Friday, March 29, 2013
Friday Fiction Challenge, discharged
Felicia had answered so many questions, making sure to stay consistent with her responses. She was able to act just panicked enough. After they were able to place the central line and get Bailey hydrated, she seemed to rebound almost immediately. The girl she'd carried into the emergency room just days earlier was sitting up, eating strawberry Jello with her little fingers and giggling at cartoons on the television screen.
Her socks were too big and hung off the tips of her toes.
Every time she turned her head towards the window at mama, she smiled. Her hair would move out of the way just enough to see the IV lines. The tubes that had kept her alive.
Felicia watched her through the glass from outside the room. The doctor had pulled her out into the hallway to tell her that they couldn't figure out what had happened, they had no answers for why she had become so sick. They had seemingly come to the conclusion that it was some type of stomach virus, though Felicia knew better.
They had to bring in a case manager because of the age of the child and the severity of the illness, but she had already prepared herself for that. The doctor said something about her weight and mentioned that they might label her as failure to thrive, but that decision wasn't final yet. They couldn't tell because they didn't know her full history. They were still waiting on a call from her regular pediatrician, though Felicia didn't tell them she hadn't actually taken Bailey to the doctor in over a year.
Fortunately, the trash had been picked up the day it all went down, and she'd been able to get rid of any evidence of what she'd done to her little girl.
There would be a social worker assigned, and there would be a home visit before discharge. The doctor asked if Felicia understood all that and she silently nodded her head, never taking her eyes off of Bailey.
She knew that she'd already covered her tracks. They wouldn't find anything.
Chris didn't even know, and he'd been living there the entire time. Felicia was so good at hiding it all until they ended up here. Until it almost ended badly. Until she almost got caught.
After the doctor stopped talking and walked away, Felicia went back into the room. She dragged the chair back over to the tiny bed encircled with bars. Her eyes traced every inch of the little girl, resting on the spot on her neck where the catheter was inserted. Such a simple little piece of plastic. It didn't seem possible that something so little could have been the thing that saved her that day. It pumped life back into Bailey's body, one drop of fluid at a time.
Felicia took the IV line and ran it between her finger and thumb, squeezing it until the flow stopped.
Bailey's eyes weren't sunken anymore and the dark circles under them had faded a little. She smiled at her mama, not having any clue why she was laying there in a hospital bed with that thing poking her in the neck all the time. She'd pulled at it for a while, but they taped it pretty good the night before. Even as young as she was, Bailey seemed to understand that this piece of plastic in her neck saved her life.
Felicia's gaze drifted to the television, with the screen of dancing animals. Bailey giggled again.
This scare may have just saved them both. This time, at least.
If only she could keep herself from going back to that place when they were in the secrecy of home again. Felicia hoped she could control it, that she could stop herself. She knew better.
She knew now what she was capable of.
This piece is part of a fiction challenge I am participating in. This is the second episode of my second story, the first part of which can be found here.
This week's prompt is:
March, "in like a lion, out like a lamb" --
for our writing: to be deflated, belittled or humbled after the failure of a daring or boastful act.I'm putting a couple restrictions on this one though to sharpen your lion's writing claws before we submit to our kinder, gentler lamblike selves: 1,000 words max and no dialogue, all description. *Show* not tell: how your character has softened, deflated from the beginning of his/her intro in even one post? to now.
Please check out the pieces from the other writers participating in the challenge! We've welcomed two new members to the group this week!
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