Liam's Point of View
Her face was pale and motionless, the first time I saw her. Lying there along that bed. I couldn't bring myself to move past her room, and finish the task at hand. Something about her, drew me in. Something I couldn't quite explain. White walls, hollow ways. People come and go in this place a lot like they do in my life, and every once in a while I like to visit those from my past. Eventually they all tend to end up here anyways. Time, unlike with them, doesn't phase me, and by now, neither does death. Yet, I cannot leave this room.
"Michael?" The frail woman called out. Her hand so barely lifting from the bed I almost didn't see it, and reached out to me. "Is that you?"
"Michael?" I asked, my voice catching slightly as if it pained me to say the name aloud.
"He's not here Dianne," A voice called out behind me. It was a nurse, one I actually knew. She wore lavender scrubs, and a sweet motherly smile. She was older but, not old in the sense that not too long from not she would be lying in a bed like this one. Her hair was pulled back, her skin the color of mocha, and I could see a faint scorpion tattoo at the base of her neck.
Coming around the side of the bed, she took the ladies hand and gave it a pat. "How old is she?" The question slipped from my mouth before I knew why I was asking.
"Twenty seven," the nurse replied. "and what are you doing in here. Visiting hours are almost over, you know? Don't you have someone you need to visit?"
"Is it that obvious?" I asked in a smirk.
"I've been here long enough by now to recognize you." She smiled knowingly, set the ladies hand down, and moved to the end of the bed. "You come and go from here much like death. Never any older than before, and always here only to say goodbye."
For a moment, I hesitated waiting to see if she would continue on. She didn't. Instead, she sat there watching me for a minute longer, before carrying on out the door. "I see you Grim Reaper," She called from the doorway. My eyes already back focused on Dianne, when she took an exasperated breath. "This one, she sees you too, but let me tell you something."
Hearing her pause, I glanced over my shoulder at her, her dark eyes staring unwaveringly back at me. "This one still has a life needing to be lived." she smiled, and then shifted her attention back to Dianne. "Stick around longer than an hour, and you'll see why."
Turning back to the bed, I walked up, and took a seat in the chair closest to her. For a few minutes, I watched her breathe, and remembered the feeling of it all. The feeling of inhaling and exhaling. A simple notion no one ever notices but, something vital to live. In truth, I was young the day I lost the need to breathe, lost my humanity. That day long past by now.
She stirred within another thirty minutes, and soon she was awake. Her eyes held a pale shade of green much like her complexion, and her hair had lost its lust. She looked at me for a moment, smiled and then raised her hand to me. "I knew you were here Michael. I knew you would come."
"What happened to you, my dear?"
"The cancer has spread Michael, I'm dying just like you said."
Before I had the chance to answer, she began coughing in a continuous manner I didn't think would end. When she finished, she opened her eyes, and looked at me as if she had only just seen me. Her eyes grew wide with fear. "Who are you?" she called out. "What do you want?"
In that moment, I was at a loss for words. And then, I wasn't. "Grim Reaper," was all I said.
I had expected her to scream, yell, or even start to cry. I hadn't chose the name, but it made sense. Instead she smiled, and released my hand. "Are you here to take me away?" she asked calmly.
I shook my head no. "Are you here to offer me more time?"
Again, I shook my head no, in response. For a minute she sat there, and pondered over something in her head. I could see her mind working although, she never spoke. When the clock struck seven, I could hear the ticking of the clock from the nurses watch before she turned the corner and into the room. Though she wasn't alone. With her the faint smell of chocolate, and mango body wash drifted along with a pair of softer footsteps- a child. I didn't turn around for some reason, something was telling me not to. Instead I watched Dianne. Her face coming alive, if only for a second as whoever it was came through the door.
Then, it all changed. Looking from them, to me, I saw it in her face before I heard the words come out of her mouth. "Take her," she said, and reached for my wrist. The expression of a woman before this illness, completely replaced with the need to survive. Drawing my arm back, I stood up and took a step back. Her eyes followed me with a dangerous vice. "Please, take her and heal me!"
"Mrs. Dianne," the nurse called out to the woman, "Look who is here to see you."
It was in that moment, a little girl in a red coat, came around the side, no more than three or four, and hopped up onto her mothers bed. Her hair was blonde and fell down her back. She had freckles, and brilliant green eyes. Eyes, a color her mother probably once shared. You can tell a lot about someone from their eyes, the thought flashed through my head like phrase one memorizes out of a book.
"You feel better today?" the little girl asked. "I drew you a picture."
Dianne, looked to the girl then, and took the picture. Out of the corner of my eye, I barely made out the drawing. It was a picture of what I'm assuming would be her and this little girl. Together they were by some body of water, and there was a dog, a very brown jagged dog with one black spot. Scratch that, there were two. "That's Ben, and Jerry mom." the little girl smiled bright. "See, look-"
"Stop it," Dianne called out, interrupting her. My fist curling into fist when I watched the little girl shudder out of fear.
"Dianne," The nurse offered, her a way out. A minute to think before she spoke.
"No!" She quickly replied. Then her eyes were back on me, begging me. "Please, I'll give you my daughter. All I ask, is that you heal me." I hesitated and she could tell, and in desperation I watched in slow motion as she grabbed the girl, and quickly wrapped her arms around her neck.
"I'll do it!" She warned. "Heal me, and she's yours."
By now, the little girl was in tears, scared, as to why her mother was acting estrange. Dianne's eye cut off to the nurse who had disappeared down the hall probably running to find help, but I didn't budge. This would be the second time she threatened me. This poor excuse of a woman, frail and weak; this time it would be her last. "Quiet," I commanded, and threw up my hand. "I accept your request but, at a greater price."
"Name it," she said. "Anything, I want to live."
"I will take the girl in exchange for healing you but, only when the day comes when I see fit. To turn a babe quiet so young would be a waste of my time." I paused, narrowed my eyes, and continued. "Second, when I do heal you, and you will heal, I want you to take your daughter and be the mother to her you that you were before you became this worthless excuse of a parent. You will love her, and take care of her. Am I clear?"
"Yes," She answered, immediately releasing the girl and pulling her into her chest like a prize possession. I roll my eyes and curse under my breath. "I will."
Down the hall, I could hear the sound of men running. Their heavy soled shoes clamming into the floor in a sense of urgency. "I must go now."
"Wait! What about our deal-"
"Enough!" I finally snapped. "You will learn I do not like to be demanded upon, and you will learn it quick. In any instance I could snap your neck and watch you die before you would even know what was happening."
Running a hand through my hair, I adjusted my shirt, and checked their distance for time. They were still a few feet away. Taking in one last view of the room and the lady who held me here and her daughter, I quickly slipped away. When the men finally arrived at the room, they found nothing more than a woman and her daughter asleep, cuddled together in a bed. A picture lying between them with a simple drawing. The two of them, too weak to fight my ways as I fulfilled my end of the bargain. But as I went to leave, my feet had a different opinion about it.
His room was dark, and sullen much like Dianne's had been. Same bed, same starchy sheets. The only difference was he had no family to call upon, they were all dead and gone. Like before, in Dianne's room, I took a seat closest to his bed, and watched the rise and falling of his shallow breaths. Unlike the woman, he had lived a full life before coming here to lye in this bed. He had had a family, and a job he liked. For a while, I watched tiny lines dance across a screen, and I remembered how the two of us had arrived at this point. Then, standing up, I said my goodbye. Only my gift to him wasn't as generous as the one I gave Dianne.
Instead I threw back my head, feeling the rush of pain building in my gums like a tea pot about to implode from all the steam, and sank my teeth into his neck. Only stopping once I heard his heart stop, and then I wiped my mouth and walked out of the room. The sound of alarms ringing throughout the lobby. My eyes shifted momentarily back to the nurse with the mocha colored skin. She nodded her head, and I flashed her a smile and kept walking. Eventually, all of the people from my past come here, I repeated my words, laughing as I did. Like death, my revenge is inevitable but, no one ever said you had to be cruel about it.