Ron Sparks Author, Poet

Neith Part 3: Flatline


Author: Ron Sparks

Sarah looked at the clock impatiently. American Postmodernism Poetry was an interesting class, but there was only so much whiny poet she could handle in a day. All these depressed poets using their poems to confess sins or deep psychological issues; it’s no wonder so many goth chicks like poetry, she mused. This lecture class was filled with wannabe poets. As she looked around she realized that poets were a social class all unto themselves. They had their own style of dress, their own dialect, and their own cliques. She was definitely not one of them; she disdained them. They were here just so they could look the part of the wounded and troubled poet. Not a single one of them could craft a verse in iambic pentameter if they tried, she guessed. They all wanted to be confessional free-verse poets because they think it’s easy. What-ever.

The class couldn’t end quickly enough for Sarah. As the lecture concluded, she edged past all the tattooed and pierced sycophants trying to woo the professor for attention and made her way out of the building. The chill February air bit through the light jacket she was wearing. She hunched her shoulders against the cold and walked across campus towards her next class – Greek and Roman Humanities. She was so intent on getting to class as quickly as possible to get out of the cold that she almost didn’t see the commotion in front of the Science Hall. Two firetrucks and an ambulance were blocking the entrance to the hall. Curious, Sarah slowed down to observe, joining a crowd of about 50 students already looking on.

As she watched, a stretcher was wheeled out with someone on it. Craning her head for a better look, Sarah gasped aloud when she saw that it was Eric. Dropping her books, she pushed her way through the crowd and ran up to the stretcher.

The EMT raised an arm to block her, “You need to step back, ma’am.”

Sarah saw that Eric had an oxygen mask on and his eyes were closed. “That’s Eric Neith,” she said, “He’s my boyfriend!”

The EMT lowered his arm, “You know him?”

“Yes!” Sarah said impatiently, “What happened?”

“Ma’am, we have to get him to the hospital. If you’re his girlfriend you can ride with him since we have no other family members here.” Without giving him a chance to reconsider, Sarah jumped into the back of the ambulance and waited for Eric to get loaded inside.

When Eric was loaded into the ambulance, Sarah grabbed his hand and looked at him. He was pale. Very pale with a bluish tint, and his breath was coming in shallow gasps. The electronic leads the EMT connected to Eric indicated that his blood pressure was dangerously low and his heart rate was severely elevated. She looked up at the EMT and asked again, “Tell me, please, what happened?”

The EMT shook his head, “All we know is that he was found like this on the second floor of the hall. We’re treating this like a heart attack at the moment. His apparent symptoms match a heart attack.”

“A heart attack?” Sarah asked dumbly. “But he’s healthy. He just had a physical exam last month when the semester began. He runs three times a week!”

The EMT shrugged, “I don’t know ma’am. The doctors will make a definitive diagnosis at the hospital. Right now we need to keep him stabilized and get him to the hospital as quickly as possible.”

Sarah nodded and looked out the back window. A heart attack. That just wasn’t possible, or was it? Last year a member of the wrestling team had died from an unexpected heart attack right after practice. These things do happen, she realized. But not to people she knew. Not to Eric.

She looked back at Eric, tears in her eyes, just as his EKG flatlined.

~~end chapter~~

About the author

Ron Sparks

Ron Sparks is a technology professional, science fiction and fantasy author and poet living in Zurich, Switzerland. His latest book "ONI: Satellite Earth Series Book 1" is available on

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  • Oh my God! They’ve killed him and he was such a lovely man.Oh Ron this part seems a little flatline like the EKG I’m sorry to say. You have concentrated on dialog and establishing facts and defining the character but nowhere in this segment do I feel the sense of crowd confusion or medical urgency that these people would have in trying to save his life. Sarah seems a cold woman too because you’ve made her devoid of emotions here.I have more feeling from the poetry class at the opening.It seems her class could not end quickly enough is reflected by your rush to this chapter end too.Sorry Ron.

  • Great point Jazz. I suppose I didn’t clarify Teri and my intentions here. The point of this exercise is to move the story forward as quickly as possible – not to fill in the non-critical details.Think of this as a way to quickly flesh out the basic, main line, through a story. Then, later, if you like the story you can go back and fill in the details.I wanted to spend a lot of time on this chapter, but I limited myself to just a couple of hundred words. Think of this as building a skeleton of the story. It serves to keep it moving, keep it fluid, and not get bogged down in the details.Sorry for the confusion.

  • Oh I see!I remember now the ‘flash’ fiction we had on http://www.iscifi.comI apologize for not reading the entry criteria.So now you wait for Terri’s part 4Hhmm. I say he’s not dead really but undergos this charade to effectively disappear. Scientists have disappeared or appeared to have died mysteriously over the years only to be resurrected in secret before they are transported up into space from area 51 to become slave scientists working on a death star named the U.S.S. Lucas {Smilez}I am joking.Ron, if you have them, can you mail me those files of “There will be a time” please?

Ron Sparks Author, Poet

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Ron Sparks

Ron Sparks is a technology professional, science fiction and fantasy author and poet living in Zurich, Switzerland. His latest book "ONI: Satellite Earth Series Book 1" is available on


A man of many passions, I lay claim to a myriad of interests and hobbies. Among them, I am an amateur astronomer, an avid motorcycle rider, a whiskey aficionado, a (poor) surfer, a scuba diver, a martial artist, a student of philosophy, a proponent of critical thinking, a technologist, an entrepreneur, a cancer survivor, and I harbor a lifelong love of science fiction and fantasy. Feel free to strike up a conversation on the social networks below.

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