Leg Day, Part 2
We’re writing a Round Robin story this week, each taking a turn to write a complete story in three posts. The crazy thing about this game is we don’t discuss the stories head of time, and we never know what to expect. It’s like playing tennis blindfolded. S. C. Green got things rolling with Monday’s installment. You’re going to want to read that first, or this post won’t make a whole lot of sense. Amy McLane will be wrapping the story up on Friday, so be sure to tune in. Now, here is the continuation of Leg Day.
Leg Day, Part 2
Her father gave up trying to smile and his mouth turned to a straight line across his face. “There’s been a glitch. In the system.” He wheeled his chair forward. Char inched hers back. “Something about the release records.”
“But nothing’s changed.”
“We haven’t moved. Our information should be the same as last—”
“I know.” He leaned forward, tried to touch her arm. “I told them—”
She flinched away. The smell of bacon sat like rust on her tongue. “So, what does this mean?”
“It means your number got skipped. Your legs. Your legs went to another kid.”
Char gasped and her father spoke quickly to help cover her hurt. “I put in a formal grievance. And I’ve petitioned for two leg days next year.”
“What?!” Char lurched her broken chair toward the door and covered her mouth with her hand. Wait another year? This couldn’t be happening. She was going to run tomorrow. Climb. Dance.
“Your wheel,” her father said. “It’s broken.”
“So what.” Char’s jaw ached, her teeth grinding. What would she say when the others asked? What would they say when they saw her without legs on Leg Day, stuck in her damned chair?
Char banged her fist against the wall, hard. Twice. She wondered who the stupid, jerk-face kid was that would get her legs. Undeserving. Having legs when it wasn’t their day.
“It’s times like these we have to remember to be grateful,” her father said. Char closed her eyes and tried to not listen. “At least you have Leg Day. Think of the Faceless. You could be hooked up to tubes your whole life. Blind. Deaf.”
She ignored how his words tugged at her gut. Looked instead at the foot rails of her chair. Imagined bones wrapped in sinew and muscle, strong enough to take her away. Stronger than mechanics and synthetic skin. She’d run farther, faster. Faster than the decay of time. She’d out run every disappointment of life.
But the foot rails sat empty.
“What about Cleo and Eddie?”
“Oh.” Her father coughed. “There were no glitches with their records. As far as I know.”
There was no stopping her tears then. “It’s not fair.”
“No. It isn’t.” He wheeled himself back toward the kitchen. “Come eat dinner, honey. I made it special. You’ll feel better. Then we’ll fix that wheel.”
Her eyes watched him move out of sight, but her mind saw only Cleo and Eddie dancing. Their feet touching the grass. The sun on their shining faces. And her, in the house, suffering After Day on Leg Day. The thought alone caved a whole through her chest empty enough to swallow the world. There was no way she’d be able to bear it.
To be continued…