Let’s all give a gentle WIPeteer welcome to Francois Thierry!
Francois is a 45 year old scientist who has lived several years on Kifo Island. He is researching clinical aspects of dying, death, and grieving. He has always been reserved and detached, and he’s nearing the end of a quarter-century long study, and is, at the beginning of this excerpt, looking forward to wrapping things up, and moving into the next phase of his work.
However, life and death have come to have new depth and meaning…
And now, on to the WIPpeting!
Today is April 16, 2014.
- Today’s math…
- 16(for the date) + 4(for the month)=20;
- 20 +1 ( in honor of the one Palindrome Week of the year!; and because it finishes the thought…) =21.
- Voila! 21 sentences!
“I didn’t ask for this!”
Francois stared at the tidy stack of research notes, and the blank space on the form; the place where he was intended to record, in specific detail, the circumstances of the death he had witnessed an hour ago.
He hadn’t asked that he be any part in this death, or any other, beyond his role as a clinical observer.
4,987 deaths, before this one. He’d recorded the manner and time of each, faithfully, objectively.
Only 13 deaths left to take account of, including the one fresh in his mind. He’d intended, when he sat down, to update the file, and tick it off his tally. But he couldn’t do it.
Francois squeezed his eyes closed against the tears that were blurring the print on the stack of files – pages that held nothing at all of the people they were meant to define.
He’d gutted real lives here, leaving nothing but statistics and the particulars that differentiated one from another. He kept only those that applied to his own research, as though they were nothing more than this.
He turned away from those pages, and thought of the old woman in the hospital bed, her breath growing shallow, the sorrow he hadn’t expected to share in. He hunched his shoulders against the pain, the memory – for the first time in his life, Francois truly felt the grief and permanence of death.
He couldn’t pretend she was nothing other than part of the running tab at the head of those notes, in his computer, on his phone… in his mind.
Francois wouldn’t sterilize her that way – he could still feel her struggle to breathe, to say everything she felt needed saying, the worries she carried with her through whatever passage she made, when her breathing stopped –
Worries that he couldn’t ignore, now. Somehow, through no logic this damned useless research could define or quantify, her worries had become his own.
What will happen next? Will Francois be able to finish his research progress, now that he’s emotionally involved? Will he regain his detachment? What affect will his emotional involvement have on him, as a scientist, and as a human?
Want more Kifo Island Chronicles posts?
These posts are the seeds of a project that will germinate over the next months, so input is especially valuable. No need to feel shy; I’m a friendly sort, and will keep my talons sheathed…for the most part.
And now I leave you with a song that echoes the sudden personal cataclysm Francois is currently experiencing…