Fandom: Life on Mars
Word Count: 1000+ words.
Notes: Gen, very much gen. Back to some experimental writing for me.
“Are you regretting your decision of hurry curry? Is it feeling more like hara-kiri?”
Sam doubled over, eyes watering. He was gasping, as if trying to take in as much air as possible but failing miserably.
“That…” he started, wincing again and clutching at his front, “makes no sense.”
Chris shrugged. He thought it was clever. “You alright, boss?”
“Does he look alright?” Ray asked, his tone of voice betraying a smirk. He leaned back on the bonnet of the car, lazily lifting a cigarette to his lips.
“I think there’s something seriously wrong with him, Ray,” Chris said as Sam slumped down the bonnet onto the ground. His head rested against the grill - his breath coming out in short, sharp pants.
Chris got down on his knees in front of Sam and put his hand under his chin. Sam’s face screwed up in pain, his eyes closed shut, his mouth twisted. Chris angled Sam’s head up and frowned as he tried to figure out what might be wrong. Sam was holding onto his stomach like he was trying to stem a flow of blood.
“Leave him, Chris, he’s a bad case of indigestion.”
“I don’t think that’s it.”
Sam was insensible now, muttering words which had little bearing on the context.
“Mum? What are they doing to me? Why am I feeling like this?”
“Shit. We’ve got to get him down hospital.”
“You’re taking it too seriously, Chris. Don’t be a div.”
Chris stood up, pulled the cigarette from Ray’s hand and crushed it under his shoe. He pointed down at Sam and then at Ray.
“Look, if this were you I’d be saying the same thing.” Ray pushed forward, spitting to the left, eyes burning brightly. Chris put a hand on Ray’s shoulder, tilting his head to the side and loosening the set of his jaw. He softened his glare and gently brushed his hand down to Ray’s arm. “Come on, Ray.”
Ray scowled but moved back, watching and then helping Chris get Sam into the car.
The days trickle by like a waterfall. One minute, they’re at critical mass – the next, they’re cascading down. I’m used to this phenomenon. I never thought I could feel so alone; I’ve never been surrounded by more people. Sometimes I think I’m the test subject and he merely the context. He’s in on the game, only pretending to be sleeping, only pretending to have been in an accident. Those are the times I’ve had no sleep, too busy waiting for another smile or grip of my hand.
I want him back with me – with us, all of us – the nurses who never knew him and say he’s a sweet looking thing, Maya who’s stopped coming daily but pops in every week, even the elderly man who says he worked with Sam, though I’ve never heard head nor tail of him.
So many different things have been tried. I’ve lost count. There were the sensory tests, which finished with wildly unsuccessful results. There was the talking, of course – the constant talking, days and nights of talking, about nothing and everything. Now there’s the shock to the system. A rigourous inducement of pain. It doesn’t seem right to do such a thing to someone who can’t fight back, but that’s the plan, isn’t it? Make him want to fight. He’s always been the fighting type, although he wouldn’t admit it.
One minute I’m sure he’s going to do it, just open his eyes and be Sam, my boy, my darling, loving boy. The next minute I don’t know if I’m sure of anything. Every day is like the last, and every night is like the next, and every single time I look at him I think about all of the things I’ve done wrong and all of the things I’d change and all of the things I wish we could be doing instead of sitting and lying in a room which is all shades of grey.
Come back, Sam. Come back. If only to let us lead our lives the way they should be lived.
You didn’t realise, but it was in you all along. Now you’re going to make it. 2006, the only year for you. Or is it? Because that’s the question, isn’t it? You’ve always wanted to go home. It’s been your heart’s desire (not only desire, but strongest desire) to go home. But where is home? You don’t know anymore, do you? Home is where the heart is, but your heart went cold a long time ago and it’s only been being here that’s revived it.
You want to live now, you thrive on it. You make a difference, just like you’ve always wanted, just like you’ve always vowed. You are the one, not the only one, but the one with the power to rock the world.
So will you rock your world? Now that you know you can? Will you go back? It won’t just be a stopping visit, will it? Once you’re out of here, you’re out for good. What is waiting for you, back there? Paperwork and bureaucracy. A failed relationship. Too much pressure to ‘get results’, but not the kinds of results you’ve always longed for, just the kind that make a good headline.
That many months complaining about it, and now you’ve got the choice, it isn’t a simple click of the heels. There are people here that you care for. They are as real, as flesh and blood as anyone back in 2006. Such a boring sounding year. You’d hardly noticed the difference from 2005 when it happened.
What are you going to do? There’s two hospitals. Two times. Which are you going to stay in? You have to make this decision and you have to make it now.
“Believe it or not, I’ve got eyes, Cartwright.”
“He looks dizzy, doesn’t he, Guv?”
“Food poisoning. Wreaks havoc with your whole body, not just your gut.”
“I’ve not heard that one before.”
“You alright, boss?”
“Course he’s alright, aren’t you Sammy-boy? Look – he’s smiling. He’s a strong one, our Sam.”
“A strong one, that’s right. And a brave one too, don’t forget that, Gene.”
“Very brave. Fought a diabolical curry, now that takes a certain something.”
“Whatever that certain something is, boss, you’ve definitely got it.”