Authors: Jason W. Chan
Tags: #paranormal romance
Having had enough, Luke turned off the
TV and headed out the door.
When he got to the Vancouver General
Hospital, he was relieved to discover that the ER was not as busy
as that depicted on the TV.
On the contrary, it was nearly empty.
Only a man with a bandaged head and a woman and her son were
sitting in the brightly-lit waiting room.
Luke approached the first staff member
Excuse me, I’m looking for
Alyssa. I‘m her….” He stopped short. What should he call himself?
“Fiancé,” he finally said.
The redhead male nurse pointed to the
larger room behind the desk of the triage nurse. Recognizing Luke,
the triage nurse smiled and let him pass.
He made his way past the desk and saw
Alyssa on the other side. She was in her adorable nurse uniform
standing, beside a pale little girl who was lying in one of the
semi-private beds, shower sheets drawn around it
Alyssa turned and waved.
Luke waved back, but stayed put. He
knew better than to disturb her while she was with a
To amuse himself while waiting, he
surveyed the bright emergency room. Doctors and nurses in white
coats sat around the central work station in the middle of the
enormous room, chatting with one another and staring into computer
Behind Alyssa, Luke saw a
door that led into a pitch-black room. Curious, he went closer to
it. It was labeled
Who could they possibly have to detain
here? He wondered.
He pressed his face against the tiny
window and peered inside. He could see nothing. Then, his eyes
adjusted and he saw a tiny bed in one corner, and a sink and faucet
in the other. A light bulb dangled from the ceiling in the middle
of the chamber.
His question was answered when a pudgy
face with bulging eyes appeared out of nowhere and glared at him
through the observation window.
Luke felt a jolt as he pulled back. His
heart beat faster and his breathing intensified.
The same redhead male nurse approached
him. “Sir, please don’t stare into the room. The detainee in there
is psychologically unstable. Just a few minutes ago, the patient
was shouting so loudly that he woke up some babies and made them
Luke stepped away from the room
Suddenly, the door of the Detention
Room burst open, hitting Luke on the back, and sending him flying
onto the floor.
The mentally unstable patient grabbed
the first person he saw, and put a sharp pencil to her
Unfortunately, that person happened to
Don’t come any closer, or
I’ll kill her,” he threatened.
For the first time, Luke got a close
look at the patient. The guy was beefy, hyper masculine and looked
like he lifted weights once an hour for half an hour each session.
He looked like he had XYY Syndrome. In fact, he had the same build
and appearance as Duane, that guy who harassed Alyssa the first
time Luke met her.
The male nurse and the doctors from the
work station rushed up to the guy, who was sweating so hard his
spotless straitjacket was starting to get soaked.
Call security! Get the
orderlies!” a black-haired doctor shouted to his
Lemme outta here,” the
patient yelled. “Lemme me out or the nurse gets it!”
Luke stood up, his stomach twisted into a knot. He thought about
approaching the man, but then berated himself for such a stupid
idea. If he approached, his girlfriend would die. All it took was
one quick stab in the throat.
He watched as Alyssa’s eyes grew
alarmed, then terrified. She twisted her body slightly, as though
plotting an escape.
In the background, Luke could hear
gasps, whispers and then feet pounding on the linoleum
The hostage-taker’s hand moved the
sharp pencil closer to Alyssa’s throat.
What should I do? thought
The loudspeaker announced, “Code White!
I do that won’t endanger Alyssa?
The beefy orderlies arrived, all at
least six feet tall. They looked like martial artists.
The doctor with black hair, the head
doctor, Luke assumed, raised his hands with his palms facing the
large man, as though surrendering. “We don’t want to hurt you. Why
don’t you put down the pencil, let go of the nurse and we can
You’ll let me go home?” The
man’s face was a mix of hope and frustration. He looked painfully
intense, as though he were concentrating on a particularly hard
calculus final exam.
Yes, you can go home,” the
doctor said, forcing a smile.
The patient glanced around frantically
and mulled it over. As he scanned his surroundings, the hand with
the weapon, whether deliberately or inadvertently, inched even
closer to Alyssa.
Luke decided this would be the best
time to strike.
But, before he could move in, the head
doctor signaled to the orderlies, who lunged at the patient. The
patient dropped the pencil and pushed Alyssa away.
The orderlies tackled the man, and
Luke stopped paying attention to the
man as soon as he had let go of Alyssa. He was prepared to catch
his girlfriend in his arms, but the man had pushed Alyssa in the
Luke watched helplessly as Alyssa hit
her stomach on the corner of a desk. She lay on the ground,
crumpled like a Raggedy Ann doll.
He rushed over to her and inspected her
face. Strands of her hair were matted against her forehead. Her
eyes looked wild, even feral and her breathing sounded like a tea
kettle boiling on the stove.
Are you OK?” Luke
This is all my fault, Luke thought. If
I hadn’t looked into the room and provoked the patient….
Alyssa pointed at her stomach, then
Luke looked concerned. What was she
trying to say?
He was distracted by something red on
A ketchup red stain, he saw.
I think I just lost the
twins,” she said. “I felt them leave.”
She looked down at her stomach, then
patted it once.
Bye bye, my babies,” she
whispered, then closed her eyes.
* * * * *
A few minutes later, Alyssa was placed
on a gurney and wheeled into the Intensive Care Unit of the
Their obstetrician, Dr. Best, happened
to be on duty in the ER that night. After examining Alyssa and
running some tests on the ultrasound, he stood by her bed with a
grim expression plastered onto his wrinkled face. Luke hovered
The doctor scanned the test results,
I’m afraid I have some bad
news.” He looked right at Alyssa. “You’ve lost the babies.”
Alyssa’s eyes were barely open as she lay on the hospital
Luke looked at his girl, and saw a
facial expression he had never seen before on her, not even when
she was upset with her mother.
Her face was twisted. Her eyes were
hollow. Her mouth was a straight line, nearly disappearing
altogether into her face.
Dr. Best put down the documents. “Were
you on your feet a lot?”
Alyssa stared at the doctor in silence.
She then looked down at her stomach. The bleeding had
Luke answered for her. “Yes, she
Bad idea,” the doctor said.
“Really bad idea.”
* * * * *
When they got home that night, Alyssa
went straight to the crib room. Luke followed her and stood in the
doorway. She trailed her fingers along one crib’s tiny mattress,
then stared at the baby paraphernalia on the guest bed. She then
turned her attention to the empty cribs, gazing at it for a long
Luke watched and didn’t know what he
should do or say. He assumed she was thinking about what the dead
babies would be doing in the cribs if they were alive: giggling,
After a while, she went straight to
their bedroom, got into bed and pulled the covers over her head.
Luke stood by the door, unsure of whether to go in. He was going to
ask her to marry him the night before. He had it all planned out.
Now, he was thinking the proposal should wait, at least until they
dealt with the miscarriage.
Alyssa?” he called out
She did not even stir.
He sat on the bed.
Alyssa?” he tried
He removed the blankets gently,
revealing a tear-stained face underneath.
She wiped away her tears. “When I was a
little girl, I won the spelling bee. My second-grade teacher gave
me some dolls as a reward. I still remember her telling me that
raising kids is the most special thing in the world. I took those
dolls everywhere I went. I brushed their hair, dressed them up,
even bandaged one after I accidentally broke her arm.”
She stopped, and smiled as she
reminisced. The smile looked out of place on a face that had been
crying just moments earlier, like a dark cloud on a sunny
She sat up and propped up a pillow, and
leaned against it. “It was something to care for. To love. And to
be loved back.”
Luke listened with his full attention,
staring into her flushed face.
He brushed a loose strand of hair that
was matted near her eye. He then climbed into bed in her. He put
his arms around her and she rested her head on his
She closed her eyes. “My mother
neglected me her for career,” she continued.
She focused entirely on her
academic career. I took care of myself. I raised myself. I told
myself that I would never be like her. That I would be the best
mother in the world.”
We can try again,” Luke
said. “You can get pregnant again.”
What if I miscarry
You won’t. Just don’t work
She picked her head up and looked at
him, her eyes boring into him. “It won’t be the same. We were going
to have twins. Twins. One of them was going to be named
This is my fault,” he said.
“If I hadn’t come down there and provoked the patient. If I had
protected you better….”
Alyssa put a finger to his lips. “You
came down because you were worried about me. And some careless
orderly had left the door of the Detention Room open. He would have
come out sooner or later. And you couldn‘t approach me when he had
the knife to my throat, because no one knew what he would have
When she put it that way, Luke knew he
could not argue with her logic.
She put a few fingers on his neck and
stroked him there. “It’s no one’s fault,” she whispered. “I don’t
ever want to hear you say that. If anything, it‘s my fault for
working even though I should have been resting.”
He said nothing. He knew that it was no
one‘s fault, but he could not shake off the nagging feelings of
He also felt that the situation was
still unresolved, and it would come back to bite them in the
He wanted to say something but he did
not know what, so he just held her tight, until she fell asleep a
* * * * *
Over the next few weeks, the two of
them threw themselves into their work. They did not speak of the
miscarriage, but it was always there in the background, like a tiny
leak in a boat, barely noticeable, but disastrous if left
One day, Luke came home from work, and
found that dinner had not already been made. There was no note on
the mini blackboard. He waited a few hours, but she still did not
return. He yawned, then turned on the TV, then fell
It was past midnight when Alyssa came
home. Luke rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and saw the blurry
image of his girlfriend. Her hair was undone and there was bags
under her eyes.
"Where were you?" Luke asked, still
"At the old folk's home. I've started
to volunteer there."
"Don't you think you're overdoing it a
bit? You already teach school and work at the hospital."
She looked at her blankly, then
sneered. "I'm fine," she said. "Just fine."
He stood up. “You’re the one that
always tells me to slow down and enjoy life.”
Things have changed,” she
Indeed they have, he
She walked toward their bedroom, then
stopped at the babies' room. Luke turned around and saw her staring
blankly into it. She stood there for a good ten minutes. Luke tried
to get up, but decided not to. He realized that he had to allow her
to have her own form of therapy.