Julie of Story A Day suggests we use a disappearance as a story prompt. I seem to be stuck on the “character wakes in unfamiliar surroundings” one, though, so this one is both. It’s also fanfic. Wonder who can guess what of?
Also, there’s a door. Thursday Doors is the brainchild of Norm Frampton, photographer extraordinaire. Visit his site, enjoy his beautiful photographs, click on the blue frog link, and enter a world of doors.
Mrs. Greene’s Special Tea
by Marian Allen
When Mrs. Greene recovered from her faint, she figured she had hit her head and landed in the hospital. The ceiling was smooth, the walls were smooth, the air smelled like it had been cleaned special.
She heard a soft swoosh, then a woman’s voice said, “We were so close.”
A man came into view: Maybe tall, but Mrs. Greene wasn’t the best at spacial estimations. She wondered if she had stepped off the curb outside the drug store wrong — again — and hit her head on something instead of just making the usual fool of herself.
The man — bald as an egg, but with pretty eyes — smiled at her. His clothes were weird, but the way he tucked his hands behind his back made her think of that picture of her daddy when he was in the service, and she thought maybe he was wearing some kind of a uniform. Maybe he was a doctor.
“What happened?” Mrs. Greene asked.
“Nothing for you to worry about,” the man said. “We’ll have you home before you know it. We had intended to return you before you woke up, but your metabolism fooled us.”
His eyes twinkled, managing to imply that she was a rascal and a caution and had them all chuckling appreciatively and shaking their heads … somewhere.
“I’ve been abducted by aliens, haven’t I?” Mrs. Greene had always made fun of those headlines on the tabloids they sold down at the convenience store. They couldn’t be true! But look at the bald man’s face! She was right!
“Well, yes.” Then he hurried to say, “But not by us. We intercepted the ship, liberated all the captives, scanned the ‘collection’ records, and returned everyone to their various planets before their sedation wore off. You’re the last.”
“But I woke up,” said Mrs. Greene. Her stomach rumbled. “Pardon me,” she said.
The man turned his head. Mrs. Greene looked where he was looking and saw a woman nod and hold two fingers close together. Where Mrs. Greene came from, that meant, Yes, but only a little.
The bald man smiled again. “Will you join me in some tea and biscuits?”
“I’d rather have cookies, if that’s all right, but biscuits will do, thank you.”
The man went over to the wall. “Tea,” he said. “Earl Grey. Hot. Two.” After a pause, he said, “Ginger biscuits, small, four.”
A window opened in the wall and he pulled out a tray and put it on one of those moveable table things beside her bed. At the same time, the bed folded up into a comfy chair position.
Mrs. Greene wasn’t crazy about gingersnaps — her favorite was double-chunk chocolate chocolate chip — but any port in a storm, as her daddy used to say. Same with the tea. She liked coffee better, and this stuff smelled and tasted like perfume. Oh, well, it was better than nothing. Or, as Grandpa used to say, It beats ol’ any. What did that mean, anyway?
“Are you gonna put me back asleep?” she asked, when she had washed one of her cookies down with the nasty tea.
The man’s voice was kind and reassuring as he said, “That would be best. We just want to be sure whatever your abductors used is completely out of your system before we put something else in. We’ll return you to the same spot you left at the same time you disappeared.”
Mrs. Greene stopped with her second cookie almost to her mouth. “You can do that?”
“It’s perfectly safe,” he said, which Mrs. Greene took to mean either You wouldn’t understand or None of your business, both of which were true.
“That isn’t what I asked,” she said, “but never mind.”
She stopped after two gingersnaps, figuring the other two were for the man, but he pushed the plate toward her. He probably didn’t like them any better than she did, and he wasn’t empty as a rainbarrel in a drought.
She ate another cookie and said, “If you can do that, do you have a machine that could take about thirty pounds off me?” Wouldn’t that be a hoot? Step off the curb all pudgy and get in the car with her dress just hanging on her skinny shoulders?
“We do,” said the man. “As a matter of fact, we have an entire room full of such machines. It’s called a gym.”
Mrs. Greene took the last cookie. “Put me back asleep,” she said. “Might as well just go on home.”
I took Sweetie Pie to the vet yesterday. She has a belly full of fluid, but x-rays didn’t show an enlarged heart or anything else explanatory. They drew blood and some of the fluid and sent those off to a lab. I should hear back later this morning.
MY PROMPTS TODAY: Mrs Greene, Earl Grey Tea, cookies, and the Gym