Beginnings Part 1
Sara Phillips watched the nurse inject something into the IV, too sick and tired to ask what was in this batch. She had arrived at the ER four hours ago and they had just gotten to her forty-five minutes ago. This was her third time here in the last month since her treatments had begun and she wished she could just go home but knew she would just be sick there if she didn’t get help here.
She had just closed her eyes when she heard a commotion. It was coming from the cubicle next to hers. The doctors and nurses were yelling something about the patient convulsing and shouting to each other for drugs and machines. Sara kept her eyes closed and tried not to listen because it reminded her too much of her own mortality.
The commotion suddenly ceased and it was eerily quiet for a few seconds before she heard a doctor pronounce the time of death. A tear rolled down Sara’s cheek and she silently sent a wish for peace to the poor soul that had just left.
A light touch bushed over her hair just then and startled she opened her eyes. There was no one standing over her though and she dismissed it, closing her eyes again. They opened again seconds later when the curtain between her cubicle and the next was shoved aside. An older woman was standing there.
She was dressed in jeans and a button down shirt. Her long black hair was braided and she wore a leather band around her head. She looked like the typical modern Indian woman.
Sara and the woman stared at each other for a moment before the older woman spoke. “My name is Maramee Brown. Come find me when you need help.”
With that the older woman turned and left the cubicle.
Why would she need Maramee’s help? Sara sat confused for a moment before shaking her head. This was too much.
A nurse appeared with a young Indian man and left him with the covered body next door. He was dressed similar to Maramee and could have been her son. Once he was ‘alone’ with the body, he pulled down the sheet to reveal the face of an elderly Indian man.
Sara pretended to be asleep when he glanced her way but watched him through her eyelashes. There was something ‘wrong’ about this man.
“You should have just givin’ me what I wanted, old man.” she heard him whisper. “I wouldn’t have had to take it.”
The younger man put this left hand over the face and settled the right hand over the heart, closing his eyes. He stood there for a few seconds, then frowned and opened his eyes. “What did you do, old man?!”
He nearly shouted those words, causing a nurse to appear.
“Sir, this is a hospital.” she frowned at him. “You will keep your voice down.”
“Was there anyone else here earlier?”
“No.” The nurse looked at him sternly. “If you are staying you will behave yourself.”
“It doesn’t matter.” The man dismissed her words. “There’s nothing here I want now.”
“Then I’ll escort you out.” The nurse gestured. “Right this way.”
The man allowed the nurse to escort him out without a backward glance. From his words Sara gathered he had something to do with the old man’s death. She didn’t know if she should tell someone or not.
A few minutes later the nurse returned and covered the old man’s face again.
“Who was that man?” Sara asked the nurse as she turned away from the body.”Was he his son?”
“Did he bother you?” the nurse frowned
“I thought I heard yelling.”
“He won’t bother you again.” The nurse’s frown deepened and she moved to check Sara’s IV. “The doctor said when this is done you can go home if you’re feeling better.”
“The pain and nausea is gone,” she told her after a second. She hadn’t realized they had left her with all the excitement. “I still feel light-headed though.”
“You can stay for a few more hours if you need to.” The nurse paused as two orderlies entered the other cubicle to remove the body. “Do you need anything?”
“Do you have any juice?” She was suddenly very thirsty. “Or even water?”
“I’ll be right back.” The nurse hurried away, following the orderlies as they wheeled the body away.
Sitting there waiting for the nurse to return Sara realized that her fiance hadn’t visited her and checking her phone hadn’t tried to call her. Of course he could be busy at work still but he had been growing distant with her since her diagnosis. Something else her cancer had caused.
The nurse returned with both a small can of juice and a bottle of water. Sara gratefully accepted both and opened the water first. She wanted to be able to savor the juice. While Sara sipped the water, the nurse checked her IV again before leaving.
Tiredness hit her hard and she screwed on the cap of the water bottle. She was still thirsty but she couldn’t keep her eyes open much longer. Her body sagged into the bed and her eyes slid shut, but instead of sleep she seemed to enter a strange dream state.
She was standing in a field of green, even the sky was green. There was no one around, yet she did not feel alone. She did a 360 but still didn’t see anyone so she just stood there and looked out over the field. How long she stood there she didn’t know but the next thing she knew the nurse was removing her IV.
“I didn’t mean to wake you,” the nurse said. “How are you feeling?”
“Better.” She still felt tired but she was no longer feeling sick.
“Good.” The nurse reach above the bed and pulled down a blood pressure cuff. “Since you’re awake I’ll take your vitals.”
The nurse wrapped the cuff around Sara’s arm and reached into her scrub top’s pocket to retrieve a stethoscope. She took Sara’s blood pressure, then putting the stethoscope away, pulled out a temperature strip and pressed it to Sara’s forehead. A minute later the nurse removed it and checked the reading before throwing it away.
“Will I live?” Sara gave the nurse a half-smile.
“They’re better than when you came in.” The nurse grabbed the IV pole. “Do you want to stay for awhile longer?”
“Okay. I’ll get your papers ready.” The nurse left the cubicle with the IV pole.
Sara swung her legs over the bed’s side and paused as the room spin a bit. Her head settled quickly and she reached down for her shoes. She would have to take a taxi back to their apartment because she didn’t think John would pick her up or even answer the phone. He probably wouldn’t even be home.
“Ready to go?” the nurse enter the cubicle with a handful of papers and a wheel chair.
“Yes.” Sara finished putting on her shoes and stood. She accepted the papers from the nurse and sat down in the wheel chair. “I need to call a taxi.”
“I took the liberty of doing so when I got your paperwork.” the nurse told her as she pushed her out into the hallway. “You arrived in one so I figured you’d need one to return home.”
“Thank you.” Sara gave a nod and relaxed in the chair as the nurse wheeled her toward the side entrance. She and John would have to have a talk, but not tonight. If he even came home tonight since it was Friday and he had been spending the weekends with his buddies recently.
The nurse parked the wheel chair to the side of the glass door with a good view of the circle drive in front. “It should be here in a few minutes.”
“Thank you again.” Sara watched the nurse walk away then turned to look for the cab. The distinct yellow and black taxi pulled in seconds later and Sara hurriedly stood and moved to open the door. She couldn’t wait to get out of here since she spent more than enough time in the hospital when she had her treatments.
“Where to, Lady?” The driver looked at her through the rear view mirror as she slid in the back.
Sara paused as a yearning for greenspace flickered through her, and she heard herself say, “Jackson Park.”
The driver gave a nod and pulled out of the drive.
Jackson Park was the oldest park in the city and cover over three acres of grass and trees with a small pond that had benches lining several gravel paths through out. It was smack dab in the center of the city. Of course it hadn’t started that way but when the city grew, the planners had made it so.
With the typical ease of long time drivers, the taxi man got her to the park in just a few minutes. “That will be twenty dollars.”
“Will you come back in an hour?” She gave him a twenty and a five from her wallet. “I should be ready to go home then.”
“One hour.” the man nodded.
“Thanks.” She slid out of the taxi and closed the door, watching him drive away. Once he was out of sight, she stepped off the sidewalk onto the gravel walkway and stopped as whispers teased her hearing. Though after a moment she realized the voice was in her head, not in her ears.
“I thought so,” came a voice from behind her.
She whirled around and took a few steps back when she saw that the young Indian from the hospital stood on the sidewalk. “What are you doing here?”
“Retrieving what is mine.” The Indian took a step forward, causing Sara to move a few steps back. “You might as well give up now.”
The lawn, a loud whisper said in her head. Get him off the stone.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” While she was talking she stepped off the pathway and took a few steps onto the grass. She figured whatever was whispering to her wanted the man off both the sidewalk and the pathway. “Who are you? What do you want?”
“I am to be the new shaman and as to what I want--Your death.”
“What?” Sara took a few more steps back at his words.
“You stole something that was not yours to take.”
“Isn’t that what you were doing?”
“The old man wasn’t using the gift like he should.” He stepped further onto the pathway.
“What do you mean?” She felt a tension growing under her feet and pressure in her head. Anger and apprehension swept through her suddenly as he stepped onto the grass and she took another step back.
Forfeit, came the voice in her head.
Before she could do or say anything energy rushed through her, and the man stumbled and fell to his knees.
“Stop it!” the man screamed.
“I’m not doing anything.” She told him as she took another step back. The tension and energy built higher and she watched as the man grew paler and suddenly fell forward. As the energy just as suddenly dissipated Sara sagged with tiredness and stared numbly at the man. “What am I going to do now?”
“Leave.” The elderly indian woman from the hospital came up behind her.
“What was this all about?”
“The student trying to become the master through murder.” Maramee moved to the body and glanced down at him before looking at Sara. “Take the left fork at the treeline. There’s a cab waiting.”
“I don’t understand any of this.”
“Come visit me in two days and I’ll explain everything.”
“And how will I find you?”
“The Whispering Pines.” She looked back down at the body. “Now go.”
Sara too glanced at the body then moved back onto the pathway, following it toward the patch of trees. Once at the treeline she paused and looked back before taking the left fork. The last view she had of the field was of Maramee kneeling beside the body.