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Changeling

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  • Аннотация:
    Abstract: Nicky is a happy bride till the moment a horrible accident happens to her and she loses the ability to walk. Her fiancé deserts her and marries another. Does Nicky still have a chance for a normal life? Can she find a happily-ever-after? It hasn't happened for her on Earth. But what if she finds herself in another world?

  I yawned, stretched and wiggled my toes. My whole body was vibrating with happiness, humming like a well-tuned instrument. I almost purred out of sheer pleasure, enjoying an overpowering sensation of wellness and happiness. And then it dawned on me: my legs! I can actually feel them! Really, I thought, I must be still dreaming. Or... could it be that the multitude of doctors who saw me were mistaken in all their vast and cold wisdom of modern medical knowledge? Their prognosis was gloomy and left no hope: paralysis. Incurable. And I was only twenty.
  I thought back on all these consultations, one after another. Traditional, holistic, esoteric - none helped. And now my sister is bringing in yet another self-proclaimed healer. I've met five of them, at least; all promising but not delivering. This last one called herself a white witch if you can only believe such a thing, from a long line of those dabbling in the craft. Yep. No magic wand, though. But she showed up in my hospital room and I put a smile on and managed to look as if I was totally sold on that - all for the benefit of Allie, my sister.
  I had to confess; I was terribly angry with her for coming up with this latest idea. A witch! Deep in my heart, I knew I couldn't take it anymore. Another treatment, holistic or not, another glimpse of hope and underlying desperate fear of yet another disappointment ... No, I was too tired of all this: it had been three long months since the car accident, surgery after surgery, and everyone gave up any hope by now that I could ever get any better. But not my sis... As for me... I kept telling myself that I just had to accept the inevitable, learn how to live with this, and move on. But Allie was not quitting - she was on her own quest to find a cure for me. She researched all the options, investigated all success cases, made me try everything ... nothing worked.
  So now she talked me into seeing this Veleslava, who turned out to be a pretty and sharp-looking middle-aged lady. Without wasting her time on polite introductions, she just glanced at me, looked at Allie, and declared in a clear carrying voice, 'The good news - it is not a karmic punishment, so I can help. The bad news...well, we can discuss this later.'
  She paused, scanned my engagement ring, nodded to herself and added, pointing at the ring, all so matter of fact that I missed her words' meaning at first, 'Oh, and I'll take this little thing as a payment.'
  She was talking about my engagement ring, but I did not even blink. The ring meant nothing to me now. Less than half a year ago... My Sam, kneeling on one knee, looking at me, love shining in his eyes like a sparkling halo of light in the diamond on that beautiful piece he was proposing me with - but everything had changed since then.
  I couldn't bring myself to reply to Vele-what's her name, who was standing in front of me, waiting, while I kept staring at the 'girl's best friend', admiring the clarity of the jewel and trying not to think about anything. But Allie, predictable as she was, simply exploded - she didn't take the healer's demand well.
  'This is Niki's engagement ring!' Nobody would fail to see now that my sis was seriously upset. 'Her fiancé gave it to her!'
  'A fiancé?' Veleslava sounded genuinely surprised. 'Are you sure she still has a fiancé?'
  My sis' face lost it's usual paleness and flushed angry red; she was on the verge of saying something - a nasty thing or two, no doubt, - but I simply pulled the ring off my finger and handed it over to the healer-witch, 'Hush, Allie, hush! Can't even guess how she knows, but she is right - I do not have a fiancé. Not anymore. Sam stopped by earlier today. He is breaking the engagement. There won't be any wedding... Actually, there will be a wedding but not ours. He met another gal, you know, his business-partner's sister, and they got together, and...'
  I dug my nails hard into the palms to keep from crying, the sheer pain of my wounded flesh clearing my mind, and I took a deep breath and continued, 'He doesn't think he can take care of a disabled wife, he wants a real family, kids, so ...he is moving on.'
  I had to talk in short sentences by now, for I could not get enough air into my lungs, they were too badly constricted, affected by the powerful emotions I tried to suppress.
  'It is not a fairy tale, you know, where they lived happily ever after, it is a real life. Can't blame him, though, not really, but...' I told myself to shut up, my voice was beginning to sound like the whining of a wounded puppy and I didn't want Allie to know how desperately hurt I felt.
  I refused to look into my sister's eyes for she would have immediately detected how unhappy I was, and I couldn't bear the look of pity on her face. That alone would've completely broken my waning self-control and I... I didn't want to cry in front of a stranger.
  Veleslava, no doubt, didn't miss what was going on, but she wouldn't let any of this break her composure. She simply took the ring and said, 'This is settled. Tomorrow morning. It will happen tomorrow morning.' Then she turned towards Allie and ordered her, 'Make sure you are in my office tomorrow morning by five o'clock. Don't be late.' And she left my room without any other word.
  Allie stayed with me for a bit, trying to hide how bewildered she was. I knew that she hoped until that very day that my relationship with Sam would survive. Love conquers it all, dah... My sis made quite an effort of putting on a happy face and telling me how everything would work out... eventually.
  That evening a nurse gave me a shot so I would sleep better, and I covered my head with a blanket and wailed, face buried in the pillow, so nobody could hear a sound. I cried over my ruined life, over my lost love and just because life was a bitch. Eventually I cried myself to sleep... Last night was a hell. But this morning I feel like I have never been better - ever.
  Then a cruel thought crawled in my brain - what if I am simply hallucinating? I felt the fear of that pouring over me, like a cold shower, making me jump out of bed and land on a thick woolen rug, which felt warm and fluffy under my feet. And then I knew - I was not dreaming!
  But my euphoric state didn't last for more than a couple of seconds; it was interrupted by a shrill female voice coming from behind my back, 'Praise the Glorious Lady! She worked a miracle! My little girl is back!
  I got badly startled and looked around, and complete astonishment overwhelmed me: I saw an woman in a long medieval looking dress, she was getting out of an antique looking, Louis XVI style, armchair, which was standing right at the foot of my bed. She pulled a bell string that was hanging next to her, and, immediately, the room heavily ornamented wooden door opened with a crackle revealing a man dressed in some type of a long jacket, having eighteen century written all over it.
  'Oh, Vetter, our little girl is back!' The woman's voice sounded almost ecstatic.
  A happy smile crinkled Vetter's withered face as soon as he saw me standing next to the bed.
  'These happy tidings can't wait!' - he boomed in a deep velvet voice and waived his hand. A little shiny bird appeared in his palm. The man looked at it, quietly whispered a few words and threw the bird towards the ceiling. A mild blast of silvery light - and the little sparking creature disappeared in the midair.
  I opened my eyes so wide it hurt. Magic?!
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