SCI-FI / DRAMA : "Wings"

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gkscotty
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SCI-FI / DRAMA : "Wings"

Post by gkscotty » Sun Dec 15, 2002 12:18 pm

This is the first Round Robin to be posted under the new rules.
Remember, please consult the rules thread and the "Wings" discussion thread before posting here.

Steven wrote...

"What do we want?"
"Much less pollution, lower electricity costs, an end to megalomaniacal schemes and more ethical management!"
"When do we want it?"
"SOON!"
"What do we want?"
"Much less pollution, lower electricity costs, an end to megalomaniacal schemes and more ethical management!"
"When do we want it?"
"SOON!"
"What do we want?"
"Much less electricity, lower pollution costs, an end to management and more ethical megalomaniacal schemes!"
"When do we want it?"
"SOMEDAY!"

Lisa looked at the crowd... The protest did not seem to be having much of an effect. They'd been here all day, and the power plant had barely acknowledged their existence. Burns hadn't even been spotted glaring out of his window. It was getting cold, and the protesters were getting bored... and Lisa was getting glum. And when the girl playing the music gets depressed, the crowd follows her.

She slowly played a few last, slow notes on her saxophone, and stopped for a rest... the protesters were increasingly apathetic. There were a few hardcore environmentalists still going strong but people had been leaving for the past couple of hours. She'd hoped her music would help keep everyone going, but she didn't seem to be inspiring anyone anymore...

A soft hand touched Lisa's shoulder as she sat down, and she looked up to see Marge standing behind her.
"You're doing a very good job dear."
"Really?" Lisa smiled a little, but she wasn't convinced. "Thanks Mom..." She sighed again and looked toward the plant, and Burns' window. "It would have been nice for it to have meant something though. It doesn't looks like we've accomplished anything..."
"Oh, don't worry about that. I'm sure you've got through to them somehow." Marge gave Lisa a hug. "I can't think of any way Mr Burns could ignore your saxophone." Marge paused for a moment. "You play it so loud."
Lisa giggled, but looked up at Burns' balcony again. He was the man this protest needed to reach. But no reply. She'd hoped for some of his famous ranting and raving, but no dice. Burns had apparantly remained perfectly calm during the entire demonstration.

***

This was probably something to do with the fact Burns wasn't even in the power plant. He wasn't even in Springfield.

A limousine pulled up at a farm far outside the city limits. The farmer immediately dropped his things and hurried over. He tried to look in through the tinted driver's window.
"Huh-yuk!"
The window opened, and Waylon Smithers looked out at Cletus. "Mr Delroy, I presume."
"Hi-yuk! That's me!"
"Good." Smithers opened his door, quickly stepping out and walking to the passengers door on the opposite side of the car. He opened it and extended a hand to the passenger. With Smithers' help, C. Montgomery Burns clambered out of the limo. He looked out over Cletus' fields of corn.
"Ah, we're finally here. Capital." Burns turned, and spotted Cletus. The old man came close to jumping out of his loose, leathery skin. "Smithers! Who is this hobgoblin?"
"Huh-yuk!"
"Cletus Delroy sir." Smithers obediently whispered to his boss. "Our first guinea pig for project 18L?"
"Ah yes, excellent." Burns turned to Cletus. "Nice to meet you Mr Delroy."
"Huh-yic!" Cletus happily nodded to Burns, leaving the nuclear plant owner unsure of what to say next. It was rare that Burns was silenced, but the sad fact was that he wasn't used to speaking to anyone with such a poor grasp of the English language. Or indeed, any languages.
"Well..." Burns hummed and hawed.
"Hu-yk!"
Burns groaned, and decided to dispence with any pleasantries. "I suppose we should get on with it then. Smithers, fetch the product will you?"
"Certainly sir."

Smithers walked round to the trunk of the car, and pulled out a metal drum.
"Here it is." Burns said. "Burns Industries patented super-growth fertiliser." That was a little white lie... well... an outright black lie. The drum actually contained a small amount of fertiliser to give it an odour, but the majority of the contents were something else entirely.
"Hot damn." Cletus replied. He wasn't great at small talk but he could really talk about fertiliser. "This is the stuff that'll make ma crops three times bigga, huh?"
"Absolutely! And since you are our test focus group, the first ten drums are yours free of charge." That sounded good to Cletus, but it was a better deal for Burns. He usually had to pay a high premium to get people to take this stuff away. "But you can have this test drum for now, and pick up the rest at your convenience, once you're satisfied."
"Well, ah reckon ah'll come get the rest today. Ah got no reason to mistrust ya..."
Cletus had never been too aware of current events.

***

"Thanks for coming and playing, Lisa. Sorry it didn't turn out too well."

The protesters had dispersed, leaving just a few of the more dedicated ones behind. It was only Lisa and some of the ringleaders left now - the tenacious little girl had hung on till the last, but now Marge was keen to go and the leaders themselves had packed up.

Lisa sighed, and looked up at the man talking to her. "Yeah, thanks Alex... it's a shame we didn't seem to get anything done though."
"Don't worry about it," he replied. "It wasn't you fault. And we can try again any day. Burns hasn't heard the last of us!" Lisa giggled a little. "Hey... what is that for?"
"Oh, nothing." Lisa giggled a little again. She found Alex's boundless optimism pretty funny actually. But she didn't want to criticise it.

The leaders eventually piled into a minibus and took off, leaving Marge and Lisa. The two Simpson women headed for their car.
Lisa sighed again as she opened her door and climbed into the car. "I guess we had too high hopes. What could we do against Burns in one day?"
"Don't get discouraged, Lisa... you tried your hardest, and I'm sure you gave the plant problems today. You just need to persevere a little. You'll get a breakthrough that'll help you someday Lisa, I'm sure."
"You think so Mom?"
"Definitely."
Lisa smiled a little. Marge could always make her do that eventually. She looked out at the plant... and noticed something strange.
"Hey Mom... do you see that red pick up?" Sure enough, a red pick-up truck was leaving the plant, with Cletus at the wheel.
Marge shaded her eyes with her hands and looked. "Yes."
"Could we follow it?"
"Oh, don't be silly Lisa. We need to get home..."
"Please?" Lisa begged. "It's weird... there's something suspicious about it. What's a farmer doing at the power plant?"
Marge "Mhmmmm"ed. Lisa had a point.

***

They tailed the pick-up for a few miles, Marge wondering why she was bothering to do this. It eventually pulled in at the Kwik-E-Mart car park, and Cletus got out to head inside the shop.

As soon as Marge parked beside him, Lisa jumped out the car and ran to the back of Cletus' truck. She started to climb aboard, pulling herself up onto the step and over the back wall of the truck.
Marge followed her out of the car. "Lisa! What are you doing, get out of there! She tried to pull her daughter back, but Lisa was already inside. "Get out of there right now young lady, before he comes back!"
"Hang on Mom, I just want to see what's in here!" Lisa's instincts and her bad opinion of Burns told her that something bad was going on here, and she wanted to find out what it was. But as she looked around the truck, all she could see was a number of drums marked "fertiliser."
"It's just fertiliser, mom. Or at least that's what it says it is... hm..."
"Good, then there's nothing wrong. Now get out of there, Lisa!"
"Hang on!" Lisa noticed that the labels on the drums were just paper, and peeling off. She grabbed a corner of a label, and started to pull...
The truck's engine started up. Cletus had returned to the drivers seat without noticing either Lisa or Marge. He put it into reverse and took off without even checking to see who was behind him.
Lisa fell backwards as she lost her footing on the unstable floor. The suspension in the truck was terrible, and the drums were shaking about in front of her.
Marge stepped back from the truck as it suddenly pulled away. "Hey! My daughter's on there!" Marge shouted at Cletus, but he was lighting a cigarette and didn't notice. Instead he just did a quick turn, shifted into first and headed out onto the road.
Horrified, Marge practically leapt into her car and followed him.

***

Lisa's ride in the back of the truck was not a smooth one. The whole thing shook violently, and she found it very difficult to get to her feet. To make things worse, none of the drums had been tied down - they rolled and jumped around in the back, and constantly threatened to crash into Lisa.
She stumbled to her feet, and grasped onto of the side of the truck. She was trapped in one corner.
Cletus swung the truck around a corner, and Lisa and the drums all fell over to the opposite side of the truck. Lisa tried to get back up, and managed it just before the truck thudded through a pothole in the road.

A drum leapt into the air. The top was not on properly, and as it fell it sloshed out all its contents.
And a wave of stinking brown fertiliser washed over Lisa.

Lisa's reaction was not what you'd expect. She didn't yell or scream, though she dearly wanted to. She just sat there, in shock, eyes blinking. She didn't dare open her mouth anyway, because the smell of this stuff was bad enough...
So she sat on the floor of the truck, extremely shellshocked, covered from top to toe in brown sludge.
Cletus eventually stopped at a traffic signal, and Lisa took that as her chance to climb out. The road was empty, so she wandered over to the grass verge and flopped down onto her back.
A pause.
"AAAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHHH What am I covered in, agh God, it's disgusting!" She tried to shake the sludge off her hands, flicking it everywhere.
Marge's car pulled up beside her, and she climbed out.
"Lisa! What were you thinking..." she trailed off when she saw her daughter. "Ewww..."

***

Lisa dunked her head under the water, and rubbed her scalp and hair furiously. Once she had all the foam out she surfaced, grabbed the shampoo bottle and got some more. She'd gone through more than half a bottle trying to get this stuff out of her hair... it was disgusting. She'd also changed the bath water 3 times now, and had a shower earlier...
"This is not proving to be a good day..." she said to herself bitterly, rubbing the shampoo into the hair and then diving once again.
While she was submerged, Marge knocked and opened the door.
"Lisa?" There was no answer. Marge entered and saw her daughter scrubbing her hair amid the bubble-bath. "Ah, you're still washing your hair."
"Eubh?" Lisa surfaced, and looked up. "Oh, it's you mom." She reached for the shampoo bottle, but Marge walked over and had a look at the girl's hair, parting it and looking at her scalp.
"Hmmmm, I don't think it's going to get any cleaner honey."
"I think there's a little more..." Lisa started to pour shampoo onto her palm, but Marge took the bottle.
"I think that'll be enough."
"But Mom, I can still smell it!" Lisa made a face.
"I don't think it's you, Lisa. You left the scent all around the house on your way up here... don't worry, you're quite clean."
"Okay..."

***

Sleeping that night was a chore. The smell had pervaded the entire house, and it was a persistent stench. Nobody slept well at 742 Evergreen Terrace.
But Lisa eventually got to sleep, and awoke the next morning to the sound of birdsong. She lay in bed for a few minutes, still trying to dream a little, until she realised her legs and arms were itchy, and a little bit tickish in sensitive places like the soles of her feet.
She opened her eyes, and saw feathers all around her.
"Huh? What the?" Lisa was startled awake, and sat up in bed. A layer of feathers slid off her nightgown
as she did so... her bedsheets, pillow and duvet were gone, replaced by these layers of white and brown feathers. She picked one up by the vane, and looked closely at it.
Just a feather.
Lisa had no idea where it could have come from. She'd suspect a particulary insane practical joke from Bart, if it wasn't for the fact he was out of town with Homer just now. The two of them were away for the weekend, visiting Capital City to watch the Isotopes lose. Again.
The birdsong once again caught Lisa's attention, and she climbed out of bed. The curtains were closed, and Lisa reached up her hands to open them.
As her right hand touched one of the curtains, it immediately turned into a tangled sheet of feathers, which broke apart from each other and fluttered to the floor.
Lisa could only gape. She should have been scared, but she somehow managed to remain calm. Cautiously, she reached out her right hand and touched the other curtain. It too transformed into a mass of white and brown feathers and fell to the floor.
Lisa looked at her right hand, and wondered how this could happen. It looked the same as ever. "This has to have something to do with that fertiliser." She carefully stretched the hand out, and touched the pane of glass in the window.
The glass turned into feathers.
Somehow unsurprised, Lisa pulled her hand back. As she did so, a terrible curiosity came over her, too strong to resist. Lisa held out her left hand, and carefully touched it's fingers with her right hand.
Nothing happened.
Relieved, Lisa removed her right hand, and looked at it again. There was a small feather in it's palm.
"What?" Lisa quickly looked at her left hand. Her fingers were dissolving into streams of small feathers! Lisa tried to bite down her scream, but failed. The feathers seemed to peel away from the surface of her skin, and Lisa watched as all four of her fingers disappeared completely before her palm itself started to disintegrate.
"But, but... haa... help! Help!" Lisa started to hyperventilate as she saw the feathers spreading up her arm. Her mind raced as she tried to think if a reason or why this was happening to her. But she soon realised she had to stop it somehow.
Lisa ran for the door and grabbed the handle, but just as her fist closed around it the handle turned into a pile of feathers and fell out of her hand. Lisa bit down her scream again and pushed her hand against the door, turning the wooden door into feathers which floated down to the floor and allowed Lisa through. She ran again, this time to the bathroom and kicked the unlocked door open to avoid turning it into feathers. Once in the bathroom she grabbed the cold water tap and tried to turn it on, but the handle turned into feathers too. Fortunately that didn't stop the water from running, as without the valve to stop it is started to pour out of the spout and the top of the tap.
Lisa looked at her arm again. Her palm and wrist were gone completely, and the feathers were getting near her elbow. Lisa noticed that the feathers being produced here were a lot bigger than the ones her fingers had made. She ran the stump of her arm under the water, but the only effect this had was filling the sink with wet feathers.
Lisa looked at her arm again. The elbow was now gone. Still more feathers were flaking away from the stump as it creeped up to her shoulder. Lisa panicked again, and decided to see mom. She ran into her bedroom to see Marge sleeping in her bed.
"Mom! Mom! Help me!" Lisa tried to shake Marge awake, but forgot not to use her right hand. Marge immediately exploded into a mass of white and brown feathers.
All Lisa could do was scream.
She stumbled backwards, and tried to grab onto Marge's dresser to steady herself, but the dresser quickly dissolved into even more feathers. Lisa fell backwards, and the mirror and ornaments that had been on the dresser crashed to the ground. As if adding insult to injury, the carpet dissolved into even more feathers as soon as Lisa's hand fell onto it.
Lisa lay there, just crying. She glanced at her arm, only to see it wasn't there. It had completely disappeared, and now the feathers were eating away at the side of her torso.
Despondent, Lisa clambered to her feet. "Somebody!" she called "Help me, PLEASE!" She ran from the room and downstairs, but without her left arm to help her balance she stumbled on the stairs. As she fell she tried to grab the banister, but it only turned into feathers under her touch. Lisa tumbled down the stairs, her right hand disintegrating the carpet and floorboards under her as she rolled.
Lisa lay on her back at the bottom of the stairs.
"Why... why... what have I done... someone..." she suddenly coughed, and started having trouble breathing "hu-HELP! Hu, hu, hu, hu" and then her breathing stopped.
The feathers had dissolved her throat and spine away, and Lisa's connection with the rest of her body was cut. She was paralysed, and dying.
Lisa lost all feeling from her chin down. She tried to scream. She tried to speak. But no air would pass by her lips, and nothing below her neck would respond. The feathers finished moving across Lisa's neck, and her head rolled to the side as the connection between her head and body was completely severed.
All Lisa's head could do was lie there, waiting for the inevitable. Even if she had air to use, she could not speak because her voicebox had disintegrated into feathers. She tried to close her mouth, only to find she had no jaw. There was a loud pop, and then absolute silence as her ears were destroyed. Lisa never noticed the smell that still lingered downstairs until her nose disappeared and the smell was gone. And then Lisa went blind, as her eyes turned into piles of tiny white down.
All that was left of Lisa was her brain, and that was frantic. Lisa had never felt the fear of death so strongly before. She wondered why. She wondered about the feathers. She wondered if this was how it felt to burn to death, like a witch burning at the stake... or if this was what rotting away was like...
Lisa's brain started to flake away into feathers, her memories, knowledge and "self" falling away from her like autumn leaves...

***

Marge shook Lisa awake.
"Lisa! Are you alright?"
"Huh, wha... Mommy!"
"You were screaming in your sleep dear... and then you stopped and just shook, and you weren't waking up... are you okay Lisa? Did you have a nightmare?"
Lisa pulled her hands out from under her covers, and looked at them. Both were there, and they looked normal. "Yes... I think so..." She touched her bedclothes with her right hand, and was relieved when they did not turn into feathers. She threw her hands around Marge's waist and hugged her tightly. "But I'm feeling better now..."
"Oh, good, that's great dear..." Marge put her arm around Lisa and gently patted her daughter's head with her right hand.
Lisa exploded into a shower of white and brown feathers.

***

Lisa woke with a shock, and quickly sat up in her bed. It was still dark outside. She breathed heavily and tried to calm herself, before glancing at the clock by her bed. 5:24 AM. The room was still dark, and the sun was not quite rising yet.
Lisa looked around carefully. She'd already woken up twice this morning... what if this was another dream? She quickly pinched her cheek, HARD.
OW!
Okay, probably not a dream. Lisa lay down again, and tried to sleep, but quickly realised the futility of it. She wasn't going to sleep again this morning.
Image

It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone’s fault. If it was Us, what did that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do bad things. - Jingo, Terry Pratchett
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gkscotty
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Re: SCI-FI / DRAMA : "Wings"

Post by gkscotty » Sun Dec 15, 2002 12:19 pm

Jenny wrote...

Lisa spent a few moments looking around, taking in reality. Her curtains were normal, and there were no damn feathers anywhere. The smell of fertilizer still hung over the room. She could still feel it in her hair.

Eager for something to do, Lisa got out of bed and went into the bathroom to run herself yet another bath. Her back was itching like crazy - probably the fertilizer, irritating her skin. As she scratched herself, Lisa hoped that she wouldn't come out in a rash. That was the last thing she needed.

***

A few hours later, Cletus woke. He'd been up late last night, making use of all that free fertilizer he'd managed to swindle from Burns Industries. He was proud of himself - he'd outsmarted a big, important businessman. Cletus liked to think he was a lot smarter than people thought.

Confidently, he stepped out onto his ramshackle porch, to take in his handywork. He'd have a bumper crop this year, he was certain. Maybe he'd be able to make enough to get some of that fancy new indoor plumbing...

"Boy-howdy..."

Unfortunately for Cletus, other people tended to be better judges of his intelligence than he was. He lacked the mental capacity to really grasp the full meaning of the sight before him, which was probably just as well.

The plants he had spent so much time and effort planting and growing wouldn't be worth anything in market now. Their leaves lay on the floor, a thick green blanket covering the dark layer of Burns-brand 'fertilizer' he had choked the soil with. And in their place, white and brown feathers, protruding proudly and perversly from mutated stems.

"Dang, they be the funniest darn plants ah ever did see!"

***

There was something wrong, definitely. Lisa could tell just by looking at her, and as much as she hoped it was just her paranoid imagination, Lisa feared for the worst.

She was certain Janey could smell the fertilizer on her.

Normally, they would sit right next to each other in Sunday school, but it seemed to Lisa that there was a certain amount of distance between their chairs today. Still, with Bart still in Capitol City with Homer, it did mean that the students had rather more room to form the arc of chairs at the front of the class. Maybe that was it, Lisa thought.

But she wasn't really thinking of that too much. Or the lesson, for that matter. Lisa was still thinking over those weird dreams that had kept her awake. They were so vivid... so real. Lisa tried to work out what they had meant, but drew a blank. She wondered if that fertilizer, or whatever it had been in those drums, had had anything to do with them - she'd never dreamt anything like it before.

Nah... now she was being absurd. There was no reason why the fertilizer would have messed with her head like that. But it had definitely had an effect on her; her back was still itchy and sore. Silently, Lisa cursed Burns. In her indignation it never really crossed her mind that she wouldn't have had a problem if she hadn't stowed away on the back of Cletus' truck...

"Hey, Lisa... Lisa!"

Lisa's careful thought was disturbed as Marge nudged her. Looking around, she noticed that Sunday school was finally over. Gratefully, she got up off her chair and followed her mother out of the room.

The car ride home passed in silence as Lisa went back to wondering about her nightmare. Eventually, Marge spoke. "Are you okay, honey? You seem quiet."

"I... didn't sleep too well last night." said Lisa, scratching her back. It was still itching her. Marge noticed.

"Umm... Lisa, I don't want to worry you, but it almost looks like... like you've got a lump on your back."

Lisa paused for a moment. A lump? That didn't sound good. God knows what Burns could have put into those drums. "Really? Where?"

"You're scratching it." Marge said, concerned. She knew that she should have done more to stop Lisa from getting up into that truck.

Quickly, Lisa pulled her hand away from her back, and looked at it. It was her right hand; at least she wasn't turning into a pile of feathers. "Oh, great..." she said glumly.

When they got home, Lisa ran to the mirror and unzipped the back of her Sunday dress. Carefully, she tried to examine her back for anything unusual, but couldn't find anything. Marge knelt down, and looked for her. "Oh... this doesn't look too good." she groaned.

***

"Hi, everybody!"

Marge and Lisa both stared at the doctor in irritated silence. Lisa lay on a bed in a tiny cubicle in the Emergency Department of Springfield Hospital, while Marge sat next to her with Maggie in her lap. They had been waiting here for hours. Lisa hadn't wanted to go, but Marge had insisted on getting her lump checked out, and since Dr Hibbert wasn't available, Lisa was left in the hands of a certain Dr Riviera.

It was best they got it looked at, Marge thought, and she seemed to be right. While they waited to be seen, Lisa had started to complain of feeling unwell, and Marge was scared of what she could have caught from those awful drums of waste. She'd always been overprotective about her children's health, to the point of hypochondria, but Marge always thought it was better to be safe rather than sorry.

"Okay..." Doctor Riviera said, nervously. "What seems to be the problem, little girl?"

Lisa lay on her back as Marge explained the problem to the doctor. "She's got quite a big lump on her back, doctor. It just appeared overnight. And she doesn't feel very well, do you sweetie?"

Lisa shook her head as Doctor Riviera carefully examined the red, swollen lump. "Does it hurt when I do this?" he asked as he prodded it with his ungloved finger. Lisa cried out in pain, quickly giving him his answer.

"Do you have any idea of what it is, doctor?" Marge asked as he continued to examine Lisa. She didn't really want to mention the fertilizer, unless it was necessary. She was hoping that the doctor would be able to prescribe something for Lisa, and send them on their way. She could do without all of this.

"Well..." he began, but stopped abruptly, the colour visibly draining from his face. "Oh dear... this is bad. This is terrible!"

Lisa and Marge both froze in fear. "What is it, doctor?" Marge cried out in fear.

"I left my car in the ambulance bay!" Doctor Riviera said, charging out of the cubicle. "There just isn't any parking nearby..."

"What about Lisa??" Marge asked, angrily.

"Oh... oh, she's fine. Plenty of liquids and bed-rest and stuff, and she'll be good as new. Bye, everybody!" he said hurridly, before bidding mother and daughter a rapid farewell.

"It's good to know that medical insurance is such good value for money, isn't it?" Lisa said to her mother, bitterly.

"Umm... well, he did take a good look at you and say you'd be okay, honey." said Marge, not wanting to question a doctor. "Come on, let's go home." she said, getting to her feet. She mumured to herself as she had to help Lisa to her feet. "Oh, you don't look at all well."

"I... I'll be fine..." Lisa trailed off.

Together, they walked out uncertainly. Marge had been taught all her life never to make trouble, never to cause a fuss, never to rock the applecart. Lisa had been given a clean bill of health by a trained professional, albiet one who seemed to have curry stains down his white coat, and Marge had worried herself over nothing in the past. Maybe she should just let this one go. She'd seen Lisa in the back of that truck... that farmer drove like a madman, and she was being thrown all over the place - she must have hit her back on something, that must have been where the lump came from. And this, this was just a little bug she'd picked up. There was nothing to worry about. Nothing at all...

As they left the hospital and made their way towards the car, Marge noticed that Lisa seemed to be in more and more discomfort. Her breathing was getting heavier, and she was arching her shoulders, apparently trying to lessen the pain coming from her back. "Mom..." she moaned, weakly.

"Oh... we'd better get you back inside!" Marge said, her heart beginning to race again. She was beginning to regret letting Lisa go to that stupid protest at all. Taking one daughter's hand and putting her other into her opposite arm, she dragged her back towards the Emergency Department.

What if there had been something else in with that fertilizer? You couldn't know what someone like Burns would churn out. There could have be *anything* in there that could have infected Lisa. Marge had tried to stay calm, to put those thoughts at the back of her mind, but she couldn't ignore them now. She was scared for Lisa.

"Mom... slow down!" Lisa said, becoming more and more drowsy. Eventually, she could take no more, and stumbled to the floor, collapsing unconcious.

"LISA!" Marge cried out. At least if she had to collapse like that, it might as well be in front of a hospital.

Inside, Dr Riviera was nudged on the shoulder by a nurse. "Hey, Nick, isn't that the girl you just saw and let go?" she asked him, pointing to the youngster laid out on a stretcher being brought in by concerned paramedics, accompanied by her near-hysterical mother.

"I think so..." he said.

"Brought back in a minute after you said she was healthy." tutted the nurse. "That's really something Nick, even by your standards."

***

The first thing Lisa noticed as she slowly regained consciousness was the weight. There was something pressing down on her back that she was aware of before her thoughts began to take shape again. Gradually, Lisa woke from her deep slumber, her mind slowly returning to full capacity.

She was lying face down on a bed. She drifted mentally for a moment, until the memories of what had happened to her before the darkness fell came back to her.

In quick succession, she remembered the spill. Then, the nightmare. Then, waiting in the hospital, feeling unwell. Being dragged back in by her mother a few moments later. And most of all, the pain. The dull, searing agony that shot through her back. It had felt like there was something in there, fighting to get out, putting unbearable pressure on Lisa's small frame. She recalled the moment of panic as it felt like she was being crushed by something inside. And then... nothing.

As the recollection came back to Lisa, it brought with it fear, fear of what had been wrong with her. She hoped the fertilizer she had been drenched it had had nothing to do with her problems, but Lisa wasn't naive enough to think that it wasn't related somehow. She didn't feel too bad now, but it was impossible to say what had happened to her.

Anxious to get a better idea of her surroundings, Lisa tried to sit up. But when she tried to move her limbs, she found she couldn't. She couldn't move!

Lisa began to tremble. She was still groggy and confused, but the stark realisation that she was trapped wherever she it was she was lying served to waken her quickly. Glancing from side to side, Lisa saw that her wrists were tied to the bed. When she tried to kick but her legs barely moved, she presumed her ankles were tied down as well.

By now, she was beginning to panic. Unsure of where she was, confused, alone, and terrified, she screamed in desperation, hoping that someone would hear.

"MMMOOOOOMMMM!!!"

Eventually, Lisa heard someone come into the room behind her. She was shaking by now, tears rolling down her face. She braced herself, hoping whoever it was behind her was friendly.

"Lisa... calm down, it's okay." she heard a shakey female voice plead. "You're at the hospital. You've been in a coma for twelve days."

"Why... why am I tied down like this?"

"Well, you... we... we had to make sure that you stayed like that while you were asleep. You kept tossing and turning, and we had to make sure you didn't roll onto your back."

Out of the corner of her eye, Lisa saw a nurse standing by the side of her bed. Groaning, she turned her head to look at her. The first thing Lisa noticed was the look in the nurse's eyes - it was unlike anything she'd ever seen before, a mixture of pity, horror, confusion, and, most of all... fear. In her hightened state of anxiety, Lisa felt even more unsettled by the way the nurse was looking at her.

"What's wrong with my back? Where's my mom?" Lisa asked, her own fear escalating as various potential horrors unfolded in her mind.

"She's outside, Lisa. I'll go and bring her in. Her and the doctor." said the nurse.

Lisa whimpered helplessly as she heard the nurse leave the room behind her, wriggling in vain. Why wouldn't the nurse tell her what was wrong with her? A moment later, Lisa heard the door opening again, and a familiar voice. "My baby..."

"Mom??"

"We're right here, honey. Me and your father." Marge sobbed. Lisa could hear the grief in her mother's voice, making a bad situation unbearable. Lisa burst into tears herself, unable to contain her fear.

"What's wrong with me? Why can't I lie on my back?" Lisa wept in anguish. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw her mother collapse into her father's arms.

There was someone else behind Lisa. It was frustrating for her not being to see what was going on, lay face down on her bed. It was someone else Lisa knew well - though his voice sounded somewhat different now. A lot more grave and serious - even... fearful. "Lisa... this is Doctor Hibbert. I... I'm afraid we've got some... bad news. While you were comatose, something... happened."

Lisa braced herself in silence, the grim fear of what might potentially be waiting for her boring through the haze of her still cloudy mind. "Am I dying or something?" she sniffed, the tears flowing freely down her cheeks as she continued to struggle against her bonds.

"No... no, you're not dying, Lisa. At least, we don't *think* you are."

Marge let out a pained sob, that cut through Lisa's gut. What sort of an answer was that? By now, Lisa's situation was beginning to feel more and more unreal. This couldn't be happening to her... could it? Tears rolled down her cheeks as she clung relentlessly onto the possibility that this was just another nightmare, more in desperation than anything else.

"Please, doc, just tell her!" Homer pleaded sadly, his voice shaking.

Doctor Hibbert sighed deeply for a moment, as if he was trying to summon up some reserve of strength from somewhere. "Nurse... will you help me untie her?"

Lisa felt the straps that held her down loosen, lying dumbstruck on her bed. "Now Lisa, I want you to wait for me and the nurse to lift you up, okay?" asked the doctor.

"I don't think I could move anyway" Lisa said, hoping to probe Dr Hibbert for some idea of what had happened to her. "It feels like there's something heavy on my back." She shuddered as she heard Marge let out another anguished cry.

"When you're ready, sister." sighed Doctor Hibbert as he took Lisa's arm. Lisa felt herself being pulled up... it sounded like it was taking a lot of effort. She heard her mother whimper as Doctor Hibbert, straining under her weight, explained to her what was happening. "Lisa, we're going to put you in front of a mirror, now. What you're about to see may come as something of a shock... I just want you to be prepared, okay?"

Lisa nodded. She was numb inside now, long past the point of initial fear. She just wanted to know, now.

"Let's turn her around, nurse."

Time crawled by as Lisa waited to have all her questions answered. She saw the mirror first... it was propped up in a corner of the room, obviously brough in specifically for this occasion. Lisa noticed now that she was still wearing her orange dress... strange, since she'd have expected them to change her into a hospital gown if she was in a coma.

Then, she saw something, out of the corner of her eye. It took her a moment to realise what it was... it was difficult at first, as it almost blended with the doctor's white coat. It was greyish, and looked to be coming from behind her. In fact, it almost looked like...

Like...

The scream echoed loudlly through the corridors of the hospital. Unusually, any screams were the shrill shriek of pain, but this was different, born of suprise, shock, and horror.

Suddenly, those dreams didn't seem nearly so bad to Lisa. They didn't seem nearly as unreal - compared to this dream, at least. Because this had to be a dream. There was no way this could really be happening. It was inconcievable... impossible. She'd wake up any minute now. At least, she hoped to God almighty she would.

But, for now, those feathers were back to haunt Lisa.
Image

It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone’s fault. If it was Us, what did that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do bad things. - Jingo, Terry Pratchett
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And there's less to come!

Post by jenny » Sun Dec 15, 2002 8:17 pm

Burns stood and watched the flames rise up into the dark sky. This must be what it's like on a battlefield, he thought to himself - the heat, the light, the almost ungodly noise. But despite the thrill of robbing another man of his livelihood, C.Montgomery Burns was a troubled man.

It had to be this way. Cletus, the inbred who had taken the leftovers from Project 7F, had come back to the plant after discovering what his 'fertilizer' had done to his crops. Burns couldn't afford the adverse publicity that the yokel could potentially bring upon his company, so it had been necessary to have the evidence destroyed.

"Burn them! Make sure you destroy every trace!" Smithers barked to the gaggle of flamethrower-wielding operatives ploughing through the field, in a vain attempt to raise his voice over the roaring carnage. Satisfied he had exerted his authority, he turned his attention to an emotional Cletus. "Delroy, we need to know, did you use all of that fertilizer on your plants?"

"Ah.. ah think so. I don't got no uther place for it." Cletus sniffed. "Those was mah bestiest corn crops before alla this.. what amah gunna tell Francine?"

"You THINK so or you KNOW so?" snapped Smithers impatiently. "If any of this came into contact with humans, the results could be disastrous!"

Cletus nodded, Smithers' words failing to register inside his limited mind. "There ain't been no people near this stuff, 'cept me.. darn lucky they took the young 'uns into care, I guess."

Burns had seen enough of this needless destruction (he'd never thought the day would come when that would be the case), and indicated to his assistant that he wished to return to the plant. "Let's go, Smithers. There's no need for us to be here."

"You'd better be right Delroy, for our sake." Smithers said as a parting shot to the beleaguered Cletus. "And yours." he added darkly.

"Smithers," Burns said as he was chaperoned back to his awaiting carriage "Who where those men destroying those terrible crops? Can we trust them with this.. little secret?"

"Don't worry sir, those men are just potential kidneys from Sector 7G. They lack both the intelligence and the moral fibre to pass on any information about this." Smithers said, flicking over a few pages on his clipboard, anticipating Burns' desire to know exactly who they had left behind in Cletus' field.

"Let me see.." he said, running his finger down a short list of men who had been bribed into this 'special assignment'. "..we've got Carl Karlson, Leonard Adams, Hose Fernandez.. oh, but no Homer Simpson tonight."

"Simpson" Burns asked, his face blank. "Do we really have a Simpson at the plant, Smithers? I can't say I've encountered him."

"He's normally one of our best workers for this sort of project, sir." Smithers said, checking his notes in mild surprise at Simpson's absence. "Usually he'll do anything for a box of triple-glazed donuts."

"Oh.." said Smithers, reading from his clipboard. "He hasn't been in work for a few days now. Some sort of family crisis, apparently.."
HOUSE MUSIC ALL NIGHT LONG!!
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Re: SCI-FI / DRAMA : "Wings"

Post by c_nordlander » Sun Dec 15, 2002 9:18 pm

Marge broke the ampoulle of orange liquid into Lisa's mushy rice porridge, then took the steaming hot bowl and carried it ceremoniously up the stairs. The ampoulles lay in a cardboard box Dr Hibbert had given her, two rows of sixteen... and then? He had referred to it as "the medicine", but Marge recognised the slightly honeyed, slightly mossy smell of the medicament before it soaked into the grey mash and milk. Food supplement, the bitter taste of growing girlhood and the body growing out in difficult ways. She must have known she would have to put this in Lisa's food, one day.

Blue dusk clouds were gathering outside the windows. Maggie had gone to bed early, and Bart and Homer were sitting in front of the TV. She caught sight of them from the stairs, silhouettes of smiles, but the crashes of light from the screen made them look brittle, brittly reflected in the thin yellow lamp gleam on the windows. She was unable to resist a shudder, and the milk in the porridge bowl creased.

"Lisa?"

She tried the handle, from habit, and almost shrunk back when it opened. Lisa was sitting up in bed. Marge felt her, even through the air, as though her warmth pressed against her skin, but the curtains were drawn. Pale fibres of grey dusk touched the chest of drawers, the saxophone, and an eclipsed head of starfish-like curls.

"Mom!" she said, her voice, her inimitable little voice... but she did not rush to hug Marge, and she even seemed to scrabble backwards when her mother came closer. The unweathered air was musty with a faint dirty smell, and yet Marge felt a draught.

"Lisa... my little girl... here's your porridge." She did like oatmeal, did she not? Dr Hibbert had advocated soft foods the next few days, and Lisa was into healthy, natural... but so many things a mother could never know about her daughter. Did she smell the liquid? There was that sound of the beast... the daughter... sucking in the air.

Lisa's moonlike eyes, shivering faintly with tears, turned towards her.

"Mom... put it on the floor. Please. I'll eat it."

Marge had never heard that note in her daughter's voice before, and found herself obeying. Down. See to it that she did not spill on the carpet. Back... out into the living light of the corridor... close the door.

"Thank you, Mom."

But there was a shift in there, the beginning of a sob, and Marge returned. She slowly closed the door behind her and stood still, as though she was trying to approach a wounded bird.

"Lisa... please... don't give up like this!" she pleaded. "It's just for a few days... you know... Dr Hibbert said you'd come back for observation, and he'll see what they can do..."

"It's OK, Mom." The bowl was cooling next to her foot. Lisa had not budged, but her adorable wild-tressed hair sunk until no glimmer of her eyes was visible.

"Please... you should come down and eat with us sometime... your father and your brother, they have to see that you are alright..." Wrong, wrong. She had never been good with words, and she needed words now, to comfort Lisa, to salvage her own heart which felt riven. "They know already." Wrong! "They'll just imagine it is worse... than it is... please, Lisa..."

She walked around the bed, and heard the rustle as Lisa made a leap for the bowl. Her own hands, still padded with soapy wrinkles after the dishwashing, closed on the matte metal of the sax.

"Lisa? When you've finished eating... think you might want to play the sax for me? It is always... so... beautiful..."

No answer, and she waited through the soft noise of chewing until she heard Lisa wipe her mouth on something. The room was grey shadows.

"Oh yes, Mom." There was a new note of life there, and Marge felt Lisa's stubby, warm hand brush her own as she took the sax. "I... I think I need to, as well. What do you want to hear?"

Marge searched her mind for the names of those tunes... breathy, bluesy, emanating through the ceiling back in the smooth happy days. "Why don't you play... 'When The Saints Go Marching In'?" It had cheered up Homie once, when he had been in a similar shaft of despair. "That is beautiful. Should I turn on the lights...?"

"No, I know it by heart." The shadow against the diaphanous curtains raised the saxophone to its lips, and other, arched, shadows rose behind it.

We are travelling in the footsteps
Of the ones who've gone before
But we'll all be


The sax gave a galling gasp, as though the girl tried to breathe through it, and Lisa sank back. The bedsprings wobbled wildly.

"I... I can... let me try again, Mom..." Such a soft fear in her voice. Why had she asked? Lisa would not want to disappoint her now...

But we'll all be reunited
On a new and sun-lit


Lisa gasped for breath again and collapsed, shadow merging with shadows. The sax clattered onto the floor lino.

"I... I can't!" Her voice was hoarse for a moment, and her breaths came too long and too sparse.

"Lisa!" She rushed up to her daughter, felt for the flutter of her breath. "Did you pass out? What..."

"No, I'm fine." It hurt more, that morose bravery. "I just can't play... I just... don't want to play..." Marge's eyes were accustomed to the dark, and Lisa was lying on her belly, half-curled up, sniffing into the pillow. The wings nodded like helmet plumes above her, with every gasp. "Mom! Don't go!"

"Sleep, my little girl", Marge said and sat down next to her, slowly stroking her hair. "It will feel better... it will always feel better tomorrow. I'll stay here. If your dreams are scary... you'll just wake up and I'll be here." So wrong. Her dreams can't be worse than this. After a moment, Lisa's hand clutched hers on the bedspread. Then the warm grasp relaxed, and the hated wings took the rhythm of sleep.
No gold or silver, coal's the only thing of worth to me
The only precious metal to our name would be the mercury.


- The Stupendium, "Shelter from the Storm"
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Re: SCI-FI / DRAMA : "Wings"

Post by SirMustapha » Tue Dec 17, 2002 7:16 pm

Marge stood still by Lisa for a quite long time, motivated by her endless patience. Slowly, all the unease within the girl seemed to disspate, as her muscles relaxed and her face began to transmit an unbearable serenity. Meanwhile, Marge's mind was tied into a knot. Her brain was racing among thousands of stupid thoughts, and at moments when she looked at herself, she seemed nothing short of pathetic. Being almost Lisa's last resort, she couldn't just let it pass like every little thing was gonna be alright. Who knows what would happen next? In the moments when she wondered about that question, she could only imagine the most unpleasant situations. So she just stopped inflicting horror in herself and decided to try to get some sleep.

She wandered back to the door into the corridor, and looked back at Lisa. In a flash, she thought that Lisa certainly had the aspect of an angel... Heck. There is no good in that scene. Anyway, it was just a flash, among the millions of thoughts and images flashing at her mind. She was tired. She shut up her brain and went to bed.

Next morning passed at different paces for everyone. Marge wandered around the house, doing her work and everything. At times, she stopped to go to Lisa's room to check things out. But somehow, Marge could barely reach the door, as all that gloom and confusion seemed to suffocate her. And the sight of Lisa felt like an anvil inside her head. The girl just stood still there, in that dark room, devoid of any kind of joy. Marge knew she had to be strong to face her daughter like that, but sometimes, she felt she couldn't. Lisa's look into Marge's eyes felt like a mockery, as if the girl was programmed to torture her mind with all might. And her inner instincts was to snap at the innocent girl and yell "please, stop looking me like that." But she felt the need to carry on, and tried as best as she could to transmit tranquility to her daughter.

But Lisa felt Marge's confusion easily. And she knew there was no use to keep thinking about her misery and pitying herself. She knew there had to be a way for her to cope with her ugly situation. But those two wings seemed to whisper in her ears how idiotic she was. And that all the people outside were walking around, joyfully, without nothing to be ashamed. But if she walked around the road, what would people's reactions be? Some would just laugh at her. Some would look to her with those stupid 'pity' faces and say "oh, dear, poor girl," even if they wouldn't give a damn anymore 2 seconds later. Others would stare at her as long as she existed, as if they had magnets in their faces that had to be constantly turned to her. And others would yell, "Oh, God, it's the evil angel of apocalypse! It's the end of the world!", whether that makes any sense.

But all those people out there were normal. All shiny happy normal people. She wasn't. She was an aberration. And nothing would have happened if she hadn't done all that stupid protest. Stupid self. And then, she would start blaming herself for everything, and wishing she could go back in time and change all the story. But she couldn't, and there came the misery.

That cycle seemed to repeat itself eternally, each time faster, until would spin around in her mind so fast that it would just end on insanity. She knew that had to stop somehow. And the only way was to remove those blasted wings. Why did she need wings? Wings were stupid. She hated birds.

The morning went on quietly. Bart arrived home from school, eventually, breaking the silence a bit. He was curious about Lisa.

"Lisa's okay, just quite sad," Marge answered to Bart as he asked about her. "Just leave her alone, she's not feeling right." She didn't want to be sure that Bart wouldn't bother his sister. It really wouldn't be good.

But Bart was too curious. He quietly wandered upstairs and slowly approached Lisa's room. He gently pushed the door, hoping it was opened: It was. Probably Marge had left it open and Lisa didn't bother to close. He just opened it enough to poke his head in.

The room was dimly lit by the light of the corridor. The windows on Lisa's room were all closed. The light was enough for him to see Lisa facing away from him, with those two wings coming crom inside her back. He eyes widened. At first, it was unbearably funny and bizarre. His little young mind was in awe at that sight. It was so surreal. His feelings were something close to delight. Amazement. That sight only made his curiosity rise, but he quite didn't have the courage to approach her. Lisa still quite scared him. That figure slowly became oppresively inhuman. So, he had nothing to do but stay there, staring at her, and soon he'd notice Maggie below him, poking her head into the room to look at that weird form of Lisa. He saw that she sighed heavily, and slowly started to move.

Lisa somehow felt there was someone standing behing her. Soon, she'd notice the room was a little brighter. Instinctively, she looked back, but saw nothing. Just the door was slightly opened.
"This is the scientifical truth, which is much better. You shouldn't let poets lie to you."
-- Björk
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Re: SCI-FI / DRAMA : "Wings"

Post by gkscotty » Thu Dec 19, 2002 5:25 pm

Two days passed without Lisa leaving her room - after Lisa because suspicious that someone had saw her, she became even more reclusive. Her door remained closed, and when anyone knocked there would be an audible movement on the other side as Lisa climbed into bed before quietly asking who it was.

Marge tried to be optimistic as she washed the dishes. At least, she thought, this means that the girl is moving about. Marge's wandering mind had feared that Lisa could develop bedsores after too much of this. And she at least knew the girl was eating - she had cleaned her plate, and Marge had checked the ground outside her window to make sure.

But dinner had just not been the same, for more reasons than Lisa's absence. Bart had been increasingly distant over the past few days. Marge had a sneaking suspicion why, but she didn't want to distance another of her children from her with an ill-judged admonishment. Homer meanwhile was genuinely trying to act natural, which was the most unnatural thing he could have tried. He typically gave up attempts at conversations after just a few "uh huh's" and "hm's."

***

Generally it was amazing, if not competely surprising, that Lisa had become the center of so many people's lives recently. Good example - Dr Hibbert was working late again, for the 15th time in the last 2 and a half weeks. He was Organising.

Hibbert picked up the phone and dialled a number - a moment later a somewhat hesitant female voice answered "Simpson?"
"Hello Marge..."
"Oh, good evening Julius." The doctor was not usually on first name terms with his customers, even those who he had practised to all their lives. But over the last two weeks the Simpsons had become an exception. "Is something wrong?"
Hibbert avoided the obvious answer. "No, nothing immediate anyway... I was just phoning to see if you are still able to host us tomorrow."
"Oh, definitely." Marge cupped a hand over the telephone receiver. "Bart will be at school, Homer will be at work... or at least he should be. Hmmmmph... oh yes, and my sisters are coming to pick up Maggie. It'll just be us, Lisa... and whoever you decide to bring."

***

After Lisa's awakening, it had been decided among the patents and doctors that since she seemd to no longer be in a critical state, the most reassuring and comfortable place for Lisa would be home. It had also been decided not to treat her like she was sick - it had been agreed that she shouldn't return to hospital - these were measures that people hoped would help her adjust quickly and build her confidence. A few days later Lisa would be visited at home by Hibbert and a number of leading medical, psychological and avian experts who would try to assess the long term effects of this event and what needed to be done.
Hibbert was somewhat regretting this. From what Marge had told him about Lisa's behaviour, he was wondering whether it would have been better to stick her in the sick children's ward along with the other kids. This path had allowed Lisa to isolate herself, when she needed to learn how to react to people's perceptions of her. Now, that would have to wait for the much harsher enviroment of school...

***

Lisa felt sick, and utterly frustrated.
She had slammed the window shut, drawn the curtains and wrapped her pillow about her ears, but there was no way to drown out the birdsong that accompanied the early morning light.
Her eyes fell to the floor, onto the saxophone that had been dropped there some days ago.
Damn birds!
Lisa grimaced and tried to roll over, so that she didn't have to look at the instrument, but her quck roll was blocked as a bone was twisted the wrong way, and a SHARP pain flashed in her back.
She was getting used to that pain now.
Damn wings!
Lisa rolled back to where she had been, bit back a sob, and carefully rolled over on her front.

***

Lisa must have started dozing, because next thing she knew she was awakened by a knocking at the door.
"Lisa..." Marge called through the door. "Lisa? Doctor Hibbert's here."
Lisa pulled the covers around her. "He can come in."

The door opened, and Hibbert walked in, smiling at Lisa. "Good morning Lisa. How are you feeling today?"
Lisa just avoided his eyes, and didn't reply. Hibbert knelt down next to her bed.
"We'd'd like to give you a through examination today."
"We?"
"I've brought some other doctors and scientists with me. All experts in their respective fields. They'll be helping me decide what's best for you."
"I know what'd be best for me..." Lisa quietly replied. "Just take them off..."
Hibbert laughed. "Huh he he he he he. Well, that's one possibility. We'll do that if we can, Lisa."
Marge approached the bed from behind Hibbert. "Please, just let them examine you."
Lisa hesitantly nodded, and Hibbert smiled.

***

Six hours later, everyone was done, letting a tired and disturbed Lisa return to bed. Everyone else assembled in the living room - Homer was back from work now, and Bart had been exiled to Milhouse's until later tonight.

Hibbert looked round at the doctors, and over to Homer and Marge. "Well, I think we've all had enough time with Lisa now... shall we start with you, Doctor Zhang?" Zhang was a bone specialist. He looked up from his papers and nervously addressed the group.
"Ah, well, um, I took some X-rays today... they've come through just now... well... the bones in the wings look okay... well, as far as I know about wings..."
Someone interuppted. "Don't you worry about the wings son, stick to your specialty. I'll talk about the wings later." That was the Texan Mitch Sweeper, the bird expert.
"Oh? Well... okay..." Zhang held up his x-rays against the light. "Well, as you can see, the wings have fully integrated themselves into the skeletal structure of Lisa's upper back. Almost the entire layout of the shoulder area has changed - you may have noticed a slight change in the angle of Lisa's shoudlers, that's to do with room being made for the extra bones and muscle... anyway, the big problem is that the wings are directly connected to the spine. Thet'll make for some tricky operations, should we decide to try and remove them."
Hibbert nodded, and Marge and Homer lokoed around nervously. They didn't completely understand what was being said, but it didn't sound good.
"There's also the issue of the extra weight - I've noticed Lisa has some trouble walking. With the extra weight, her bones are under a lot of additional stress. I don't think they'll break or deform, but Lisa will find it quite painful for a while, until her bones grow some more and accomidate for the extra weight. With time and a good diet, that shouldn't be a problem. She's lucky she's still growing."

Hibbert looked around to the next expert. "Alice?"
Alice Rainey was the heart and blood specialist. "The wings seem to have built themselves into Lisa's circulatory system, and there are new veins and arteries that specifically serve them. They seem healty enough. There are two things that concern me. Firstly, she needs more blood. She is deficent in red and white blood cells - all those new meters of veins were created but no blood was created at the time to put in them. I asked her how she felt, and some parts of her body are a little numb. That should go away with time but a transfusion may be in order for now. Secondly, I don't know how her heart will stand up to pumping all this additional blood around. Like with her bones, hopefully Lisa's heart will get stronger and be able to handle it with time."
"Do you see any threat to Lisa if the wings were to be amputated?" Hibbert asked.
"No more than any other amputation involving a vein."
"I see, thank you. Would you like to go next Mr Sweeper?"
"If I may, Dr Hibbert. To ma mind, these wings are like nothin' ah've seen before in ma life, and I don't just mean in terms of the size. They seem to resemble a hybrid of an eagle and a sparrow. Ah've had a look at Dr Zhang's X-rays - thank you - and they look just like I would expect - if ah hadn't seen Lisa for myself, I'd have assumed those shots came off a regular bird and had just been blown up."
"So the wings themselves are healthy?" Hibbert asked
"Sure are, or as healthy as wings attached to a human can be. The problem I see with them is, they're just not big enough!"
"What?" Marge almost yelled. "You think they should be bigger?"
"From a practical point of view, yes mamn. I've done my calculations - I don't think those wings will be able to support Lisa in the air, should she try flyin'. They're just a little too small to support her size."

A hush settled over the room, as everyone thought this over. Having wings would be nice, they'd thought, if it meant you could fly. But this news changed Lisa's status from "Eagle" to "Dodo."

"Aside from that." Mitch continued. "Nothin' more to report right now."
"Okay." Hibbert turned to the next person. "James?"
Dr James Keep, a young physiotherapist stood up. "Hm... where to start... Lisa does have feeling in her wings - I was going to say they were numb, but Dr Rainey already explained why. As for movement... Lisa is very unwilling to conciously move her wings, and I definitely believe that it's difficult for her. She's going to be learning how to use a whole new set of muscles - no human has ever needed to learn how to move wings before. Anyway... she doesn't want to conciously move the wings, but they're definitely moving subcounciously. I could see it just watching her breathe, or one time when I accidently startled her. So I would say that she can definitely learn how to move them, and may already be subcounciously doing so." he paused. "There's also the issue of posture. She's hunched over under the wings' weight - I may have to spend some time with her showing her how to stand and walk upright again. I'll say this now... I gather that Lisa has spent the last few days in bed, yes? It's vital that she gets out of bed from now on and exercises. I can't stress this enough Mrs Simpson. It's the best way to make her body adapt to the extra weight."
"I concur." Dr Zhang added, and Dr Rainey also nodded.
"Hm... I don't know how we'll manage that..." Marge groaned to herself.
"Well then..." Hibbert looked around to the final doctor, a psychatrist. "Dr Anderson?"

Dr Sharon Anderson looked up. Out of everyone she seemed the most harried and worried. "I had an hour's talk with Lisa earlier today, and stayed in the room during her examinations. The situation is... not good. She's immensely depressed and lonely, and her confidence has bottomed out. To cut a long story short, if she's going to keep these wings, she must learn not to hate them so much, and gain some self respect. It's that, or she will hide away in a room until she dies. You have to encourage her to step outside her room."
"Would you recommend trying to remove the wings?" Hibbert asked.
"That could help, but the events of the past few weeks would still scar her for life, and there are some bad mental conditions that could result from that. At best, in later life she might start thinking that she ran away from something wonderful like having wings. Or she might experience phantom pain where the wings had been. At worst, she might become delerious and jump off a building trying to fly. I think I should also point out that amputating the wings would leave significant scars on Lisa's back that would be very hard to explain. And did anyone else notice that there is a patch of feathers on Lisa's back inbetween the wings? Would a skin graft remove that?"
"Perhaps." Hibbert said. "But we don't know for sure..." Hibbert looked around the room. "Well... now we come to decision time. Should we move to remove the wings? Mr and Mrs Simpson?"
"Please Dr Hibbert, don't ask us..." Marge was bewildered. "Lisa wants them to go... but we'll follow whatever you decide."
"Well then." Hibbert started. "I suppose we can put it to a vote."
"I say no." Dr Zhang started. "At least for now. Those bones are too close to the spine, it's immeasurably risky. There's no sense removing the wings only to paralyse the poor girl."
"I'm going with him." Sharon Anderson continued. "While Lisa is in trouble emotionally right now, it's nothing compared to what she could end up like in thirty years if we make the wrong choice now. If we don't operate now we can operate later once we know more anyway."
Alice looked up. "I think we should do it now. The wings are clearly a drain on Lisa's heart, and I think we could be risking a heart failure soon if too much stress is put on it."
"I agree" James the physio added. "From my point of view, removing the wings is the quickest and easiest way to solve most of Lisa's problems."
Everyone looked at Mitch Sweeper. "Hey, don't ask me. I know about birds, and I can see that those wings are healthy, but ah don't know much about their effect on the rest of her body and mind. I'll abstain here, if you don't mind."
"I guess that leaves the casting vote to me." Hibbert mused, before closing his eyes and thinking to himself. He then looked around the room again.
"My hipocratic oath demands that I do no harm - while it is a good idea to remove the wings, I'm not convinced it's the best idea. The potential for disaster is too high, and I think there's the possibility that a smart girl like Lisa could eventually adjust to having them. I'm going to have to cast my vote against the idea."

"That's three to two against, with one abstaining." Mitch Sweeper noted. "Guess we're not doing it."
Marge's head sunk into her hands.
"Lisa really wants the wings removed." Homer said carefully. "Who'll tell her it's not happening?"
"I will..." Hibbert started saying, but Marge interuppted.
"No doctor, I'll tell her... she'll take it better from me..."
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It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone’s fault. If it was Us, what did that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do bad things. - Jingo, Terry Pratchett
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Re: SCI-FI / DRAMA : "Wings"

Post by c_nordlander » Sat Dec 21, 2002 7:06 am

"My little Lisa... I was talking to the doctors about your wings..."

"And?"

"You are never going to be able to fly with them. Because... they're not strong enough, you're a little girl, not a bird."

"I know, Mom."

"But they can't amputate them... it might hurt you too much."

"I know, but Mom... I don't care about the pain."

"It might leave you crippled for life, or ruin... other things. They can't do it." Not now, not with current technology. Not at your age. Just say something to comfort... she couldn't.

"I know."

"You will have to live with them. They... they make you even more special."

"I know."

"Lisa... you are crying."

* * *

The following day, Homer had to go back to work, after several urgent phone calls. Marge glared at his burly, white-shirted back as he managed to get into the car. We all know that Mr Burns... she had mentioned it to him, in a none too pushy fashion, vaguely hoping that he would do something. Of course he wouldn't. He would just fold. Workers at the power plant had virtually no power, now Burns had disbanded the union again. He would have to choose between his job and standing up for his daughter. That didn't make him a traitor. Why had she been so violently angry lately?

Even so... what was the best Mr Burns could do? Apologise? Knowing him, he would never.

"Mom?"

Marge jolted from the empty breakfast table. Bart was already trotting down the garden path, head low. He hadn't said goodbye. Lisa's voice... Lisa's questioning, bright voice calling for her. She had already been given breakfast. What was it? She sounded... alive.

Marge's heart seemed to open when she saw her daughter standing in the doorway, hanging on to the doorknob in a childish fashion, as though she was afraid of falling over. She wasn't happy, and who could blame her, but she seemed determined. The tears from last night had dried, but she had cried so much lately that her cheeks looked bloody. Look at her cheeks.

"Mom, could you help me with something?"

More violent hope as Marge realised that the curtains were drawn to the side. Springfield morning light, sparkling with the highest amount of military aerosol in the state, spilled in across the lino. And Lisa stepped aside and let her get into the room. Smell of feathers, again. The doctors had cleaned them carefully with alcohol, and they no longer smelt dirty, just... animal. Don't think.

"What is it, dear?" If she wanted some book from the library, or to be told a story, or to have some audience for sax practice, or read a poem...

"Mom, could you please help me take the mirror out of here?" Lisa gestured at her heavy framed mirror, now leaning against her chest of drawers. "I took it down, but... it's heavy... I get dizzy..."

Marge was a mother, so she turned her face away and strangled the tears before they reached her eyes. She grabbed the heavy mirror and carried it out into the hallway. Lisa helped lifting the other end, even though she told her not to. Maybe she needed the exertion.

"Thanks, Mom." Now, there was actually a smile in her eyes, but it was such that Marge would have preferred tears. "Oh, and this."

It was just a little hand mirror, in a pink plastic frame shaped as clumsy roses, on top of the drawers. Marge took it gingerly, then stiffened. Like a brittle porcelain doll. Next to the mirror lay a folded red frayed-edge dress, the new Malibu Stacey Trailer Trash doll, a music box, a portrait photo of Lisa, some sheet music... and.

"Lisa, I think you need to fluff your pillow up." Her voice stayed neutral, and from the corner of her eye she saw Lisa turn around, wings rising into the air as she bent forward and shook the pillow.

Marge's hand slid out and grabbed the army knife, holding it as though it might lash and bite. "A memento from Rommelwood", said a tag on its sheath. "Good luck to the bravest boy in Cadets of '93." For all the Commandant's good sides, he had never quite been able to grasp gender diversity.

"Is that alright, Lisa? I have to go and... do things."

She hurried down the stairs, throwing the pink mirror to Maggie where she was playing in her pen, keeping the black knife until she got out into the kitchen and could control her breath. It was sharp, she barely touched the blade and it drew blood. There was an eagle engraved on the handle. She thought of the waste bin, but even so... too risky. Instead, she put it in the money jar. Lisa would never look in it, would she? She was always so considerate.

* * *

Around ten o'clock, Marge had to leave the house anyway, to buy some food. Maggie gurgled happily as she lifted her up on her shoulder and did the rounds of the house. Drawn curtains. Lisa in bed, sleeping soundly. Marge shuddered despite herself, then locked the bedroom door. It was just for a few short minutes anyway, wasn't it? She didn't want her to go downstairs, not with that knife in the house. And if anything managed to get in... another locked door, for safety's sake.

"Your sister needs to be alone", she murmured in Maggie's ear, and Maggie sucked her pacifier vigorously as though she understood.

* * *

Lisa was walking down the sunny road to the school. So she must have missed the bus... it was annoying, but she would get there in time. If only it wasn't so hot. The sun blinded her unless she looked straight into the pavement, and dust rose around her until she could hardly breathe. Her backpack was so heavy, it crooked her. She would have to stop and rest. Not yet... she wanted a chance to get there in time. So heavy. Her shoulders were starting to ache. Her knees bent only by default for every single step.

And you are never going to be able to fly.

The shoulderstraps snapped, the pack thudded to the ground, and at first she felt only relief. She was so nimble and light now, it felt as though she could rise with the dustmotes. But the pack shouldn't have been so heavy. She kneeled next to it and fumbled with the buckle, and then choked from a horrible stench. It smelt like something dead by poison. Lisa stumbled away, but the stench followed her, it got into her lungs, it made her head swirl...

... so it was a dream. She woke up, face burrowed into the pillow, halfway crushed by her wings, and it took minutes to get into an upright position.

"Mom?" But she could tell from some mental echo that the house was empty.

She dragged herself over to the chest of drawers, under the shadow of where the mirror had hung. Something seemed wrong with the stuff on top. That hand mirror was gone, of course, and... but then there was the photo. She felt... was this nostalgia? Lisa Simpson smiled back at her, it was the same year as she got her new invisible braces. Blond hair standing in every direction, clean dress, wide blue eyes. She swung it around to see clearer.

The shred of light through the opening between the curtains hit the glass on the photo, and she saw her reflection. The photo crashed out of her hand.

Lisa stumbled for the door.
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The only precious metal to our name would be the mercury.


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Re: SCI-FI / DRAMA : "Wings"

Post by jenny » Mon Dec 23, 2002 10:15 pm

Lisa felt her knees buckle uncontrollably as she fell, the new, unfamiliar weight on her back pushing her to the floor. It was ironic; wings were supposed to help their owners escape gravity. She fell slowly. Maybe they were enough to slow the descent, even if they couldn’t keep her from hitting the floor. She hit the floor hard. She heard a snap. Slowly, pain began to shoot through her back, and beyond.

“MMMMMMMOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!”

It was a sharp pain, which raced through Lisa’s body like a runaway train. It ran up her spine, and into bone that Lisa was still struggling to accept she now had. Lisa turned her head, and saw the tip of her wing contorted on the floor.

It hurt. It hurt her so much; partly the actual pain, and partly the eerie, disembodied experience of feeling pain somewhere beyond where Lisa’s brain still thought her body ended. It was unbearable, a sharp agony that send a nauseous chill through her spine. All Lisa could think of was getting help.

“MOM?” she screamed. “MOM, WHERE ARE YOU?”

Marge hadn’t said anything about going out. In fact, she hadn’t said anything much to Lisa for days. Lisa wondered if her mother could hear her, but didn’t want to have to see to a... freak like Lisa.

No, mommy,  Lisa screamed mentally. Don’t abandon me like this, please! I’m still your little girl. Please help me!

Agonisingly, Lisa crawled towards the door, pulling herself forward with grim determination and desperation. She’d never known pain like this; it was flaming through her whole body. And not just that - the pain of being rejected.

She bit her lip to try to keep from screaming. It didn’t work. She was sobbing uncontrollably, hysterically, coughing on her tears. She was going to choke. Would it matter to anyone if she did?

It felt like hours to Lisa. It took an age for her to inch painfully towards the door. Every time she pulled herself forward, pain tore through her back. It shook her physically; she could feel what little strength she had fading. But she didn’t give up. For the first time since... the accident, Lisa felt alive. She wanted to get through that door and get something to take this awful sensation away.

Finally, she reached the door. She lifted her arm up, reaching for the door handle. Every little movement she made unleashed waves of pain, but she couldn’t give up now. Not now she was so close. She couldn’t reach from her position laid on the floor. She would have to try to get to her feet.

Lisa deep gulps of air, trying to suppress the agony. It distorted her mind, corrupted her thought patterns, and added to a resolve Lisa never knew she had. She was drawing strength from somewhere previously unknown to her; now she could understand how people could conjure up superhuman strength or feats of endurance when they needed to. All her self pity and bitterness was gone now – for better or worse, her fate was in her own hands now. And she wanted to make sure her fate was a happy one now, more than ever. She wanted to live again. She could do this; she had to.

Mind over matter, she thought as she braced herself. Mind over matter.

She began to pull herself once again, upwards rather than forwards this time. The pain came again; it was cold and icy this time. It came in waves; increasingly unbearable waves of pain that hit Lisa like a hammer blow. But she could take them, because she knew that it would all be over soon, if she could just get past this door. She was nearly on her knees now. She flung her arm desperately towards the handle. It fell into place heavily, the last of her strength spent. The full weight of her body pulled the handle downwards, and she fell forward to push it open. She’d done it.

Except, she hadn’t. The door wouldn’t budge.

She was pressed up against it now. She had hold of the handle, she was pushing it forward, but it wouldn’t move. IT WOULDN’T MOVE!

Marge must have locked it. Of course, she wouldn’t want people seeing a freak like me. Better to lock me up away from the world.

Lisa’s icy determination was hit by the roaring flames of reality. It melted instantly as her hopes dissolved right before her eyes. Everything came back to her now she was shorn of her altered-state bravery. She began to cry again, screaming into the door, banging it with her fists and her head. The pain was so much worse now; it was more than she could take.

Downstairs, Marge pulled the front door open and stepped into the hall clutching a brown paper bag. She’d been a little longer than she had expected at the Kwik-e-Mart, but surely nothing could have happened. She had been gone for ten, fifteen minutes, nothing more. Lisa would be okay, wouldn’t she?

Marge got her answer after a second, as it registered in her mind just what that distant cry she would here was. Her heart sank into the pits of despair again, where it had taken almost exclusive residence recently. The paper bag fell to the floor as Marge ran up the stairs. “Oh, Lisa honey, I’m coming!”

She quickly unlocked the door, and pushed it forwards. It hardly moved – Marge broke down once again when she saw a small, shaking arm force itself through the crack in the doorway.

“Mom... I... I thought you’d left me.” she heard her little girl weep.
Last edited by jenny on Thu Jan 01, 1970 1:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SCI-FI / DRAMA : "Wings"

Post by Cuteswan » Sun Dec 29, 2002 12:34 am

"Oh, what have I done to my baby!" Marge cried as she tried to figure out what to do next.  She couldn't push the door open because it would hit her screaming daughter.  Marge dropped to her knees and grabbed Lisa's flailing arm.  She held and squeezed Lisa's hand, which calmed the girl a bit.  "I'm so sorry!  I just went to the store.  What happened?"

"I think my wing broke," Lisa replied through the tears.  "But it hurts all over -- BAD!"

Marge was a little calmer now and told Lisa straight out, "You've gotta let me in!"

Just knowing that her mother was there gave Lisa the strength and will which had been depleted minutes earlier.  She was reluctant to let go of her mother's hand, but Marge gently forced her to as Lisa crawled backwards, just enough for Marge to get in.  Lisa looked up at her mother, her savior, but once she saw Marge's horrified expression she began to panic.  She slumped face-first on the floor, landing on her chin, and began sobbing harder than before.

Marge saw that Lisa's left wing was contorted almost ninety-degrees from what it should be, and the break wasn't far from where it met her back.  She thought it would ease the pain to put it back near its proper position.  However, when she ever so gently touched the damaged new limb, the pain made Lisa shriek so hard that she spent her air and couldn't inhale for several seconds afterwards.  Marge was not about to try that again.  Instead, she put her hands on Lisa's head and turned it to the side, but even that seemed to set off more waves of pain in the writhing girl.

Even though it would only take a minute, it seemed like the hardest thing Marge would ever do in her life.  "I'll be right back honey!  I'm getting help!  I'm not leaving you!" she cried as she ran to the bedroom and picked up the phone, dialing 9-1-1.

An eternity seemed to pass between dialing and Chief Wiggum answering, "Springfield Police..."

Marge cut him off, "It's Marge Simpson!  Lisa's hurt badly and needs an ambulance!"

"An ambulance?" the Chief asked with a snort.  "If you need an ambulance then why'd you call the police?"

"JUST DO IT!" Marge screamed furiously into the phone.  "She won't fit in my car and she's hurt badly!"

Chief Wiggum responded, "Okay, okay.  What's the address?"

"742 Evergreen Terrace -- you and Sarah've come over for dinner for goodness sakes!  Just hurry!" Marge yelled and then dropped the phone before running back to Lisa.

Marge saw the wings rising and falling as Lisa heaved for every breath, but she wasn't crying anymore.  Marge fell to her knees and stroked her hair.  Lisa didn't move; she didn't speak, and her eyes were closed.  She had passed out.

"I'm a terrible mother," Marge told herself as she jumped up and yanked the comforter from the bed, which she partially folded and gently placed Lisa's head on.  She couldn't bear to see her little girl's lifeless face on the floor like that.  She continued comforting her, but there was nothing else she could do.

It didn't take long for Marge to hear the sirens of the ambulance.  She raced downstairs to let them in, using her foot to shove the fallen grocery bag into out of the way as she passed.  She flung the front door open and cried, "This way!  This way!"  Two women in white were rushing up the walkway with a gurney and a large medical kit.  They overtook Marge halfway up the stairs as she told them which bedroom.

"She's in shock.  Call it in, Tina" barked the first woman, who had "Joanne" on her name badge.  Tina dropped the kit and took the handheld radio from her belt.  Joanne spoke to Marge, "Mrs. Simpson, we have to get this costume off her."  Joanne then reached for Lisa's back.

"No!" Marge cried.  "They're not a costume!  It's her --one's broken."

As Tina talked on the radio, Joanne gently reached into the feathery spot between the wings and felt around, trying to find a clasp or strap that held them on.  "What the...!" she muttered.

Marge shouted, "Call Dr. Hibbert at Springfield Memorial!  He'll tell you!  Just don't hurt her any more!"  Not wanting to waste time, Joanne popped open the medical kit and started checking Lisa.

Tina suddenly put down the radio and shot Marge a dirty look.  "Simpson?  I remember now: she's the kid that found the fake angel skeleton last year."  She sneered, "What's this, some other publicity stunt?"

"It wasn't her fault -- she always thought it was a fake!" Marge pleaded.

Tina mocked, "Oh, right!  Like this isn't to advertise a new Starbucks there, you..."

Joanne was shining a flashlight into Lisa's eyes when she, in an extremely-impolite manner, told Tina to stop talking and take Lisa's blood pressure.  Joanne continued, "Stunt or not, it's broken and digging into her spine.  When you're done with that, grab the oxygen tank and the backboard -- and make sure that Hibbert is standing by!"

*****

Lisa was lying face down on the backboard as she was wheeled into the emergency room.  Joanne held up the splinted left wing in her hands.  Marge was right at the foot of the gurney as it rolled through the door, but she was immediately approached by the admitting nurse who stopped her.

"How did this happen, Mrs. Simpson?" she asked as Lisa was whisked away.  Marge couldn't look away even after Lisa was out of sight.

"I don't know.  I went out to the store and when I got home she had broken it somehow.  She was crying like I've never heard before.  How could I have left my poor helpless little girl all alone!?" Marge lamented.

*****

Back at the house, sleepy Maggie stuck her head up from the paper shopping bag and rubbed her eyes.  She looked around for a moment and sucked on her pacifier twice.  The front door was open and all was quiet.  She shrugged her shoulders and crawled to the family room couch.  Once there, she grabbed the remote from between the cushions and dropped to the floor, facing the television.  Click!

*****

Dr. Hibbert approached Marge and brushed off the nurse, telling her that there was already paperwork for this case.  "What's this about a broken wing, Marge?" he asked.

"Julius, the left wing really hurts!" Marge said frantically.

"Tell me about it!  You should see what I pay in taxes, huh he he he he he," he said with his trademark laugh.  "Now go let's take a look at that wing.  I've already paged Dr. Sweeper."

"The bird doctor?" Marge gasped.

*****

Lisa awoke on her stomach with her head on a pillow.  There was something blue, curly, and comforting tickling her nose, and it smelled nice.  "Mom?" she asked as she pulled her right arm from her side and wrapped it around her sleeping mother's head.  She was surprised that, for once, she wasn't tied down when she awoke: besides the side rails, only her mother's left arm was over her back kept her in bed.  Marge was asleep but beginning to stir when Lisa had a sudden flash of fear.  "Why did you...?" she started to ask.

Marge wearily lifted her head.  "You're up!  How do you feel?" she asked as the curtain parted and Doctors Hibbert and Sweeper stepped in.

Lisa replied, "It still hurts, and I feel really woozy and sick to my stomach.  Must be too much pain medicine."

Dr. Sweeper picked up Lisa's medical chart as Dr. Hibbert spoke, "Pain medication?  I didn't give you any while you were out."

Dr. Sweeper interjected, "Nope, all you got was a plain ol' saline I.V. and two quarts of whole blood, fresh squeezed from your dear ol' daddy."

"Mrrrr, that explains it," Marge let out with a huff.

Dr. Hibbert continued, "Anyway, the break was pretty severe, and it pulled on the entire nerve cluster.  Now that we've pinned and set it the bone should heal up in about six weeks, if it heals at the same rate as a femur.  Oh, and we used a ceramic pin instead of titanium so you'd still be able to fly."

Marge and Lisa looked at him with confusion before he finished, "You know, with airport security being what it is these days, huh he he he he he."  Dr. Hibbert gently took Marge's arm from Lisa's back, but he didn't let go.  He looked her right in the eyes and softly said, "Marge, let's go get a cup of coffee."

She looked nervously at Lisa, but she knew it must be important so she got up.  "Don't worry.  We'll be right back," she said as they left, with Dr. Hibbert making sure to close the curtain behind them.

Dr. Sweeper sat down in the chair, his face close to hers.  He spoke loudly with a smile in his voice, "So, cowgirl, what's this I hear about you tryin' to do push ups on your back?"

She spoke dispassionately, "I just fell back.  It was an accident."

"Accident or not, you gotta take care of yourself better 'an that," he shot back.  "If you don't, no one else will.  Heck, I hear that one of the medics almost tried to break the other one off when you were passed out on the floor."

"But what can I do, Dr., uh?" Lisa hesitated.  She couldn't remember who he was: there had been so many doctors, and she felt so objectified when being examined by everyone that she had tried to block it out.

"Just call me Mitch," he said.  "And, well, you're gonna have to do something about it.  After all, when you fall down front ways you know how to fold your arms so you land okay, right?  So it's gotta be the same with these big flappers of yours."

Lisa opened her mouth to speak, but the Texan kept on talking, "And you can't just sit up in your room all day feelin' like a cow pie.  You need to get out and move around -- a lot.  You're also gonna have to see Dr. Keep for physical therapy, too.  Get used to these feather-sticks so you don't keep fallin' over or end up getin' caught in the school bus door."

"I can't go to school like this!" she complained as her right wing quivered and momentarily unfolded.

Dr. Sweeper stood up to leave.  "Feathers or no feathers, someday you're gonna have to leave the nest.  Yeah, it's easier to get over the Alamo than somethin' like this, but you'd better just get started now while a bunch of us are willing to give you a hand."  He turned and started through the curtain, but then he turned back and added, "You've got something special and it'd be a real shame to let it go to waste like this."

"They're not special, they're a curse," she spat.

He shook his head.  "I ain't talkin' 'bout them wings."
Last edited by Cuteswan on Thu Jan 01, 1970 1:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SCI-FI / DRAMA : "Wings"

Post by c_nordlander » Tue Dec 31, 2002 10:31 am

The sci-fi-esque steel walls of his chamber closed around him again, with their blinking lights and displays of whose significance he had only a vague idea. Homer plopped down disconsolately in his soft, swivelly chair, reaching with an uneasy motion for the last donut in the box. Dry, somewhat stiff shell, caster sugar. He bit it off, and the creamy filling spilled into his mouth, with the usual strange glowing surge of awareness of the first sugar fix of the day.

Lisa was at home now. He was at work for the first time in what felt like weeks, and Lisa wasn't here... and he felt horrible, but he could relax. His round shoulders slumped back on the chair padding, and his eyelids whisked down again with the shivering fluorescent lighting. He had spent days in front of the TV, turning it up when he heard muted sobs from upstairs, turning it up until it felt like it would drown everything in his head with its itchy noise, but... Lisa would be OK. Remember. Marge was watching over her, Marge was a lot better at watching over things than him. He didn't have to have a guilty conscience. Surely Lisa would feel a lot better once she got used to it. The wings made her look even prettier, anyway. Like a pretty angel. Sleepy. He mustn't get perturbed with his own familial misfortunes, he was a safety inspector, if not for him who would protect the city from death by meltdown? So sleepy and tired.

Vane...

"Hey Homer!" Lenny called, from his and Carl's dart contest, when he sat glumly over a cup of coffee at lunch break. "We heard your daughter is in a pretty bad way... is she getting any better?"

Homer felt his mouth open, like it was being wedged... like with a huge club sandwich... from all the things he wanted to talk about. Get them out of his head and onto the air. How he had burrowed his head into the pillow until his eyes were bulging with darkness and he couldn't see Lisa crumbled in her bed, those white new limbs shivering above her...

Feathers...

"Yes. She's a lot better now."

Wings...

Lisa dunked her head under the water, and rubbed her scalp and hair furiously. Once she had all the foam out she surfaced, grabbed the shampoo bottle and got some more. She'd gone through more than half a bottle trying to get this stuff out of her hair... it was disgusting. She'd also changed the bath water 3 times now, and had a shower earlier...

Fertiliser...
New megalomaniac schemes...
MR BURNS!!!

Rage seethed through Homer until he was surprised that his skin could contain it. Rage made him stomp through the lusciously-carpeted corridor of the upper level of the plant like a rampaging giant monkey of justice, hardly even bothering to knock on the carven double doors to the office before throwing them open.

"MR BURNS!"

And stopped in his tracks.

His employer was sitting in his high-backed chair of office as so many times before, ribbons of mothy light filtering through the panel windows and only faintly illuminating the dry, unsound air. His limp, lean hands were steepled together, and his decayed face was more fiendish than usual, lit with a strange smile of... certainty? Anticipation?

Apart from the towering, moth-eaten stuffed polar bear in the corner, he was alone.

"Do come in", said Mr Burns, in a tone of voice which made a welcome seem worse than a dismissal. "And who might you be, my good fellow?"

"I am Homer Simpson!" Homer advanced, aware of the hundreds of trapdoors possibly hiding under the lush rug, not caring. "You may have heard of my daughter!"

Normally, that toady Smithers would have stopped him before he came halfway. But Smithers was gone, and Mr Burns had not yet stopped smiling. That knowledge dawned upon Homer and made him slow his steps.

"Ah, yes. Little... Lisa. My commiserations." Burns bowed his head in recognition, his neck making a strange creaking noise. "Such a strange happenstance, I was thinking about her plight as you came." He motioned to a chair by the wall, his eyes glittering with strange awareness for a moment. "Please to be seated, Mr... And we can discuss this."
No gold or silver, coal's the only thing of worth to me
The only precious metal to our name would be the mercury.


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Re: SCI-FI / DRAMA : "Wings"

Post by SirMustapha » Wed Jan 01, 2003 1:43 pm

Almost in a snap, Homer's rage seemed to dissolve, and he withdrawn a bit. Probably because of the uncomfortable feeling of infinite power Burns transmits. And his tone of voice, even sounding warm, seemed cynical and cold, and even threatening. Without knowing very much what to do, Homer took a seat and tried to look everywhere but directly into Burns. After some cruel moments of silence, the old man spoke.

"How is she?"

Stuttering a bit, Homer tried to explain.

"Well, Lisa, she's, uh... quite fine. Yeah, quite fine, now."

"That's good news." Burns leaned back on his chair, apparently satisfied with Homer's answer, still keeping his scary smile towards Homer.

"She's..... recovering. Yeah."

Even having so much to say about her, Homer didn't really know what to say in that situation, no matter how hard he tried. Instead, he just got himself more confused. He still had that urge to throw all his rage at Burns and blame him for everything. Anyway, he was probably the one to blame. But...

"It was all because of that..."

"That what?" A glimpse of interest seemed to show up at the man's face.

"... that... fertiliser."

There. Homer had said it. That blasted fertiliser. Burns frowned a bit.

"Fertiliser? What fertiliser?"

"I don't know very well... but she and my wife were talking about some fertiliser. It happened the same day of that protest."

"Protest?"

The facts were even harder for Mr Burns to relate. What protest? What fertiliser?

"Yeah, some protest she and some guys held here on the plant."

Still unsure, Burns tried to think, while nodding gently to Homer, as if he was understanding.

"I see... Well, it's good to hear everything's alright, Mr Simpson. I'm most pleased by this."

"Uh... alright." Homer stood up from his seat. "Er, I think I have to return to my work."

"Yeah, sure."

Homer left the room, heavily relieved. At least he said it all. Meanwhile, Burns was still trying to get the facts straight. He really didn't seem to know about any protest... Except... that protest Smithers had talked about. But it must have happened while they were away, to deliver that fertiliser to that farmer.....!

... Could it be?

***

The incident with Lisa's wing was already a few weeks ago, and her wounds recovered nicely. There was still a little pain, but she was already used to it. Slowly, she felt her energies growing again, and every day, she felt her self confidence rising inside her. Maybe the accident and the struggle has given her a new hope. She didn't feel so helpless anymore. Now, she wanted to return to her normal status, to be Lisa Simpson again. She felt she had the power to do it. She knew it somehow.

She was sitting at her bad, inside her room by the time. It was early afternoon. Suddenly, she noticed how oddly dark her room was. That was really discomforting her now. She looked at the window. It was closed. Why?

It was clear for now that she didn't want to be an outcast anymore. Enough of being an alien. She stood up and moved to the window. Slowly, she opened it. Her eyes stung a little bit as the light of the day gently entered the room. But as she got used to the light, she could see the blue sky again, the street, the grass, and the birds flying high above. Weird, she seemed to have nothing against birds anymore.

That sight was quite a relief to her. She remained there for a few minutes, until she felt the weight of her back and had to return to bed. But now, she was strangely satisfied. It was good for a start. If she started walking around more often, she would probably get used to that new weight and walk around normally. At least, almost normally. Now, she was back in bed, but the room was much more comfortable than before. It felt good.

Less than one day later, Lisa would be downstairs, by the front door, about to leave. She still didn't feel quite prepared to step outside, especially if somebody was out there. But it didn't take long, and she turned to door knob and stepped outside.

She didn't remember how good it was to be outside. She had grown so tired of it, and now, being out on the street was like a blessing. Slowly, she moved around the front lawn. She wasn't really able to move around as fast as she used to do. But she was progressing. She noticed that, as she moved, her wings would involuntarily move as well. She found it somewhat funny, and mentally watched herself just walking around the lawn, as if it was the biggest delight of her life.

Marge went upstairs to check Lisa, but she wasn't there. Strange. She looked around the house quickly, and would soon see Lisa outside. Well... it was good. Much better than remaining inside her room, anyway. It seemed that things were going to get fine.

***

But in Mr Burns's office, things were far from fine. The deal with the fertiliser really made him worried.

"So, we come to the conclusion that our fertiliser caused that girl's illness?" Smithers tried to remain calm and transmit tranquility there, but things weren't really simple at the moment.

"Hmm, yes, sir."

"And what exactly happened to her? That man's farm was reduced to a pile of feathers! What about the girl? Was she transformed into a chicken or what?"

"Well, er... According to our information, apparently the girl has grown a pair of wings on her back."

That statement caught the man in such a way that he was on the verge of laughing, but that was definitely not the right time for it. Even if he could barely believe it, that sounded critical. And suddenly, he realized the danger.

"W... Wings?"

"It is what we know so far."

"So... what if she appears in public? What will people think of it?"

"Well, er..."

"And if the media gets involved with it? And what if they discover about the incident? We're doomed, Smithers! We're doomed!"

"Hmm, not if you be quicker than them."

And with this, Burns's brain automatically started to craft some kind of plan.

***

In a little while, Lisa would be walking down the street, smiling. For some reason, those wings were giving her some kind of joy. Maybe because it was funny when people looked at her with their standard confused face. Anyway, nobody could ever wonder those wings were real: Maybe some cheap joke or anything else.

Then, she'd pass by Bart and Milhouse. As the boys saw them, they stopped and observed them, confused, especially Milhouse, of course.

"Lisa? What you're doing there?" Bart asked as she approached them.

"Nothing much. Just walking around. It makes some time since I walked around here."

"What... What is that?" Milhouse pointed over at Lisa's back, quite ashamed, hesitating a little.

"Oh, that?" She asked, pointing at her right wing. "Nothing." As she said that, her wings involuntarily moved a little, as if mocking Milhouse's confusion.

"Uhh... Right," Milhouse resigned.

"But are you alright? Are you feeling better?"

"Sure! I'm almost perfect."

"Well... uh, see you around, then."

"Yeah. Bye, guys."

The two kids waved to Lisa and left. Slowly, as they looked back timidly to observe Lisa. Bart never imagined she would, all of a sudden, leave her room and walk so happily around the street. See seemed almost... dead a few days ago. Now, she was alive again.
"This is the scientifical truth, which is much better. You shouldn't let poets lie to you."
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Re: SCI-FI / DRAMA : "Wings"

Post by gkscotty » Sat Jan 04, 2003 8:09 pm

The rumour spread qucikly along the streets of Springfield, far faster than Lisa herself could walk. A girl was walking around in a halloween costume. A girl was walking around with cardboard wings on. A girl was walking around carrying two  dead eagles on her back. An angel had landed and the rapture was starting.

It took a while for the rumour to reach the springfield newsrooms. Soon, Dave Shutton and Kent Brockman were in their respective trails...
Image

It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone’s fault. If it was Us, what did that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do bad things. - Jingo, Terry Pratchett
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Re: SCI-FI / DRAMA : "Wings"

Post by c_nordlander » Mon Jan 06, 2003 7:39 am

"Could you please look into the camera and smile, Mr Burns?"

The nuclear tycoon swivelled his chair a fraction of a turn in the direction of the lens, and gave a hideous smirk. Dave himself smiled, rather more naturally. The usual suspects usually didn't disappoint him.

"Mr Burns, we would like your opinion on the tragic... injury..." he hardly lost stride "... of eight-year-old star student Lisa Simpson, former Little Miss Springfield, designer of the Lisa Lionheart doll..."

"Why, this event is indeed tragic, and the plight of the poor child brings tears to my eyes..." The old man slipped almost effortlessly into what the reporter recognised as industrial-strength hypocrisy. And snapped out of it as quickly. "What? What exactly have I got to do with that... girl?" From the tenor of his voice, it was likely that some early 20th century insult had been repressed, just in time.

"Sir, I just thought you might take interest in her current position. Little Lisa is the daughter of one of your employees." The last sentence met only with a blank stare. "Also... there is the sheer unusualness of her... disease." Still no good word for it. "Word on the street is that, in addition to being the richest man in Springfield and one of the earliest pioneers of nuclear power..." there, a little flattery never hurt "... you also possess some of the nation's best chemical and biological research facilities. And you must admit, this incident smacks not a little of some weird mutation."

"Mutation?" Mr Burns sneered. "And what would a common muckraker know of such a thing?"

"Surely, Mr Burns, I would not be as vain..." Dave coughed. Bad word, and that solemn, milky stare was not helping. "To, uh, change my idiom, whatever has happened to Lisa Simpson's genes appears a bit fishy..."

"Fishy." The vulture-like old man had barely hissed that word, but his two goons appeared on each side of the desk. Dave, clutching his clipboard, withdrew hurriedly.

"Will you listen to yourself? Not letting sleeping dogs lie, casting aspersions on the name of a poor old man..." Mr Burns drew himself up haughtily, his voice seeming to reverberate the further Dave backed from his desk. "I will have you know that from now on, my research facility will be bending every one brain cell to the task of finding a cure for this mysterious anomaly! Put that in your clipboard and smoke it!"

He had steepled his fingers, and the new smile on his face was undoubtedly real, and very frightening.

* * *

Lisa had slumped onto a bench at the edge of the schoolyard, book in hands. She wasn't yet strong enough to play for long, and not strong enough by far to spend lots of time in the midst of the screaming, whooping class. Janey and Allison had come over to talk to her, but she seemed so faint they had to leave. Her brother had been telling most of the kids, in no uncertain terms, that they were not expected to flock around and gawk at Lisa.

Wysthan Chastelard was gawking. She hadn't noticed him, and that was good, because no matter what he wasn't going to take his eyes off her.

He was in third grade, quiet, studious, with not much to his name except, yes, a stupid name. And he had never looked much at Lisa before, she was just a storm of blond spikes in the troop of second-graders coming out of the school bus... Bart Simpson's sister, someone would whisper to him. There had been no reason to notice her before. She had been given premiums for some excellent school projects, that was noticeable. Even now, she had seemed absorbed in her book from the moment her little friend, that girl with the brown hair and pouch around her neck, gave it to her.

He hadn't thought about that she was rather cute. Those wings, an enigma to defy reason, shadowed a soft blond head with a face like a mourning angel. He wanted to... God, it was so hard to delve into those emotions. Sit down and talk to her, see if he could make her smile. Maybe get her a new book, or... he had an apple in his backpack, maybe she would want an apple?

Shadows fell across the sunny tarmac. The imperious news reporter, Kent Brockman, approached with a camera team, and Wysthan walked off, resisting the urge to hide and watch. Lisa had looked up, her eyes blank with resignation. He would have wanted to stay and support her.

"Lisa Simpson?" The reporter sat down next to her, lowering his voice in a somewhat patronising respectful manner. "I know this is a hard time for you, but if more people get to know about your... predicament, no doubt you will feel a lot better..."

"What do you want to know?" Lisa said, her voice tired. The feathers rustled slightly as she sat up, and Kent Brockman jumped out of the way.
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The only precious metal to our name would be the mercury.


- The Stupendium, "Shelter from the Storm"
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Re: SCI-FI / DRAMA : "Wings"

Post by Cuteswan » Mon Jan 13, 2003 10:41 pm

After quickly regaining his composure, Brockman started with the obvious question, "Do you have any idea what caused you to develop those?"  He raised a hand above Lisa and pointed to her wings, making sure not to obstruct the camera's full view of the girl.

"Sure, I know exactly what caused it," Lisa answered plainly, though in a strong clear voice.  It was about time to lay the blame where it rightfully belonged: on Monty Burns.  Besides, some media scrutiny of the nuclear plant might help the causes that she was protesting for when this all started.

Though Kent kept a straight face, his heart was beating fast with excitement.  He was getting an inside scoop on what would undoubtedly be a national story.  It didn't matter to Lisa, and she was actually relieved that someone had finally asked her a straightforward question.  "Eight weeks ago, a bunch of us were protesting outside the Springfield ..."

Lisa was cut short when a blonde woman pushed the microphone away and stepped between her and the camera.  "You can't interview my client without talking to me first," the woman said, and Lisa immediately recognized the voice of Lindsay Naegle, the all-around successful business woman.  Some of the children gathered around to see what the commotion was.

Kent's nostrils flared at Naegle's sudden appearance.  He steeled himself and spoke sharply, "The public has a right to know, and if she's willing..."

Lindsay replied calmly and assertively, "I've been retained to represent Ms. Simpson and her family so that she won't be exploited.  Apparently, the irresponsible media attention has already ruffled a few feathers," she said without thinking, but then she turned to Lisa and added, "No pun intended, of course."

"What do you have to say, Miss Simpson," Kent asked as he tried to put the microphone around Lindsay and into Lisa's face.  The cameraman was also moving around the obnoxious woman in the other direction, getting a better view of Lisa while the woman was distracted.

Lindsay grabbed the microphone away from Kent and started at the camera -- or actually the cameraman.  "I demand that you end this interview immediately and stay away from my clients or I'll have restraining orders issued.  Shame on you for coming onto school property and talking to this child without her parents' permission!"

This was enough to convince Kent and he signaled the cameraman to put down the camera.  He knew that she was right and that any judge would issue a gag order under these circumstances.  So, it was better to accommodate this latest obstruction in order to have access to Lisa in the future.  He tried to appease her, "I understand, Miss Naegle.  When can we set up an interview with your client?"

Without missing a beat, Lindsay calmly said, "If you don't hand over that tape right now, I guarantee I'll have your cahones bronzed and in my trophy case before you can say retraction."

With a heavy sigh, Kent closed his eyes and pointed at the cameraman for a moment, and then towards the woman.  The cameraman unloaded the tape and handed it to her.  Lisa was stunned and somewhat disappointed.

"Thank you, Kent," she said without being able to fully contain her delight.  "You'll get the first call when we're ready to make a statement.  But until then," she didn't finish but just pointed back towards the Channel Six van.  Kent and the cameraman left without another word.

Lindsay turned back to Lisa and kneeled down to talk.  She spoke much more kindly to Lisa, but without any hint of condescension, "Don't worry, you'll get a chance to tell your story.  Let's make sure we do it right.  Okay?"

"But people really should know what happened before anyone else is affected!" Lisa protested.

Lindsay smiled a little and looked directly in Lisa's eyes.  Then she sat down next to the small girl, not hesitating to brush her arm slightly against the wing.  "I know that you're a smart girl, so I'll be frank with you: for the past two months your parents have been wracking up quite the medical bills and other expenses.  Even with insurance."

This made Lisa feel a pang of guilt.  Lindsay could see that she was getting the desired effect as she continued to sell her deal, "Now, many people desperately want to know about your condition, and we can let them know.  However, if we, say, sell the movie rights or get a reality show deal, then it will certainly help your parents out a lot.  And, at the same time, making people a little hungrier for the scoop will guarantee a wider audience.  Then more people will be listening to what you have to say.  It's a win-win for everyone: you get to maintain your privacy and dignity; people get to hear your story without a media circus; and your family won't end up in the poor house."

Lisa looked down at the ground and thought for a moment.  Her lips wrinkled with doubt, she answered, "I guess.  But I know somehow it's Mr. Burns' fault..."

Lindsay put a hand on Lisa's shoulder and gently interrupted, "Well, whether or not that's true, we really can't try to blame anyone until we have all the facts.  It could make for a defamation lawsuit and lead to all sorts of problems for your family.  Besides, you probably haven't heard yet, but an hour ago Mr. Burns pledged all of his resources towards finding a way to help you."  In reality, Lindsay knew that Burns truly was involved in all of this: he wouldn't have hired her if he wasn't.

Lindsay then stood up, flashing a large smile, and reached out for Lisa's hand.  "Now, there's a few things we need to handle for you here at school."  Though reluctant at first, Lisa took the woman's hand and stood up.  Lindsay had just stared down the major media and won the trust of the smartest girl in Springfield, so now she was ready for the third victory.  The two marched right past the school's secretary and then straight into Seymour Skinner's office.

"Oh, Lisa, and, uh, Ms. Naegle, right?" Skinner said as he stood up and then offered to shake Lindsay's hand, which she accepted.  He was not at all unhappy to see them, but he found himself staring at the wings, making both him and Lisa a bit uncomfortable.  "So, what can I do for you?"

Lindsay had a serious yet not unfriendly expression as she aired her grievances, "I spoke with Mrs. Simpson earlier and was surprised to find out Lisa has been sitting in the back of the class, using phone books to raise her wings above the back of her chair."

Skinner was caught off guard, but his response was genuine, "Well, we don't have any money to buy a special desk, and her wings block the other students from seeing up front."

Lindsay shot back, "Well, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, you are required to provide her with a special desk and chair -- and make sure she isn't singled out for inferior seating in the classroom."  She loved this part, where she exposed the weakness in her enemy's armor and then gently pressed with the tip of her sword.  It was fun to see them squirm.

"I thought the A.D.A. only covered the 'truly disabled' people, like alcoholics and the boy who wears dresses," he said, puzzled.

Outside in the playground, Milhouse was wearing a full-length white dress with a bright floral pattern.  Nelson and Kearney each held one of his arms and Jimbo punched him in the stomach.  "Don't you know it's unfashionable to wear white after Labor Day?" he asked.

Bart was standing under a nearby tree, looking up into the principal's office and wondering what was happening.  With a loud smack, Milhouse landed against the tree and crumpled down next to him.  Bart looked at him.  "Man, they made you wear a dress to school over a month ago, but why have you worn one every day since?" he asked.

Milhouse adjusted his bent glasses and pulled himself up while explaining, "I wouldn't have, but Social Security sends me a disability check every month if I dress like this."

The bell rang and all of the children slowly headed back to class.

"Lisa," Lindsay said kindly, "I'd hate for you to miss any school, so why don't go back to class and I'll finish up here."

Lisa was a bit curious and didn't feel totally comfortable, but she simply said, "Okay, thanks," before leaving.  Lindsay turned back to the principal.

"Well," Skinner said with a defeated sigh, "I guess if we revive the mimeograph machine and sell the photocopier then we could afford an orthopedic chair."

"Maybe it doesn't have to come to that," she said.  "I'm sure the Simpsons' benefactor would be happy to help with the school's expenses, if..." she intentionally trailed off, guaranteeing his full attention.

His eyes went wide.  "Yes?"

She walked up to his desk and spoke a little more softly, "If you and the staff could make sure the media stays out and try to, let's say, dispel any rumors that might be going around, especially if it's based on anything Lisa may have said.  You know, Mr. Skinner, the more helpful you are, the more likely you'll be mentioned in any movie that's made about her."

"I see," he said while imagining the royalty payments.  He dreamed of affording his own apartment so that he could finally keep his old newspapers where his mother couldn't throw them away or even complain about them.  "I can assure you that I and the entire staff of Springfield Elementary will give you, I mean Lisa and her family, our full support during this difficult and awkward time."

Lisa was still a little frustrated and a little concerned when she arrived home that afternoon.  Marge sensed that something was up, but Lisa wouldn't admit to it.  As Lindsay's words played back in her mind, they almost sounded threatening, and Lisa didn't want anything bad to happen to her family, both because she loved them and because she needed them too much right now.

Marge decided to cheer Lisa up by showing her the box of goodies Lindsay had brought by early that morning.  She handed her daughter a small plastic bottle.  "Dr. Sweeper said it's not usually a good idea to wash feathers, but he recommended some special soap they use to clean the injured birds they rescue," she said before stopping short . She was momentarily concerned about how Lisa would react to her candid description.

"Actually, I could probably use a bath," Lisa said with a hint of a smile.  She was actually glad that Marge wasn't trying to talk around the issue so much anymore.

Her mother smiled back and handed Lisa a plastic rod with several small soft sponges on the end.  She explained, "This is supposed to help you reach around.  Don't scrub -- just be careful."

Lisa took the gifts and went upstairs.

Almost an hour later, Marge heard Lisa yelling, "Mom!"  However, it wasn't a panic-stricken or upset yell -- just a request.  Still, Marge raced up the stairs to find Lisa's damp head sticking out from behind the bathroom door.

"Yes, sweetie?" Marge asked.

"Can you help me?" Lisa asked, almost timidly as she opened the door all the way.  She was holding her bath towel around her upper chest with one hand, leaving just enough slack so that it went under her wings around her back.

Marge followed her into the bathroom and closed the door.  "This may take a while," she said while picking up the hair dryer.  She started drying the delicate feathers, slowly, carefully and thoroughly.  

"That's okay, Mom," Lisa said with a smile.  Her mother's touch felt good, even on her wings.
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Re: SCI-FI / DRAMA : "Wings"

Post by gkscotty » Tue Jan 21, 2003 7:49 am

As terrifying as it had been at first, after all those weeks Lisa was starting to get used to *having* wings. She could feel them, and feel through them. She could move them freely now, although she tried to avoid spreading them much and instead tucked them into her back as much as she could. She was even getting used to the weight - walking was easier now, and her balance was better. In fact, at her last checkup Dr Hibbert had remarked that if you didn't count the wings, Lisa had actually lost weight over the last few weeks because of the extra exercise of carrying them.

Of course, Lisa still wasn't used to all the stares they got her. At school she did feel like the center of attention, even though everybody pretended not to be looking at her. She seemed like Springfield's best kept secret - a story that hadn't made the news because most people would consider it impossible, and the others didn't seem to want to talk about it. It was odd... all the kids seemed to pretend that the wings weren't there, as if they were trying to deny it themselves, as if they couldn't believe they were there and had no idea how to react properly to them. Adults were the same - denial and a misplaced need to try not to offend her seemed to paralyse many of them, but when Lisa's back was turned she knew they were staring at her.
This caused a conflict of emotions in Lisa... shame jostled with vanity now, as she tried to figure out what she felt about all of this. So she tried to do what the others do... put it to the back of her mind, pretend that the wings were not there, or were nothing special.

But this was difficult. She could feel them, and feel through them, and move them, and right now they were being dried and brushed by her mother and it felt quite nice... like her hair being tousled. They were her wings.

Lisa actually felt better now than she had in a long time. The accident and Dr Sweeper's pep talk had been a turning point for her mind, where she had started to come out of her depression. Stepping outside had been a turning point for her outlook. But this bath... was a turning point for her confidence. Over the past eight weeks she'd been bed-bathed like a patient, either by nervous nurses or her anxious mother. During the height of her depression, where Marge had almost been afraid to approach her daughter, Lisa had gone without washing for well over a week.
But this was the first bath Lisa had had since the day of the accident and it had proved to be one of the most relaxing things she could recall. Just her, water, bubbles and a few bath toys she'd allowed herself to play with for a while. She'd had privacy, not because people were afraid to approach her but because hey, you don't walk in on people who are having a bath. Even when wiping her feathers with the long sponge, she'd felt, well, normal.
First bath by herself since that day... Lisa breathed in deeply through her nose. Even though it had worked some kind of obscure magic on her, she couldn't smell a trace of fertiliser. She was clean.

Lisa sighed in contentment as Marge started brushing the wings, fussing as she tried to make the feathers lie straight and flat.
Last edited by gkscotty on Thu Jan 01, 1970 1:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
Image

It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone’s fault. If it was Us, what did that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do bad things. - Jingo, Terry Pratchett
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