Mirage … Chapter 1 … Scene 1 … right here!

On July 15, 2009 by Aimee

Ok readers … just remember what those copyright laws are all about. 🙂

And now … Unreal — Chapter 1 from Mirage.

Enjoy and feel free to leave comments (though only good ones). 😉

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As her mind registered what she saw, her head started to spin. Eyes drooped, knees buckled and within a split second, she crashed — one presumably unconscious body.
She could feel her head in someone’s hands though her mind couldn’t reconcile her position.

“Give her some breathing room.” Robert’s voice. Was he talking to Cat?

“We’ve got oxygen here,” a voice she didn’t recognize. She felt something firm yet soft press onto her nose.

“She seems to be coming around,” Robert’s voice again.

Coming ‘round from what?

“Oh please, please be ok!” Cat’s concern forced her to open her eyes a little. Four faces, each with varying degrees of concern looked back at her.

“Can you hear me?” Robert interrupted Cat’s worried tirade.

She nodded.

“Can you tell me your name?”

“Sarah,” her voice a tempered whisper. “What happened?” Confusion rang through the short question.

“We’ll get to that. Does anything feel numb or like you can’t move it?” Robert waved his hands in front of her eyes, holding up two fingers. She wondered if she was supposed to count them.

“No. It doesn’t.” Sarah shook her head more forcefully than she’d meant. It began to spin as her thoughts raced and her body braced. Where was her equipment?

Her silent alarm registered with Cat. “It’s right here. Apparently you managed to lay it gently on the floor as you took a header.”

As trusty sidekicks went, Cat couldn’t have been a better one. She and Sarah were completely in tune with each other.

“Wha— ?” She couldn’t even finish the question. As reality began to sink in, she noticed she was in fact lying on the floor. “Can I sit up?”

“You may, but please tell me if you get dizzy or feel nauseous,” Robert cautioned.

“K.” With a firm grip on Robert’s arm, she sat up slowly and rubbed the back of her head where it throbbed — a bump already formed. “Can we get back to what happened, please?” She desperately wanted answers.

Quiet as a mouse, and ringing her hands incessantly, June was the first to speak. She needed to disperse her pent up nerves. “You had Robert and I sit right next to each other. I saw you take a peak at the back and then you collapsed! I swear I thought you were dead, but Robert assured me you weren’t. He’s obviously seen so much more of this than me. Did we break your camera?” A nervous laugh escaped her whirlwind recap.
Sarah looked to Cat first then smiled at June. “No, you didn’t. I’m so sorry. This has never happened before. I know I haven’t been at it for years, but I highly doubt fainting is to be expected.”

Sarah chuckled lightly. She could feel her heart in the back of her head – at the point of impact. Sound emitted from her own mouth didn’t stem the beat. “So, should I give you your money back or would you consider this the entertainment package?”

Humor was Sarah’s attempt to stem embarrassment. In the grand scheme of her life, this incident topped them all. If she ever made Oprah, something she secretly hoped, she could already foresee the question. “So, Sarah Hannon … tell us … what was your most embarrassing moment?” She’d never live it down, not in a million years.

“Oh dear Lord no!” June piped up. She patted Sarah’s hand in reassurance. “Honey, you’ve given us nearly an hour of time together that brought back so many memories. I’m sure you’ve got more than enough to come up with at least one treasure.”

Sarah caught Cat’s motion from the corner of her eye as she grabbed the camera and silently escaped.

You’d never know Cat and Sarah were related – only by the grace of their Mothers were they. Where Cat was a slender, perhaps a little underweight blonde with bright green eyes and fair skin, Sarah was exactly the opposite. Sarah’s eyes were dark brown, with the strangest ring of blue dead in the center.

Nearly three inches taller than her daily companion, she topped out at five eight with an average build. Thanks to regular walks on a treadmill and a weight training routine, she boasted femininely rippled muscles.

At twenty-nine, she kept nearly pitch black hair that rippled in almost ringlet-like curls below her shoulders long enough to leave down or tie up. She vowed to pull it all out if she was asked again if she colored it. She made a mental note to thank her hairdresser for talking her out of cutting it.

“I’m sure I have enough, but well … I certainly didn’t want you to have to work in the process.”

Robert winked. “If saving a pretty girl is work, then I’m all for it.”

More than your average family practice doctor — at least the ones Sarah pictured in her mind. Robert wore no suit and tie, no pinstripes and according to June, definitely no wing tips. He wasn’t balding nor did he carry that little extra fluff around the middle. He was fit with what looked to be his own hair still atop his head – though it had faded to a soft gray.

After a more thorough examination, where Robert looked for signs of concussion and stroke – the more serious causes of what he diagnosed as an oddly timed fainting spell, Sarah was given the clearance to stand.

Without a CT he couldn’t be completely confident of his assessment. “Let the hospital do the scan, then stay the night with someone close by. As long as you have no additional spells and your head doesn’t hurt for more than a few more hours, take two and call me in the morning.”

“No problem, doc.”

June’s giggle at Robert’s use of an old medical catch phrase – one of his favorite pastimes – left Sarah wistful. How anyone could be married at seventeen was beyond her comprehension. Of course, fifty years ago it wasn’t as frowned upon and they had been high school sweethearts, so it was expected. As the story went, they never fought – not once – though they didn’t always agree.

Despite their age, they acted like a newlywed, twenty-something couple – young, vibrant, lively and in love. As memories roused, Sarah’s thoughts were drawn to what she’d seen on the back of her camera. Surely it was a trick of her mind, a daydream perhaps? Her cheeks brightened at the irrationality.

She stuffed her hands into her pockets as she walked with Robert & June to the door.
The paramedics were ok’d to leave, with Sarah’s promise to stay in close proximity to someone at all times. She wasn’t interested in riding in the ambulance, nor paying for the five minute ride to the newly opened emergency-only hospital in town. Mother hen Cat wasn’t going let her get away with going home.

“Thank you again, doc.”

“It was my pleasure Miss Sarah.”

“We’ll see you next week, dear.” June added as they departed.

Sarah meandered to her office, contemplating.

“How’s the head, sweetie?”

Cat sat at Sarah’s desk where her fully loaded, solid white iMac stood. Clara bounced on her lap. The machine was her second favorite piece of equipment, though it ranked nearly equal to her camera. The picture of efficiency, Sarah’s office surrounded her in subtle colors, from the trinkets and hand made pottery and decorations she’d brought with her to the soft yellow of the walls. She enjoyed the look and feel of her glass desk — crisp, with no sharp edges, and she never turned on the fluorescents, rather preferred the subtlety of standing floor lamps.

As she collapsed into a chair, on purpose this time, she dropped her head into her hands and tugged at her own hair. “How could I be so stupid?”

“What in the hell do you mean?” Cat’s brows furrowed in anger and confusion as Sarah’s outburst and personal blame seemed out of place.

Her hands flailed wildly as she began to talk. “I remember settin’ ‘em up, taking the most amazing shot, checking the back and the next thing I know BAM!” Her hands clapped together, which sent Clara into a fit of giglges. Tension diffused, Sarah continued. “Then, I’m lookin’ up at four faces, three I know and one who’s sticking an oxygen mask on my face.” She mimed the motion of the mask’s placement as she told her story. “My mind is playing tricks on me. I should be committed.” With a huff, she sat back in the chair.

Cat looked pained. Sarah figured she was reliving the moment, too.

“Well, honey, um, well, yeah.” Cat’s pleading eyes didn’t stray from Sarah’s, who grew large at Cat’s inability to put together a complete sentence.

“It was real, wasn’t it?” She’d hoped, she’d believed that she’d imagined it.

“Yeah. It was real.”