This is a writing exercise from The 3 A.M. Epiphany, which is probably one of my favorite prompt books of all time. I did this as part of Rowan Cota’s Writing Exercises in the Google+ Writers’ Discussion Group. If you’re looking for good writing community, I highly recommend this one. I enjoy the resources and encouragement that people are sharing there. (Disclaimer: I’m a moderator of that community, so I’m mostly biased. I wouldn’t be a moderator if I didn’t think it was a fantastic group, though!)
This is the very first exercise from the book, and involves writing a scene from the first-person perspective, but only using the words I or me twice in the entire 600 words. Feel free to join in and try your hand at this one if you’d like! Here’s mine:
I was not on shift when they brought Jane Doe into the hospital. The others said it had been a hard night, full of the twists and turns of life and death. They operated on her through the night, while the nurses spoke with police officers and detectives who were on a desperate hunt for clues and next of kin.
They found no one. There was not a trace of identity to Jane, nothing to reveal that she had, in fact, existed at all. No photos. No dental records. No finger prints. Nothing matched. The only evidence of her existence was the fact that she was found half-dead in the road by a good Samaritan and delivered to the hospital.
The Samaritan offered no clues either. He was a gentleman of 60, not a Samaritan at all, but a man from Detroit who had taken a wrong turn on his way to the Stadium. There was a game that night. There’s a game every night of the week, it seems, based on how many people come in talking about the game.
“What’s the score?” they ask.
“Try not to move, sir,” the nurse says. “The doctor needs you to stay absolutely still while he stitches that wound.”
“Somebody in this place has to know the score!”
The score is the most important thing. It’s the thing that keeps them all motivated. It’s their reason for getting up each day, for going to work, for coming to the hospital to have their bleeding stopped and their wounds stitched. It’s always about the score.
Even the Samaritan that wasn’t a Samaritan only stayed for a moment. He disappeared before signing the paperwork, before anyone could question him or identify him or find out where he’d found the half-dead woman or why he didn’t call 911 or how he found the hospital at all if he was lost on his way to the stadium. These were all the questions he left unanswered in his search for the score, and that’s why Jane Doe still lies in my ICU ward with no identifying connections at all.
The nurses tried their best. They worked all night. The hard battle was written all over their faces the next morning. The score. That morning, life was winning, but the game between life and death was close.
Jane Doe still holds her slim lead in the game. She looks as peaceful now as any of the other patients, as though she has quietly forgiven the injustice enacted upon her. The gashes on her face have healed to tight little pink lines. The rest of her wounds are closed now, and no longer need packing. Her body is alive, building and repairing itself.
It’s only her soul that’s still missing.