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Medicare [Quest: Fleur]

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#1Fleur 

on Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:14 pm

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In her life Fleur had given more of herself than perhaps was wise. She had loved without boundaries and donated money when she should have kept it for herself. There was no slush fund for a private ward with food worth eating. When her friends came calling they brought something home cooked, and so, in one go, they nourished her body and soul. But the process of dying was more cruel than any fiction she'd ever read. The pain would be with her until the end, everyday a battle not to loose hope. She had a stack of books next to her cot and not the strength to read one for more than a minute at a time; with the pain it was hard to follow the plot anyway. Sometimes her mother would pick up her favorite detective novel and read to her until she fell asleep. When she awoke she'd always left a note to say when she'd return, signed love, mother. She had every one kept in the dresser and stuffed in her make-up bag to make sure the cleaners didn't throw them out. The mornings brought bed baths from strangers, kindly though they were, and when her legs gave way she'd be winched onto a commode to do her business and afterwards left in an adult diaper. There was no dignity here. When alone she let her face, so deeply etched with the lines of laughter and love, fall with gravity, reserving her strength to smile for her visitors.

That was when she stayed in bed all day sick, per some nation-wide pandemic that spread like a wildfire through darken times. Her mother was struck by it too, but with courage and sheer willpower, she plowed through it all in order to care for Fleur like a mother should. The memorable moment of her late mother rang within her scattered head for the longest time.

Why was she doing this? Was it for the money? While the jewels were promised, the distant memory of her mother caring for her and trying her best was brought forth as she noticed Mr. Gerard doing the same; rushing about the hospital in order to care for his patients despite the fact that he was on the verge of collapsing. That was what drove Fleur to aid the man in his work - her job to deliver some medicine to the people around town who ordered it.

Bitterly cold and humid - such an enchanting combination. Every surface, every blade of grass and twig was growing long ice crystals ten or more millimeters in length. They were little forests of ice, pure white "trees" growing without roots. On the metal mailbox, the "Post" writing can still be read beneath them. In a way the box looks like it's wearing a fleece sweater, yet of course it was utterly bereft of heat. When Fleur gazed into the distance she saw the low fog that clung on, hiding the homes at the top of the street; she felt it too - winters breath on her skin. It whisked heat away leaving her pale even though her blood still runs warm. Cold licked at her face and crept under her clothes, spreading across her skin like the lacy tide on a frigid winter beach. With purple lips tinged with blue and gently chattering teeth she wrapped her thin coat around her tighter. The cold that had seemed mild at first now numbed her face and extremities. What residual heat she had absorbed in the lodge was gone, it had been her buffer, but unwittingly she had squandered it believing her thick winter jacket and boots equal to the task of preserving her body heat. With each breath more heat rose in puffs of white vapor, with each gust of the wind more heat dissipated into the whiteness, with each step the rocks and ice pulled more heat from her marrow. She had stopped composing wintry poetry of icicles and the specter of the world under a pristine white blanket and instead tucked her chin to her chest and made for home. All the while he fervently tried to wish away the ice that clung to her new beard. She had a lot to learn about life in the wilderness.

She eventually made it, through the cold and delivered the medicine. Why was it this cold in autumn? Cold stalked her through the mountain passes like a specter death, the bitter wind laughed as it tore right to her heart and turned her blood to icy sludge. Her muscles began to ache and grind like the cogs in old machine. She pulled herself out of the glassy lake into the cooling early summer breeze, covered in goosebumps and shaking like the reed in a harmonica. She picked her way over the rocky beach on tip toe, arms waving like an inexpert tightrope walker. It was time to reap the rewards.

*
Word Count: 822




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