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Stories from the Verse
Garden of Versers
Chapter 9: Hastings 139
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Previous chapter: Chapter 8: Kondor 138
It was probably a relatively short wait, but pinioned and bored as she was Lauren was looking for ways to occupy herself. She settled on reviewing scripture, internally reciting memory verses (she did not wish either to appear to be talking to herself or to trigger some unintended magic, as most of the verses she could quickly remember were those she had recently used in combat against vampires). Her practice with these brought them to mind swiftly, and she got through a score or so before she decided she was duplicating them. She realized that it was one thing to be able to think of the words that worked a particular desired miracle and another to think of all the miracles she was able to work. She thought when she had the chance she should start trying to jot down a list of them all for reference.
Eventually a man did come into the room and spoke. “Ah, you are awake. Do you speak Anglic?”
Well, not by that name, Lauren thought, but she nodded and cleared her throat. Looking at the restraints she said, “Are these necessary?”
“I’m afraid that the doctor will have to decide, but I will let him know you are conscious. Can you tell me your name?”
“Lauren Hastings,” she said without hesitation.
“And do you know where you are?”
She smiled ironically. “Strapped to a bed in a room in a large institutional building which is probably a hospital, but that’s mostly a guess.”
The man apparently saw the humor in that, as he smiled before continuing, “How about what town this is?”
She realized she was going to have to start some kind of cover story, so she hoped her ignorance would be explainable without going too deeply into her travels. “I’m sorry. I’ve been traveling, and not really paying attention to such things.”
“So where are you from?”
The truth might get her in trouble at some point, but she wasn’t really in a position to create a credible lie, so she would have to go with the truth and hope it fit something in this world or they couldn’t prove otherwise. Sounding like you knew the answer was more important than making it fit. “I was born in Stratford, and grew up in Somerdale. Later I moved to Franklinville for quite a few years, but since then I’ve been traveling around quite a bit.”
The man nodded. “Do you know what day it is?”
“Sorry. I don’t know for how long I have been unconscious, and honestly dates have not been that important to me in recent years. Perhaps you could tell me?”
He nodded. “Monday, June 7th, 1965.”
How very odd. Yesterday was the day she was born. She nodded.
“Am I allowed something to drink? Some water or juice maybe?”
“Oh--certainly. Milk, apple juice, orange juice, cranberry juice, water?”
She considered each, and decided, “Milk would be wonderful, thank you.”
“I’ll be right back,” he said, and left the room.
She realized that this would take a bit longer than just grabbing the milk, as he was going to have to make a phone call or something to alert the doctor that she was awake. So she had a few minutes to consider her situation. The last thing she remembered was fighting vampires, one of whom bit her hand--or was it in fact orderlies she was fighting, in her dazed post-versing state, until someone gave her a shot of whatever it was that knocked her out? That would explain a lot. She thought they were chanting “miss” to spoil her attacks, but it might have been they were saying “Miss” in order to get her attention.
Returning with the milk, her overseer placed it on a side table then went around the head of the bed to roll it up so she was more seated than lying down. “I hope whole milk is all right,” he said as he opened the small carton and inserted a flexible straw, and brought the beverage to her mouth. She nodded and began sipping on the straw; the cold milk was refreshing, but she took it slowly. Finally she heard the sound of air at the bottom, and stopped. “Enough?” he asked.
“For now,” she answered.
“The doctor should be here soon. If you need anything or have any problems, give a shout, I’m right outside. Do you want the bed up like that?”
“For the moment, yes. It otherwise depends on how long I’m waiting.”
He smiled again. “It shouldn’t be too long.” She nodded as he left the room.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #275: Versers Reorient. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: