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When she awakened, there was a fly buzzing about her Jell-O and the ice-cream had melted. The storm was still on, but seemed farther away — so much so that she could hear the solemn ticking of the wall-clock. And something more: a squeaking sound, like the protests of a wheelchair too long neglected. It was coming from outside her room. It was coming up the hall. She looked at the doorway. Sure enough, an old woman in a wheelchair muscled her way past, skinny, ashen elbows working. It was a comical sight, frankly. Slow down, you old bag, Tika wanted to call out — and almost did. Then the squeaking stopped, abruptly, and the old woman backed slowly into view again. She looked at Tika. The younger woman looked back. Between them, up on the wall, the old IBM clock ticked. The resemblance was uncanny. Both women had long hair, though the younger’s was blonde and flowing, like lemon molasses, and the older’s was thin, platinum, flyaway. Both were skinny. Both had blue eyes, fine features, were gaunt as castaways, and — Suddenly, the crone was rolling, charging, Buchenwald elbows pumping rust-spotted wheels, a hand like a dead tree branch reaching out, groping, flailing, batting away Tika’s I.V., tumbling her saline bottle which shattered against the blood-red tiles …
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Wayne Kyle Spitzer
The Girl in Room 22: A Book About Disability, Hope, Friendship ... and a monster
Copyright © 2000, 2017 Wayne Kyle Spitzer. All Rights Reserved. Published by Hobb’s End Books, a division of ACME Sprockets & Visions. Cover design Copyright © 2017 Wayne Kyle Spitzer. Please direct all inquiries to: [email protected]
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this book is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author. This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Lightning flashed, doing its white-hot paparazzi dance, and Tika jumped — not in reaction to the too-close strike, but to the pale, gaunt ghost of her own reflection.
I’m dead already, she thought.
Then the darkness returned, and she was able to peer outside again, though there were only two things within eyeshot which provided any interest: the DISABILITY CLINIC sign below, banging back and forth in the storm, and the leviathan weeping willow just beyond her window, the branches of which scraped the glass.
She'd gotten nothing but bad news all day, and her head was a cacophony of voices: No, I’m afraid the procedure out of Germany has encountered some setbacks ... Yes, some of the test subjects have regained mobility ... No, I don’t think it will become viable in your lifetime ... Yes, the tumor has grown ... Yes, you’ll die if it isn’t excised ... No, I’m not going to lie to you about the odds. We’re looking at a fifty-fifty chance of survival ...
She realized she’d been toying with a length of her hair, twisting it, tighter and tighter, about a frail finger. She let it unwind, watching it unravel by the dim glow of the nightlight.
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