Sudha remembered being told, “Get up, Madam, your surgery’s over”.

She nodded and went off to sleep again.

When the 65- year-old grey-headed teacher tried to open her eyes, she couldn't

because sleep lay like a stone in them. She was in the Heart Transplant Intensive

Care Unit (ICU).


An hour laterher eyes opened a little. Wonder what the time is? A nurse in white

was attending on her. Why’s she going around my bed? “She’s…..” Sudha heard

the nurse say. Who is she whispering to? What is she saying about me? Sudha

strained her ears “Her ….is 1526. What went in between was lost to her.

Sudha trembled.


She shouldn’t know I’m watching her. I’ll keep my eyes half-closed. She’s

practicing black magic, I suspect. Can’t trust these women from the North

East. Yes, yes. I’ve got it! She’s trying to kill me to save someone. Like the

childless woman who used to stealthily perambulate around newborn

babies’ cots, chanting mantras under her breath. Within days the baby

would stop taking their feed and die. Sudha shuddered as she recalled the



 “Do such people exist?” a scared Sudha had asked the teller of the tale.

 “Very much so. The world is an evil place.”


Damn it! I’m alone in this place. My husband’s not allowed to stay in the ICU.


The nurse went outside with a file. Sudha was alone at last. Phew! Such relief.

She opened her eyes and took a good look around.


Psychedelic lights were turning rapidly in the hall opposite the translucent blue

curtain right in front of Sudha’s bed. Five 8-feet tall people dressed in black

clothes like sorcerers seemed to be engaged in some frantic activity.


Sudha slept off again. A minute later, her eyes opened with a jerk. She peered

anxiously. The stupid curtain kept coming in the way.


 A dead body wrapped in torn white bandages like a Mummy was carried into

the hall from somewhere and placed in the center of the floor. Mantras were

being chanted in undertones. Now the sorcerers were dancing frenziedly around

the dead body. The body was being raised to a standing position.

Sudha suppressed a shiver.


What’re they up to? Can’t believe necromantic activity inside the ICU?

Do the Doctors know of it? What kind of hospital is this?


 Colour drained out of her cheeks when the corpse in the hall came to life.

The revived patient was taken away in a wheelchair like any discharged

patient. Is this the way they increase their success rate of transplants:

bring dead patients to life and send them hale and hearty to their families?

She began to feel goosebumps bristling on her arms.


Dread began to twist her gut. I was right about the nurse! All are alike.


Sudha felt a growing constriction in her throat. With oxygen in her nose, three

plastic drains sticking inside her stomach, paper napkins covering her 11 inch- long

wound in the chest, and only a blanket covering her body, where could she go?

There was no escape.


Panic surged through her body, making it rigid. She felt chained to the bed. Every

cell became taut. A piercing pain broke out in her wound.

“Nurse,” she cried out loudly.

The nurse rushed in, “What's happened, Madam?” 

“Please give me a painkiller. I can’t bear the pain.” Sudha was perspiring.


Acting swiftly, the nurse gave her a shot of morphine. Sudha began to feel

drowsy. Seconds before she dozed off, she caught the sun rising in the west.

This place is dangerous! she told herself as her eyes closed.


Sudha slept through the day. Another nurse had taken over when she woke up.

Sudha was still feeling groggy. In a heavy voice, she asked, “What’s the time?

“6.00 pm, Madam.”


Her eyes hadn't fully opened when she saw the sun setting in the east! I’m

definitely not staying here tonight, she told herself.


The Visiting hour was almost over. Her husband who had been waiting for her

to get up finally was allowed inside to meet her. Sudha let out a deep sigh of

relief on seeing Raman. At first, she couldn't speak because of the disquiet

within her. He was surprised to find her hands cold with sweat but he calmly

asked her:

“How’re you Sudha? “I’m told you slept almost 12 hours! Rip Van Winkle, eh?”

The nurse left them alone.



Tears began to roll down her face as she narrated her harrowing experience.

“Please inform the Doctor. I don’t want to stay in the ICU.”


Raman felt concerned but was skeptical. How could such incidents happen inside

a hospital? When she insisted, he agreed to go and speak with the Doctor.


Soon, he returned, accompanied by Dr. Anand.


“Hello Madam, how’re you feeling?” the Doctor asked her in a cheerful voice. “We’ve

been checking on you through the day. You’re doing better than most patients!”


Sudha’s face twisted with distress. She said, “Please shift me to the Ward. I

don't want to stay here!”


Raman had already spoken with Dr. Anand. The Doctor smiled and

said, “ We can’t move you out for a week or two because your parameters

are being measured hourly. Doctors need records to monitor your progress.

Are you uncomfortable here?”


“This place is surrealistic! In the morning I saw the sun rising in the west and

now I’ve seen it set in the east. I’ll lose my senses here!”


Dr. Anand gently pulled aside all the curtains and said, “Look. Madam, the ICU has

no windows!”


Sudha looked around and realized that he was right. The hall where she had

seen the hair-raising activities last night was the Nurses' Work station. Everybody

was busy completing their records. Colour fled from her face as she recalled

last night’s incidents.


“Believe me, Doctor, I didn’t imagine things!”

“Must’ve happened. Lemme explain”, he said. “This is a very common

phenomenon in elderly patients. They often react to the drugs we give them

during surgery and suffer from hallucinations.”


“Oh!”Sudha understood what had happened and felt her whole body relax.

She looked embarrassed. The Doctor smiled reassuringly at Sudha and left.

Raman asked, “Feeling safe?”

Sudha nodded, smiling, and blushing at the happenings. “I’m all right now. Sorry,

for making you run around.

“Old habit, Sudha?” he said mischievously.

She laughed. “Go, it’s getting late.”

He laughed and waved her a goodnight.

Sudha felt calm for the first time and smiled.

May 01, 2020 15:01

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Viney Kirpal
17:19 May 06, 2020

Hi Friends and Fellow Writers, This is a request. Please read my story and comment so that I can become a better writer with every piece. I'd be happy to reciprocate. Thanks.


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Emily Nghiem
07:35 Jun 02, 2020

Hi VK: I'm on my phone and can't read or type in detail. One quick note I would make: I notice you use "passive" verb forms (was carried, were taken, was being raised, were dancing), instead of "active" for stronger movement. If you would like to improve your story structure, there is a screenwriter who hosts a very good webclass online. Look up Tom Vaughn, Story and Plot. The basic elements he teaches apply to any type of storytelling. I think his workshops are offered on a sliding scale, and help provide a clear foundation and direction fo...


Viney Kirpal
03:42 Jun 03, 2020

Hi Emily: I am truly grateful for your discerning comments. I have reworked the story and changed the passive verbs into active ones. It reads better than before. Thanks. I will visit the website you have recommended. I am sure it would help to take an online class again to enhance my present learning and effort. I'd be happy to reciprocate. Have you submitted a new story?


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