Nine Lives was my debut novel, one I made such a lot of mistakes with.
Feel free to comment, advise or criticise, as I am very interested in improving my craft.
Chapter One received some valuable advice last week, please keep it coming!
Even though it might never be perfect, your first book is always special, isn’t it?
To this end, I will be posting a chapter every Wednesday…
What happened next was a bit like trying to watch a film through a heavy net curtain. There seemed to be far too many people in her flat, and no one appeared to be talking to her or each other. Foul tasting pills were pushed into her mouth. She wanted a drink of water but couldn’t seem to get anyone’s attention. Then something was wrapped around her arm and she was dimly aware of someone looking at her.
Something warm and fluffy gently pushed against her hand and she realised it was Dylan, back to check on her again. He was an intelligent animal and always seemed to know when she needed to fuss him. What would happen to him if she weren’t around?
Then she was pulled to her feet, what was happening now? Where were they taking her? Two men in bright Day-Glo jackets led her outside to a waiting ambulance. She didn’t understand how she was walking; she wasn’t in control of her legs. How was she moving? What was happening to her? Worry about finishing her latest artwork tried to take shape in her head, but she couldn’t seem to make herself care about anything. She was glad she had cleaned the paint from her fingers earlier and that was all that seemed to matter.
Once inside the ambulance, more pieces of equipment were attached to her and machinery hummed and bleeped. One of the men was talking, and it all sounded far away and very technical. Then the ambulance started up and the ride to the hospital was a nightmare. There didn’t seem to be enough room to swing a cat what with all the equipment, and the ambulance man was not exactly skinny. He seemed to be putting his hands all over her to keep his balance. The driver must be a maniac.
When she arrived at the hospital, she expected to see the emergency department, but they took her to what appeared to be a state of the art operating theatre. She didn’t know it at the time but this was where they usually took people who were having a heart attack. This was technology at its finest but she was in no state to appreciate any of it. By this time she was pumped so full of morphine she literally didn’t care if it snowed. Nurses tried to reassure her, but she didn’t care what they did. They asked if there was anyone she wanted them to call, and she shook her head. There was her brother Danny, or her agent and friend Samantha Cameron, but she didn’t want either of them there, so she said no, there was no one. That suddenly seemed so incredibly sad she felt like crying.
The pain in her chest was bad, and for some peculiar reason, it wasn’t bothering her much. Whatever the doctor was doing was nothing worse than someone holding her arm tightly. She looked in his direction and all she could see above the mask he wore were his dark eyes, concentrating hard on something in front of him. They seemed to be kind eyes if a little young. She wondered if he was tired. It was late after all, she heard the nurses talking about being woken up to come and help her.
All the machines and equipment around her seemed to be wrapped in plastic bags, and it struck her as funny they hadn’t unwrapped everything when they bought them. No, that wasn’t right, was it?
Something was happening to her arm, he was squeezing it harder than before and then he said something about feeling something cold. Was he talking to her?
Then she felt it, a weird coldness was slowly creeping up her arm and into her chest. What was he doing? She was so tired and desperately wanted to fall asleep and it wasn’t happening.
A strong waft of a familiar fragrance drifted over her as she lay there, and she struggled to open her eyes, expecting to see a nurse close by, but no one was close enough, so where had it come from?
For some inexplicable reason, the scent of flowers made her think of her mother. She died when Kate was sixteen and because of her miserable childhood, made infinitely more miserable by her mother, Kate should have hated her. All the time she was growing up, Kate thought she did.
Now, all Kate felt was sadness for the woman who clearly hadn’t been happy either, never managing to find anything to make her life worthwhile.
After all this time, Kate still missed not having a proper mother. She never had a dad either; he died during the war so he had the ultimate excuse. Try as she might, Kate could never come up with a decent excuse for her mother’s behaviour. She had always been achingly absent whenever Kate needed someone to comfort her and it would have been nice to have someone to rely on, no matter what.
A long time seemed to pass, with all the people in the room busy doing something and calling out to each other, and she couldn’t quite figure out what they were saying. It was as though she was seeing things with the wrong glasses on. Everything was blurred and out of focus. Then she was moved again, the trolley she was lying on pushed down seemingly endless corridors ending up in a dimly lit room, being made comfortable by an attractive, dark-haired nurse dressed in what looked like blue pyjamas. There were plastic stickers with wires attached all over Kate’s chest and something tight and painful clamped to her wrist. Apart from this, she felt much better. The pain had stopped, so that was something.
The nurse brought her a cup of tea and nothing had ever tasted so good. Suddenly she knew she was going to be all right, she was not going to die after all, and might finally be able to go to sleep, even with the machine bleeping gently by the bed…