Wednesday, 24 September 2014

WEP September Challenge - Changing Faces - 24th-26th September 2014

Welcome to WEP's Challenge for 24-26 September, Changing Faces.

I've just finished reading Roz Morris' science fiction/literary novel, Lifeform Three (2013), which I highly recommend. So I am going to give Sci-Fi another try here.

Changing Faces

Veronica Carlgren awoke one morning to find that she had forgotten what she had done the night before. Thinking back, trying to remember what happened, she realised that she had trouble even remembering her own name. 

What's happening here? What do I know? Where am I? Who am I?

She looked around the room to see if it was a familiar place, but it looked barren av personal mementos or photographs that would trigger her memory. Hospital beds. There were two. The one that she had slept in and another that was made up and hadn't been slept in by any ... patient.

Why am I in hospital? What kind of a hospital is this? 

She looked out the window. Yes, there was at least a window.

The window overlooked a garden or green area nearest the building and farther away she could see a large parking lot. It was a clear view. She must have been on the second or third floor. It was green outside, but whether it was spring, summer or early fall, she could not pinpoint yet. Maybe she could take a walk outside and see.

Suddenly, the wide door to the corridor opened and a women dressed in some kind of professional uniform wheeled in a cart with a breakfast tray and medicines.

'Good morning, Veronica!' the uniformed boomed, 'Glad to see you up and around. You must be feeling better! How about some breakfast?'

'Thank you. That would be nice. Have you been here a long time? I mean, have you been here as long as I have been here?'

'No Love, I've been on holiday for two weeks. This is my first day back. I've read your charts and talked to the others. But I am not allowed to say anything. I'm just an aid. You'll have to talk to the doctor.

'When can I do that?'

'When they have rounds. They usually do that early on this ward,' she said looking at the watch pinned on her uniform's  breast pocket, 'Sorry Dear, they've already been here. You must have been asleep when they came. Better luck tomorrow morning.'

'You called me "Veronica". How do you know my name?'

'Your name is on the charts, Sweetie. It says "Veronica Carlgren" everywhere. My name's Alma, by the way. I'll be back later. Don't forget to take your medicine.'

Alma left the breakfast tray on Veronica's tray-table and wheeled the cart out of the room. It was cream-of-wheat in a plastic bowl, cold toast with a pad of margarine on a plastic plate, and a small sealed plastic cup of orange juice. Nothing glass or metal. Plastic spoon. Paper napkin.

Veronica sat on the bed pulling the tray-table closer. 

I may as well eat something, she though taking the plastic spoon in hand and tasting the cream-of-wheat.

It was then that Veronica noticed her own hands. She looked down at both of her hands. They were not the hands of a young woman, her age, that is, the age that she presumed that she was, around thirty. These hands were wrinkled and had visible veins. The skin on her arms was baggy, and had dark spots, the kind that really old people get. Some of her knuckles were a bit swollen from arthritis.

Have I been in a coma? For how long? 

She had no pain. She could move about freely. If she had been in a coma for a very long time she would not be able to do this. She would have trouble even getting out of bed, because of atrophy of the muscles. That much she knew, without knowing how she knew it. Had she been a nurse? She must find a mirror and look at herself. Maybe she could remember.

Veronica left the bed and looked around the room. There must be a bathroom or at least a toilet somewhere. There. She spied a door near the entrance. She opened the door, walked into the smaller windowless room and looked above the sink where there was indeed a mirror. But the face that looked back at her was a white-haired woman with sunken eyes and wrinkled cheeks.

Veronica did not know her.


[This text is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of my imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.]

Word count according to WordCalc: 710



This is a hastily written text - only a sketch - and the sci-fi ambitions evaporated due to lack of time. This past week has been filled of near-disasters. My ten-year old daughter, Elisabet, took a shower without paying attention to the fact that the floor drain could not absorb the water fast enough. She let the water spew out on the floor, to rinse her hair, again and again. The floor in the bathroom was quickly flooded and spilled out into the hall and ruined the floor there. It happened so fast, I couldn't stop it. I had to mop up as quickly as I could and literally bail out the two to three inches of water that covered the bathroom floor. 

My novel must have a flood scene in it! I have to use this.

Best wishes,

First Commenter:

Sally Stackhouse


Sally's Scribbles


Sally said...

Well done for getting something written with all the domestic challenges you were facing. I hope it all gets sorted and you are not suffering from too much water damage to your floors.

D.G. Hudson said...

This is an excellent entry Anna, and timely for me. Hubs was having a similar problem this morning, but I won't go into detail. Confusion is devastating to those who get it.

Well done! I hope you do get into more scifi.

Lisa said...

Oh dear, this made me sad for her. Age is something we all (hopefully) have to look forward to dealing with and sometimes it doesn't look to great. Thanks for sharing...

Denise Covey said...

Hello Anna. I'm sorry I'm late commenting. I came by as soon as you commented that you'd posted, but have been up the beach, busy. I'm so sorry about your floors! Disaster!

Right from the start you had the reader asking questions about Veronica and what had happened before the story started. Excellent. I can see how you could add sci-fi elements if you had more time. Plenty of scope. I do hope you get more time to work on this and your bigger story.

Thanks for posting Anna, even in the midst of disasters...

Denise :)

Anne said...

Oh, this was very interesting. I wonder who Veronica is, what happened to her, is she really an old woman as yhe mirror says?

For something that was hastily written, you quite outdid yourself. Enjoyed it!

Nilanjana Bose said...

Hi Anna, I enjoyed the story, and its ending. Hope you are doing better now with the domestic challenges.
Best wishes,

Adura Ojo said...

I enjoyed reading your story about Veronica, Anna. I'm intrigued about her, how she got to hospital, why she can't recognise herself? So many questions that help create mystery and suspense. I like it. Hope we find out more about her if you do decide to take the story further.

Sorry to hear about the flooding, Anna. Hope the worst is over and you're feeling better about it all. *Hugs*

Yolanda Renée said...

Such an interesting concept and one I would not want to find myself in. It's hard losing years when you know you have, but to not know to what or how, devastating!

Hope all is well on the domestic front. I'm finding that the opportunity to participate in these wonderful challenges (although I was late and Denise added me)is a wonderful way to add a semblance of normalcy to a life in complete disarray! I keep hoping for the calm to return, maybe soon - hopefully soon - for both of us!

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