The Far Arena

The Far Arena by Richard Ben Sapir Read Free Book Online

Book: The Far Arena by Richard Ben Sapir Read Free Book Online
Authors: Richard Ben Sapir
Tags: Novel
sentence. Once he shook his head. A nurse checked the chest cavity. It looked like a convention of wires leading towards a terminal in the ice. The terminal was the chest.
    The nurse put the board down in front of her stomach. She looked to Dr Petrovitch. Petrovitch inhaled. He looked into the eyes of everyone in the room.
    Lew felt embarrassed by the intensity of those black eyes, as deep as the holes of space, Lew thought. Breathing should have been easier. The air was almost doing it for him. Lew felt his own heart beat, heavy and solid. There was quiet in the chamber. No one moved. It was as though they all stood at the opening of something so subtle and so deep it went on forever.
    Then it all happened quickly. Petrovitch nodded and machines were operating. Heavy, glistening shiny yellow pads went over the top of the mound. A nurse called out seconds.
    Lew saw a clear bag of clear liquid go down a few centimetres in a sudden drop. The top of the yellow pads lowered in a simultaneous jerk.
    Dr Petrovitch put his hand on top and pressed steadily down. That was where the leading foot had been. Foul, putrid water gushed out of the end of the table into white plastic buckets on the floor. They had no handles and Lew saw the water getting darker.
    The front foot was down, and the whole mass of ice was down, as though the yellow pads had exhaled bulk. The ice had given up something and was now water in sealed plastic buckets set against the far wall, away from the body it had held.
    Hands removed the shiny yellow pads. One of the pads hit Lew's socked foot. It was hot.
    The head was free of ice, Lew saw, the hair suck and wet like a just-born infant. The pale, smelly blood collected through tubes in plastic bags. The new, dark red blood coursed into the body. Lew suddenly realized there were no bottles in the chamber, only bags.
    He asked why, and the nurse, so engrossed, did not answer him. He reasoned it out for himself. In oxygen under pressure, dangerous gases could be created by air pockets in bottles.
    A nurse removed the yellow pad at his foot and stored it too.
    It was a muscular little body with a burn scar at its side and a white healed wound on its left shoulder and several on its right forearm. The right thigh pumped blood. What was once a smooth core hole was now an ugly, bloody wound.
    The mouth closed on a large tube. Suddenly, the body jerked as though its stomach was being sucked out. It jerked again, then tremors shot through its shiny fingertips. Forty-two seconds were called out, and Dr Petrovitch roughly pushed away scalpels paused at the chest cavity. The chest moved. It expanded up, contracted down. Expanded up. Contracted down.
    'Is it breathing ?' Lew asked.
    'No,' said the nurse. 'Machines. It's at normal temperature.'
    'What's he doing now ?'
    'He's seeing what's working. He's going to shock the heart now.' 'How do you know ?' 'Look.' 'What?' 'There.'
    Lew saw only another machine. A nurse turned a dial, then turned it back. She was blocked by another doctor moving around Petrovitch.
    The body jerked again, and a foul putrescence, dark and bitter, vomited out of the sides of the mouth. White pads wiped it away until Petrovitch said something sharply. Big red welts on the cheeks showed where the pads had wiped. They had also taken away an outer layer of skin.
    The pads were stored with whitish smears set grey against their pure white gauze.
    The nurse no longer counted seconds.
    'The heart is working.'
    'My God. By itself?' asked Lew.
    'No. No. In consonance with the machine. It's the machine's energy. But the muscles appear to be responding.' 'What does that mean ?'
    'It means that a muscle with machine help is functioning. ’ "That's amazing. Is this the first time?'
    ‘ No. It's been done with the pancreas and other organs. And the pancreas has functioned alone without machine stimulus.' 'So what's happening ?'
    'It's not dead yet,' said the nurse.
    'Shhh,' said Dr Petrovitch. The nurse had talked

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