Wednesday, February 9, 2011

February Secret Agent #6


Three pairs of hands fumble at the cords and tubes connecting me to the machines around my bed. The first one they remove is the tube down my throat, the one helping me breathe. If this one goes badly, the whole plan gets scrapped. The hands pause while I take a shallow, ragged breath. It's not pretty, the first time my lungs work on their own in two weeks, but I'm okay.

"Hurry," I say, but my voice is so raspy the word is impossible to make out.

They understand what I'm trying to say, though. The hands go to work again, disconnecting more of the imprisoning machines. The equipment beeps and complains as it separates from me.

"Hurry," I say again and this time the word comes out stronger.

The last thing they remove is the heart rate monitor. As soon I'm free from it, an ear-pounding blare erupts, announcing it can no longer detect my heartbeat. Outside my room, a matching blast sounds
from the nurses' station. Any second now, they'll pour into my room and wreck my plans.

A pair of hands lifts me and tosses me over a shoulder like a sack of potatoes.

"Be gentle," Chelsea, my best friend, admonishes her boyfriend.

I shake my head. Gentle can wait. Right now, I need to escape. I'm tired of the hospital, tired of the doctors and their tests, and tired of being sick. So I'm leaving, even though I know what that means.

Today I'm going to die.


  1. Wow. This is a really intense beginning. I'm hooked.

  2. Totally hooked. Clear and well-written and gripping.

  3. I LOVE this. From beginning to end, you've drawn me in. The writing is paced well, this scene leads to so many questions, and that last line had me hooked, hooked, hooked.

    One suggestion (you may take it or leave it): I've had one of those tubes down MY throat, and believe me, it's absolutely effing painful once it's out. It felt like I had razorblades in my throat every time I tried to swallow. So a little more description of this would be awesome.

  4. Hooked. Hooked, hooked, hooked.

  5. Wow! Great opening. You had me thinking it was nurses and doctors taking out the tubes because she had gotten better, and I didn't get why she was saying 'hurry' so I read more to find out why, and then she's tossed over someone's shoulder and I'm going WTF? And then I learn it's her friends and I'm sitting up wishing for more. Perfect pacing!

  6. at first i thought 'another wake up in the hospital scene' and almost passed, but when i read on i was so relieved and surprised by the hook. so... hooked. would keep reading.

  7. I definitely thought it was the hospital staff unplugging her because she is better. That its her friends are breaking her out is a great twist and leads me to wonder what could bring this girl to be ready to live one last day and then die (presuming as she does, that she's going to die without the machines). And of course I'm curious as to why her friends have agreed to this. So yes, I'm hooked.

  8. Love it! Reminded me of American Beauty, where we know the MC is going to die, but we don't know how. Wish I could read on.:)

  9. My only disappointment is that I can't read the rest of this right now.

  10. This is really great, but there's one thing nagging at me: the medicine. We don't know what she has, and that's OK, but if the doctors could have taken the breathing tube out, they would have. They don't leave breathing tubes in people whose lungs work on their own, not unless they are coming out of some intense surgery or something. But from what you give us, we know it's been in for 2 weeks. I don't buy that she'd just be able to breathe. And if it was surgery, where is your MC's pain? And when the tube comes out, you gag, too. It's not pretty. So, I don't think your descriptions are 100% there. Also, you can silence the alarms on heart monitors with the touch of a button. If she really wants to escape, why doesn't she do that?

    I've spent a lot of time in hospitals, first as a patient and then as an employee (artificial heart technician), so I know a lot. I don't know everything though, so it's possible this is right for the situation. Knowing what your MC has might clarify everything about the breathing tube, and it wouldn't be hard to slip in. That said, this is exciting, and the last line is fabulous. If you can tweak this so it's a little more authentic with the descriptions of the machinery/reactions, then I think you'll really have something.

  11. I've been delaying on commenting as I wanted to have something more to offer than just this is great, I love it, because well, I do. Basically I'm just really intrigued, this is a fascinating premise and well executed. I would just say check on your medical facts per what others have said, assuming you haven't already, but you're pretty much golden.

  12. I found this to be refreshing and intriguing.

    Great pacing. Good energy. Descriptive.


    Is it authentic--maybe not. Do I care? No.

    I'd read on.

  13. Ditto exactly what Barbara said - thought it was doctors releasing her after an operation, then the friends are there and it's an escape. Brilliant. Love it.

  14. Very intriguing. So many terrific lines ("the equipment beeps and complains," "Gentle can wait.")

    I'm wondering who the third pair of hands belongs to.

    Well done!

  15. I think a little less description of mechanical things and a little more description or her need for a hug from so-and-so or her joy of spending her last moments with her do anything for her dear friends?

    Powerful finish. I finished the same way on #3 basically, but I didn't get across my character's hard nosed demeanor about life and death enough, so I became sensitized to this issue.

    Give me a touch more reason why she might want to live, if only a hint. (id appropriate). Of course this could be a tragedy, but she'd have to survive three acts right? I like your writing style and character's voice.

    I'd definitely read on.