The Woman by Amber Jager

He sat alone in his chair, quiet for now. It is the first time all week that he has kept to himself, the soft slippers given to him when his daughter last visited settled calmly on the grey industrial-style carpet. All around him people mill about; those others that live here easily distinguished by their walking aids, grey hair, and shuffling steps. Slippers to match his own are extremely common, some marching slowly from place to place and others seated in chairs identical to where he now rests. Among the groups is the occasional younger person, the footwear being the comfortable easy walking style common in those that work in the medical profession. Not all are nurses, but all work taking care of those unable to take care of themselves any longer after the sands of time took their toll.

For the most part, everyone leaves him alone. Some smile over at him if they even bothered sparing him a glance, but he does not pay attention to them. His focus lingers on the far wall, waiting. The nurses call him ‘troubled’ and do what they can to keep him settled, but no one dares try to move him to another place with another wall to watch. This was the only place where there was ever a quiet moment. If ever placed somewhere else, he would fight and scream and demand to be placed in his usual chair.

When he had first moved into this place it had been different, of course. He’d had the occasional episode. Moments where his children were frightened by his rage-filled tirades, directed at empty spaces. He never turned on them specifically, but after one day where he had fallen after lunging at a lamp, they’d had no choice but to seek out somewhere that he could be kept safe. Since then, the episodes grew more and more common. The medication had helped in the beginning, but now he instead had straps carefully keeping his pajama-clad arms in place on the chair, which was securely bolted to the floor. Short of constant sedation, there was only so much that could be done for someone in his situation.

“Hello Mister Turner. How are we feeling today?” The voice came from his right but he didn’t turn. The nurse came to check on him every afternoon, and he didn’t dare look at her and away from the wall. He did give her a slight nod though, an acknowledgement of her greeting. Continue reading

Tech Death 2040

candle-in-the-dark

BILLIE GAZED AT THE STUMP where her hand used to be. It was an old wound, yet it still ached when it caught her eye. Her memories tended to blur together, but not this one. The horror story behind the loss made it seem fresh and painful, a trauma that refused to heal, even with therapy sessions and several daily shots of Jonny, of which Billie was sitting at her table slamming back now … with her left hand. The warm liquid was giving her a nice little buzz.

Missing a hand was like missing an old friend, one that left long ago, and would drift in and out of memory forevermore. Maybe it was the difficulty in the everyday task of kneading dough the way she once did, with two strong hands, taking for granted the punching and pushing, the simple strength of forcing something soft to soften even further under pressure. She made bread with one hand now, like many others went about their day attempting to complete tasks to the same degree at which they used to, and never quite getting there. The postman and taxi drivers who learned to drive, teachers and students learning to type one-handed like they did in primary school, lawyers, stockbrokers, supermarket check-out-chicks, all a little more encumbered and heavy with the burden of life. Then there were those who had dared to purchase tech to replace their hands. Craziness. Continue reading