make the broken up page together again by my own
Reply
:iconquixote008:
QUIXOTE008 Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2012
[link]
We need ventilator and IV pole
It is not a story in 1960
Reply
:iconquixote008:
QUIXOTE008 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2012
a tear to her left eye

That means the right one in bandages?
Reply
:iconquixote008:
QUIXOTE008 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2012
You are my god!
Reply
:icondanebainbridge:
DaneBainbridge Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
This sounds like it is going to be a great story. There is already a lot of tension and excitement building. You give out just enough information to build suspense without giving too much away. I am really interested in that new experimental drug. I can't wait to read more.

One hint: try the html tag
at the end of paragraphs. It helps break up the page and make reading easier.
Reply
:icondrgimpy:
DrGimpy Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2012
Thanks, glad you enjoy it.

I'm a big fan of your stories, and the stylized, over-the-top cast and injury scenes. This is sort of an experiment in adapting some of that into horror/mystery/sci-fi. I hope you see any resemblance to your work as homage, rather than rip-off.

This is also influenced by the tv series LOST, which I re-watched recently (with a friend seeing it for the first time). It made me think of adapting some of that format into the cast story "genre": originally I was thinking of a big, say, elevator accident instead of a big plane crash, and a big weird magic hospital ward instead of a big weird magic island. From that evolved the current idea, which I kind of have a bunch of weird ideas for, but no overall plan. Hey, it really IS like LOST! (rimshot)


And thanks for the formatting tip. I sort of wrote the whole thing in Google Docs and then just lazily dumped it here, but I'll be sure to tidy it up a bit next time.
Reply
:icondanebainbridge:
DaneBainbridge Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I am honored by the homage. That's an incredible compliment. I thought LOST was a great show; okay except for the finale, but other than that I was hooked. I like the elevator idea. I think you can still use that. And maybe some dark, nefarious entity like the Dharma Initiative. Keep up the good work, you will find your overall plan.
Reply
:iconcastsandfeet:
castsandfeet Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
1st comment! whoooop! love it doc- devious and captivating - more!
Reply
:icondrgimpy:
DrGimpy Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2012
Glad you like it, Lily!
Reply
:iconcastsandfeet:
castsandfeet Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
love it and love to see u writing more - haha hard to drag work out of each other - for u I post another sketch tonight
Reply
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