(A/N I want to show you some of my re-writen chapter 1. It's been forever since I gave any updates. Bear in mind that this is just a part, and not the whole thing. Please tell me what you think?)
Screaming came from inside the MRI like machine that was inside the World Health Organization building. The high-pitched, shrill scream slowly grew louder in volume, the decibels increasing every few seconds. Everyone knew that only Avyal vocal cords could emit such a powerful scream.
The voice grew in sync with her body as it became magnified.
Seconds ago, the activity that took place in the bright,white, observation room was ordinary calm, the doctors performing a medical procedure. Now, the activity was discombobulated, helter-skelter. The single technician in the room, along with one of the male doctors, a brown Squ’gee, as his squirrel-like tail flew behind him as they both furiously attempted to shut the machine down.
Heavy, machine parts, crashed to the ground like boulders being flung from an volcanic eruption. Realizing that the feathery body was expanding towards them, the four people had no choice but to flee for their lives,--or face an unavoidable death by crushing.
Only the two human doctors, Dr. Tagleaboo, and, Dr. Wu, took the opportunity to escape. Dr. Tagleaboo fumbled with her keycard as her whole body trembled like she was jittery from drinking too much espresso.
Both people sprinted down the hallway, as if they were competing in a marathon run. It was a run that determined the fate of their lives. As Dr. Taggelaboo fled, her heart appeared to drop as her chest tightened. She had begun bonding with the humanoid, bird--girl, feeling guilty that nothing could be done to help her. The girl who was in the chamber was a sweet thing.
The Squ’gee doctor and the technician that lingered were impaled by glass as the soundwaves from the girl’s cries shattered it, flinging the two men a few yards. A stinging slap and a few seconds of pain was the last thing they felt.
Dr. Tagleaboo was the first one to reach the door that had the copper name-tag of Dr. Amelia Mann. She was followed by Dr. Wu. She knocked on the wooden door twice- her knock more of a bang than a knock- as the door was thrown open.
The women’s light brown frizzy hair flowed behind her as she rushed into the room, her eyes wide and wet in terror. Her hands trembled as if she had Parkinson's. At first, all that came from her trembling lips was gibberish. Then her words managed to make sense. “W--w-we were begging the surgery to remove the intestinal polyps. An-And
she just kept getting bigger and bigger! Dr. Tagleaboo exclaimed!
Dr. Conti,whose long, black, kinky hair was facing them as she was typing up medical notes on her Avyal patient. Without even facing them, Conti gave them instructions on what she wanted done, her voice authoritative.“ Tranquilize her. But don’t hurt her. “
With that, both doctors flew from the room.
And this Avyal girl, who was moments ago 5’4, was gone. Just. Like.That.
A Few Days Before
Both teenager’s were ready for their shift, and they had no idea as to what their day would bring.
What slew of oddities would today bring? .
Bright, morning, yellowish-white, summer sunlight shone through the automatic sliding glass doors that created a silhouette of the two teenagers who entered the hospital.
They stopped, faced each other, and would say their words of parting, a religious habit. Willow was about to face left, her sister,Brianna, faced right. They were about to begin their shift.
“Bye,” said Willow, her voice naturally soft. She grabbed her hair with two fingers and thumb as she tied her long, curly, dark brown hair into a low, sloppy ponytail.
Brianna gave a quick, single- second smile, adjusted the oxygen cannula on her face, then sincerely said,” You look really nice in your volunteer uniform. You should wear it wear it more.”
“ I’d look too girly,” replied Willow.
Neither she nor her sister were into dressing like your stereotypical young lady. Brianna was more into fashion than Willow was because she wanted to draw frightened or carious eyes away from her cannula.
In secret, Willow admited that the candy striper uniform that she and her sister was wearing was cute- a pinafore apron with vertical red and white lines. The design was similar to that of a stereotypical tablecloth that you’d associate with a picnic. Underneath the apron was a white dress, followed by white shoes-the kind that nurses would wear.
Willow didn’t have enough time to react positively to the comment. This was rarely seen considering the remarks her younger sister would typically give her about her choice in fashion.
Brianna then playfully said, “Later, loser!” Before turning around and walking off.
Willow walked past the front desk and headed towards the hallway where the elevators were. As she did, warm, loud, playful, colors popped out from the walls and glistening floor. It gave the hospital a kid-friendly demeanor.
Sure, the geometric design on the floor was beautiful, but whoever was in charge of the internal design didn’t factor in how the design would affect people who had an visual, or even a neurological disability.
Her gait, as well as other mannerism, were an obvious clue that Willow’s eyes were sick.
I wish the floors weren't so visually challenging for my eyes, Willow always thought at some point while walking. Her feet always stopped short, seeming to paw at the ground with her feet, as if she were a hoofed animal digging in the mud. On her face were roundish, thin-lensed glasses despite her visual impairment.
Her glasses didn’t help much. They just made her vision clearer, but not necessary better. However, her nearsightedness was not Willow’s main eye condition.
Willow’s eyes had been sick from the get-go. She and her mother, both. They both had Retinitis Pigmentosa, a progressive, genetic eye disease.
Willow was in the beginning stages of the disease. Her vision had begun to tunnel. Many people with this condition experienced visual field constriction, being the main symptom. In addition, patients would experience difficulty seeing in dim light, night blindness, or would lose color vision. This would lead to the final stage of the disease: blindness. However, the symptoms and degree of severity, was different from person to person.
At least, Willow thought, my vision loss isn’t as bad a Mother’s.
The Children's hospital was one out of several hospitals in downtown Houston- the city contained the largest medical complex in the country: various hospitals, universities, as well as a medical library. The large cluster of medical establishments attracted doctors who were adamant, dedicated, and committed, to caring for their clients medical needs.
As Willow was waiting for the elevator, she glanced up at the opposite wall. On the wall were shiny, copper, plaques with names of people who donated money. No one donated more than Neil Armstrong, who the hospital was named after. The size of the picture and plaque was obvious that he was the main financial contributor. In the picture, his smile was genuine, as he seemed pleased with his generous donation. After his success with the moon landing, accolades, money, and fame flood in. The large sum of money was much more that what the man needed, so, he donated it to the Children’s hospital.
The money funded the hospital's medical research. This all occurred in the hospital's sister building that was connected to the hospital by a skywalk. In addition to medical research, the abundant funds allowed for the purchase of the PERFORM device- the medical technology was the hospital's most expensive piece of medical equipment. The device’s full name was the Programmable Electromagnetic Field for Re-scaling Organic Matrices.
Now, having arrived on the fourth floor, Willow trotted on grey carpet that was the same shade as the hide of a Rhinoceros. The light from the fluorescent lights tinted the fabric to a stormcloud grey.
A few doors down the hallway was the reddish-brown door with the coordinator's name tag attached to the door. She gingerly walked past the door that was part way open, and up to the desk that was almost overtaken by a large, box-like Techlife computer. Rust colored, cat- ears poked out from the top of the computer like a plant sprig.
The only sound in the room was of the Squ’gee’s fur-covered, human fingers as they tapped away at keys.
Willow stood there quietly and patiently waiting for him to notice her. He was writing reports on other volunteers, no doubt. Willow was among one of the many hospital volunteers-candy stripers- that he was responsible for, especially during summer. This was Willow’s and Brianna’s second summer volunteering. The volunteer coordinator took a chance on them, because he was used to being around people who have medical problems. To him, hiring the two teenage girls who were not the healthiest didn’t bother him at all.
He then took a moment to peer over the screen, his cat-nose twitched, the mouth on his pointy squirrel face gasped, the ilds on his cat- eyes batted upon being spooked. His face was centimeters away from the human girls’.
“Oh!” he cried. Then, “You scared me!” he exclaimed, stating the obvious.
“S-s- sorry,” Willow almost inaudibly mumbled, as she peered down at the floor, then back up, her dark brown eyes that were the shade equal to that of a rich brown mouse coat- just like the mice that Willow used to care for. The Squ-gee’s large, black, seed-shaped eyes stared into Willow’s brown ones, as their eyes meet for a second.
Willow’s upper half then reeled away from a hunched position to a straight one. The Squ’gee was a bit shorter than the human girl-most Squ’gee’s were on the short side.
Now standing straight, as if she was getting her height measured at a doctor's office, her soft voice took on chipper edge as she asked, ” Is there anything different that you want me to do today, sir?” Her pupils widened to twice their size.
“Yes. Yes there is. I want you to offer patients and their families beverages.”
This notion was something that Willow had silently hoped for ever sense she was instructed this task a few times last summer when she and her sister begun to volunteer.
This job was going be fun! This job was always fun! Always!
As the Squ’gee gave her instructions about her task, Willow’s eyes glossed over as they darted around every which way. Her expressionless lips seemed to stretch to a length that was only seen in a caricature, her smile teetering on the perimeter of her face. Her hairs prickled for a second, like a hedgehog's quills.
And this job never bored Willow. Never. If it was up to her, she’d offer beverages all day- hot drinks like coffee,tea and hot chocolate. Cold beverages like milk, water, and cartons of apple or cranberry juice. All of these were in metal pictures on a metal cart. On the bottom was shelf was sugar, honey, and flavored creamer.
To Willow,, offering hot beverages was more exciting than wiping down the hospital's playroom equipment and toys that human,Squ’gee, and Avyal children would play with.
The teenager’s expression was an obvious sign that she was gracus for the opportunity to work. And she was gracius for an unusual reason.
Willow and her sister were not like a majority of the youth population. Both sisters were disabled. The fact that Willow was visually handicapped and that her sister was on oxygen and could only be active for a short while before she required the aid of wheelchair, made it nearly impossible to find employment. In the interview both girls were peppy, flamboyant, kind, and genuine, as they promised a great work ethic. Despite these positive attributes detracting from their disability, their disability was the baking soda on fire--smothering any chance of getting hired Although laws were passed to create an accessible world, stigmatizing attitudes were still rampant through the non-disabled.
As always, she was determined not to let the coordinator down. According to her employer-the Squ’gee coordinator-she was phenomenal at the task that were given. Questions were asked if she was confused about any instructions, she was always sympathetic, kind, and helpful- traits that made the best employees in a hospital setting, according to the coordinator. In retrospect, he didn’t regret hiring her, nor her sister.
As she wheeled the cart, Willow’s eyes expanded as she jerked her head left and right as she rolled the cart. This was problematic, as she either rammed into or clipped walls and doors. Or she’d have to stop short to avoid hitting people. Whenever these things would happen, she’d always apologise profusely, or give a quick soft mumble of, “Oh!”
Her tunnel vision and nearsightedness added an unnecessary difficulty to volunteering, despite this she never complained. She’d always tell herself that she’d bring it up to her employer, but she never did. Tomorrow, she’d said. Tomorrow I’ll ask for someone assist me with guiding the cart...
And she visited patients and their families. People who were human. People who were Avyal. People who were Squ’gee’s--or, as a result from adoption- a blend. All of these patients who had bazar conditions.
She’d met a teenage girl was injured playing sports, whose wounds didn’t heal properly after care. Soon, a infection radiated from the sites, and twisted through her circulatory system, literally poisoning her blood. The girl’s blood was toxic to anything biological, turning staff member’s fingers black, killing the tissue. Her body was turning septic! Soon, her organs would fail without the blood being cleansed and filtered out by dialysis. When Willow saw her last summer, the girl’s pink-tinted skin was lying about her health.
A few days passed and the girl’s blood was declared clean.
Willow had walked into room where anxious parents held babies or toddlers who had multiple hearts, that may have been punctured with holes. This enabled some of them to survive short periods without oxygen.
Patients with gastric disorders whose illnesses who’s salivary glands secreted mildly corrosive acid that would nibble at an object if licked, or bodily gasses that would do strange things, and poisonous vomit.
For some patients, the white oxygen measuring device would occasionally read numbers greater than 100% enabling them to hover two inches off the bed. On occasion their bodies could not effectively expire carbon dioxide while exhaling. The more cardon that they accumulated, the heavier they became, sometimes unable to move without assistance.
And their was so much more. So many odd conditions. So many individuals with ‘special needs.’ This was referring to the odd or ‘special’ bodily abilities that were attached to medical conditions. They were the bodies way of adapting for an absent function.
Willow and her sister fell under this label- both girls-including their mother, were special needs.
And Willow’s job was visiting children like herself, children who were medical unique.
During her visits, she’d bring the cart around and offer drinks. Many
families who were gracious to take some steaming espresso or a latte. Families and patients who thanked Willow profusely for the service. Many said that she was a kind-hearted, sweet girl--and that they hoped to see her in the future.
Working in a hospital was also depressing, too.
Sometime, when Willow would visit, she’d come across distressed families. Parents who wept because their child was very ill or was on their way out of this world. Sometimes their parents would reluctantly take a beverage from the cart, other times they’d spit angry words out of grief. Whatever she witnessed would be branded in her head and would later sneak into her mind, causing her to sob.
The good always outweighed the bad. In general, hospitals were not a pleasant place to be-no one wanted to be sick- nobody wanted to be there. But it was a matter of who made it pleasant. Hospitals were also full of life-new life- and happiness and laughter. Doctors, nurses, and others making patients feel at ease and less frightened. It was full of healing and hope and kindness and compassion.
Now, she was back in the hall, ramming the cart into walls as the carts direction waned as she walked. Hours few by quickly, and now she was on her last stop before lunch. Her cheeks muscles softly burned from having held a smile for longer than a few seconds-she was going to see Phe! And she could stay as long as she liked-she didn’t have to rush!
Through Willow’s job she had interacted with many patients. Out of all of the patients, she connected with Phe the most. The two were great friends having had a very similar demeanor, personality, and interest.
Suddenly, Willow’s head jerked to the left. There was a soft rattle, followed by the sound of breath being sucked in through teeth in response to pain.
“S-s-sorry. I’m very sorry. “
The Avyal woman's hand was now nursing her leg, as she gently rubbed some of the pain away.
The lanky Avyal women stood up to her full height, seeming to grow like a sprouting plant. The woman's thin, aquamarine blue-feathered face expressed kindness, her black lips stretched into a gentle smile. There was something about her face that caused Willow to relax, the weigh in the meek teenager’s chest begun to dissolve. Her soft voice was spiked with concern as her voice rushed out of her,” Hello, Ms. McFerson! Do you need me to go get a nurse? Are you okay? Are you bleeding?”
The women’s large, blunt, triangle-eseq eyes had a perpetual, kind, and joyful look to them--a common feature among the Avyal species. The pastel blue iris almost overtook the eyes, as white was dotted in the three corners. “ I’m all right, Villow,” said the woman kindly, in her Austrian accent. “ I’ll just have a bruise, but zats eet. I’ll be fine.”
Willow knew that she and her husband were here to visit their daughter, Phe. Willow met them last summer when she started volunteering.
Before leaving, the women asked,” Do you need any help?”
It was out of Willow’s mouth before she could stop herself, an automatic reply to most questions that revolved around receiving assistance.” No, thank you.”
She resumed pushing the cart towards Phe’s room as the girl’s mother trotted down the hallway.
As she did, Willow huffed a sigh that ended in a soft growl like a whining dog. Her usually positive and optimistic thoughts took a negative turn as they became critical. She should of took Ms. McFerson’s offer to assist her. But, no! She didn’t! She didn’t want to ask for help because she didn’t want others to look or treat her like she was handicapped.
Willow just wanted to appear ‘normal’ in the eyes of society. Willow didn’t have any option for if she wanted to appear healthy or not, not with the discrimination against people like her.
The wheels squealed as she veered of course, ramming into a corner before turning into the hallway where Phe’s room was located as she parked the cart outside.