Whatever It Takes

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Chapter 2 - Zachariah's point of view

A heavy weight rested on my chest, as I surveyed my surroundings. Everyone was glum, their clothes a dirtied mess from the sudden change in weather. Their feelings of loss were well acquainted with me, having already gone through the murky emotions that they are were treading in. I took several deep, and unknowingly, heavy breaths to prevent my PTSD from returning. Turn by turn, multiple pairs of puffy eyes turned, their hollow orbs staring through me. I took a deep breath, words forming on the tip of my tongue.

“First of all, I would like to give everyone my deepest condolences for what has happened. I am awfully sorry for not being able to save you, all our scientists are. I would also like to apologise for the fact that we were unable to organise private funeral services. We cannot risk any injuries and are tight on staff. We have all been informed that the tsunami will not take another toll for the next few days, so tonight, we will all be here. Proper meals will be served tomorrow, but for now, there are snacks, desserts, sandwiches and drinks that you can access near the back of the hall.” The room was silent, a deadly atmosphere which, I had a feeling, would get worse.

A loud, slow clap echoed, and I found my culprit as everyone turned to her direction; a middle-aged woman dressed in a beige and black khaki jumper, half her trousers covered in mud and other dark substances.

“Your apology is pathetic. You are a trillionaire, so why couldn’t you get your top scientists to predict this disaster? A shame on this country, which is so proud of its renowned scientists.” Her verbal attack rendered me speechless, her beady eyes narrowed close. I refused to look down, maintaining the venomous stare off with this woman. I would have felt angry if this was under any other condition, but in this, I couldn’t. I wasn’t sure how to feel about anything. It was all jumbled up, especially after the arrival of Isabelle.

“Like Mr Wilson had said, this was a complete surprise, and this is the first time in fifty years that we haven’t been able to take measures against a natural disaster, or any disaster for that matter. That in itself should be enough for you.” Gratitude swelled in my chest, as I smiled to the stretcher bearer, who nodded his head, taking his place at the step of the staircase.

“She is right. I lost my son because of you. He was the only thing I had left in this world and an apology sure as hell isn’t going to bring him back. But anyway, why am I even saying this to you, how would an orphan know what I am going through?” My temper flared at her last statement, my fists clenching and unclenching as I tried to ignore the dagger that poked at the unsealed wound in my heart. Now I couldn’t care less about the situation we were in; how dare she have the fucking audacity to poke her nose in mypersonal life.

“How dare you! What part of I am awfully sorry do you not understand? This is not his fault, or the scientists… and your dig at his personal life was uncalled for. In this hall, we have all lost something dear… my husband and three-year-old daughter have left me but blaming anyone isn’t going to bring them back. What has happened, happened. The only way through this is forward, as well as with everyone supporting each other instead of bringing them down. Let’s all cooperate, together, we can get through this.”

I looked at Isabelle, stunned by her speech. She looked everyone in the eyes before settling her beautiful eyes on me. I clapped for her, as did everyone else, who gave her a standing ovation. For someone who had been through so much, I was incredibly proud of her. They all turned to their neighbours, embracing them and having a few kind words exchanged between one another. I smiled, moving towards Isabelle, who sat back down, a look of pain crossing her face.

At this point, everything felt like it slowed down, as I dodged through everyone, reaching her to see her panting loudly, a gasp of pain escaping her. My internal panic alarm was set off, but I was sure to suppress this, besides, she was going to freaking give birth, I really didn't want to worry her. I moved to her side, lifting her and carrying her to the medical room, noticing small beads of sweat popping on her forehead. I hated seeing her like this, but I prayed that both of them would be ok. The midwives snapped their heads up, noticing that they were needed, barked orders to each other as the stretcher bearers ran back and forth, collecting the necessary equipment. I set her down on the birthing bed, feeling fearful and uncomfortable as I walked out.

The screams stopped my heart on multiple occasions, soon being unable to think of anything but her. Many hours passed, as I leaned against the wall, watching everyone going in and out of rooms, watching as they reappeared in a new change of clothes. Crying could be heard, and I felt so happy, wanting to see the new-born. I turned, a small young woman with sharp features, walking out of the room, closing the door after her.

“Is she ok?” She stopped in her footsteps, staring at me, her face softening. “She lost the baby. She was born dead.” My smile immediately dropped. How is that possible? Maybe she has had a poor family life? She didn’t look like it, I mean, there were no visible bruises. Maybe it was psychological? I pulled my phone out.

“Yes Mr Wilson?”

“I need you to collect every possible piece of information on a woman named Isabelle Ryder. Take your time if necessary, but no leaf should be left unturned. Am I clear?” A warning evident in my tone.

“Yes sir.” I heard his voice quiver, before he hung up.

I leaned against the door, waiting to be allowed in. Twenty minutes later, a tall nurse with beady eyes walked out.

“You are allowed to go in Mr Wilson.” I nodded, the nurses filing out as I walked in. She sat still, her eyes on a small bundle that was being taken out. My heart plummeted as I realised its contents, moving into the room to see Isabelle.

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