Exam Room 24

It’s been a while, but I’m still here. For your reading pleasure – my try at flash fiction:

 

Exam Room 24

“I don’t like how men smell. Or really, I don’t how it smells. And how I smell after.”
The nurse looked up from her clipboard, but didn’t say anything. The young woman in the hospital gown continued speaking, either forgetting that she wasn’t alone or not caring.
“They’re always so shocked when I say anything – like they don’t think they smell bad. Like they think it would smell good. And it doesn’t go away quick either. Not even after a shower.”
“What is your name?”
The young woman didn’t make eye contact. “Emily.”
“And your last name?”
“Bronte.”
The nurse sighed quietly. “I’m going to need your real name.”
The young woman frowned. “They said it was okay to use fake names though.”
“That was the counseling hotline. This is different…we’ll need your actual name.”
“Can’t I just be her for a little bit? Just a little?”
The nurse stretched a smile on her face. “Sure, Emily – for a little bit. But eventually….”
“Yeah, I know.”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“You mean did he force me? Don’t they all in some way though? Force it? The others were nicer about it, made it seem like I wanted to…made it seem like my idea sometimes. And most times, I probably mostly did want to. But it was always their idea before mine. And I always knew that, but I went along anyway. I’d pretend that I was all for it, and they’d pretend to call again.”
“But this time?”
Emily glanced down at her fingers. “I broke a nail, I think. Doesn’t matter, I guess, since the paint’s chipped on all of them.”
“Emily?”
“Yeah, this time he was just more upfront about it. I said no. Or, I think I did. I wanted to. I tried to pull away. He hurt, in general, you know? It was rough and he didn’t care.”
The nurse stopped writing. “I’m sorry, Emily. I’m sorry for him. For all of them, but definitely for him.”
Emily shrugged. “I guess I’ll have to talk about it again, huh?”
“A detective’s waiting to take your statement.”
“About time to stop being Emily.”
The nurse smiled gently. “Maybe after the examination. That okay?”
“Sure. That way someone else is being poked and scraped.”
“I’ll be gentle. Promise. Now, lie back please and we’ll get this done as quickly as possible.”
Emily’s chestnut hair fell over the back of the examination table. “I hate how they smell.”

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