Tag: disability

Bricked

From the window of the station Tony could just make out the outline of South America. With a nearby ding he remembered where he was standing, grabbed two coffees from the vending machine and turned around to see Lynn waving him over to talk with one of the doctors. He quickly crossed the waiting room toward his haggard wife and the well-kept Dr. Zionkowski.

As he bridged the distance, his wife motioned to the doctor. “She says she has news.”

Tony handed one of the coffees to Lynn, who just held the warm cup. He said, “How is she?”

Dr. Zionkowski lifted up the tablet to double-check her charts and then sighed deeply. “I wish I could give you better news, be more gentle. But it’s not looking good.”

Lynn mumbled, “Oh no.”

Dr. Zionkowski continued, “She…she isn’t responsive, not to sound, not to light or vibration. I fear you have only a few hours to make a decision.”

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Broken

Giovanna wiped the sweat from her brow, smearing a thin layer of half dried clay across her forehead. She looked into the door of the cooling kiln, careful to only touch the handle. The bright yellow light within was finally beginning to dim. As she waited, she walked over to her work table and leaned against its messy surface, covered in tools and knives and rags for sculpting and shaping clay. The clock in the corner of her desk clicked along and Giovanna smiled at her notes and formulas. Her wastebasket was full of failed recipes that used to come more easily to her, but this, this recipe was sure to work. The roots she used to use had been wiped out after a year of blight and an unexpected cold snap late last spring. 

Reaching for her notebook, she recognized the remaining wet clay stuck on her hands was slowly dehydrating in the heat of her workshop, so she walked toward the wash basin. With the cool spring water flowing across her hands she took a moment to look out the window, down the cliff and across the coast. Down the path, at the bottom of the cliff was the local community. At least half a dozen of her creations were living full and engaging lives with the rest of the population. It was hard at first. People were hesitant, but now they are just people.

Giovanna turned the valve, shutting off the spring water, and faced the clock. It needed repairs, for sure. It’s gears would occasionally slip, and the pendulum definitely wasn’t calibrated properly anymore, but it worked well enough as a timer. Her clay should be finished.

She stepped over a few tools strewn across the floor and towards the kiln’s valves and knobs. She let in a surge of brisk air from outside to speed things up. The kiln would still be hot for a minute, but she was too excited to wait. She put on a thick cloth mitten and opened it up, staring at the yellow glowing embers that surrounded her creation.

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The Broken Key Part 1

Mikaela turned the corner and began to run down the hall, away from the skittering coming fast behind her. She turned around and still could not see…that thing, whatever it was chasing her. She turned back around and realized the hall was stretching away from her. Her breathing grew ragged with exhaustion, and yet the door at the end of the hallway simply grew further and further away, but the skittering, the sound of metal on tile, and then wood, it kept getting closer. She turned back around…

She gasped as she felt wet warmth across her face.


Mikaela woke up to the feeling of her secret stray licking her face. 

“Christ in heaven, Checkov, nearly threw you across the room.” She lifted the cat, easily, despite the pain in her hand, and although Mikaela was still quite young and small, Checkov was even smaller, the best kind of cat to train to hide in a bag under her bed. The next trick was getting him to stay still for even a minute.

Checkov wiggled out of Mikaela’s hands and fell on her chest, mewing once, and licking her face. Mikaela pulled him closer. “Shush boy, don’t want dad to know!” she mumbled with intensity. Intensity undercut by another disarming lick.

“Ugh.” Mikaela set the affectionate boy down on the hardwood of her bedroom floor and gently rolled out of bed. She sneaked towards a large bag next to her dresser. It was just out of sight from the door to her room, and fortunately she was just at the age where her mom didn’t find her sudden interest in privacy strange. 

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Dragonfly: Rescue

It had taken some time, but by now, modified versions of Maya’s hand were commonplace. When she lost her hand, almost a good decade ago, her new hand was more of an experiment than a product. She wanted something that could grasp, something that could feel. And that took trial and error. It also took money. Her payment came in the form of working on a dragonfly.

The Dragonfly Project hadn’t reached out to even the far corners of the solar system yet, so Maya was lucky and got to work in a relay floating just past Mars. Within a few years after she’d been assigned, the project sent out relays out as far as Eris. Now her relay directory had listings named after gods she most certainly never heard of.

Her hand was clamped to her work table while its inner workings were carefully placed  across the table’s surface. A spring or two had worn themselves down to useless. 

“Maybe I can get some lighter plates next holiday,” she mumbled as she screwed her pinky back into place with her good hand. The newest model weighed even less than a similar sized human hand. Maya’s, however, felt more like carrying a medicine ball at all times, one armed. 

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Down the Mountain

Lucas set the broom against the wooden railing of the back patio, took a step back, and wiped the sweat from his forehead. It had taken him a few hours, but finally the patio was completely clean again. As clean as the day he built this place. Lucas turned towards the valley and looked at the horizon.

He said, “Tree line is looking a little shorter than yesterday. Picking up a bit of speed I guess.” He took out two small paper tickets to a boat. It was docked off the coast in the opposite direction, and slapped them against his hand as he looked back at the horizon. “No point in these anymore.” He ripped them up over the garbage bag still hanging on one of the knobs of the railing.

He took another moment looking off into the distance, his hands on his hips. It was the first time he saw the sun setting like this, bringing a new glint to the snowy tips to the mountains on either side of the valley. The forest itself was quiet for the first time as well, as if nothing in it wanted to break the moment. He turned around, grabbed the garbage bag, and headed inside the sliding glass door.

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