Thursday, March 10, 2011

Regret

My Indie Ink writing challenge, this week comes from the lovely and super talented Jen O.  Boy did it kick my booty. I must have started and erased about half a dozen different beginnings before a last minute conversation with my roommate finally got me on the right track. It still needs a little work, but I think it's pretty good for having banged it out in an hour.

I hope you like it!


The morning after you've done something terrible to someone.  Except...you don't completely regret it.  You may or may not know the person you've wronged.


Quinn woke up to sunlight streaming through the blinds on the window. Her head was fuzzy with whatever drug the emergency room doctor had forced her to take to get her to stop screaming. It had worked so well she didn’t remember getting home.

Next to her the other half of the queen-sized bed was empty and it hit her. Stan was dead. The events of the night washed over her. 


She’d been sitting at the bar the restaurant where she was supposed to meet her husband and their friends Carol and Greg. Greg had called to let Carol know that he and Stan had just left work and would be joining them shortly. That had been 45 minutes ago.

It wasn’t uncommon for the two men to get distracted talking about some project they were working on at the engineering firm where they both worked. Quinn and Carol were used to waiting on their men and luckily enjoyed each other’s company enough not to mind being left together.

When Quinn’s cellphone rang with Stan’s number on the caller ID she answered ready to give him a good natured ribbing, “I’m on my third glass of wine and if you don’t get here in the next five minutes I can’t be held responsible for what happens next,” she said not bothering to say hello.

“Mrs. Downs?” asked and unfamiliar female voice.

“Um, yes?” Quinn answered confused and slightly alarmed.

“I’m a nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital, your husband has been in an accident and we’re going to need you to come down here as soon as you can.”

“Yes, of course, that’s- that’s on Lake Avenue right?” Quinn asked grabbing onto Carol’s arm to steady herself. At the same time Carol’s cell phone rang and she quickly answered it.

“Yes ma’ma. 1232 Lake Avenue, right off of Fine Road. The emergency room, you should try to get here as soon as possible, ask for Tatiana, that’s me and I will take you right to your husband.”

“Yes. Ok. Right. Thank you,” Quinn said, a strange buzzing beginning in her ears as the reality of what she’d just been told sank in. “Carol,” she began but didn’t have to finish her thought because the tears streaming down her friends face as she spoke quietly into the phone let Quinn know that she was also getting a bad phone call.

The two women rushed out to the street and the valet flagged down a cab for them. By now Carol was weeping but Quinn was too concerned with making sure their driver knew the fastest way to the hospital to think about why the nurse had insisted she hurry.

“Is Greg all right?” Quinn asked.

“He’s got a broken leg and nose,” Carol told her making an effort to stop crying. “He said they were crossing the street to the parking garage when a car came around the corner and hit them. Greg was only clipped but he said Stan was a few steps behind him and was thrown over the top of the car.” She took a deep breath before continuing, “he didn’t know anything about Stan. They won’t tell him anything.”

The cab dropped them off at the entrance to the ER, Carol tossed a handful of bills at the driver as Quinn ran inside. It didn’t take long for someone to find Tatiana for Quinn and she was lead to an emergency room that was quiet except for the beep of the heart monitor and the whoosh of some sort of pump.

“Dr. Keith will be here in just a moment to explain your husband’s injuries.”

Quinn didn’t acknowledge her she just stood beside the man that was supposed to be her husband, but whose face was battered beyond recognition.

“Stan?” she asked her voice cracking as for the first time tears began to leak out. She saw the bottom edge of his fraternity letters tattooed on his upper arm and she could no longer hope it had all been a mistake.  
It seemed like hours that she sat there next to him, holding his hand, crying, begging him to wake up. She didn’t notice the doctor and Tatiana as they entered the room.

“Mrs. Downs, I’m Adam Keith,” he introduced himself. “We did everything we could, but I’m sorry to tell you your husband’s head injuries are too severe. He won’t be waking up.”

That is where the memory got fuzzy… she recalled him asking if Stan was an organ donor, his driver’s license hadn’t been labeled so. He wasn’t. He’d always said it would be weird walking around with someone else’s organ inside him so he didn’t want his in anybody else.

The doctor asked if they could harvest Stan’s viable organs but it would have to happen soon if she said yes. He was being kept alive just for that reason. As soon as the ventilator was turned off he would be gone. That was when the screaming began.

“Noooo!” Quinn screamed over and over. “Wake up! Wake up!” she insisted yanking on Stan’s slack hand.
It was then that the doctor had nodded at Tatiana and the nurse handed Quinn two small pills and a cup of water. “Take these dear, it might make you think more clearly.” Quinn knocked her hand away the pills flying to the floor.

“No!” she said fiercely, “You’re not cutting him up into pieces. I don’t care what you say. You’re not mutilating my husband.”

Dr. Keith sighed and said he hoped she changed her mind in the next half hour.


Tatiana had finally convinced her to take the pills, but the artificial calm hadn’t made Quinn change her mind.

Now in the bright light of day, Quinn was sorry.

7 comments:

flutter said...

whoa.

wendryn said...

I wasn't sure what to expect with this - so many different ways to go. This is very well done.

Mandy said...

Wow. This is really well done.

mytornadoalley.com said...

Wow! VERY interesting take on my challenge. I loved it and you took it in a totally different direction then I imagined, which is perfect!

K said...

Oh my goodness, the end was completely unexpected but brilliantly en point! Well done!

Marian said...

oh this has made me well up with tears and that doesn't happen very often. you are a good story teller!

Jason Hughes said...

This gave me the shivers!! Loved it!