spirithorse21: (Dream Wolf)
[personal profile] spirithorse21
In June, I commented on [livejournal.com profile] herecirm's random assignment meme and was given a writing prompt. I then immediately dropped off the face of the earth and haven't written anything since. I swear to you all, I'm not dead or depressed. I have things on my mind, but I just haven't felt the right kind of inspired to write about them. Today, I finally stumbled on a thread to fulfill the writing prompt, so, I am here to bring you my response to "Write about four characters who wouldn't normally be seen together, but by some circumstance have been forced to spend time in each other's company." If you want me to think of some random prompt or somesuch in return, please feel free to comment.

[livejournal.com profile] suraineko, I don't recommend that you read this.

A little back story. Things have been a little rough around here lately. Not horrible, really. Just rough enough to make me introspective. And it's the two year anniversary of Dash's passing and nearly to Samwise's passing too. When I'm introspective, music is heavy on my mind, and one that I always think of when I think about death is Death Cab For Cutie's What Sarah Said. This time, that kicked off a whole little story line.

She wasn't entirely comfortable sitting there in that room, but who would be? Who could ever be comfortable sitting in a hospital waiting room? But it was so much worse than just the waiting. Her “companions” were a man with his niece, and a blind man who, strangely, had a guide horse—a fucking miniturized horse!—instead of a guide dog. Who the hell even knew there was such a thing as a guide horse? She kept waiting for it to take a shit or whinny or something, but it just stood there with its head hanging and one back leg cocked and resting. The damn thing was alseep. How could anyone—even a damn guide horse—sleep in a place like this? She was jittery, couldn't stop tapping her feet or playing with her hands. The place reeked of disinfectants, old piss, and bad food. A TV flashed silent images at her with subtitles that were obviously out of sync. It annoyed her that she couldn't stop watching it anyway. She'd try to look around the room at these other people, or close her eyes, or grab a magazine, but she would always return to the silent TV, looking up to it like it might deliver good news from up on high, like a fucking guardian angel or some shit like that.
“Yeah right, Sasha,” she thought to herself. “You're well past guardian angels. Fuck that shit! I wish I had another hit on me. I could really use a hit right now.”
She bit her lip, tapped her foot, flitted her eyes around the room glancing at everyone, hoping she hadn't said all of that out loud. Sometimes when she was really upset and craving a hit she would say things out loud by mistake. It looked like this wasn't one of those time. The little girl—she couldn't have been more than nine—never looked up from playing with her dolls. Her uncle still had his nose buried in a magazine (but he would frequently glance up at the clock on the wall and mutter something to himself), and she didn't even know what the fuck the blind man was doing. She just hoped his damn miniature guide horse didn't suddenly go all Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron and start standing up on its back feet and calling out in the shrill voice horses have. She hated horses. They scared the shit out of her, even this little one. When the blind man came in with the damn thing she just about crawled out of her skin, and then the damn nurse on duty helped him sit down in a seat three down from her.
“What the fuck is that thing doing in here?” she had said. “Ain't animals not allowed in a damn hospital?”
“Ma'am, this is a service animal. Mr. Hopkins here is blind and he has a service horse. They are just like service dogs,” the nurse retorted at her.
“I don't give a fuck! I don't want that thing near me!” Sasha was a little hysterical at this point.
“Hey lady, watch the language!” the other man said. “My sister's daughter doesn't need to hear that.”
“Who the fuck are you to tell me what I can and cain't say?” Sasha shot back.
The nurse had finished helping Mr. Hopkins and she snapped around and stood up straight in front of Sasha.
“You will watch your language or you will be escorted out of here by the police,” the nurse said before spinning around and facing the man. “And you, sir, will not stir the pot. There is enough going on in this hospital without all of you getting into a fight with each other. Just both of you sit down and keep to yourself.”
Sasha and the man both stared hard at each other for a moment. The nurse stood her ground, then cleared her throat and raised an eyebrow at both of them. Sasha stood up and retreated to the corner farthest from the horse, and the man turned his attention to the nurse.
“Fine. Whatever. Can you at least get me an update on my sister? I've been here for three hours already with her daughter.”
“Mr. Waterman, I will find out what I can, but you'd better get comfortable. Having a baby can take a long time,” the nurse said.
The nurse glanced at both belligerent parties one last time, then at Mr. Hopkins and his horse, and finally she smiled at the shy little girl hiding under a chair with her dolls. She smiled at the girl and then walked out of the room.
That was two hours ago. Sasha and Mr. Waterman had kept their mouths shut since then. Mr. Hopkins had tried to be friendly with Sasha but she mustered up a somewhat polite decline to the conversation. She stayed in her little corner of the waiting room, nervously waiting to hear about her boyfriend. He'd really done it this time. The stupid son of a bitch had really tried to kill himself. He would get this way. They'd use up all their money on drugs and then spend days scrambling to get enough cash for another hit. He'd get all depressed when he'd go through withdrawal and threaten to kill himself, but Sasha had never felt like he was serious. Or maybe she just never realized how serious he was because they were always either strung out on drugs or manically chasing money to get drugs. Whatever it was, this time they had almost scored a big load of cash and then the whole thing fell apart and he was more depressed than ever. Sasha had gone outside to smoke a couple of cigarettes and when she came back in he had slit both his wrists and was covered in blood. She stood in the doorway to their apartment, frozen, staring at him. His eyes were open but he was already checked out. She felt like she was looking a ghost. A goddamned bleeding ghost. Then she saw the pool of blood around him starting to spread across the floor and she screamed. That jolted her back to action. She called 911 and 20 minutes later she was sitting in this hospital waiting room wondering if he was going to die or not.
“Goddamn him!” Sasha thought to herself. “Goddamn it, why did that selfish fuck do this?”
Again, Sasha looked around the room, hoping she hadn't said anything. She felt sweat bead up on her forehead because she caught the little girl staring at her. Had she said that one out loud? She looked around at everyone else and decided that she had not. Then she looked back at the girl, who was now eyeing the miniature horse. The girl, who was still sitting under the waiting room chairs, finally worked up the courage to come out and edge toward Mr. Hopkins and his horse. Sasha's eyes were glued to the action, subconsciously relieved to be occupied with a different plot line than her own or the ones being flashed at her from the TV.
“Hey mister,” The girl had said to Mr. Hopkins when she was standing in front of him.
Her uncle registered that this voice the voice of his niece and he looked up over his magazine in irritation.
“Ashley, don't bother that man,” he had almost shouted at her.
Ashley shrank away from her uncle, but Mr. Hopkins smiled at her and cleared his throat.
“It's ok sir,” Mr. Hopkins said kindly. “What can I do for you, young lady? It's Ashley, correct?”
Ashley looked at her uncle, who was still half glaring at her, but then looked at the miniature horse again and found her courage.
“Mister, why do you have a seeing eye horse instead of a seeing eye dog?”
“Well, I like horses. And horses live longer than dogs. And I'm just plain lucky,” Mr. Hopkins said with a smile. “Would you like to meet my horse, Ashley?”
Ashley smiled and nodded her head, and then remembered that the blind man couldn't see her silent response and quickly added, “Can I please?”
Mr. Hopkins beamed. Sasha felt herself soften a little bit inside watching this exchange, but then the horse snorted and she jumped and tensed up in her seat again.
“Ashley, this is Prince,” Mr. Hopkins said. “Prince, Ashley.” Mr. Hopkins motioned between the two and smiled. “Would you like to pet Prince, Ashley?”
Ashley beamed. “Yes!”
“Come over to his side then. Stroke him gently on the neck. He's like it best when you rub under his mane—that's his long hair. Have you ever been around a horse before Ashley?”
Ashley shook her head, and then remembered again. “No, never. My mom is afraid of them.”
Sasha nodded her head in agreement and thought, “Damn right she's afraid. You should be too, kid.”
Mr. Hopkins, on the other hand, scoffed. “Aww, there is nothing to be afraid of! Horses are the best of all God's gift, in my opinion. And Prince is the best of the best. I am so blessed to have this little horse in my life.”
Sasha rolled her eyes. It would be her luck that she was not only stuck in this room with a goddamned horse, but also with a goddamned religious freak.
Mr. Hopkins was about to go on when the nurse stepped into the room.
“Mr. Waterman?” she said. “Your sister has had her baby and is doing fine. They will be moving her to her maternity suite in a few minutes and then you'll be able to visit her.”
“Can her daughter come too?” Mr. Waterman asked. Ashley looked up at the nurse hopefully while she absent-mindedly stroked the horse's neck.
“Yes, just make sure she washes her hands well,” the nurse said, eyeing the horse with a level of suspicion.
“Don't worry nurse,” Mr. Hopkins offered cheerfully. “Prince gets a daily grooming and lives inside. He's as clean as a whistle.”
“All the same,” said the nurse, “make sure that young lady washes her hands. Come with me and I'll show you to the maternity waiting room.”
“Come on Ashley,” Mr. Waterman said. “Say thank you and let's go.”
“Thank you Prince! Thank you Mr. Hopkins!” Ashley said.
Ashley gave the horse a hug and smiled at the blind man. He smiled too, and then girl turned and hurried out of the room with her uncle. Mr. Waterman reached down to take Ashley's hand, and glanced at the horse and blind man blankly before glaring for a second at Sasha. Sasha made sure to scowl at him and then flipped him the bird when his back was turned. She was pretty sure the little girl didn't see anything.
With the man and girl gone, Sasha's eyes drifted back to the miniature horse. It was actually almost more frightening that a full sized horse, she decided. It was like a nightmare to her. Here was this tiny, dog-sized horse. It was living and working in the city. It was a fucking service animal. She could run in to it on any corner. She started getting irrational. She began imagining Mr. Hopkins getting hit by a car as he crossed the street and the service horse running away and then seeing her and charging at her like it was a fucking police dog. It turned into a full-on withdrawal hallucination and the horse was getting closer and closer to her and Sasha just knew it was going to kick the shit out of her and kill her. The sweat built up on her forehead again. She started climbing up the back of her seat, and was just about to jump up and scream when a nurse poked her head in the room.
“Is there a Sasha Bateman in here?”
Sasha snapped her head and locked eyes with the nurse.
“Are you Sasha Bateman?”
Sasha nodded, glancing sideways at the horse and then locking eyes with the nurse again. She felt a little relieved to see Mr. Hopkins was still holding the horse and it was seemingly asleep again.
“Sasha, I need you to come with me.”
“What? What is it?” Sasha said with a tight voice
“Please just come with me, Sasha,” the nurse repeated.
“Shit. Fuck. No. No, no, no, no! This can't be good,” Sasha said. “You'd just tell me right here if everything was fine. He's dead, isn't he? He's fucking dead, right?”
“Sasha, please,” the nurse pleaded as she came across the room to take Sasha's hand.
Sasha jumped. She had no where to go, she was stuck in the corner. “Get the fuck away from me!” she screamed. “Get the fuck away. Don't fucking tell me he's dead.”
Sasha saw Mr. Hopkins look at her, and the horse looked at her, tossing its head. The nurse reached her and took her hand.
“Sasha. I need you to come with me,” the nurse said calmly.
“Fuck! Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!” was all Sasha could say. She was screaming. Hot tears streamed down her ashen face. The nurse had her hand now and Sasha could feel herself being drug along into the hallway. Doctors, nurses, patients were all staring at her, sympathetic looks on their pathetic faces. “Just tell me he's not fucking dead!” she screamed at the nurse as they came to a doorway.
They stepped inside and the nurse closed the door. She grabbed both of Sasha's hands and shook Sasha a little bit. She fixed a hard stare on Sasha.
“He's not dead,” the nurse said. “Yet.”
Sasha gasped and struggled to catch her breath. “Yet?” she squeaked.
“We've done what we can do, and we're monitoring him. But I'm not going to lie and tell you he's going to be fine. Now you'd better sit your ass down here with him and tell him everything you wished you'd ever told him because this may be the last chance you get. Do you hear me?”
Sasha nodded. She was limp. Defeated. She stared at her boyfriend, a tiny mass on the hospital bed with tubes coming out of him all over the place. She could barely see him. She panted, and sniffed, and swallowed hard, and panted again. She looked at the nurse, and then at her boyfriend, and then she just hung her head. Tears started again, but quietly this time, softly. The nurse patted Sasha on the shoulder and then left the room. Sasha waited for the quiet click of the door, then heaved a sigh, looked at her boyfriend, the clock, and finally moved for the chair next to his bed. She sat down, propped her head up in her hands and stared at him, waiting for him to die.
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May 2016

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