Friday Freewrite

Yes, I know yesterday was Friday. Let’s call this Friday Observed. 😀 I honestly did not think of it at all; it was a very busy day, and it was also my birthday (which was delightful, btw).

But I don’t want to skip another week, so let’s all pretend it’s Friday, shall we? *g* (But the GOOD kind of Friday, after the workday is done and we’re kicking back with our beverage of choice … ahhhh.)

This week’s prompt is: Hospitals.

From a loved one’s serious illness or accident, to the birth of a new baby, to the doctors and nurses who work in the wards, to fantasy or sci-fi hospitals that look very different from the ones we’re familiar with … let’s see where this prompt takes us!

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I'm a writer and artist living in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Posted in Friday Freewrites
3 comments on “Friday Freewrite
  1. Layla Lawlor says:

    How about some high fantasy this time?

    Search

    She had searched the living and she had searched the dead. Walking from corpse to corpse in the battlefield was less gruesome, in its way, than looking into the faces of men and women soon to be dead in the city’s temple hospitals, in the makeshift infirmaries in the streets.

    Oriah was a city still shocked and staggering under the specter of war, even now that the siege was lifted. The few farm stalls in the marketplace contained only a handful of limp vegetables. Wayhouses were closed. Shivan had not sought lodging yet, and she’d been eating her own meager supplies of travel bread, not wanting to pay the exorbitant prices at the few businesses still open. She could roll out a blanket in an alley if she couldn’t find lodging.

    But mostly she wanted to find Lysistad, if he still lived.

    ***

    She didn’t believe she’d actually be able to find him. But it was his description that finally managed to ring a temple bell with the exhausted, harried Sisters that she spoke to. Oriah was a northern town, its people mostly fair-skinned with straight black hair. There was an immigrant population from the war-torn cities of the southern coast — she’d smelled the familiar spices as she walked through the streets of the immigrant quarter. But Lysistad and Shivan’s complexions were still dark enough to stand out — and to be remembered.

    She found him resting in one of the West Temple’s older halls, its high narrow windows reflecting the northern climate’s harsh winters, and perhaps an earlier generation’s need for defense, before the construction of the city’s earthwalls. The sun was setting and the long arcade was bathed in blood-colored light. Around her, men and women groaned helplessly, nursing grievous wounds, thrashing in fevers. Forced to use only a handful of shallow wells during the siege, the city had suffered sickness as well, and only the most ill and indigent were being treated by the Sisters; anyone who could walk away, or who had family to help them, rested more quietly at home.

    She found Lysistad by a window, his face turned to the bloody light. His head was wound with dirty bandages, and the stump of his right arm was similarly bound. Her stomach hurt. No more drawing a bow for him. There was more gray in his long, beaded braids than when she’d last seen him.

    Someone had left a bowl of water beside him. She held it to his cracked lips. He drank, coughed, and his eyes slitted open.

    “I think I’m feverish,” he murmured. “Little dock lizard, you cannot be here.”

    “It’s not a fever, Master.” She had not called him that in years. It was a sign of respect that she felt he needed to hear, though his lips twisted wryly and she sensed a sarcastic comment was not far off. “I came north when I heard,” she added quickly. “The siege is broken; people can come and go from the city again.”

    “Well, that’s good news. The timing could not be better.” He lifted the stump of his arm, then lowered it; the distress on her face must have been plain. “Oh, Shivan, don’t cry.”

    “I’m not crying,” she said firmly. “It’s the dust. This damned northern glacier-silt gets into everything.”

    “It does, at that,” he whispered. “How is that temple maiden of yours?”

    Shivan had fallen in love with a Temple-Sister in the south; it was why she’d stayed behind, and how she had heard news of the siege at Oriah. The Sisters had lines of communication rivaled only by the best spy networks of the bigger city-states.

    The Sisters’ oaths forbade them to lie with men, but said nothing of women. Along the southern coast, Shivan could parlay her friendship with Umal into a warm welcome at any of the temples. She had not mentioned it here, however, unsure how the northern Sisters felt about such liaisons with outsiders.

    “Umal is well. She bid me say hello to you on her behalf.” Shivan smiled through the tears she would not admit to shedding. “She said that she was certain I would find you alive. It had come to her in a dream.”

    She clasped his remaining hand, the calluses rough in hers; he squeezed back. “Well, your lady knows what she is about, I suppose.”

    “I know that she does.”

    It had been a very long journey. She had not slept in days. As the sun slipped below the rim of the world, she wrapped her cloak around herself and lay beside him on the thin Temple pallet. His hand still held hers. She knew that she must find a proper place to sleep, she must speak to the Sisters about his welfare and his injuries — but instead, feeling safe for the first time since she’d left the southern coast, she slept.

  2. slhuang says:

    Sorry, I tried, but “Hospitals” is a Bad Prompt for me because Reasons. 😉 So I wrote for last week’s instead.

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