Scene 1.22 - Choices
At the hospital:
Why he was sitting in the quiet room of the hospital, Ashen had no idea at all. Yet, here he was and there she lay not five feet away from him.
He sat perched on a stool in a dark corner of the room, watching the shallow breaths she took with the help of the ventilator tube that ran into her mouth. So many wires and tubes ran in and around her body. It was a wonder any of it worked at all in his presence. The energy system of a demon was well known to interfere with human electrical inventions. That was the one thing that kept him hovering in the distance when what he really wanted to do was examine her up close for himself.
For a time he managed to amuse himself in fiddling with the packet of gum in his pocket. The scent was oddly appealing to him. It was sharp and intense, exciting his senses whenever he sniffed at it. Somehow it left his mouth watering for just a small taste. It was unthinkable though, just as it would be to dare approach Angela's bed when she was surrounded by so much electrical equipment.
Ashen frowned down at pink stick that he'd unwrapped from the foil. Surely just one small corner of it couldn't possibly hurt him. He didn't want to eat it, he merely wanted to taste it. Breaking off a minuscule piece, he did just that and at once he relished the spicy flavor before he felt a sudden sharp sting on the tip of his tongue. Surprisingly enough, he found it completely tolerable.
Lifting his eyes to study Angela, he weighed out the risk of daring to approach her. Perhaps if he was careful to fully shield himself and he refrained from touching a single implement attached to her body… Perhaps. It would be a risky maneuver, however. One single slip and he could unerringly short out the entire array of machinery that was currently helping her body to function.
This really was Kyle's place and not his. Still, Kyle had been asking the Elders for help for quite some time. So far they had failed to provide even an ounce of it. For all that he despised the wretched beings, he had always believed they thought more about Kyle's welfare than to simply let his sister wither and die like this.
Why were they so adamantly opposed to offering their help? Was she really that far beyond salvation? He had no idea about such things, but from what he'd witnessed firsthand, the Greys were indeed capable of performing some incredibly intricate medical procedures on-demand. What was it about Angela's medical condition that had proven to be beyond their technology?
With a soft outward breath, he closed his eyes and extended an impenetrable shield around himself that he believed should allow him to safely approach her bedside without issue. The space he inhabited in the physical realm might not even exist for all intents right now. Nothing of his being should be able to extend beyond the static bubble he'd placed around himself, no more than he could perceive the subtle nuances of world on his end.
His hands folded behind his back, tucking under his wings to hold onto the talons of the claws pressed against his waist. He would not risk touching a single thing in the room on accident. He simply wanted a closer look at her for himself.
She looked dreadful! It was the first thought that struck him as he hovered over her. How unlike the child he'd first spied all those years ago when he'd first seen her.
"Not a memory that I'm sure you might relish reliving," he whispered in the space between them. His head tilted ever so slightly in response to the thought. It was one of the very few times he'd ever given what he was a single thought and disdained it. Thankfully, her memory of the event had been been altered so that it might never have happened at all. Truth be told? He knew he'd prefer to forget it had happened.
That had been a lifetime ago, though. She'd been no more than a child when at the time. Albeit, she'd been a scrawny and sickly child even then, but she'd appeared nothing like the sallow and shriveled being she was now. She barely appeared human at all in this state. She was nothing more than bones covered in a thin layer of mottling flesh. Any fat that may have once existed on her frame had long since been eaten away by her internal organs. Then there was her hair. Once she'd been a free-flowing blond, now nearly shorn bald with just a whisper of hair grazing the cover of her scalp. Such a pity…
His eyes looked beyond what could be seen by human eyes then. Her aura was incredibly dim, barely pulsing within her system at all. The light that should be shining brightly within the wall of her chest was scarcely visible to his eyes at all. It was the truth, he realized. She was not long for this world. While there was no resemblance left within him to the angels in the heavens, he could still see the things that they saw within humans. He could see her soul beginning to unhinge itself from the shell of her body, readying itself to travel onward to the next plain of existence.
He'd never examined the lives or deaths of any human to any extent, but as a shadow in Kyle's life, he'd seen Angela grow—if not ever flourish. Seeing her living like this now, he felt… What? A touch of grief for the life she had never gotten to live? Perhaps it was merely that he'd seen her begin so young at a time when she'd been so small and fragile, now reduced down to a husk of a thing that lived and breathed merely because the tubes running though her body allowed it to continue. It actually sickened him on some level, which was not a thing he'd ever thought he could be capable of feeling for any being. What he felt, strangely enough, was conflicted…
Where were these guardians of Kyle's? Where were they with their technological wonders of magic that could heal even the most deadly of illnesses in humans? He'd seen them perform miracles before. Where were they now that they couldn't spare even a moment to restore life to this girl who meant so much to their most treasured of half-breeds?
Despite his conviction to remain distant and impartial in his examination of her, Ashen released a hand from behind his back and leaned forward with careful movements to keep from touching any of the wires running the length of her body. His fingers toyed with themselves as they delved into her personal space, penetrating the faint trace of energy that ran the length of her cheek. Despite the shield he held in place, he could sense her skin was cold.
He cocked his head thoughtfully, trying to discern what could possibly be eating the life right out of her. A virus of some sort? Simple failure to thrive? Had she merely been born with a body ill-equipped to survive in this world?
His fingers lightly trailed up, grazing her delicate skin, wondering what would happen if he decided to intervene on Kyle's behalf? It was nearly unthinkable, wasn't it? There were so many reasons the idea of doing so would be wrong to even consider. Yet, it was within his power. Was that why he'd chosen to linger here at this moment? Was he contemplating doing for Kyle what the Greys seemed disinclined to do?
Ashen was suddenly startled, but not for the errant thoughts running though his mind. Against the clear tape that sealed her eyes shut and the tube that was pressed in her mouth, Angela strained for the briefest instant as though trying to free herself from the constriction holding her prisoner. The sensation of an electrical impulse met the tips of his finger, mimicking a small static discharge under his touch. Was he hurting her? Shit!
Withdrawing at once, he stepped back and found his eyes roaming her body. He'd touched nothing of the equipment. He would have thought it was a trick of the mind, yet the numbers on the digital screen were climbing higher and he cursed himself for not keeping his distance as he should have.
Before he could mull the situation over further, a change in the atmosphere erupted near the curtained window. It was them. The Greys, they'd come. They were the reason for the change in her. Somehow their presence was affecting her. It must be.
Fully cloaked from them, he stepped back toward the stool and resumed his vigil. Truthfully, he was amazed they had kept their word. Whether they intended to help or not, still remained to be seen.
He understood nothing of their technology, so he could only guess what they intended to do as they approached the bed and began examining her. He could see they must be communicating as they stared at one another, but the room remained silent as they worked. He knew there was no way they could sense his presence, but he held quite still as he watched them both work.
One pulled down the sheet and blanket that covered her torso while the other produced a device that lit up brightly. The dark blue light was run up and down over her bare skin for a time and that caught his interest. In such close proximity to it, Ashen could feel the energy it was exuding, finding it affected him as much as the sunlight might in mid-afternoon.
His eyes scanned the digital screen by the bed, seeing the numbers on it rising once more. She was obviously responding to the treatment. He couldn't possibly imagine how though. He didn't understand it at all. Even so, he could see clear evidence that it was indeed doing something. Her aura was strengthening marginally, growing stronger at an impressive rate.
Then, that was that. The light dimmed and the covers were drawn back up over her body. In moments, the beings evaporated into thin air, disappearing as though they had never been there at all. The room was again still and the monitor at the head of her bed stopped flashing its changing numbers.
Ashen remained there, perplexed to wonder what it had all been about. Something was curiously churning in the back of his mind. It felt like some sort of puzzle to be riddled out. He had no idea what mystery had just unfolded before his eyes, but he was aware of one fact in the dim recesses of his mind. This girl was not beyond salvation.
He crossed his arms over his chest as he mired again in the idea that she could indeed be saved from the brink. Whether by their intervention or his own, Angela was not a lost cause. The question was whether he had it within him to do the unthinkable should they fail to save her life and, if so, to what end?
He knew he had a big decision to make, but not enough time to contemplate it. If he did nothing, he would undoubtedly watch her perish. Yet, if he chose to do the one thing he knew would save her life? What could he hope to gain but a world of trouble? It was not a possibility he should even be considering. Making a mortal one of his own kind was not an act to be taken lightly. It was one that would have long-lasting repercussions for everyone involved. Then again, if he chose to do nothing? If he merely waited and allowed nature to run its course? Could he live with the consequence of that either?
Sitting back on the stool, he shook his head at his reverence. What would precipitate him to even consider such a thing? It was an impossible riddle and as he sat there, he had no idea what brought it all to the forefront of his mind.
Was it a life for a life? Was that it? Did he still feel remorse for the life that he'd stolen from her so long ago—one that she knew nothing about at all? Was that why he was even considering this? Possibly… Still, the consequences… Could he truly live with them when it was all said and done?
That answer, he truly did not know…