Saturday, 1 February 2014

Flash Fiction 2014 Shortlist, Sunil Sharma

Laughing Caregivers

The same ringing laughter!
Bed Number 3---reduction of a patient to a number---pleads: “Please! It hurts!”
They deaf?
“Money paid?’
“Yes, doc.”
“In full?”
“Yes.”
“Fine.”

The Number 3 gasps: “Doctor, it is terrible! Do not be brutal.”
“Shut up!” The nurse barks. “Questioning the doc?”
Purple spot appears, flows down and merges with other dried-up stains on the smelly sheet. A roomful of narrow steel-beds, hard mattresses and pillows…like a barrack. Stinks.

The Kingdom of Pain.
Sovereign is Death.
Number 3 sobs.
Docs, nurses and ward boys laugh.
“Hurry up! There are others.”
Hyenas attack in a TV programme on for nobody.

Same experience: civic, private and luxury hospitals; stained white uniforms; chilling laughter of care-givers.
Number 3 jerks off and is held viciously; cries baby-like.
The more the low-pitched cries, the more the metallic laughter deafening… but, oddly, unheard outside.

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