by Derek D. Bass
Victor stood over the child's hospital bed, his hand on her neck, feeling for the girl's fading pulse. Even though the smooth skin of the girl's neck yielded easily to his touch, he still had difficulty finding the gentle tapping that would betray some sign of life to the silver-touched physician standing beside her. "She won't suffer much longer, not with such a shallow pulse," he thought to himself as he brushed a few stray hairs from her forehead. "Perhaps I should just release her from this turn; she could certainly fare better in her next cycle. A little pressure applied to the correct nerves, and..." The rest of the thought disappeared as he felt the girl's pulse again. There was something there; something weak, but refusing to go unnoticed. He opened one of the girl's eyes and looked into it intently for a moment, then started for the door, fear blossoming in his stomach. He called to his comrades, who were holding their own vigils outside the room. "We have to save this child!" he cried out, startling some of them back to reality. The outburst stunned them all.
Just hours before, Dr. Victor Solomon, the cabal's resident physician and a representative from the Euthanatos, had proclaimed the child's condition terminal, and only hours from death. Some in the group protested the initial findings, but the doctor's well-respected medical skills and precognitive abilities had convinced them that nothing could be done for the girl. Now, everything had changed. Malcolm MacGuffin pulled a bulky pair of goggles from an oversized pocket in his white denim labcoat and ran past the doctor into the room, eager to see what had caused this sudden change of opinion. Brother Damien looked up from his whispered, kneeling prayers for the young girl's soul to ask, "Doctor? Has the girl's condition improved?" As Damien stood, faded whispers, barely audible even in the hushed quiet of the hospital corridor, gave some evidence of his now-suspended divine communication.
"The signs are there. It is not her time to die..." he trailed off, silently cursing himself for the mistake he had very nearly made.
1998 Derek D. Bass
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