WeWriWa—Conflicting reactions

weekend_writing_warriorsveteransbadge_4

Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. I’m now sharing from Chapter 45, “Imre’s Revenge,” of my hiatused WIP The Strongest Branches of Uprooted Trees. This week’s snippet comes a bit after last week’s.

It’s November 1945, and Imre chose to stay behind in Budapest when his girlfriend Csilla and their friends were smuggled into Italy. Hoping to prove himself a hero, he went to Csilla’s hometown Abony to recover important possessions she hid last year.

Imre got into a violent fight with the gendarme who took over Csilla’s house, Mr. Mészáros, which may have ended in murder. He fled back in Budapest, and now is at a nearby hospital with his mother. X-rays revealed Imre broke his entire left hand, his dominant hand. When the doctor asked how it happened, Imre confessed he may have killed someone. His mother is horrified and assumes this was a Soviet soldier. Imre then gives a summary of what happened.

Ward of Budapest’s Hospital in the Rock, Copyright Ali1234~commonswiki

Mrs. Goldmark shook her head. “I thought I raised you better than to break into people’s houses, even if you were motivated by noble intentions. I won’t even touch the issue of resorting to violence.”

The doctor chuckled. “It’s the law of the jungle, Mrs.—”

“Goldmark.”

“It’s simple man-to-man justice. Just a moment ago you said you hoped he’d killed a Russian soldier to protect his girlfriend. Why is this any different? He was avenging a woman’s honor, like a real man.”

Dina’s New Birds

For this month’s WEP contest entry, I decided to revisit some of the characters from my alternative history, set in a 20th century Russia where the monarchy was restored. Maslenitsa, Butter Week, is comparable to the Western celebration of Carnival.

Wordcount 981; MPA

Dina gazed around with wide eyes as she walked down Nevskiy Prospekt, taking in all the bright colors on display. Everywhere she looked, there were stalls offering painted wooden toys, satin ribbons, elaborate fabrics, sparkly costume jewelry, puppets, ikons, and all manner of tempting merchandise. In addition to the visual feast, the famous luxury thoroughfare was also blanketed with the delicious scents of warm gingerbread drizzled with vanilla icing, pastries, spices, fruity teas, roasted nuts, and of course butter-drenched blinchiki.

But of all the treats on offer on Nevskiy Prospekt during Maslenitsa, the most exciting were the birds. Each cage was more exquisite than the last, and housed fancier and fancier birds. Dina couldn’t make up her mind as she walked back and forth between the birdcages.

“How many birds can I adopt, Mama?”

Dina’s mother Arkadiya looked away from a blinchiki stall. “Will you still be interested in them a few months from now, and can I trust you to take care of them all by yourself? Birds aren’t as easy to care for as dogs and cats.”

“I’m almost eleven, not a little kid like Shura. My cousins get birds every year, even the ones younger than I am.” Dina pulled her rubles and kopecks out of her blue pony coat pockets. “Papa gave me lots of money before we left.”

Arkadiya smiled knowingly. “You’ve always had your papa wrapped around your finger. I’d be shocked if he didn’t give you enough money to buy this entire avenue.”

“I’ll take really good care of my birds. I want big ones with really colorful feathers. Little birds aren’t as fun as big ones.”

“They also make more noise and mess.” Arkadiya called to her older daughter Eleonora at a gingerbread stall a few feet away. “Elya, would you mind keeping birds in your room?”

“Why not?  It’ll be fun.”

“Can we take them into our schoolroom too?” Dina asked. “They might get lonely if we’re not there all the time.”

“You don’t take your dogs and cats into your schoolroom,” Arkadiya said. “If you get more than one bird, they’ll keep one another company.”

“They should have a really big cage,” Eleonora said. “Birds can’t be very happy in cages their whole lives, just like fish aren’t supposed to live in tanks. God designed them to fly and swim around the entire world.”

Dina walked back and forth among the birdcages. “Now that we don’t have to spend money on the war anymore, Papa can get an architect to add a new room to the palace. What’s the word for a special room full of birds?”

“Aviary,” Arkadiya supplied. “You can ask him, but he might not be able to do that immediately. There are a lot of other things he needs to spend money on more than building an aviary for his pet child.”

Dina stood on her toes and unhooked a large golden cage with three sun conures in brilliant shades of orange and yellow. She set it on the ground and then unhooked another large gold cage, this one housing two macaws in eye-popping shades of sapphire blue. Before Arkadiya could do or say anything to protest, Eleonora unhooked a platinum cage of four parrots in alternating swathes of reddish-orange, blue, and yellow, followed by a silver cage of seven budgies in lovely pastel shades of blue, green, and yellow. Each cage had plenty of bird toys, a water dish, and birdseed.

“That’s all my daughters are getting today, Madame,” Arkadiya called to the bird vendor. “There’s only so much room in our car.”

“You have excellent taste, Your Imperial Highnesses,” the vendor told Dina and Eleonora. “All my birds are beautiful, but these are so much more eye-catching than most of my canaries, doves, lovebirds, and finches.”

“Can Shura have a bird too?” Dina asked. “She’ll be jealous of us if we have pretty birds and she doesn’t.”

“She’s only three and a half,” Arkadiya said. “Shura shouldn’t have any pets at her age.”

The bird vendor reached behind her stall and handed a large stuffed green parrot to the youngest child of the Tsar and Empress, who greatly resembled the murdered namesake she’d never know. “Will that be all today, Your Majesty?”

“Yes, those are all the birds my daughters need. These new pets will keep them busy for a long time to come.”

Eleonora and Dina counted out the money for their colorful birds, and Arkadiya produced the money for Shura’s stuffed animal. Without waiting to be signalled, the servants who’d accompanied the Empress and her daughters came forward to transport their parcels and the birdcages to the deluxe-sized Rolls–Royce they’d arrived in.

“Your business is always appreciated, Your Majesty. Enjoy the rest of your Maslenitsa, and tell His Majesty I hope he speedily recovers from his latest injury.”

“It’s only his bad knee again, nothing more serious or life-threatening, but I’ll pass along your well wishes,” Arkadiya said. “I wouldn’t have come here if he were severely injured.”

Dina and Eleonora climbed into the car as soon as Arkadiya joined them. The entire drive back to the Aleksandr Palace, they chattered to their birds and thought up names.

“Can we come back tomorrow to buy birds for Papa?” Dina asked.

“Doesn’t he have more than enough pets already?” Arkadiya asked gently. “He’d adopt an entire zoo’s worth of animals if he could.”

“Papa must feel like a bird in a cage when he’s sick,” Eleonora said. “He knows what other people can do, but he’s stuck.”

“We all learn to adapt to our circumstances and our own version of normal. Even when the body is confined, broad horizons are open to the mind and soul.” Arkadiya reached into the conures’ cage and gently stroked them. “And sometimes the most constricting cages are the ones we can’t see. It’s all a matter of perspective.”

WeWriWa—Talking with the doctor

weekend_writing_warriorsveteransbadge_4

Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. I’m now sharing from Chapter 45, “Imre’s Revenge,” of my hiatused WIP The Strongest Branches of Uprooted Trees. This week’s snippet comes a bit after last week’s.

It’s November 1945, and Imre chose to stay behind in Budapest when his girlfriend Csilla and their friends were smuggled into Italy. Hoping to prove himself a hero, he went to Csilla’s hometown Abony to recover important possessions she hid last year.

Imre got into a violent fight with the gendarme who took over Csilla’s house, Mr. Mészáros, which may have ended in murder. He fled back in Budapest, and now is at a nearby hospital with his mother. The doctor has just explained Imre broke his entire left hand, his dominant hand.

This has been slightly tweaked to fit ten lines.

© Nevit Dilmen

The doctor wrapped gauze around Imre’s hand and put it in a splint. Then, at last, the blessèd morphine was injected.

“Were you in a bar fight, son, or did one of those damned Russians attack you?”

Imre looked at the doctor warily. “Are you going to keep this information private? I don’t want word about this to get around.”

“Think of me like a priest. Everything we say is confidential, and can’t be used in court. What exactly did you do?”

“I think I killed someone,” Imre blurted out.

WeWriWa—Imminent diagnosis

weekend_writing_warriorsveteransbadge_4

Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. I’m now sharing from Chapter 45, “Imre’s Revenge,” of my hiatused WIP The Strongest Branches of Uprooted Trees. This week’s snippet comes a few lines after last week’s.

It’s November 1945, and Imre chose to stay behind in Budapest when his girlfriend Csilla and their friends were smuggled into Italy. Hoping to prove himself a hero, he went to Csilla’s hometown Abony to recover important possessions she hid last year.

Imre got into a violent fight with the gendarme who took over Csilla’s house, Mr. Mészáros, which may have ended in murder and a broken hand. He fled back in Budapest, and now is at a nearby hospital with his mother.

Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Hospital, Copyright Czimmy at Hungarian Wikipedia

The doctor pressed on the hand in various spots, resulting in even more agonized screams. Imre was practically in tears when the doctor finally injected some kind of numbing agent after cleansing the wounds and putting ointment on them.

“I’m going to send you for an X-ray to see which bones exactly you broke. When the numbing agent has taken full effect, maybe you can tell us just how you hurt your hand.”

Imre got into a wheelchair, holding his injured hand across his lap, and closed his eyes. When he reached the X-ray room, he mutely obeyed all the instructions given. He was barely aware of the X-raying process, too focused on getting rid of the pain.

Back in the examining room, the doctor looked at the developed X-ray and said something in medical-speak. Mrs. Goldmark asked for a layperson’s version, and the doctor pointed to the broken finger, knuckle, and metacarpal bones. There were also several fractures in the wrist.

WeWriWa—Awaiting medical attention

weekend_writing_warriorsveteransbadge_4

Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. I’m now sharing from Chapter 45, “Imre’s Revenge,” of my hiatused WIP The Strongest Branches of Uprooted Trees. This week’s snippet comes a bit after last week’s.

It’s November 1945, and Imre chose to stay behind in Budapest when his girlfriend Csilla and their friends were smuggled into Italy. Hoping to prove himself a hero, he went to Csilla’s hometown Abony to recover important possessions she hid last year.

Imre got into a violent fight with the gendarme who took over Csilla’s house, Mr. Mészáros, which may have ended in murder. Now he’s back in Budapest, at his family’s apartment. His mother wants to know what happened to make him come back across the river to her in Pest after starting an independent adult life in Buda, but Imre is in too much pain to speak.

Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Hospital, Copyright Czimmy at Hungarian Wikipedia

Mrs. Goldmark got dressed as swiftly as possible, then helped Imre to the door and down the stairs. Imre continued screaming in agony as they walked down the street in search of a taxi. He was begging for more vodka by the time a taxi pulled up.

“Take us to Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Hospital,” Mrs. Goldmark said.

Imre slumped against his mother during the ride, which seemed to take all night. His senses were growing fuzzy by the time they entered the hospital.

“My son has a very painful hand injury,” Mrs. Goldmark told the receptionist. “I don’t think he can wait much longer to see a doctor.”

Imre made all the pain noises he could vocalize as they waited for a doctor to be brought out. When the doctor appeared, he had to be supported by both his mother and the doctor as they walked into an examining room.