GENRE: YA contemporary with magical realism
As he sinks slowly into the chair across from me, he looks just like a doctor should -- greying hair, a well-trimmed beard with badger-stripes framing his lips, and wire rimmed glasses his wife must have chosen. They're far too tasteful compared to the awful polyester shirt and pants he's wearing. On the plus side, his smile seems genuine.
"How are you feeling about today, Stacy?" His voice is too loud for the muted tones of the room -- all earthy browns and soft corners. It's his office, but he's tried to make it look like a living room -- complete with a coffee table squatting between us and lamps on the varnished surfaces at our sides. Too bad the external door has a combination lock. Kind of kills the good-time vibe.
He's waiting for an answer. I start to shrug, then freeze in place until the razors of pain ease. My stitches are all out now, but the hard pink lines spiderwebbing across most of my upper body are just a pitiful attempt at healing. Underneath I am still many layers of mangled nerve endings and fractured flesh.
Doctor hears me catch my breath and his eyes snap to mine. All that beguiling disinterest is an act. He is measuring me.
"Pain?" he says, softly this time.
"Yes. But it's not so bad. I just moved wrong." It burns and crackles under my skin until I want to scream. But I won't tell him that.