Nine princes in amber

Nine Princes In Amber
Roger Zelazny

CHAPTER 1

It was starting to end, after what seemed most of eternity to me.
I attempted to wriggle my toes, succeeded. I was sprawled there in a hospital bed and my legs were done up in plaster casts, but they were still mine.
I squeezed my eyes shut, and opened fhem, three times.
The room grew steady.
Where the hell was I?
Then the fogs were slowly broken, and some of that which is called memory returned to me. I recalled nights and nurses and needles. Every time things would begin to clear a bit, someone would come in and jab me with something. That’s how it had been. Yes. Now, though, I was feeling halfway decent. They’d have to stop.
Wouldn’t they?
The thought came to assail me: Maybe not.
Some natural skepticism as to the purity of all human motives came and sat upon my chest. I’d been over narcotized, I suddenly knew. No real reason for it, from the way I felt, and no reason for them to stop now, if they’d been paid to keep it up. So play it coo’l and stay dopey, said a voice which was my worst, if wiser, self.
So I did.
A nurse poked her head in the door about ten minutes later, and I was, of course, still sacking Z’s. She went away.
By then, I’d reconstructed a bit of what had occured
I had been in some sort of accident, I remembered vaguely. What had happened after that was still a blur; and as to what had happened before, I had no inkling whatsoever. But I had first been in a hospital and then brought to this place, I remembered. Why? I didn’t know.
However, my legs felt pretty good. Good enough to hold me up, though I didn’t know how much time had lapsed since their breaking – and I knew they’d been broken.
So I sat up. It took me a real effort, as my muscles were very tired. It was dark outside and a handful of stars were standing naked beyond the window. I winked back at them and threw my legs over the edge of the bed.
I was dizzy, but after a while it subsided and I got up, gripping the rail at the head of the bed, and I took my frst step.
Okay. My legs held me.
So, theoretically, I was in good enough shape to walk out.
I made it back to the bed, stretched out and thought. I was sweating and shaking. Visions of sugar plums, etc.
In the State of Denmark there was the odor of decay…
It had been an accident involving an auto, I recalled. One helluva one…
Then the door opened, letting in light, and through slits beneath my eyelashes I saw a nurse with a hypo in her hand.
She approached my bedside, a hippy broad with dark hair and big arms.
Just as she neared, I sat up.
“Good evening,” I said.
“Why-good evening,” she replied.
“When do I check out?” I asked.
“I’ll have to ask Doctor.”
“Do so,” I said.
“Please roll up your sleeve.”
“No thanks.”
“I have to give you an injection”
“No you don’t. I don’t need it”
“I’m afraid that’s for Doctor to say.”
“Then send him around and let him say it. But in the meantime, I will not permit it.”
“I’m afraid I have my orders.”
“So did Eichmann, and look what happened to him,” and I shook my head slowly.
“Very well,” she said. “I’ll have to report this…
“Please do,” I said, “and while you’re at it, tell him I’ve decided to check out in the morning.”
“That’s impossible. You can’t even walk – and there were internal injuries…”
“We’ll see,” said I. “Good night”
She swished out of sight without answering.
So I lay there and mulled. It seemed I was in some sort of private place – so somebody was footing the bill.



my literature hero
Nine princes in amber