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Path Obscured: Chapter 3

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A beautiful day around me.  I stand awaiting the arrival of my father at the airport, he’s just arriving back from overseas.  His plane lands, the excitement begins to grow within me.  I look up at my mother, as she holds my hand smiling down back at me.  An old familiar smile.  One I feel like I haven’t seen in a long time.  The passengers slowly depart the plane and come down the line, I think I see my father, but it turns out not to be him.  The last person steps off the plane.  My father isn’t there.  A sense of bewilderment begins to fill my stomach, I look up at my mother, always austere.

“He probably just missed his flight.”

Suddenly, the world around me changes.  Another bright day, a large gathering of people.  The sun beats down on darkly clad people.  I don’t remember ever attending a funeral before, I look around, but I don’t feel like I recognize anyone there.  A feeling of confusion sweeps over me, I feel like asking someone who the funeral is for.. but that seems like an insensitive thing to do..

A flash of heat burns the side of my face.  My surroundings change suddenly again.  I feel different, heavier.  My vision is obscured by protective goggles and heavy gear.  Looking down I realize that I’m carrying a rifle, and am surrounded by similarly dressed people.  The wind blows violently, sand grinding against my clothing, trying to creep in anywhere it can.

An explosion knocks three people to my right off their feet, suddenly the world is in an uproar.  Automatic weapons fire echoes from all directions.  It feels as if someone struck me several times in chest and neck with a baseball bat, a searing heat emanating from there as I’m knocked to the ground.  I wheeze weakly as blood begins to pool around me.  I hear people shouting around me, in a language I don’t understand.

“Annie.”

I can feel the tears in my eyes as the world changes again.  The world darkens and cools before I realize that my eyes are closed.  As I open them I realize I’m staring up at Jennifer, my manager from the restaurant I work at.  My head hurts terribly, as I look around I realize an entire tray of food has been dropped to the ground nearby me.

“Annie are you okay?” Jennifer asks, a look of concern on her face.

I raise my hand to my head, “Yeah, I think so..” I say weakly.  “Did I faint again?” I ask looking at Jennifer.

She nods her head, “Yes you did.. why don’t you go ahead and take the rest of the night off.” she smiles and pats me on the head.

The edges of my mouth quiver slightly as I look down towards the ground, “I’m sorry, I’ll clean this up first.” I say attempting a smile.

Jennifer nods her had, “No, it’s alright we’ll get a busser to do it, just make sure you get yourself home safely.  Do you have someone who can drive you?” she asks.

I nod my head, “I can call my father, I feel like I want to see him anyway.”

Jennifer nods, “Alright, take care of yourself.”

I slowly get myself up off the ground, if I have any luck, at least I collapsed back in the kitchen and not on the floor.  That would’ve been embarrassing.  Walking back towards my locker, the image still fills my head, ‘Was that a dream?’ I wonder.  I lift my cell phone out of my purse and dial my father’s phone number.  My father was in the military, but he certainly isn’t dead, and he certainly wasn’t wounded.  Yet that felt a little too close for comfort.

An annoying ringback tone plays, Bruce Springsteen, my father always liked Bruce Springsteen.

“Hello?  Annie?” the familiar voice on the other end chimes in.

“Yeah dad, it’s me, can you pick me up from work?  I.. collapsed again.” I say.

“No problem, I’ll be right there.  Are you alright?” he asks, I can already hear the sound of him walking around, probably looking for his keys.

“Yeah I’m fine, just need a ride home.” I reply.

“Alright I’ll be there soon.”

“Thanks dad,” I say with a smile before hanging up the phone.

It has been three months since the first time I collapsed.  The first time I collapsed during the track meet was the only time that I don’t remember having a sort of dream associated with fainting.  Since that time this is the sixth time I’ve fainted.  Every time I have one of the dream like events, it is usually of some terrible happening.

The time before this that I collapsed, I had a similar vision where I was seeing from the eyes of my mother instead of my father.  She was in a terrible car accident, and the pain I felt then, I can only imagine, felt as bad as it would during a real car accident.  I woke up with tears in my eyes that time too.  I’m beginning to become terribly afraid of these fainting spells, not so much from hurting myself when I fall, but the mental anguish that is beginning to takes it toll on me.  I’ve seen a therapist since about a month after my first fainting spell, shortly after the second one occurred.  She offers me little advice aside from having someone to talk to.

She suggests that it is simply stress, of arriving near a turning point in my life.  Graduating from high school, going to college.  A lot of people have trouble adjusting.  As far as I know, nobody I know collapses and has hellish visions in their head though.  I sit idly at a table in the break room resting my head in my hands.  I keep hoping that this will end soon.

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Written by andrewsnafu

March 23, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Posted in Chapter 3

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Path Obscured: Chapter 2

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I wonder if the sun ever feels depressed doing the same thing every day.

“Annie!” a faint voice interrupts my thoughts. A sick feeling engulfs me as my surroundings make me feel out-of-place.

“Annie!” the voice again, louder this time, I feel like the sun is burning my eyes as I stare into it. As I attempt to close my eyes, things around me suddenly change. Staring up at an unfamiliar face holding a light above me.

My head aches, I glance around beginning to recognize a few familiar faces. “Hey coach, what’s going on?” I ask, the words feel strained and disorganized, as if I hadn’t spoken for a long time.

The coach’s face changes to a smile as he lets out an exasperated sigh. “Seems you fainted during the 4×400, took a spill on the track.”

I blink tilting my head a bit, the dull ache from my arms brings the realization that they are bandaged. “Well, that’s not good. Hope I didn’t worry you too much coach.” I say flashing a bright grin.

“I think you may have taken a few years off my life.” he says with a chuckle. I notice that the coach is also bandaged, on his left cheek.

“How’d that happen?” I say pointing to his bandaged face, “Hit on the wrong track mom?”

The coach blushes suddenly, looking quite uncomfortable. The EMT who had packed his things chuckles softly. It’s Laura who answers with a laugh, “When you stopped and started falling coach tripped over himself and did a face-plant on the track.”

I feel bad as I burst out laughing, Coach Anderson places a hand on his forehead and tries to hide his face a bit, laughing as well. “At least you are okay, that’s what counts.” Coach Anderson says into hands.

“Sorry for the trouble, I’ll make you some cookies to make up for it, how’s that?” I say grinning again.

A slightly disgusted look comes over his face, “No offense Annie, but your cooking is terrible.” he says shaking his head. I click my tongue at the comment and begin to sit up, my head feels like it’s spinning a bit. The concern returns to Coach Anderson’s face as he leans forward, apparently readying to catch me should I fall again. “Maybe you should just stay lying down for a bit.” he says.

Laying back down I grumble lightly to myself, “Is the meet over? If not I need to go play cheerleader.” The spinning in my head alleviates slightly as I lie back down in the makeshift first aid station. “A little tumble isn’t going to keep me from that.”

“The meet is over, your event was almost the last one as it was, and besides that you were out for about an hour.” Coach Anderson recaps.

“An hour?” I say, feeling disconcerted, “Is that normal for someone who faints?” I say looking towards the coach with a raised brow. The corners of his mouth twitch slightly as if he doesn’t really want to answer the question.

“No, it’s not particularly normal, however the EMT said your vital signs were fine.  Was probably just a case of overexertion and exhaustion.”  he leans back in the folding chair he is sitting in, “Still, they suggested you see a doctor about it, just to be sure.”

The coach’s answer doesn’t offer me a lot of comfort, but I smile anyway, “Alright coach.  I’ll do that.”

Written by andrewsnafu

February 16, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Path Obscured: Chapter 1

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Anastasia Clarke, the anchor for the girl’s 4×400 relay team.  17 years old, short cut blonde hair, icy blue eyes, petite in stature, and a spitfire if there ever was a defining human being for the word.  She stands at her mark eyes remaining fixed on her approaching teammate.  Her school has fallen to third in the previous laps and continues to lose ground.  She is not bothered by the pressure.  One more win, and the team goes to the state championships.  Just one more win.

Laura Davenport, the team’s third, tall and lanky, runs as fast as she can, baton whipping back and forth furiously as she begins to approach the spitfire.  She looks a little upset at the fact that she was unable to gain much ground, but she knows once she exchanges the baton, things will change very quickly.

The runner in the lane to her left gets passed the baton, first place, the runner in the lane over from that follows shortly after, second place, and now Laura begins to approach the spitfire.  There is still time to win, they are not in terrible shape, and anyone that has seen the spitfire run knows that if anyone can make it happen, it is Anastasia Clarke.

Laura makes her last burst as she nears the spitfire stretching her hand out with the baton, the spitfire receives the baton in stride and takes off smoothly.  Her acceleration is quite amazing to see, she seems to only really have two speeds, idle and full speed.  The time in between idle and full speed only seems to last fractions of a second.  The spitfire turns her attention forward tearing the track, eyes focused ahead of her, legs moving at a punishing speed.  She pushes herself.  She’s fast, but the team is behind, she needs to make up ground.  Her eyes twitch a bit as the air pushes back against her body.

The spitfire passes the second place runner in short order, but her window of opportunity is closing quickly.  She pushes herself harder, her heart is beating hard at this point, but she works to keep her breathing level as she tries to move faster.

Coach Anderson watches from the side of the track.  He’s twitchy, he drinks too much coffee, and his voice is sore from cheering a bit too exorbitantly.  He watches the team’s captain close the distance jumping up and down with excitement.  “You got this Annie!  Just a bit more!” he shouts, he seems to have more team spirit than most of the other spectators.  He has known the spitfire since her freshman year when she first joined the track team.  He’s hoping she can bring them to the state championship before she graduates, she has worked harder than everyone else on the team, and is a real leader.

The spitfire begins closing on the first place runner, but the finish line is coming up quickly.  She pushes herself even harder, her muscles straining, and then suddenly an odd look comes over her face.  She stops abruptly, squinting her eyes strangely.  Her arms fall to her sides, as her grip loosens suddenly, the baton falls to the ground with a clatter.  The spitfire teeters forward and collapses towards the ground.

The crowd suddenly silences, Coach Anderson had already begun running towards the track as soon as Anastasia stopped, but nobody is there to catch her fall.  She hits the ground, not moving, still breathing but unconscious.  The first place runner finishes, not having seen the collapse, the third place runner passes by her and finishes in second, the fourth place runner passes her and finishes third.  No state championship.

Coach Anderson arrives first, teammates close behind, “Annie!” he kneels down by her side.  Her arms are bleeding from her fall, she is still breathing but is unresponsive.  “Get an ambulance here now!” Coach Anderson orders the nearest person, who takes off immediately.  The spitfire is down.

Written by andrewsnafu

February 4, 2010 at 12:34 am