How far would you go to save a life?
On golden Mediterranean sands, maverick doctor Scott Langbrook falls recklessly in love with his team leader, Fiyori Maziq. If only that was the extent of his falling, but Scott descends into the hellish clutches of someone much more sinister.
‘Just’ is a story of love and loss, of terror and triumph. Set in idyllic Cambridge and on the shores of the Med and Cornwall, our characters fight for their very lives on land and at sea.
An unforgettable novel which goes to the heart of our catastrophic times, and seeks salvation.
Today I’m lucky to be able to share an extract from Just, which looks like a fascinating read. Many thanks to the author and blog tour organiser Rachel Gilbey for the invite to take part in the blog tour
Doctor Fiyori Maziq has been kidnapped and has been entrusted with the care of patients induced to coma… (this passage has been edited to remove spoilers)
Dr Maziq was almost finished her morning rounds. As her health deteriorated, she found that this took longer but the patients, each of whom had been induced to coma, didn’t seem to mind.
Over the months she’d been there, Fiyori varied the way in which she tended her charges. Sometimes she would do a single task, one body after the other. At other times, the doctor would instead administer an entire body treatment, talking to the unconscious person all the while, before going on to the next. She’d been told that in the past, patients at the weight reduction clinic later reported having heard the medical staff talking. But Fiyori was now the sole medic here, since the operation had been scaled down. When she talked, it was just to the patients, or to Agent Stanforth when he came by. She would never say anything derogatory either to or about those in her care.
There were just seven bodies in all, as Mrs Chow from Hangzhou (no wonder she had such an appetite) had left yesterday, and extremely satisfied she was, with her losses. She was able to walk well straight away, with just cane assistance. At least that was what Stanforth reported back to Dr Maziq. She herself was not permitted to see the patients on either side of their coma.
Each of Fiyori’s patients arrived ‘fit for reduction’, that is to say that they had normal renal and hepatic function. Their hearts were in good repair though they all had some tachycardia due to their obesity. Two of them were on a eucaloric diet which meant that they were given the same calories per day that they used and the others were on a hypocaloric regime which was less food than they were burning. Fiyori was not in charge of blending the liquid food, just administering it. Stanforth brought the preparations each day, in litre bottles and in an enormous cool box. They took it out of the cooler and let it reach room temperature before slipping it down the tubes. Fiyori assumed that it was mostly protein, vitamins, minerals and perhaps some complex carbohydrates with a bunch of electrolytes thrown in but from its colour, it could have been a Pedigree Chum smoothie.
This morning, Fiyori was treating each person entirely before moving on. Right now, she was on her seventh and last, Mr Gunvaldsson. His exploited stomach made a cartoon arc beneath the sheet. Fiyori talked to him about politics, nothing too upsetting, but she knew this was his keen interest. She had a feeling Gunvaldsson was a Republican. She had no access to any radio, newspaper, television or online information, so she referred to the topics of the recent past. They did permit Dr Maziq to read books. Certain books. She’d asked for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and to her surprise, they had allowed it.
Mr Gunvaldsson of course was also missing media revelation as he slumbered his way through the days and nights of his volunteered captivity. After his body wash, Fiyori placed a flannel under the connection between his ureteral catheter and urine bag. She pinched off the soft rubber tube and emptied the bag into a large plastic vessel. She washed her hands again and applied sterilising gel. Then Fiyori positioned the patient to semi prone. Later she’d have him fully prone with his head up thirty degrees and finally this evening, the tall Swede who filled the bed to capacity in every direction, would be lateral once more. The doctor smeared his lips with Neutrogena balm and disengaged the trolley’s brake. She wheeled the fifty nine year old onto the ‘weigh bridge’. 142.6 kilograms. A loss of almost one kilo since yesterday. Dr Maziq marked it on the chart. Gunvaldsson was doing well, and only half way through his treatment. His skin colour was good and its texture was moist, meaning she didn’t have to cover his body in lotion. Fiyori fed Mr Gunvaldsson his enteral nutrition via his nose tube. “Here is your breakfast, Sir. Bon appetit. You must tell me later what that is in Swedish.” Though of course this wouldn’t be possible, he wasn’t to know that. She rubbed the back of his hand and after a final auscultation with the stethoscope to check all respiratory and circulatory function, she was ready for a lemon tea and a bite. Fiyori lowered herself gently into the armchair at the end of the room. Her bed was next to it: a trolley on wheels, just like the other inmates, though hers was perpendicular to theirs. She opened the mini fridge at her side and looked up into the CCTV in the corner of the room. Was there anyone else nearby? In this building? Was it the basement of an office block? There were no windows. What if there was a power cut? What if she tripped up and banged her head on a blunt object? What if she had a heart attack? Would they come for her? In the time she had been working with these patients, Fiyori had tried to ban these pointless thoughts, but they were now almost incessant and she lacked the energy to mount a blockade. It was easier when she was working. It was the resting moments which brought unrest, but she desperately needed to sit down now. Fiyori cut the skin from the flesh of a mango and ate hungrily. She wiped the sticky juice from her hands with baby wipes. As jobs went, this one was fairly cushy but she could barely wait to escape.
The young French girl, supine in the bed nearest to Fiyori suddenly opened her eyes. That’s one trick the induced comatose have that Dr Maziq could not get used to. She could cope with the erections and the eerie yawns but the eye opening phenomenon scared the life out of her.
You can purchase Just from Amazon
About the author.
Jenny is a novelist, screenplay writer, and playwright. After a series of ‘proper jobs’, she realized she was living someone else’s life and escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England, to write her socks off.
Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, settled with the family. She tries not to take herself too seriously.