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by ArmCast & Gimpfan
All Hallows Eve, the night of the Goblin, the Witch, the Werewolf. The perfect night for an adventure.
Sabrina stared at the food on the tray in front of her, only partially eaten. The morning had taken a turn for the worse earlier, the popular "social elite" girls had yet again humiliated her in front of the rest of the lunchroom crowd.
When showering after gym the girls had taken her shirt and put some sort of starch on it, making it stiff as a board and unwearable. New adorned in her gym clothes, everyone in the cafeteria was staring at her. She picked up her tray and quickly left the room, unable to cope with their judgmental stares. She decided to skip the rest of the day's classes and go straight home, she left the small high school campus on the verge of a breakdown.
Sitting in her room for the rest of the day Sabrina thought about how she could get back at the girls who had treated her like a nothing. She thought about doing the same thing back to them, but that just didn't seem like a worthy revenge. She had to respond in kind though, get back at them in the same way they had gotten her... Make all their clothes stiff and rigid or something so they couldn't move...
Needing inspiration Sabrina turned on her computer and connected to the internet. She pulled up a search engine and punched in "immobilize cloth clothing" to see if there were any ideas out there. Several thousand sites were listed, many were clothing sites which were irrelevant to the intended search. There was one entry that caught her eye, it was a place that sold medical supplies through the internet. It had matched on a product that "immobilize"d the neck, called a cervical collar. Searching through the site she also found the supplies used to make casts for broken bones as well as a generous assort of braces and supports for all parts of the body.
A plan began to form as she sat there staring at the screen. They had immobilized her clothes, so she would immobilize them! She thought about it for several hours, the plan sounding more and more fitting as it grew and developed.
Sabrina walked over to her bed and lay on her back, the patchwork quilt warm from the late summer sun shining through the window. A cool breeze blew over her fair skin from the open window, causing goosebumps to form and a small shiver to run through her body. She closed her eyes and chanted a spell, opening her mind to the natural world.
She felt her mind leave the physical constraints of her body. Whenever she did this she was amazed at how much freer she felt without the weight of the body slowing her down. It had taken months of hard work before she had mastered this skill of witchery. Her type of witch was the victim of an uninformed stereotype started centuries ago. She used her powers of the natural world for good purposes, usually. The diverse powers of sorcery ran strong in her family and at age sixteen she had learned of her awesome powers.
She commanded her will to move over the city, searching for Wendy's house. She and her little band of friends would most likely be there since school was out for the day. Her thoughts found the house and it's three teenage girls watching TV and eating popcorn. She set her plan in motion, keeping a mental eye there to watch the show.
In the distance she heard the sounds of several ambulances start up. Their wailing sirens growing louder and louder until they stopped nearby, the rotating blue and red lights making colored shadows on the living room drapes. The girls didn't notice it however, they were too engrossed in their mind-numbing TV show.
There was a knock at the front door that broke the trance of the show, Wendy got up from the couch to open it. As soon as the latch was pulled back the door was pushed open from outside and several paramedics rushed in with bright orange plastic back-boards. The first group walked over to Wendy, grabbed her arms and legs, knocking her roughly to the hardwood floor of the entryway. She lay there dazed and confused as the paramedics strapped her to the back-board with wide straps over her chest and legs, securely holding her down.
Wendy cried out, confused and frantically trying to find out what was going on. The paramedics just ignored her and placed an oxygen mask on, covering her mouth and nose and muffling her sounds. From her omniscient vantage point Sabrina could see Wendy trying to turn her head to see what was happening to her friends. It appeared that the sofa blocked her view, however. From Sabrina's mental vantage point she could see that the same thing was being done to all the girls. Sabrina saw three of the six paramedics nearly simultaneously pull out long white emergency cervical collars out of their bags. They slid it under each girl's neck and wrapped it around, securing it with velcro. Next the paramedics put some big blocks of orange foam on the sides of their heads and passed a thick black strap over each forehead, securing them even more to the board.
With that done each girl was lifted by two paramedics and carried out the front door. All three were loaded into separate ambulances which pulled out, sires blaring once again.
Wendy stared up at the bland white ceiling of the ambulance. What the heck is going on? she kept asking herself. I'm not hurt! Why is this happening? The thoughts kept whirling around in her head, try as she might she just couldn't come up with an answer. She didn't feel any pain, she could move her arms and legs a little, as far as the straps allowed. What about my friends? she thought, perhaps one of them had gotten hurt but the paramedics didn't realize it wasn't her that was hurt...
Wendy felt the ambulance jerk to a stop. We must be at the hospital. The doors opened and her bed with wheels was pulled out into the harsh fluorescent light of the ER ambulance entrance. She was rushed through admitting and into an examination room already filled with doctors and nurses and all kinds of machinery.
She felt herself being transferred, still strapped securely to the backboard, to the examination bed. She saw a boxy thing that looked like a dentists x-ray machine being positioned next to her head. A whirring sound and a click, then the machine was moved. Several x-rays were taken on several parts of her body, as far as she could tell since her neck wouldn't bend much at all.
Wendy felt the big orange pads being removed from the sides of her head. Her skin sticking to the smooth plastic as it was pulled away. A pair of hands crossed her face, they were holding an electric razor. Wendy felt the hair just in front of and just behind her ears being shaved away. My beautiful hair! What are they doing?
Out of the corner of her eye she saw a metal ring with holes in it and bars sticking through it being brought over to her. The doctor slid the ring over the top of her head, stopping just above the eyebrows. It seemed to be just a centimeter or two larger than her skull, but it was hard to tell. There were four little pins with suction cups on them that the doctor tightened, securing the big metal ring in place -- or so she thought.
Wendy could see the doctor reach over to a nearby tray and pulled something out. It was about two centimeters long, sharp on one end, threaded through the length. What the heck? Wendy thought, Where does he plan on putting that thing!?
The doctor brought the pin over to her head. Wendy could feel him screw the pin into one of the holes in the ring encircling her head, stopping just as the sharp tip of the pin touched the shaved part of her head. When all four pins were gently touching, a nurse brought over a needle filled with some clear liquid. Wendy felt the sharp prick as the needle entered her skin where her hair had been shaved. There were three more pricks like that on the rest of the shaved areas.
The doctor reached over with his hand to the first pin and tightened it, breaking the skin. Wendy couldn't feel anything but a slight pressure on the skull itself -- no pain. The doctor took a tool out of the tray, it looked like a wrench but it had a little dial on it as well. The doctor placed the wrench on the first pin, the front one on her left side. He gently turned the wrench, not much, maybe a quarter turn. Then he moved onto the next pin, and the next; always a quarter turn before moving to the next, and the next.
"That's it, eight pounds of torque per pin. Nurse, hand me the vest and prepare to roll her." said the doctor.
Wendy felt the straps that still held her to the back board being removed. Several people grabbed parts of her body, all on her left side. Their gloved hands felt cold against her bare skin -- her clothing having been cut away earlier. A pair of hands grabbed her lower jaw.
"1... 2... 3... roll" said the doctor. On the word "roll" Wendy felt her body being lifted, log rolled, to her right side. When she was rolled back down there was something soft under her back. The hands on her head and the emergency collar had kept her neck immobile throughout the move.
Wendy had stopped her futile fighting long ago, and watched in mute curiosity, sure that this was just a dream -- a very strange dream, or a trick of some kind. She saw the doctor hold a big plastic thing above her. It looked like a life jacket that water skiers use, but it had some padding on the inside and long black bars sticking out of the top of it. The doctor lowered this "vest" onto her chest, it went from just above her naval all the way up over her shoulders. Whatever the padding was felt warm and soft and not at all uncomfortable.
The doctor played with the bars above Wendy's head, she couldn't see anything but could feel her head move slightly as parts were moved around. Satisfied with how the bars must have been connected the doctor moved to the bottom of the vest. Wendy could feel the straps connecting the front and the back of the vest being pulled tight. She felt her breathing become constricted, but not uncomfortable. The doctor moved up to Wendy's shoulders and tightened those straps.
With the vest attached securely the doctor took the wrench again and tightened all the bolts securing the ring to the poles and bar on the vest. The doctor stepped back and Wendy saw the x-ray machine come into view again, they just took a couple shots of her neck this time, not her whole body. The x-rays showed up in real-time on a monitor across the room and the doctors examined them. They came back over to Wendy and she felt the plastic collar around her neck being unvelcroed and carefully removed from the maze of bars and poles now around her head.
With her neck secured the doctors were able to take the next step. Someone in yellow surgical garb came up from behind her and stuck a large metal tube in her mouth. Wendy felt herself choking as the tube went down her throat. After a few seconds the metal tube was pulled out but it left a thick plastic tube in. A nurse then took the ends of the two tubes and pushed them through a piece of blue foam. The nurse pulled down Wendy's jaw and pushed the piece of foam between her teeth. The foam had two pieces of string coming out of the sides which were tied around her head, securing the foam in place. The tubes were hooked up to some machines humming off to the side. They connected with a snap and Wendy felt her lungs filling up with air. She started panicking but a nurse said to relax and let the ventilator breathe for me.
With her chest rising and falling rhythmically the doctors unstrapped her arms from the backboard. Simultaneously two doctors pulled socks over her arms, then wrapped them in cotton from her palm to her elbow. Did I get burned? thought Wendy, perplexed, she had never had a cast before. The doctors each took many rolls of white plaster and wrapped them around her wrists. Wendy felt the heat as the plaster set but did not even try to complain since it was a pleasant feeling.
The doctors left the room and the nurses started cleaning up. Fifteen minutes later a doctor came back in and he and the nurses removed the backboard and transferred Wendy to a normal hospital bed. She was then wheeled to another room on another floor where she promptly fell asleep to the rhythmic pumping of the ventilator.
Katie woke with a start. The room was blurry. Where are my glasses? She tried to sit up but was too weak. She looked around the room and could see the blurry outline of a window, chairs, and a closed door. "Hello?" she said quietly, not sure if she would like the answer or not.
"Hello." came the response from near the door. Katie could see a blurred shape stand up from a chair and move towards her. From the sound of the voice it was a young woman which made Katie feel better...
"Where are my glasses? I can't see anything!"
"I'm afraid they were broken in your accident, there is another pair being made now, the hospital optometrist should have them ready in about an hour. Do you remember what happened?"
"I remember sitting at home watching TV with my friends..." She trailed off quietly.
"Your friends are okay," said the nurse, taking the cue, "They're here in the hospital and will be okay. What else do you remember?"
"Well, we were just sitting there, then a bunch of paramedics rushed in and took us away on stretchers. They must have drugged me or something because I don't even remember getting out of the ambulance..." A worried look came across her face, "What happened to me?"
"911 received a call from your house saying there had been an accident. When the paramedics arrived they found you three at the scene with severe injuries, but there was no sign of a struggle or accident that could have accounted for what happened."
Katie turned her head back to the nurse intending to ask another question. She tried to prop herself up on one elbow but found that she couldn't move her hips to turn. "What happened to me?" she said, nearing panic as she thought that she was paralyzed. "I can't move! What happened!"
"Calm down, calm down," said the nurse as she increased the morphing drip. "You're going to be okay, you just have some broken bones. The doctor put you in a cast. You're going to be okay."
Katie calmed down. Well, as long as I'll be okay eventually... She felt her eyelids falling as the morphine took effect.
They all spend a week in the hospital.
Sabrina arrived at the school just as the church bell rang eight. The night was brisk, the leaves of fall blew in gusts across the path leading to the old gym's tattered and gloomy entrance. Inside she could see the glimmering lights shining through the black and orange helium balloons tied to the doors and windows. Orange and black crape paper streamers framed the door as well, contrasting with the cracked peach paint that had been on the gym since the days before the war. Music thumped from the building at a volume only teenagers could enjoy, several adults stood outside the doors, trying to save their hearing.
Sabrina looked down at herself, making sure nothing was out of place. Dressed in a long solid black dress atop thick black stockings and accented with a stringy black shawl draped about her shoulders she was the perfect witch, straight out of the story books. To complete the package she wore a pointy black felt hat and carried a weathered leather-bound book with inlaid gold lettering spelling out in gothic lettering "Book of Spells".
Sabrina walked up to the wooded door of the gym and walked into the lobby. Lined against the walls of the small entry were tables with punch and cookies on them. Sab walked up to a table and took one of the offered cups of red punch. Taking a sip she walked to the open double doors leading to the gym floor.
The place wasn't packed, but there were a lot of people already there, several were dancing under the glitterballs in the center of the spacious room. Sabrina looked around the room for the monsters she had created. They hadn't arrived yet. Sabrina took a seat facing the main entrance and waited.
It took nearly an hour before Wendy and her band showed up. Sabrina knew that they would be coming, earlier she had cast a spell upon her parents and friends so they would not think it odd to have the "injured" girls going out a short week after their "accidents." It wasn't much of a spell, she just had to inhibit some thoughts and enhance a few others.
Wendy was the first one to enter the room. Sabrina was awed at her handiwork, she had forced herself to not peek at what they looked like until this moment. As she had planned, Wendy was in a halo vest and she had casts on both her arms. The halo was a 2cm high metal band encircling her head and attaching to four uprights that poked out of her costume, a cheerleader costume -- not much of a costume since she was on the cheerleading team anyway, well used to be anyway. Her casts were only on her wrists, but they were very big. They covered her thumbs and looked very thick. Their whitish color standing out brightly under the black lights in the dim room.
Wendy's friends came in after her. Sabrina wanted to get back at them in a way that would affect them the most so she gave Katie, the track runner, a huge cast that ran from the tips of her black and orange painted toes all the way up to somewhere on her chest. Katie couldn't walk in her hip spica, of course, so she was propped up on a reclining electric wheelchair.
Following Katie was Rachel, on crutches. Sabrina saw through the gathering crowd around the girls that Rachel sported a long leg cast on her right leg. Her crutches weren't the regular kind though, her right one had some sort of platform on it. Strapped to that platform Sabrina could another arm cast, again including the thumb. Rachel's leather halter top was very skimpy so the top of the cast was visible, it looked so high that it pinched her armpit.
Both the casts looked a little weird to Sabrina. She stared at them for a couple of seconds trying to figure out what it was. The leg was bent at a 60 degree angle, nothing odd about that... Rachel was wearing a very short leather miniskirt, but the top of the cast was still hidden by it but a long cast like that wasn't odd... The colors.. The colors were odd, Sabrina stood up and walked over to them, joining the already large crowd around them. When she was close enough to get a good look at the casts she saw that they wasn't the standard monochromatic color that most casts were, they were a checkered pattern. It looked like each roll of casting tape alternated blue/green in a checkerboard pattern.
"Hey Rach, I like the color of your casts, I haven't seen that style before!" said someone from the crowd.
"Thanks, me too!" said Rachel.
"What happened to you all?" someone else asked.
Wendy answered, "Nothing happened. The doctors just grabbed us and put us in these casts and stuff!"
The crowd murmured amongst themselves, small conversations erupted. One person voiced a question to the girls though "What do you mean nothing? They don't just put casts on people for fun!"
"We don't know what happened! We were just sitting there at my house watching TV and a bunch of paramedics showed up and took us to the hospital. Next thing we knew we were being put into these contraptions! We tried to ask the doctors what they were doing, but they just kept saying we had been hurt and to be still." answered Wendy.
"Then why are you here? Shouldn't you be at the hospital trying to get out of those casts?" someone asked.
"We tried to talk to our parents about it but they said we were fine and we should go to the dance since it's the only thing we've been talking about for the last week! They drove us here and dropped us off, now we're stuck till the dance ends." said Katie from her wheelchair, Rachel nodded her head and Wendy seemed to try to but couldn't move her head.
Sabrina was loving this, the crowd didn't believe them. They were on the spot trying to explain what hadn't happened to them! The night was going great, and it could only get better!
To be continued...
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