Chapter Thirty-Five: Life and Losses
Professor Florian was sat in his study in Geneva. He placed his reading glasses into his right hand. He slowly bobbed his head and briskly rubbed his dry eyes, as his business partner of 20 years began to relay current events to him...
“All evidence of our operation has now been taken care of.”
The Professor coughed. “I understand that part,” he said impatiently. “However, correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the doctor say it was this - baby-whisperer - who was the problem here?”
“And so it seemed at the time,” Bernard quickly answered although he took a moment to finish his sentence. He cupped his chin and began to stroke his stubble-free face. “You see, after making my own enquiries into the matter it turned out it was, in fact, the other woman who was likely to be a bigger threat to our organization.”
“Really..?” the Professor replied but he did not look satisfied. “Please explain.”
Bernard slid a sheet of paper across the glass table. “You see this other woman, Lydia, was quite connected. And not only was she connected, she was also the proactive type: naturally inquisitive, fiercely ambitious - your kind of person in fact,” he grinned. “Going on the information I had received, it was only a matter of time before she zeroed-in on our doctor here. I’m actually surprised she had escaped his attention. Or - as we were right to suspect - his attention was not quite focused to begin with. Either way, with both Lydia and Lawson gone, this matter will soon be heading in the same direction.”
“And there’s nothing else - on Dr. Lawson’s part?”
“No. Nothing left on his end. It looks like he took care of everything before he took care of himself. Although there was the matter with some slighted lover but the evidence was destroyed and…if later down the line she were to talk, it’s believed she refers to this organisation as Diligence.”
“Diligence?” The Professor said which generated dry sniggers from the pair of them.
For, unbeknown to the agents assigned to a project, they were all handed different company names. Hence, Dr. Lawson was given Diligence. Although Diligence is in operation, in reality, Diligence - as a company name - was no more in existence than money sprouting on trees…
“Why?” Bernard paused for second, “should we do something about it?”
“Oh, no. No need,” the Professor said shaking his head, “It’s just a real shame. All these deaths and still no results.”
Following his statement his wife, Dr. Marietta, stepped into the room followed by a maid wheeling a tray of breakfast pastries and freshly brewed coffee.
Dr. Marietta took one look at the frown on her husband’s face and scowled her disapproval. “Florian. Florian. Let’s not worry ourselves about the things we cannot change.” She waited until the maid had gone before continuing. “I’ve made arrangements for us to spend a fortnight in the Rift Valley - to take your mind off things for a while. It’ll do you good to get some rest before we start on the next project. Work, we are never short of dear, as you know, but time waits for no man, as you can see,” she said gently squeezing his knee, “well, not until we find a cure for that,” she added in a teasing manner. She smiled and sat down beside her husband. “Look Florian. We will re-evaluate all once we get back from Kenya. It really is beautiful this time of year.”
The Professor turned to face Bernard. “Isn’t she such a thoughtful wife?” he said with a smile which made him look ten years younger, “I don’t know where I’d be without her.”
“Well that, my dear, is because you’re such a rich husband,” she humoured in return.
Bernard shook his head grinning at the pair of them. “Unfortunately I can’t stay for breakfast, I have another meeting to attend.” He click shut his attaché briefcase shunting into darkness; newspaper clippings, printouts, and two 4x6 photographs of the once active - now recently deceased - Persons of Interest. “But I believe that is all for now.”
“Very well,” the Professor said accepting the cup of coffee that was handed to him “Just one more thing...This Christine woman - the baby whisperer…It appears she really does possess a real gift, does she not?”
“From my investigations she is authentic. Why?”
“Ummm I don’t know...” The Professor was quiet for a moment. “She might be one to watch.”
“She might very well be,” the Professor’s wife intervened with good cheer, “but for now, let’s focus all our energies on our trip ahead.” She clapped her hands together to signal the end of the discussion.
And that was the last ever mentioned of Diligence. Well the last in this story that is…
The Neonatal waiting room was a lot quieter than usual. An air of solemnity had crept into the area. It was emanating from a small group of people that had gathered at the far end of the ward. All of them were relatives and close friends of the Daleys. They had come to provide whatever kind of support they could give for the-soon-to-be-bereaved couple.
Christine was permitted to go into the private ward. She could feel her heart begin to tear as she watched Robert Daley openly sob into his hands, refusing to be comforted by an older man who appeared to be his father.
Kelly was cradling Tobey in her arms. She looked up when Christine entered the room. “Thanks for coming Christine,” she said her face streaked in tears. “I heard what happened...I...”
“It’s okay Kelly,” Christine nodded. “I wanted to come. I wanted to be here.”
She stared at Tobey’s greying skin. His small mouth was pulled in a straight line. Even though his eyes were closed, Christine could tell he was far from asleep. He didn’t look restful enough.
The nurse who was hovering around them began to speak. “As we earlier discussed, we will soon make the move to take Tobey off the respiratory machine.” The nurse gently nodded. “Let me know when you both feel ready to do so,” she whispered. She looked from Kelly to Robert then left them with their son.
Kelly motioned for Christine to sit down next to her. Robert remained standing by the window with his father as though the marked distance would act as some kind of barrier from the grim reality he now had to face.
“Would you like to talk to him before we do it?” Kelly looked at Christine.
“Yes. Okay,” she whispered, her eyes began to tingle with tears of helplessness. Kelly carefully placed baby Tobey into Christine’s arms. She began to stroke him as she had done so many times before.
Baby Tobey sounded groggy but his relief was audible. “Albert - he’s alive! He made it!”
Christine smiled. “Yes he did…thanks to you,” she replied, “All thanks to you.” A solitary tear curved around her face and then hovered at the tip of her chin. She looked down at Tobey. “They’re going to take you off the machine my darling. Are you ready Tobey?”
“I am,” Tobey answered. “Remember what I said, tell my parents not to worry. I love them now, and I will love them forever.”
“I will,” Christine replied, she swallowed to allow herself to breath.
“And Christine. I love you too. You have a wonderfully rare, and beautiful heart. It’s much stronger than you think. Good hearts always are...Please no more worries Christine…no more worries...”
Christine lost her resolve she began to cry again. She handed Tobey over to his mother but she wasn’t quite ready to let him go. She continued to stroke his arm as his mother held him.
The nurse removed one of the tubes in Tobey’s mouth and then dislodged the one attached to his left nostril. All the while, his mother sang his favourite nursery rhyme as she gently rocked him back and forth.
“The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round…”
It is vaguely understood the human heart can go anywhere between one to three minutes without oxygen until deprivation begins to kill the brain cells. And that is how it is understood in scientific terms…On the other hand, however….
After a few minutes had passed baby Tobey whispered. “It’s really quiet around here...So quiet....Can you still hear me Christine?”
Christine’s heart leapt. “Yes! Tobey! I can hear you!” she quickly replied, “I can hear you clearly.” Which was very true, as he no longer sounded groggy or out of breath for that matter.
“I can see something.”
“What can you see?”
“I-I-it’s a light...It’s...”
“What is it Tobey? Say that again?”
There was silence... Christine heard no more...
“Aha! Tobey. You’re here!” A loud voice called out.
Tobey was hesitant.
“You have a question for me?” the voice inquired full of mirth.
“Yes. Actually I do.” Tobey replied. “I might forget later so I want to ask you now, while it’s still fresh in my memory. What happens to those babies that go to The Fears?”
There was a smile nestled in the voice that answered him. “Tobey. Tobey, my child. I love the children and the children love me. I will not let anything happen to them, and fair is fair right? Why? Where else do you think they go? They come back again of course.” The voice openly chuckled. “They are born again.”
“Oh yes!” Tobey joyfully exclaimed, wondering why he hadn’t seen the clarity before. “That’s right!”
“Are you ready now Tobey?” Love beamed.
“Yes. I’m coming,” Tobey shouted as he ran as fast as he could, to the only light he’s ever known. Thus, bringing an end to Tobey’s journey here on earth...