Project 4:Chapter Excerpt- “Fall:1918”

December 13, 2018 |  Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Project 4:Chapter Excerpt- “Fall:1918”

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 “Why aren’t I sick?” she shrieks in a whisper, mindful of the ward full of sleeping patients. “I’ve been over men dying day in and day out for over a week, my hands are covered with blood and God knows what else, and I’m not sick! Violet was here for a day and she’s dead, and, and what’s wrong with me?”

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 “When did you sleep last?” the question throws her.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 “Uh,” A day? Two? She can’t remember.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 “Bed. Now.” Dr. Travers orders in a tone that brooks no resistance, and years of ingrained compliance have her obeying. Then too, there’s the hope that things will better when she wakes up.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 It isn’t better. If anything it’s worse. The patient load doubles, then climbs until there are no more beds and people just lie on the floor where they collapse.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 The circumstances don’t change, but Julia does. She’s robotic, moving like an automaton through her duties, keeping most of herself locked away from what she sees. She looks at her wheezing patients and mentally notes which beds will most likely be available next, wraps the bodies of anyone whose face is the distinctive deep blue that marks a lost cause while they’re still alive. With men lying on the floor due to the lack of beds, sympathy is meaningless even if she’s appalled at her own callousness in the brief moments when she’s Julia the woman, not Julia the pragmatic nurse who eventually takes her dead friends’ uniforms because there isn’t any time to launder her own.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 When this is over, if it’s ever over she thinks she’ll never wear blue again.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 It’s a nightmare world she inhabits, worse than any battle even the Somme which she thought was hell on earth. Sometimes she thinks she’s always been in these rooms, that any life before this was the dream. There’s only the crisp-crackle-crisp of air bubbles under the patients’ skin as she turns them over in a futile attempt to clean them.

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 For the first time she can remember none of their patients have war wounds, and there’s a dark humor in that, that they’ve all done their level best to kill each other for four years only to die of natural causes in a few weeks. All the strategies, all the weapons, all the digging and nature effortlessly surpasses them all.

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 This is hell, nor are they out of it.


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