Short Stories

The Gift

FuriousFiction for December 2020, the last of the year! I didn’t place for this month, but am still very proud of the story I wrote. Please enjoy!

The prompt and specifics are as follows:

  • Your story must include a GIFT of some kind.
  • Your story’s first sentence must contain only THREE words.
  • You must use the following words somewhere in your story: PALM, MATCH, ROSE.

furiousfiction December 2020

I’m very nervous.

More nervous than I really should be. The anaesthetist can tell, I think, because her eyes crinkle due to what I assume is a reassuring smile behind her mask. Although, it could equally well be a grimace, I suppose. 

“You won’t feel a thing,” she says. “I’ll make sure of it.”

“Thanks.” I flash a thumbs up and try to put the horror stories of waking up, paralysed but completely alert, from an anaesthetic from my mind. 

I do not succeed.

When they wheel me into theatre, I’m overwhelmed again by how white and bright and cold it is. There’s more people in here than I think is strictly necessary and I’m suddenly acutely aware of the gaping slit in the back of my hospital gown. If I sat up in this bed now, my crack would be completely visible to everyone. I debate wiggling the edges of the gown together, when the anaesthetic nurse asks me to do exactly that. I shuffle over to the other bed with heat in the cheeks of my face and a cool breeze on the cheeks of my arse.

The operating bed is deeply uncomfortable, slightly too narrow for me to feel fully secure. I grit my teeth as the anaesthetist jabs a thin needle into my hand—kindly ignoring my sweaty palm—-and secures the cannula without a drop of blood spilled.

“See you in a bit,” she says, her eyes crinkling again, and then warmth rushes up my arm and everything goes black.

When I wake up my hip is burning, a blossom of heat opening delicate petals of pain in my flesh. Shifting my leg brings a sharp spike into the arch of my pelvis. Thorns on the rose stabbing deep. I groan softly, and a nurse is there immediately with a cool glass of ice chips sweating in his hand.

“Go slow,” he says in a low, soothing voice. A spoon slips the ice into my mouth where it immediately melts on the dry heat of my tongue. “How are you feeling?”

“Hurts,” I say. The word seems to stick on my tongue, and I swallow hard. “I did okay?”

“Everything went really well.” He smiles at me. “You did a really good thing today.”

I give a weak thumbs up and drift back into the darkness for a while. 

When I’m recovered, they give me the chance to see the gift recipient. I didn’t know before, just got the call that I had matched with someone and was needed at the hospital in the morning. I had been nervous, of course, but I hadn’t hesitated to go down when they’d given me the time of admission.

Now, I step up to the window and wave a little awkwardly at the little girl sitting in bed on the other side. She has a cannula in her hand and tears on her cheeks and I am so grateful that I became a bone marrow donor.

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