This story is by Bethany Heston and was part of our 2020 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Not this again. I have to wake up, or at least stop sleeping.
That horrible, insistent beeping, but I guess that’s the choice, the nightmare, or the unchanging, beeping
Who opened the door? It isn’t noon already, is it?
Bulky, fat, footsteps–that’s got to be the doctor, but who’s following him? Clicky high heels, and who’s that last person? I know them, I think.
“Look, doc, I have a meeting to prep for, so this had better be worth my time.”
That voice, stained in contempt, I know him.
“Is she getting better? Can she come home soon?”
Come home? I know that voice too, but she sounds different. What are they doing here?
“No, Mrs. Harp, I’m afraid she’s taken a turn for the worse.”
Mrs. Harp. So it is mom. But what does he mean I’m not getting any better, that’s not what the nurses say.
“What about other facilities?”
“Mrs. Harp, if that were an option, you would have been informed about it the day your daughter checked in.”
You good for nothing… I’m in a coma. It’s not like I need brain surgery. I have to show them I can hear them.
“Unbelievable. That’s why you called? I can’t believe I just wasted an hour of my time.”
“Mr. Harp, that isn’t why I asked you here. Your insurance is refusing to pay for Ann’s life-support after the end of this year.”
“Yeah, yeah, tell me something I don’t know.”
“Adam, you didn’t say anything about the insurance.”
“Hush Ruby. What do you want me to do, doctor, fill out paperwork so you can pull the plug?”
“No, Adam, you can’t do that, she’s our daughter, you can’t do that.”
“Ruby, stop talking.”
“I can’t do anything unless I have both parental signatures, sir.”
“I’m not signing it, Adam.”
“Get lost doc. I want a word with my wife.”
No, this isn’t happening. Someone has to see what’s going on. Can’t they tell that I’m right here? No, doctor, come back, you don’t know what he is. The cameras, they’re still on, right?
“You can’t do this, Adam. She’s your daughter.”
What good are legs if I can’t use them?
“Actually, I can, and I will.”
“I’ll call the police, Adam.”
That laugh. Stop it. Someone stop him. You don’t know what he’ll do. Someone has to stop him.
“Call the police about what? ‘Oh, my husband is so evil, he doesn’t have enough money to keep our dead kid alive.’ That’s almost as pathetic as you.”
“I’ll tell them why she’s in a coma in the first place.”
Don’t talk about that, anything but that. Come on, wake up, just wake up.
“You don’t have any evidence.”
“It’s your fault, you-“
“Zip it. I don’t want to hear another word; otherwise, you might just end up in a coma. You are going to sign the paperwork, and then we’re leaving.”
“I’m not signing it. I’m not letting you kill our daughter.”
Yes, mom, yes.
“Do I really have to spell this out for you? Ann is a hopeless case. But Andrew isn’t. Think of the education he would get if we weren’t dumping my money into a lost cause.”
Andrew, who’s Andrew?
“We can’t kill Ann for his education.”
“Oh, give it a rest already. Do you really want your son to be a hopeless retard because She hasn’t flat-lined yet?”
I have a brother?
“How could you be so-so, so evil?!”
“Evil, I’m evil? Well now, look at you, putting the life of a dead girl over your son. Look at her. She’s dead, all we’re doing is making it official.”
Now, right now, if I could just say something. Maybe scream at him, or punch him, something.
“You don’t know that.”
“Yeah, I do, and if you had any sense, you would know it too. Just sign the paperwork.”
“I-I, no, I can’t.”
“Sign it, or else.”
Tell him you won’t do it. I’m right here, mom, don’t sign it, please.
“I Hate You.”
“Sign the stupid paperwork.”
“Do I have a choice.”
No, mom, you can’t…
“I should never have married you; I should never have bailed you out. I should have left you to rot in prison.”
“But you didn’t. Now Go.”
No…please, don’t leave. I’m right here. Mom, you’re supposed to care. I’m your daughter, right? Come back, don’t go. Mom! Someone, stop them. Please…
“They want us to take her off life-support, doctor?
“But nothing has changed; she’s still healthy and recovering. I don’t understand.”
“It’s not your job to understand; that’s my job. You just do what you’re told.”
Who is that—the doctor, who else, a nurse? Who’s touching my hand? Wait, I can feel it. I have to open my eyes, right now, I have to-
Ow, my eyes, they’re aching, it’s so bright. But I can see, I can see!
Beard, I never imagined he had a beard.
“Doctor? What is it?”
“What…um, nothing. Pull it.”
What! You’re staring into my eyes. You can’t do it; you can’t-
Where’d the light go? I liked the light…the beeping, I never thought I would want that beeping back. I don’t see a light; there isn’t a light, there’s just…no, not again.
Dad, no, don’t. I know you’re mad, but please, don’t, you have no idea what will happen. No, no, no, no. I’m right here, dad, please, I’m right here, DAD!