It was a long night, I slept fitfully draped over Mima’s bed, feeling almost as if I was involved in a psychic tug of war with something which wanted my child’s soul almost as much as I did.
A long time ago I read some books by Andrew Collins, in which he described questing, which was mix of New Age occultism and teenage excitement as they pursued various treasures. While most of the detail has gone long with the books, I did remember him doing something he called a triangle or cone of light. In this he drew down a cone of white light which he swirled around himself and the area he was concerned with, and then whooshed it back up into the sky, effectively sterilising the area of any psychic influences for a while.
I had no idea if this would work, it was all nineteen sixties nonsense. However, I decided it was worth a try, only I did my own version of it. I simply imagined the whole of Mima’s room filling with an intense white light. The temperature dropped and I pulled my jacket around me, and held on tightly to my child. Then I fell asleep.
Somewhere about six in the morning, a nurse came in to check for Mima’s vitals. She appeared to be sleeping normally and her pulse and blood pressure were good. They were going to do a brain scan later to ascertain if the anoxic state had caused any brain trauma. I was still worried. The nurse told me she thought Mima was doing very well considering her injuries. She left after cheering me a little and then brought me a cup of tea and a biscuit. I thanked her profusely.
I was sitting holding Mima’s hand when Sam Rose arrived at about seven. “You have an early start,” I commented.
“You have one of my favourite patients here, Lady C. I wanted to see how she was.”
“I’m told, doing okay.”
“Let’s see?” he checked the charts. “Um, so far so good.” He took out a torch and lifting an eyelid he shone the beam into her eye. She grumbled and pushed his hand away, remaining asleep. “Ooh, that’s encouraging,” he said enthusiastically, “I think we can call that a positive response.” He did the same with the other eye and she turned over away from the light.
“Is she sleeping or comatose?” I asked.
“If she is comatose, it’s a very light one. It all looks very encouraging. Talk to her see if she’ll wake for you.”
I took her hand and held it, stroking her face with my other hand. “Wakey, wakey, sleepy head. Mima, it’s Mummy, would you like some breakfast?”
“No, me’s tired,” she whispered and turned over to sleep again.
“Amazing. I think she’s going to get over this, although we’re not out of the woods yet and I’d still like to scan her. You’ll need to be there, because of the noise it makes.”
“I’d like to be there anyway.”
“Of course. Look you can’t do anything else, so why not pop up to the cafeteria and I’ll buy you some breakfast?”
“Sam, that’s the best offer I’ve had all day.”
“Better make the most of it, remember, we Jews are supposed to be a trifle parsimonious.”
“No more so than any other group of people I’ve met.”
“Damn, so you’re going to take me up on it–hmm, if I get you a white coat, I wonder if we’ll get staff discount?”
“You silly bugger,” I said to him and we both laughed. On the way out of the ward, the nurse in charge handed me a small overnight bag. I checked inside and it had a change of clothing, Simon had dropped it in for me. The note attached said he hadn’t liked to disturb me as I was sleeping. I blushed.
“Look, you go and change in the loos down the corridor and I’ll order you a breakfast for ten minutes.” He pointed down the corridor, “Toilets thataway.”
After a quick wash and change of clothes, I felt much better. My hair could do with a wash but otherwise I felt clean. I left the bag with my dirty laundry in it at the nurses station. Then walked briskly up to the cafeteria where a plate of bacon and egg awaited me. With some toast it tasted so good. Sam was just finishing his. “I thought you weren’t supposed to eat bacon?” I said accusingly.
“I think that only refers to orthodox, we liberal types eat anything that smells so enticing.”
“Isn’t it unclean?”
“Yeah but, if it’s cooked properly, it’s clean enough for me.”
I was tempted to tease him some more, then remembered he’d generously paid for mine, so I kept shtum. It was delicious, with tomato and mushrooms I ate as if I hadn’t for days. I suppose on reflection I hadn’t eaten for about sixteen hours, and had barfed my lunch at the swimming pool. I tried not to think about that and kept eating. I washed it down with some coffee, deciding the caffeine might keep me awake.
Some chap came up and called Sam, who excused himself as I buttered my fourth piece of toast. I was drinking my coffee when he came back with the other man, who I could see was another doctor. They both sat down beside me. I felt some tension in the air. “Is Mima alright?”
“Yes, she’s fine,” said Sam, “if she wasn’t they’d have bleeped me.” He hesitated.
“What’s the matter, Sam? What are you after?”
“It’s not Sam, it’s me who is asking a favour,” said the other man, who looked about thirty fivish.”
“This is Grant Chesters, our resident neurosurgeon, gets on most people’s nerves. This is Lady Catherine Cameron, occasional miracle worker.”
“Lady Catherine, I want to ask you a very big favour.”
“What?” I asked suspiciously, knowing what was likely to be happening.
“Downstairs in ICU, I have a person who was badly beaten up last night. They are on a life support machine. I don’t have much hope of them recovering, and suspect persistent vegetative state, although we’d wait a few days before diagnosing that.”
“Brain dead,” supplied Sam.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I don’t know what you want, but I don’t think I’d like to be a brain donor.”
He looked at me, then his face broke into a wide grin and he laughed out loud. Sam was also chortling. “I don’t think I want you to do that,” said Mr Chesters.
“Why were they beaten up?”
“They were coming home and passed a group of drunken teenagers.”
“And that was why?”
“Okay, I didn’t want to influence you against them. I’d like you to see if you can do your magic on this poor individual.”
“But?” I queried.
“She, yes, she, is a gender bender. You know, actually male but living as female, you know what I mean.”
Before I could say anything, Sam intervened, “Cathy has a GID foster child, so she knows about it.”
“I’m sorry, Cathy, some people find it difficult.”
“Yes, I’m sure, but I’m not one of them.”
“The other thing is that this person looks a total mess, where they kicked and punched her into oblivion. It’s not very pretty.”
“You should see me first thing in the morning,” I joked and they both laughed. “What do you want me to do?”
“Whenever you’re ready?” Grant Chesters said and he led me down to ICU. I put on gown, hat and overshoes, then followed him into the cubicle. Mess was an understatement. I saw the name Cheryl above the bed, but the monstrosity lying in the bed was enough to make anyone sick. The head was swollen and black and blue with grazed and lacerated areas around the mouth and eyes. There were dressings on the worst affected areas but it was truly dreadful to behold.
“How can someone do this to another human being?” I asked.
“I don’t know, but I do know that drink was probably involved.”
“Yes, but I had a couple of glasses of wine the other night, I didn’t want to go and beat someone up.”
“Cathy, if I might call you that? You’re a normal person with reasonable levels of control and presumably some attachment to the society in which you live, your family and so on. The guys who did this, don’t. They have no self-control, so are usually piss heads, and they don’t care about the life of this person. They see someone who is vulnerable and upon whom they can project their inadequacies and it becomes violent very quickly.”
“Is her name, Cheryl?” I asked.
“No, that’s her nurse, her name is Brittany.”
“As in Spears?”
“Yes, not very original but…”
“Yeah okay, what do you want me to do?”
“The grapevine told me that you saved a kid here the other week with a brain tumour, then yesterday we had stories of a dead child being resuscitated after that shouldn’t have been possible.”
“My foster daughter.”
“Yes, I know. Can you help with this poor unfortunate?”
“Thank you. What do you need from us?”
“Some peace and quiet and a cuppa in an hour or so.”
“You got it, anything else?”
“Yes no sugar in the tea, and if they take Mima down for a scan, I’ll need to be there.”
“Of course, I take it you have milk?”
“In the tea, please.”
I settled down and introduced myself. “Hi, Brittany, I’m Cathy and I’ve come to help you. I know you can hear me so I want you to listen to my voice and use it to help you come back from the void in which you find yourself. Follow my voice and as you do you’ll see a light, follow it, float towards it and that’s where I’ll be, waiting for you. Oh and you’ll probably have a bit of a headache, but I’ll help you with that too.”
I touched her on the forehead and held her hand. I kept talking, my eyes shut as I visualised the light coming down and entering her body and especially her head and face. I tried to imagine her face before the gang tried to rearrange it and projected that on her. I don’t know how long I was there but a female voice said, “Oh my God, get the surgeon quickly, and the sound of a cup and saucer being put down rapidly.
I opened my eyes and got used to the lights, footsteps came rushing in and I became aware of a machine bleeping that hadn’t been doing so before. “Jesus, Joseph and Mary,” said Grant Chesters as he ran into the room dressed in his greens–his theatre garb. “I don’t believe it.”
I looked to see what they didn’t believe and it shook me too. Brittany’s head was normal sized and much of the bruising had eased. Chesters, shone a light into both of her eyes, “Jesus, we’ve got a reflex, she’s alive.”
“We’ve got other vitals, Mr Chesters,” said the nurse.
“I’ve never seen anything like it, it’s–a–miracle, there is no other word to describe it.”
I felt knackered and drank the tea, whether or not it was for me. “Please don’t say anything about this to anyone,” I pleaded.
“I don’t believe it, you can do more in an hour than I could in ten in the theatre.”
“This is the last one I do. I can’t cope with what it does to me, and what the press are likely to do if they find out. I have three children. I want to protect them.”
“Of course, I’m not sure what we put in the notes but, I’ll not breathe a word of your identity. Neither will the others, will you?” he demanded of the nurses. They both said, no.
“I have to go and see Mima.” I got up to leave, “I still can’t understand why anyone should want to hurt anyone else for fun.”
“Nor me,” said the nurse, “but one of the bastards who did it, ran off when the police arrived and was hit by a bus. He’s in a similar state in the next room. I don’t suppose you’d like to share a miracle with him? Personally, I’d switch off his machine now, given the chance.”
I paused at the doorway.
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