Author: Dennis Ritchie

Chapter 7 – Candles In The Sun

They took Suzie to Imaging through a maze of halls where she quickly became lost. It didn’t matter much because she was just a passenger. She allowed herself to be wheeled to her fate without complaint. It couldn’t be stopped or wished away now, only faced. She felt numb. She barely noticed as she rolled by plastic sheeting and clanging noises. The hospital’s perfect exterior hid a construction zone. The hospital areas were completed but the new doctor’s office building was just starting interior construction. The two areas overlapped in places. The fixtures and furnishings beyond the public areas were more utilitarian but still radiated newness. They opened a door to a small room which was almost filled with a mammogram machine and squeezed her wheelchair in. A man and woman in scrubs were crowded against the right wall. There were empathetic smiles as the technicians moved her into the frame and locked down her wheels. As they adjusted the clamps she saw that the chair gave her just enough height to lock her firmly in place against the mammogram machine. Naked to the waist in the black sci-fi chair, her right breast was clamped into the steel frame so tightly that she couldn’t move an inch. It was eye-wateringly painful. They took the first picture and the man carried the black plate down the hall to be developed....

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Chapter Six

She came to with a jolt! The air she breathed turned into a vile burning substance and she snapped her head to get away. She couldn’t go far. Nothing moved below her neck. She was trapped, sitting upright in some kind of metal frame. “Suzzanne?” a man’s voice called loudly. “Mrs. Ritchie?” he repeated. Suzie opened her eyes, blinked, and turned toward the sound. A man in blue scrubs was to her right, his expression concerned, his eyes analyzing. “You’re OK,” he explained. He was holding a broken vial of smelling salts. “You passed out but you’re fine. It won’t be long,” he lied. “We’re almost finished with the procedure.” The procedure, Suzie now remembered, was the marking stage of a needle-marked biopsy. She looked down. She was naked to the waist, locked between a high-tech chrome and leather wheel chair and the frame of a mammogram machine. There were two technicians in the room, a man and a woman, watching her every response. Protruding from her right breast were two six-inch-long needles. “I think we can go ahead,” the woman said to the scrub-clad man. “We only have a few more pictures left to get the second needle placed,” she reassured Suzie, “then we’ll move on to the last one.” “Alright, you’re two centimeters high,” the man continued. He was looking at the latest of a row of...

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The Day I Went Missing: Living in a Post-Facebook-Algorithm World

We cannot get out. We cannot get out. They have taken the Bridge and second hall. Frár and Lóni and Náli fell there . . . . . . went 5 days ago . . . the pool is up to the wall at Westgate . . . The Watcher in the Water took Oin. We cannot get out. The end comes . . . drums, drums in the deep . . . they are coming ~ J. R. R. Tolkein LINK LINK...

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Chapter Five

Suzie struggled to control her tears. She was on the phone with her sister, Sandra, curled up on our bed behind a closed door where the children couldn’t hear. “Looks like I won the race.” “What are you talking about? What’s wrong?” Sandra asked. “Looks like I’m the first to get cancer.” They had joked about it over the years. The race was dark humor which allowed them to talk about the unspeakable. Since their mother and both aunts had been diagnosed with breast cancer the same year, they figured the odds were stacked against them. It was just a question of who went first. This common enemy had made them closer over time. The eight year age difference between them had shrunk as their mother slowly succumbed. With husbands and children, they now had more in common than the difference school years make. Suzie shared the details of her week and they cried together by long distance. Sandra offered to come up from Georgia to help but there was no need until we knew more. The details of the conversation didn’t reflect the significance of it. The need to tell someone who understood and cared was powerful. This was something they uniquely shared. Talking about it simultaneously brought some relief and made it real. Putting it into words, the nameless dread felt a little smaller, more manageable, less...

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