Fear. Death. Pain. All three of these happen in hospitals. Some people die in hospitals, some people can get hurt, either emotionally or physically, and some people are afraid to even step inside a hospital.
Gravity was in the waiting room of a hospital with her brother Shadow and her dog Bliss. The three of them had been to countless hospitals and to countless waiting rooms. This was one of the worst. The wallpaper was peeling, the coffee table was starting to rot and the magazines piled on top it, were ten months out of date and starting to accumulate dust. The lights were constantly flickering as well. Gravity was hoping to meet a doctor that would not let her down, like all the ones she had seen before. Her brother Shadow went up to the counter again and left Gravity with her dog Bliss in the waiting area. The receptionist was dressed in a disgustingly pink floral shirt. She was chewing her nails and reading a magazine. As she saw Shadow approach her, she reluctantly laid the magazine down. “How can I help?” The receptionist asked, in all too patronising voice.
“Hello my name is Shadow and I’m waiting with my completely blind sister.”
“What about it?” The receptionist’s voice suddenly turned hard.
“You don’t understand. She desperately needs help.”
“You’ll just have to wait.”
“We’ve been waiting for three hours.”
The receptionist shrugged. “Not my problem.” Shadow turned and glanced a look at the receptionist’s name badge. It read ‘Fiona Davids.’ Shadow smiled sadly, as he walked back to Gravity, before sitting down. “No luck.” He said to his sister, who was remaining considerably calm.
“We need not worry. Someone will help.” A few minutes later a man in his early sixties with thinning brown hair in a white coat walked past. Shadow leapt up. “Excuse me Doctor…”
“I’m actually the consultant of this hospital. It’s Jones, Gideon Jones.” The man had a profession and strong manner.
“Please, can you help my sister? She’s blind.” Shadow gestured to his sister, who was sitting on the old, tatty, coffee stained sofa. Gideon looked at Shadow and Gravity intently. Shadow was older, with dirty long brown hair and a certain hardness in his dark brown eyes, that made him look very unwelcoming. Shadow was in tattered jeans and ragged t-shirt. He shifted his attention to Gravity. Her eyes were discoloured, but he could see they were once blue; they were now the colour of ice. She had shoulder length blonde hair, tied up in a long ponytail. She wore a long black dress. He felt sorry for the two children, he knew that the girl could have been very beautiful, but something terrible must have happened that prevented it. He knew he could not help. “I am sorry; I must fill out some paperwork on a very important operation.” He tried to say this in the politest way possible.
“Oh well, thanks anyway.” Shadow stuck his hand out. Gideon smiled and took it. Gideon was pleasantly surprised that this young man had decided to shake his hand. He always thought that young adults were not chivalrous enough. He also thought that he knew the two siblings from somewhere, but he put it out of his mind and walked off. Shadow sat back down, knowing the true meaning of what Gideon had said. He meant “I don’t have time for little kids, go away.” The pair waited on the sofa for another hour, during so many nurses and doctors came through with all the same reply. The receptionist stayed there for the whole hour, giving dirty looks to the two siblings. “Shadow let’s go. Nobody is going to help us.”
“Yes they will, we just have to wait.”
“Shadow we’ve been waiting for four hours.” Shadow sighed and helped his twelve year old sister up and gave her Bliss’ leash. Shadow thought back on how this all happened.
I was eight at the time and my mum was giving birth. She had been carrying and I was really excited to be having a baby sister, but after a few hours the doctors brought terrible news. Gravity had been born blind, as a result of a premature birth. I thought that she looked really cute and it didn’t matter that she was blind, but my parents didn’t share my views. I don’t know why this was. After Gravity had been cleared to leave, we drove home to our nice little house in Kent, that was close to a gentle stream. I was asleep, when the car pulled up and parked in the driveway. I was asleep, when I was carried into bed. I was asleep, when my parents took my sister out of the house and placed her by the stream near our home, soon before I woke up in the morning. “Where’s the baby? I asked frantically, thinking she had wandered off.
“Gone.” My mother replied.
“She’s by the stream.” As soon as I heard this I rushed out and brought her back.
My mum looked horrified. “Why did you bring her back?” She asked.
“She’s only a baby, she won’t survive out there.”
“That’s why we put her there; we’ll get laughed at, if people see us with a blind child.”
I stepped back shocked. “You horrible, disgusting people. I can’t accept this, if you’re abandoning her, than you’re abandoning me.”
“Don’t be stupid. You can’t just run away.”
I didn’t run, not until darkness at least. In the dead of night I got up and packed all of the things that would have been needed such as money, baby food and a sleeping bag. Then it was out onto the streets. I decided to give my sister the nickname of Gravity. I chose the name Shadow for myself, because if you want to escape everyone then you need to lurk around in the shadows.
Shadow could not believe that all three of them had managed to survive the eight years they had spent on the streets. Then finally when things seemed to be turning around, they were back in the dirt. They had spent eight years begging, but what did they have to show for it? A failed trip to the hospital. This was not what they were looking for. This is what they had been saving up for, if you can call it saving. As they were leaving Shadow heard the receptionist laughing her head off. Shadow stuck his middle finger up at her and mouthed “you’ll be first.”
This is the first chapter of my first novella Awake. This was something I started writing when I was fourteen and as a result it’s not the best. I’ve already received comments criticising the characterisation and general believability and I have always meant to go back and rewrite this, but not found the time. So go ahead, tear it to pieces! Don’t ask why they’re called Shadow and Gravity, that’s cleared up later. I know a lot of people are confused by the fact that even though Gravity has been on the streets for 8 years, she’s 12. Don’t worry. I clear this up in later chapters.