The eye of the storm

Strange and ridiculous sounding words are somehow always fun to work into a sentence. It can take weeks or even months from the moment you discover an epic word, to the moment when you find the perfect sentence in which to place it. However, in a similar situation the pressure to fit a particularly strange word into a piece of writing when required can be a thoroughly discombobulating experience. Thanks Helen!

(If you are joining our tale today, welcome! Feel free to start the journey here.)

The eye of the storm. J R Manawa.

“Emmeline? Emmeline!”

Out of the darkness, someone was calling a name. It took a good long moment before Emmeline’s head came around to the knowledge that it was her name being called, and still yet a moment longer before she was able to push her eyes open.

Everything had become strange and confusing. She was sure she was in a hospital room, but how? And why? Her brain was soup inside her skull, and everything seemed….fuzzy.

Thomas was there, and Gulliver, both with worried expressions on their faces which turned to looks of tired relief as her eyes opened fully.

“What happened?” she said, after taking a rather long moment to right the world inside her head and place the events of the last day back into the best order she could.

“Oh my dear,” said the nurse at the foot of her bed, as she looked up from her clipboard with a wide, patronising smile, “you’re suffering a case of what we informally refer to as discombobulation,”

Emmeline just looked at her.

“Discombobulation?” Gulliver said, his eyebrows furrowed. “Is that even a real word?”

The nurse smiled, and to Emmeline it seemed that the smile climbed at little too far up her face, “I googled it,” she said, proudly, “and according to the oxford dictionary-”

“The oxford dictionary is a book, not a website,” Gulliver told her, in a surprisingly snappy tone.

Thomas choked on his own laugh and broke into a coughing fit.

“Well, humour wasn’t made for all of us,” she said, giving Thomas two firm whacks on his back. Her smile was now only a thin line as she turned from Gulliver to Emmeline. “When you are ready my dear, the police are waiting for a word with you,” she said.

It was only at the mention of the word ‘Police’ that all the events of last night came tumbling back to their conclusion.

“Oh,” Emmeline let out an involuntary gasp of pain.

“Emmy,” Gulliver said, his voice searching for the empathy he should show, but neither he nor Thomas could truly understand what was happening to Emmeline’s heart in that moment.

“You heard the doctor, the girl is in shock,” the nurse said, managing more empathy in her own voice than she had initially as she checked Emmeline’s pulse on the monitor beside the bed.

“My name is Emmeline, and I’m right here,” Emmeline pointed out. “Can you give me a moment, please?” she added.

The nurse nodded, unfazed, and walked slowly out of the room.

“You are right,” Thomas said to Gulliver after the door closed behind her, “she does waddle.”

“What?” Emmeline asked, confused.

“We’ve been here for about eight hours. We’ve watched her come in and out of this room too many times to count, and Gulliver and I now both have agreed that she waddles. Initially I argued that she swayed, but now I have to conclude that it is definitely a waddle, not a sway.”

Emmeline managed to laugh, just a little.

“They were worried about you. The combination of the alcohol and the shock. They were monitoring your heart and everything while you were out to it, even pumped you full of fluids.” Gulliver gave her the run down.

“And I’ve been here eight hours?”

Thomas nodded. “You were in and out of conciousness for a bit after you collapsed, but eventually it must have been too much for your body to handle, and you sort of just shut down.”

Emmeline put her hands to her face and realised that her cheeks were wet, and the pillow under he head was wet also.

“You were crying in your sleep,” he added softly.

Her voice was hoarse when she spoke again, “I, I don’t know what to say,”

“They haven’t found your grandfather,” Gulliver said suddenly, awkwardly.

For a fleeting moment, Emmeline almost felt the need to comfort him, “They won’t find him,” she said, her tears too dry to return.

Thomas squeezed her shoulder, “You can’t think like that,” he said.

Emmeline looked up at him, and the words caught in her throat. The confusion came on again, and she had to stop until the spasms in her chest subsided and then finally she was able to tell them, “My parents, they went the same way.”


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