When I came out, I heard the shouting. It was Monica’s father who was shouting.
At her mother, who was cringing away as if used to blows. One of the nurses was moving to intervene, so I sneaked past them into Monica’s room.
“Can you make them go away?”
I shook my head. “No. And the hospital…”
“…has to listen to them. Will you get me out of here?”
I knew what she was asking. “Not…not right now.” I sighed, sighed deeply at the situation. At the way things were working out.
“At least he won’t hit her here.”
“Why does she stay with him?”
“Usual reason. She loves him. It won’t happen again.” Her voice sounded weak and thready. “So I left.”
If I hadn’t turned off my cell phone out of respect for hospital rules I would have called the police. Then outside fell silent.
I glanced out and they were stalking towards the elevator. “They’re going away.”
I heard a soft sound outside the window. I glanced over and there was a raven.
“Sorry, I’d get into huge trouble if I let you in.”
She turned her head. “I need…I need you to do some things for me. Write it down.”
I pulled out a notebook. I wrote down everything she said. I was pretty sure what she was asking me to do was all kinds of illegal. And all kinds of important.
I thought of Mike, struck down.
Then I thought of this. And I knew that it would be over soon and I finally understood how it might be better.
I thought I understood, too, what was really being asked of her. “They’ll be disappointed not to find you in heaven.”
She laughed, then coughed…coughed blood. “I…figure…heaven’s pretty boring.”
“I don’t know. There’s an angel with a sense of humor hanging around.”
“Sure he’s not a demon?”
I wished I could introduce the two of them. I couldn’t, though. “Hopefully they’ll move you to hospice.”
“If they don’t, break me out.”
“You’ll…” Then I sighed. “If I have to, I will.”
I didn’t want to, but I knew I would. Her choices were more important than mine.
Now if only her parents could be got to acknowledge that.