Publish Novellas 11 August 2021
EPISODE 1 – TRAUMA
As you begin your journey in this miniseries, empathize with Evelyn’s traumatic familial relationship that affects her lifelong aspirations. Character names, images, and clues may vary with login.
Life and Death, December 1999
The only source of light in the room is through a slight part in the heavy curtains at the south window. Tiny green, red, and blue lights illuminate indistinct silhouettes of beeping machinery near the bed.
Evelyn stands at the door, staring at the frail man beneath the covers. Her arms cross over her chest to suppress the pounding within it.
“Eve….” The voice is barely audible.
“Derek!” Evelyn exclaims as she rushes to his side. “I didn’t know you were awake,” she says while taking his hand.
“I am. Have been for a while too,” says the man who is barely a shadow of who he used to be. The talking drains so much energy that he falls silent.
“Derek… there’s a new clinical trial at Saint David’s. They say the doctors there are…” the weak man’s hand relaxes from hers as he shakes his head from side to side with painful effort.
“No… no,” he manages to blurt out.
“Derek…” Evelyn protests as she takes his hand again.
“No!” There is a firmness in his voice that even Evelyn has not heard in a very long time. She pauses.
Her eyes fill with tears. For a moment, she allows herself to think that the firmness is a sign of recovery. But looking at the toll even that one word has on him pains her. She stands up and leaves the room without a response.
Close friend is caregiver, Danielle
Outside, the nurse is waiting by the door. “Evelyn, he is tired. He doesn’t want any more treatments. He is ready!” Danielle says.
“I'm not ready, though. He can’t leave me, Danielle!” She snaps. The nurse shakes her head in disapproval. Evelyn sees this and tries to justify her decision. “What will I do? How will I survive?” she asks nobody in particular.
“Evelyn…, you have given him the best money can buy. Any more and you’ll be doing more harm than good!”
“How dare you!” snaps Evelyn. She all but screams.
But Danielle is undaunted. “He is tired, Evelyn! You are wasting money right now and prolonging his pain in the process. The man just wants to be left alone in peace!”
“I'm not wasting money! I’m giving him the care he needs,” Evelyn replies.
Danielle continues stressing her point: “He needs his sister on his side to die peacefully, not being prodded and jerked around by doctors who barely understand the disease.
“There are still hopeful solutions out there. You’re a biologist. Find something that humanity actually needs. Maybe in twenty years, we would be able to cure someone of this disease.
“But that someone isn’t your brother. The only way to help him now is to let him go!”
Evelyn glares at the woman. Then she turns around and walks away.
“You need to stop, Evelyn!” shouts Danielle.
But Evelyn doesn’t stop walking. Even as the silent tears stream down her face, she doesn’t stop. She bites down on her lower lip until she tastes blood. Just as she approaches the staircase that leads downstairs, she pauses.
“Call Saint David’s Hospital,” Evelyn says as she storms away from the gigantic property—the place she mortgaged to get money for his treatment—sobbing incessantly.
Months drag on like years as Evelyn does everything possible to extend the life of her brother. All the while, her faith in Western medicine diminishes with her financial resources.
Evelyn stands alone in the room that used to be Derek’s. The windows are parted and lights flood the room for the first time in almost three years. It feels strange to her, being in this place that used to be so dark.
The machines are gone, along with their lights and beeping. She sighs and turns around to leave.
“What do you want me to do with his things?” The voice sounds like a distant buzzing of a June beetle.
Evelyn looks at Danielle and shakes her head. “I don’t know. Give them away. Take them. Burn them… whatever.”
“You don’t want to keep anything?” Danielle asks softly.
“I did…. I wanted to keep him,” Evelyn says as she walks to her area of the house, straight into her room. Bereft of tears and with shaking hands, she starts to pack her personal belongings.
Evelyn’s grief is rooted in the fact that she has always taken care of Derek. Now that he is dead. She can’t figure out what to do with herself. At almost 25 years old, she has never been in a relationship that lasts more than a few weeks. Nor has she had one that excluded her brother.
Is there a way to pack up all these hurt feelings? She ruminates on past animal research into medical cures. Her reflection leads to traveling for the next 10 years throughout parts of Africa, Egypt, and Asia. She studies indigenous people and holistic medicine.
Throughout such extensive research, she compares the frustrations of Western medicine and its healthcare inefficiencies. Ultimately, this brings Evelyn to her true calling—one that does not come without resistance.