“Down the hall and in a dark room, Lux laid on a stretcher, watching as the team doctors hovered over. She helplessly held her limp arm as fright cloaked her eyes. She was terribly afraid of what was to come. Pain paralyzed her entire body as she thought about running. She wanted to run away from the competition, and away from Coach who stood close, fuming from the ears. Inescapably, Coach would drag her back to the arena by her hair to scold her in front of every competitor and spectator just to make a point. And if she screamed, her pleas would be silenced immediately just like Clover and Hazel. She felt emotionally stripped like a marionette doll. An eerie silence overcame the chilly room as a light flicked on and off. Coach stood close while the doctors examined her arm. When he was pulled aside, tears eclipsed her eyes. She anxiously glanced around, frightened by what she saw. She had never felt so alone, or so disposable. If Coach smelled a whiff of defeat, she would no longer be welcome on his team of elites; she would no longer be welcome in her own home. Knowing that, fear crippled her veins.
Standing to the side, Coach asked, “What’s wrong with her?”
“Her wrist is broken, and it looks like it has been injured for some time, possibly months. Her arm might also have an infection because of the break. She shouldn’t have been training or competing in her condition.”
Coach stiffened. “What can you do?”
“Take her to the hospital.”
“What can you do for her right now?” Coach said harshly.
“She needs to see a professional.”
Coach glared coldly. “That’s not good enough. I’m not losing my best gymnast at a time like this, not when I’m this close to winning gold. Fix this. Now.”
“She’ll risk injuring her wrist more. Worse, she could injure something else. If you don’t pull her out of the competition now, the entire season could be lost, if not more. She shouldn’t be on the competition floor.”
Ignoring the advice, Coach’s anger smoldered. “I don’t care what the hell you have to do! I don’t care how many drugs you have to give her. She needs to be on the goddamn floor in ten minutes, smiling. Pat her back. Tell her whatever you want. Give her a fucking hug if you must. Or, just lie. If that’s too damn difficult for you, then start looking for a new job… I’m not losing this competition now!”
Turning, he stormed out of the room in a huff, leaving Lux and the two doctors in the dark room.”
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