out of the ashes

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chapter 4

Marvin has fallen out of a dumpster onto his head. The expert medical team has patched him up, and he  is on the mend. He keeps telling the nurses and doctors that an angel continually appears in his room, floating by the window...

A portion of 4


Four

The hospital room was dark that evening except for the glow of the monitors on the wall above Marvin’s head. Anselm had entered and stood beside him, not a fleeting vision colored light and dark, but solid, like a ship emerging from a thick fog bank. Not across the room by the windows, either, but close enough to reach down and touch the patient. The angel spoke.
 “Who are you?”
The voice awakened Marvin, and when he saw Anselm his bleary eyes blew wide open.  
“Ho-ly Shit!”
Grabbing the top of the sheet with both hands, he yanked it up over his nose, but stopped short of his eyes. He trembled as he gazed up.  The eyes of the creature—not two, but many, spinning in its face like spokes in a wheel. Oh yes, it had a nose, a narrow nose, Marvin could see, now that whatever it was was so near—and a mouth, or several it seemed, that shifted up and down in a peculiar, disarming way when it spoke. A broken, shifting image, like one from an Edison Kinetoscope.
“Who are you?” Anselm asked again.
“I…dunno’,” Marvin stammered. “A dead man I’m guessin’. You come to take me away?  Holy shit.”
Anselm leaned close to Marvin’s face and continued speaking. Marvin’s heart beat wildly as he listened, and after a moment he lost consciousness—but the words entered his bruised brain and stuck.   
She is here, and we are watching her…
She is waiting for you…
This is what you will do...

Marvin was released two days later, but not without exclamations of professional astonishment, and not without a strong suggestion to consult a psychiatrist. First off, his wound had healed completely. That in itself brought every neurosurgeon, orthopedic specialist, oncologist, gynecologist, ornithologist, nurse, priest, psychic, and patient on the ward, to examine him and scratch their heads. 
His continued ramblings about an angel brought in a team of shrinks who explained the miraculous healing in terms of  “…an extreme acceleration of the processes of organic repair due to hypnotic intervention.”
“I can assure you,” the hospital administrator answered, “no one here would resort to such quackery.”
“Munchausen Syndrome, then,” came the response from a bespectacled psychiatrist, a tiny man who hung far back in the crowd, and who had peeked out and raised his hand as though he were back in a classroom in Vienna.
“You idiot, I saw his brain! That was no exaggeration on his part,” said the head surgeon who had gently stuffed Marvin’s brain back into his fractured skull before calling out for staples and gauze that night he was brought in.
“Oh.”
Whatever happened, he’s not leaving before he pays the four hundred thousand dollar bill,” exclaimed the hospital administrator.  Everyone except Marvin seemed to agree with that, all of them being medical professionals.
Marvin promised to try, and when they had all wandered off arguing amongst themselves, he dressed in his bloodstained rags and snuck out to return to the quiet and comfort of his pit beneath the dock. He felt very different, uncommonly happy, and very sleepy again.

                                           *

“This is the woman?” Anselm asked Roget.
“Yes.”
They stood watching as Amy set the dripping glazed bowl into the wire holder atop the counter next to the sink. Through the small, south-facing window above the sink, a soft light poured in, brightening the edges of the aqua curtains and the tile counter top. A robin flitted to a perch on the feeder outside, twisted its head several times quickly, then flew away. She glanced over at where it had been, then gathered her purse from the table behind her, looped the strap over her shoulder, and left the apartment.
“More beautiful even than the image in his dreams.”
“Quite. As these creatures go, at least.”
“What do we know of her? Where did they meet?” Anselm asked.
“Don’t know yet. Inconsequential, at any rate, I think.” 
Roget told of her dreams, and of a family in a city east of Denver. Her income, her quiet life here, her anxiety of late concerning a boss. 
“The point is they’ve crossed paths, I’m certain of that, and now we have to twist them back toward that intersection. It’s remarkable, isn’t it?” Anselm said.
“What is that?”
“The very different worlds they inhabit.”
“Indeed. How is he?”
“Resting. Dreaming. Drawing a plan, though he doesn’t realize it yet. Stay close to her, my friend. I have some work to do while he regains his senses.”
“And his injury?”
“A distant memory.”

(c) Patrick Sean Lee-2012

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