Warning: This work has been rated 16+.
(A/N I have worked very hard on this and I am going to be posting a few chapters, just to see what you guys think. I have made some built points. I would like some help with thoughs. Thanks. Enjoy my story.)
It all started with screaming that 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 observation room was ordinary calm, the doctors performing a medical scan--or what they thought was one. Now, the activity was discombobulated. The single technician in the room was attempting to shut the machine down. One of the male doctors, a brown Squ’gee assisted him as carried out his commants half-heartedly, in chaos of the helter-skelter moment, as his squirrel-like tail flew behind him. 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 in terror. At first, all that came from her trembling lips was gibberish. Then, “Sh-sh-sh-she's growing!” Dr. Tagleaboo exclaimed!
“She’s probably gone by now, Doctor,” said the man, Dr. Wu, calmly, his voice accented with Chinese. He was speaking to Dr. Mann, ●because Dr. Mann is of Italian heritage, do I need an Italian last name? ‘Mann’ is English/German. Need an Italian name● whose long, black, kinky hair was facing them as she was typing up medical notes on her Avyal patient.
It was as if Avyal patient was her own daughter. Dr.Mann’s tone of voice was like that of a mother, or a teacher who was concerned about a student, her voice soft, ” We don’t want anything bad happening to her!“
She than gave them instructions on what she wanted done.
And this Avyal girl, who was moments ago 5’4, was gone. Just.Like.That.
A Few Days Before
They were ready for their shift, and they had no idea as to what their day would bring.
Bright, yellowish-white, morning, summer sunlight shone through as it created a silhouette of the two teenagers who, minuets ago, entered in the sliding glass doors of the hospital. The two girls had a religious habit of saying goodbye before they began their shift. They would stop, face each other, and would say their words of parting-like they were doing now.
“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 around the house.” ●Need help with hospital uniform and what it looks like. ●
Willow didn’t have enough time to give a positive expression, which were rarely seen considering the remarks her younger sister would typically give her about her choice in fashion.
Brianna 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.
I wish the floors weren't so visually challenging for my eyes, Willow always thought at some point while walking, as she always took a few awkward steps, like she was now doing. Her glasses didn’t help much. They just made her vision clearer, but not necessary better. Her feet stopped short, seeming to paw at the ground with her feet. Her gait, as well as other mannerism, were an obvious clue that Willow’s eyes were sick.
Willow’s eyes had been sick from the get-go. She and her mother, both. They both had Retinitis Pigmentoses, a progressive, genetic eye disease.
Willow was in the beginning stages of the disease. Her vision had begun to tunnel. As the visual field would constrict, her eyes would lose the ability to see colors and focus at night--she’d become night blind, and, in a sense, color blind. All of this would lead to the final stage of the disease: blindness.
At least, Willow thought, my vision loss isn’t as bad a Mother’s.
The Children's hospital was one out of severalhospitals in downtown Houston- it was the largest medical complex in the country- as it also contained medical universities, and a medical library. The large cluster of medical establishments attracted doctors who delivered high quality care to their patients.
As Willow was waiting for the elevator, she glanced up at the opposite wall. On the wall was shiny,copper, plaques with names of people who donated money. No one donated more than Neil Armstrong and his wife, who the hospital was named after. It was obvious that they were the main contributors because their plaque was the largest, the plaque sitting below the picture of the astronaut and his wife. Their smile was genuine, as they seemed pleased with themselves.
They funded the children's hospital for medical research-which all occurred in the hospital's sister building that was connected to the hospital by a skywalk. Not only was the research medical related, but the funds also helped with the purchase of the hospital's most expensive piece of medical technology-the PREFORM device. The device’s full name was the Programmable Electromagnetic Field for Re-scaling Organic Matrices.
Willow arrived at the entryway of the volunteer coordinators office on the fourth floor. She walked up to the desk that was almost overtaken by a large, box-like Techlife computer. Rust colored, cat-like 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 tapping keys.
Willow stood there, waiting patiently for him to notice her. He was writing reports on other volunteers, no doubt. Willow was among one of the many hospital volunteers 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, mainly because he was used to being around people who have medical problems, so, hiring the two teenage girls who were not the healthiest didn’t bother him at all.
He peered over the screen, his cat-nose twitched, the mouth on his pointy squirrel face gasped, the ilds on his squirrel- 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-sorry,” Willow almost inaudibly mumbled, looking down at the floor. Looking back up into the Squ’gee’s face, her eyes glistening in excitement, her soft voice had a chipper edge to it as she asked, ” Is there anything different that you want me to do today, sir?”
It was obvious that Willow was gracus for the opportunity to work--The fact Willow had a disability, and her that her sister was on oxygen-made finding employment difficult. Despite having nailed interviews-both girls has an eager, excited attitude and a great work ethic--no matter how hard they'd promised to work--they were turned away. In general, employers felt that they couldn’t rely on a disabled person to complete a job due to discrimination and misconceptions about the ill and disabled.
The Squ’gee spoke a few words, instructing Willow on what she was supposed to do. As she listened, a soft smile stretched across her face. This job was going be fun!
Willow was more than happy to carry out the task that she was assigned. Her job-offering people beverages-coffee (with all of the fixing: creamer,sugar, and flavored syrup,) and hot cocoa. The cold beverages that were offered were milk, apple, and cranberry juice.
At lease, 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.
And she was determined not to let the coordinator down.
She wasn’t going at least give the job a try before bring it up with her employer-although she knew that it would be a challenge due to her tunnel vision.
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!”
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. 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. 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!
The two were great friends having had a very similar demeanor, personality, and interest.
Willow’s head jerked to the left. Suddenly, there was a soft rattle, and a crashing sound, 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 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,keen and joyful look to them--a common feature among the Avyal species. “ I’m all vight, Villow.” Said the woman kindly, in her Austrian accent. “ I’ll just have a bruise, but dats it. I’ll be fine.”
Willow knew that she and her husband were here to see their daughter, Phe. Willow met them last summer when she started volunteering.
Before leaving, she 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 pushed 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. She continued pushing the cart towards the young Avyal’s room. As she did, she begun beating herself up with negative self-talk- 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. Despite society's negative views that often surrounded disability, she wasn’t ashamed of her vision loss--how could she be? She’d dealt with it most of her life so far. Willow just wanted to appear ‘normal’ in the eyes of society.
The wheels squealed as she veered of course, ramming into a corner before turning the corner into Phe’s room.
Phe McFerson’s body was practically taking a bath in sunlight, the sunlight surrounding her like yellow water. Sunlight warmed and highlighted her dark blue feathers that covered the Avyal girl’s humanoid body. The light brightened the yellow scrubs that
were decorated with various anthropomorphic animals who were wearing clothes--characters from 2-D animated Utopia movies.
Yellow fabric ripped across the 14 year old’s body, the fabric loose. Originally, the scrubs fit Phe better than they did now, they were tighter, not loose around her shoulders that now had a slight angle to them.
Sunlight warmed Phe’s thin face-a bit too thin face- that had a
feeding tube that sprouted from Phe’s left nostril like a root.
The strength of the drug was accurately demonstrated by the girl’s slack, pain-free appearance- her giant eyes closed, her black lips soft. Evidences was not only on her body, but in the way that delicate breaths were puffed into the air like a humidifier, delicate like lavender. The whole scene was peaceful, it was as if she was a sleeping princess in a Utopia movie.
It was as if Phe wasn’t in pain at all.
The fabric that smoothed out in her middle that was gradually expanding was obvious to her mother, Elise, as to what was happening. Typically, Phe would be feeling insurmountably full--as if her organs were being squished- as well as feeling nauseous. But now she felt none of that, the opioid was masking the pain of the gas- bacterial waste- that was causing Phe’s gizzard (stomach) slowly to expand in the process of digesting the goat's milk yogurt that was recently feed to her through her feeding tube. It was also masking the stomach cramps that came along with eating food that her body wasn’t tolerating. Her body was revolting against the yogurt, despite the yogurt being utilized as a treatment that was recommendation by her doctor.
Her, mother, Elise, was in a chair the corner window, with sunlight to here back. Elise’s feathers were dark blue and were speckled with black. On her head, sitting in between two tufted squirrel ears, was a light blue satin cap that had the appearance of a squished cylinder. On the cap was fabric loops to thread a ribbon through that tied in large bowtie in the back. Elise’s ribbon of choice was made of satin and was baby blue, a different shade than the cap altogether. Her grey ‘poodle’ dress had a pink poodle embroidered in the fabric. This popular design that was the hallmark of the 50’s had come back, even though the year was 1982. A tiny silver crucifix was pinned in the fabric, near her right shoulder, displaying her religious choice and values of being Christian.
While waiting for her husband to return from getting food, Estella decided to flip through an issue of Bird and Raccoon comics that were sitting on a stack on the windowsill, to decide which comic to read to Phe.
As she was flipping through, a foul, pungent, odor crept over to Estella. It was enough to cause someone dry heave. And she knew what she had to do. She depressed a button on the side of the wall that was near the door, to summon a nurse.
Although the fecal order was unpleasant, Phe’s mother-as well as her husband- knew that it was just a natural function that occurred in all living organisms-getting rid of waste-whether it was feces,urine,or flatus. Although repulsive to a majority of people, it was a necessary biological function in order for a being to thrive.
Elise could have wrinkled her nose!
Elise could have grimaced!
Elise could have cried “Ew!” or “That’s disgusting!”
She could have cracked a smile or laughed, having a completely insensitive attitude.
But she didn’t! Her face was stoic the whole time, even as the odor wafted up her nose.
Phe’s mother approached her illness much more professionally than the white,black, and brown spotted Squ’gee who rolled a medical cart into the room. The women was wearing white scrubs complete with a cap- a nursing uniform.
As the women was changing Phe, her nose wrinkled. She gave a heavy sigh, “Couldn’t hold it, could we, Miss Phe McFerson?” The woman's tone was even, yet it was condescending. After she was finished cleaning Phe up, she drew the curtains around the bed and started pushing mineral water in the tube to dissolve the frothy gas that was in her stomach.
The whole time Elise watched, she could of heard the sound of the nurse pulling a face-and the soft sound of sobbing from Phe, as her chest heaved. It was clear that Phe was embarrassed. Despite the medications effects, she was still able to hear and respond to touch somewhat
Elise closed her eyes and shook her head in exacerbation. All her life she’d dealt with various doctors and nurses belittling Phe. And this was just another one. She couldn't let the nurse's behavior go unnoticed. Elise didn’t want her believing that this was acceptable.
Phe’s mother drew her over to the side. Her voice was calm, yet firm despite the situation. Her accent flowed like cursive, it was smooth, calm, and pleasant to the ears. Despite what others may think, it didn’t sound angry, not at all.
“ I vish dat you vould have more compassion venn caring for vy daughter,” Elise began firmly.
Already she had this women the last few times that Phe was a Texas Children's Hospital, and she wanted to-no, will-request a new nurse!
“You've never had to raise a sick child, have you've. Be kind to zem, you know, your patients. Zey deserve respect just like you. I don’t care ees dey can't speak, can’t hear, can’t see, or anyzing else for zat matter… “ Her voice faltered for a moment at she begun to blink rapidly to keep the tears in her eyes. What she was about to say was values that she truly believed in. The moment she ceased to blink was when the tears cascaded down her face. And she allowed them to.
“Dey deserve kindness, and love, and dignity- to be treated like beings! Ve all deserve dat! To be loved. And to be treated kindly. Vy mama and papa though me zat. “ Then she said after a few seconds of hesitation because she was unsure whether or not she should bring religion up, ”God has taught ve does things, too. Vy daughter, Phe, has taught me time and time again. Their is no need to be curt. You catch more flies wid honey zan you do wid vinegar.” And that concluded her wisdom speail.
The nurse, now moved by her words, backed towards the door. The Squ’gee’s giant eyes were wet. Although her eyes were involuntarily wet,the Squ’gee women felt as if her words meant to be manipulative just to get her way, her daughter's way. But this wasn’t the case. The Avyral women's words were so powerful, so full of emotion, that it had to have been genuine. The beliefs that the cross stood for, which was on her dress, supported her values.
Before she exited the room, Elise requested a new nurse, just like she said she would.
As the Squ’gee women went about her day, the women’s words kept playing in her head like earwigs. Those words were impossible to forget, they played in her head until she wept. She didn’t know why she wept, but, after that, she begun looking at her job in a new light. To be kind and treat others with respect.
Elise returned to the chair, and resumed flipping through comic book issues, as she waited for her husband.
Phe’s room, 204, had always been Phe’s room while she wasn’t at home. The room was always decorated for when she’d arrived with lifelike flower, removable wall decals. Loud action words and inspirational quote bubbles hung on the white walls as if they were floating. Phe’s knew these quotes by heart! They were from her favorite comics ever, Bird and Raccoon!
Bird and Raccoon were two animal super heroes, a Blue Jay and and Raccoon. They both fought against the vileness Dr. K and his wide array of gadgets to help him conquer some sort of nasty plan!
Elise's giant blue eyes glanced over the book, the giant iris consuming most of the eye, her eyes glistened with delight. ●revise sentence to flow better.●
“I know you hear me, Miss Phe. I know you hear vy voice. Venn your better ve can sign up on ze intervebs, so that you can get your vish granted by Your-A-Star! Zenn, ve’ll take you to meet zem!”
Phe’s eyelids crinkled just slightly. She heard. And she also heard another noise. It was the cracking noise of a wooden cabinet being opened, ending in a soft thawk as it hit the wall.
Phe knew what she meant by saying ‘them.’ She’d get to meet Bird and Raccoon-well someone impersonating them - at least. Regardless of them being actors just pretending to be the two superheros, she still admired them. They were her heroes! And they, in a way, encouraged her to fight. Fight. Every. Day. --but mostly she enjoyed the comics because the two main characters were animals-and because that their was science-fiction action and peril-that,too.
“ I haven't gotten to do Your-A-Star,” said a timid female voice.
As Elise’s head whipped towards the direction of the voice, her giant irises appeared grow two times in size. A hand flew towards her chest as she involuntarily gasped,” Goodness, gracious, Villow! Young vomen, you scared me! Oooohh, don’t do dat!”
Willow was saying how she had never participated in Your-A-Star because she hadn’t been signed up yet, although, she was eligible up until 23 to get a wish granted. Anyone who was chronically ill or disabled was eligible. She and her sister signed up because they haven't thought about their wish.
“ S-s-sorry. I’m very sorry.” Her face burned and her arms and legs tingled as she was involuntarily trembling from the sudden rush of adrenalin.
Willow then said, “ I-I was hiding from the n-nurse. I-I couldn’t get caught.” Willow knew the rules, that, if broken, would turn into a legal matter. Technically, Willow’s shouldn’t have been in the nurses proximity, especially when it came to anything that involved information or a medical procedure.
Although, technically, she did break the rules because she saw every moment of it behind closed eyelids, as if her eyes were open. The scene formed a picture in her brain like how animals who use echolocation to form pictures in their heads.
But, she wasn’t going to admit that to anyone.
Having recovered, Elise then cocked her head in sympathy. “ Oh, Villow, honey, you've been crying. Looks like you've both been crying.” She was referring to both Phe and Willow, as she was blotting both girl’s eyes. As she did she smiled softly, a genuine mother smile.
When she was cleaning Willow up, she inquired about her sobbing. She explained about how she couldn’t stand to see nurses and doctors treather that way, and how Phe didn’t deserve it--especially since Phe got ‘stuck on the toilet often’ and had bad flatus (but not the usual kind) in addition to other gastric symptoms. The whole time the teenager talked, breath whistles, hissed, and sounded ragged in her nose as mucus was pushed around in her sinus from the act of inhaling and exhaling. The whole thing made Willow sound like she was suffering from a severe cold or allergies.
“When, Papa comes back, ve’ll sing ‘Edelvisse’, Phe!” Said Elise in a cheerful tone. She was talking about ‘Edelwisse’ from The Sound of Music. She enjoyed musicals, especially singing along to them, but The Sound of Music was her favorit.
In response to this news and the fact that her friend was here, Phe’s feathery, human fingers, twitched, so did her ears.
Inside Phe’s head, she was going ballistic with joy, her thoughts racing.
Suddenly, there was a loud sound of heavy footsteps that seemed to shake the ground, the sound stopping when the black-feathered,stocky, body halted in the entryway. In his hands was a paper bag with food from a deil.
“ Papa’s here!” Phe’s mother called.
Willow rushed out into the hallway, to the parked beverage cart, and begun preparing a drink.