Living On Oxygen for Life
I know I said that the last part of this story was “the last part,” but inspiration finally hit me and I started writing again. I’m so excited about part 4 of this short story. I truly hope you enjoy it. If you are new to my blog and haven’t read the previous parts 1-3 or just need to catch up, you can find all four parts on the A Story in a Story section of this blog. Once again, I’d like to remind you that there are bits and pieces of my childhood within this story. Don’t forget to FOLLOW my blog! So, sit back and relax and read once again about the Maple Leaf Girls. Feedback is welcome. Just keep it kind! Please don’t steal this story. I’ve worked hard on it.
Short Story part 4
The last thing you remember as you dive for the floor is the chaos of other soldiers running for cover. You feel the heat of an explosion that brings the walls of your quarters crashing down over you. A piece of metal slices into you and as you drift closer to unconsciousness, you see the maple leaf floating towards you as it falls free. Reaching out with the last of your remaining strength, you close a hand around the leaf as it flutters down from the wall. Slowly you drift off, silently, into blackness.
“You are hurt,” she whispers. It sounds like a whisper but you aren’t sure. The noise around you is so loud. Again you hear the voice, “You’ll be alright.” Stirring into consciousness, you feel a light tap on your shoulder. You brace yourself as you open your eyes; never knowing what will happen or where you will be since the time you brought back the maple leaf. It seems like it was only yesterday that you made that first trip to Indiana. At least that’s where the little girl told him he was that first time.
No longer are you among the rubble of destruction of war but inside a helicopter flying over a city. But not a city of a warzone. It is somewhere in America once again. You are no longer in your world but in hers. What happened? What happened to me? You look down at yourself but you don’t notice anything wrong. Your head feels a little fuzzy; like your mind is wavering in and out of consciousness. A wave of dizziness and confusion makes thinking difficult.
As you look around the helicopter, you can see the little girl who always seems to notice him. Sitting next her is the girls stepfather. The man helped the children build a large snowman the last time you were transported, somehow, to Indiana.
She is looking right at you now with a sad expression on her face. “I may not see you again,” she tells you. You aren’t sure if you are hearing her correctly. Is she telling you that you’ll never come back? You worry about that. You’ve been starting to look forward to seeing the girls.
The drone of noise from the helicopter was so loud, but her voice was as clear as if she was speaking into your ear as if to tell him a secret. “Why?” you ask her. You don’t want to disappear anymore. It has always been so calm where see is. As minutes fly by, you begin to feel more tired. Your head begins to hurt and your body aches.
“I must have a surgery on my heart and no one thinks I’ll make it. But I’m sure I will.” She gives you a quick smile. “What is your name? I don’t know of any wars going on. Where are you from?”
“My name?” You are much more sluggish now. Breathing is a struggle. You reach up and touch your nametag on your military shirt; every move an effort. He lays one of his ID tags on the seat next to her. It’s something he had been thinking of doing but was sure if he could leave anything behind with her. All he knows is that he was able to bring back a maple leaf with him that first trip here.
“Taggart…” he gasped and then lets out a groan of pain. “It’s Tag for short.” He hopes her heart condition can be fixed with the surgery and wonders why no one believes she’ll make it. He is confused about why she thinks there are no wars but she is young and maybe she isn’t told about those kinds of things. It feels strange that they are having an actual conversation. Each time he’s come to her world, as he calls it, he is able to do more and say more.
“My name is Chris. You have a new scar now on your face. Does it hurt?” she asks him shyly as she draws a line down the right edge of his face with one of her fingers.
Confused, he raises his hand to his face. “I feel so very tired.”
“Tag?” Her voice echoes as she calls to you, reaching for you, while you fade away again.
Organized chaos. Soldiers move around with a purpose; checking the wounded, clearing debris. The wounded that can’t walk are transferred to a place where medical personnel tend to them.
Deep in a fog, you hear people yelling around you. You feel people tugging on you, moving you up and over things; finally being placed on something flat and hard. You hear yourself moan. You reach for your head only to have your arm shoved back down.
You hear people talking around you. One person who is talking says the man knows you. You feel them working on you. They cut your clothes off, insert an IV and you listen to orders being thrown around everywhere. That’s when everything starts to slow down. Someone pries open your hand and finds your maple leaf. You’ve been holding the leaf the whole time since the explosion. Desperately, you reach for it when someone removes it from your hand. Anger and the need to protect that leaf are fierce within you. Even wounded, as you are, that fierceness to keep the leaf safe overcomes the pain you feel. The voice of the man who says he knows you suddenly appears to tell you that your leaf is safe. He will hold on to it for you. He’ll mail it to you wherever you will be.
That leaf is your lifeline. At least that’s how you feel about it. You don’t understand how you have it. It takes you to a place where no one else can go. It’s special.
The next thing you know, you awaken again in an American hospital. You see a woman in nurses scrubs reading and making notes concerning your vital signs she must have just taken. She notices that you are awake and smiles. “You’re finally awake,” the nurse says. “It’s shift change and your new nurse will be here in a minute. When I say new, I mean new. So go easy on her. Will ya?” The nurse gives him a saucy wink and leaves the nurse.
You take the time to look around the room. Everything looks modern here. There is a dull ache in your head and a bandage is wrapped around it and the right side of your face. Outside the room, a woman laughs. It sounds pretty. It is not something you’ve heard in a while. There isn’t much to laugh about in a war zone. Not much to laugh about now either for you while connected to wires and IVs.
You look towards the door as it is gently pushed open. A pretty petite woman walks into your room wearing a smile. Maybe she is the one who was laughing outside the room. She turns to look at you as she begins to say, “ Hi, my name is–.” Her eyes widen as she lets out a gasp of breath.