Friday, February 9, 2018

Interlude--#FlashFictionFriday Annie Wilkes

I am a couple days behind in posting some of my #fanfiction for #WomenInHorrorMonth but I've been out of commission for the past few days since I caught the flu. Which is puzzling since I had a flu shot only a few weeks ago, which I'm thinking I might need a refund on. I have a list of women, both heroines and villanesses, Final Girls and Ladies of the Night that all have special places in my heart. Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates, Misery) Certainly, many horror movie fans consider Misery to be one of the best Stephen King adaptations, I believe because it's relatively faithful to the book. Well, it also has some awesome actors in it, so there's that. It tells the story of a mega-obsessive fan, Annie Wilkes, whose wildest dreams come true when her favorite author Paul Sheldon crashes his car during a snowstorm near her home. Under the guise of caring for his injury, she takes him to her house, where he is bedridden with broken bones. At first, it appears as if Annie is Paul’s savior--perhaps she is. To reward Annie for saving him, Paul gives her his newest manuscript. However, she is...somewhat less than satisfied with the way the book ends. She goes off into a rage, her true form is revealed, and informs Paul that she hasn’t told anyone else where he is, and now he is 100% at her mercy. Paul now has to think of ways from placating her to fighting her to escape the room she's locked him up in. From there, Annie tortures Paul to get the story she wants, alternately being maternal and nurse-like and full on psychotic. Unsatisfied with Paul's writing efforts, and the death of her favorite character, she orders Paul to burn his manuscript and write up a new book instead, Misery’s Return. Demanding the character be written back to life, Paul has no choice but to do as she says--he can't leave and there's nothing for him to do but write. Of course, Paul does try to get away, but once Annie finds out, she smashes his ankles with a sledgehammer to ensure that won’t happen again, effectively "hobbling" him. We get glimpses into Annie's life, from her playful pet pig (named Misery, of course)to her junk food addiction to her depressive (and dangerous) mood swings. Eventually Paul finds a way to fight for his freedom.
So, please enjoy this super short (and mostly not finished) fiction of Annie Wilkes, the original fangirl! Loosely inspired by her scrapbook from the movie.
She would always volunteer for the night shift because it endeared her to everyone right away. Everyone hates the night shift, and Miss Wilkes was always a cheerful, bright volunteer. “Well, heck,” she’d say with a wide smile, “someone has to keep things cheerful around here! Just think of me as a big ray of sunshine at midnight!” What she loved most, of course, was working with all those babies. She could spend her whole life in the maternity ward and never get tired of it. She loved the new moms, and was especially good at calming their fears. ”You just grab my hand, now, and give one big old push!” When the new moms got tired of holding their newborns, she would gently extract the baby from their limp arms, holding them with awe and reverence, cooing nonsense to them while the exhausted mother sighs in contentment. “Of course it’s no problem,” Annie would say. “Mommy needs her rest!” Annie never spoke in a sentence to anyone, whether three decades or three hours old, that didn’t end in an exclamation point. She lays the infant down in the bassinet and wheels him down to the nursery. She doesn’t need to look where she’s going, so she looks at the baby instead. He’s helpless and new and pinky-red. So new he still has trouble opening his eyes all the way and his umbilical cord is taped to his tummy. His head has that conical shape to it, disguised by the white hat to keep his little head warm. She leans down and inhales his new scent. He smells so good. It’s such a shame he’s a boy. She sighs. Maybe she envies them. That’s what she thinks as she greets the desk nurse on her way back to nursery. “Hello, there!” She waves with the enthusiasm of a cheerleader on Football Friday. The nurse glances up from her files once in acknowledgment, nods curtly, then goes back to her papers. Cold ass bitch. Annie hates people who can’t spare the decency of politeness. Hates them. It doesn't cost anything to be pleasant. She puts on a smile everyday like she does her nurse’s uniform. She practices in the mirror. She thinks about the desk nurse as she wheels the baby boy into the nursery. The pediatric nurse has to be about 20 years old, maybe two years older than Annie was when she first started. The young nurse smiles at her, eager to please. This girl Annie likes. She follows orders. She wants to learn. She takes care of her patients. She says hello when you say hello to her. She hands the baby off with instructions taking care to praise the young nurse for the things she’s done right and just, ever so slightly, mention a few things that could be improved. See the way the infants are swaddled? Annie knows that the infant is bundled perfectly fine, but when the nurse’s back was turned she found that a corner had come untucked. “You see? These little guys will wiggle. You have to be careful! You have to be observant, all the time! There can never be any mistakes here. Any mistakes here can affect them for the rest of their lives. We’re entrusted with a sacred duty. We’re the guardians of the future!” The young nurse looked worried, but Annie has a way of smiling while she was dressing you down, and it didn’t really seem like a criticism at all. She was just pointing out a mistake. It was her job as her supervisor. You’ll get the hang of this, eventually.

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