The wind drafted through the old house perched at the hill’s summit. Surrounding trees lost leaves to the harsh gusts; all forms of life scattered for shelter. The sky was ready to cry, filled with gray clouds that engulfed all of Twyla Forrest. The hills that once basked in sunlight looked as if they could now touch the low skyline.
James sat by Robin’s beside. Every few minutes he entered a state of unconsciousness, awoken by his young daughter’s violent shrieks. Robin had been tormented with unbearable fits of pain for six months, and despite her father’s best efforts, he could not obtain the remedy.
A cry of anguish rang out, bringing him to full attention. He held her hand and wiped sweat beads from her forehead with a damp cloth.
“It hurts, daddy.” said the innocent child.
“I know it does, but Daddy is right here.” James assured her as he squeezed her hand tighter.
After several minutes of lying awake in agony, Robin once again drifted off to sleep. James let go of her hand, placing it softly on her stomach.. Her breaths were slow and deep, sometimes disturbed by a watery coughing bout. Her chest rose and fell slowly, her face flushed. Long brown locks of hair lay drenched in sweat and tears against her pillow.
James slipped into the living room next to a dimly lit fire. Was he a good parent? His thoughts raced. Sadness pulsated through him. He had to remain calm, he had to tell himself that she would pull through. His mind froze in numbness as he gazed at the orange glow on the wall.
Another cry in pain.
“I’m here Robin,” he said as he took his seat in the chair and rubbed her shoulder. She began coughing for a time that seemed endless, followed by a horrible moan. Her entire body was shivering, each muscle tensed as tight as her weak body could manage. Her eyes closed once more and she fell back into slumber. He returned to the living room for the plastic bag and a glass of water.
“Robin,” he whispered. Her eyes opened slowly and she glanced up at him. He handed her the glass of water and poured the contents of the plastic bag into his hand. “Take this,” A small blue pill resided in his grasp. She parted her lips just long enough for him to lay it on her tongue. Water from the cup rushed into her mouth as she drank, some of it spilling onto her shirt.
“Does this mean I will get better?” she asked between short breaths.
“You will never be sick again,” he told her. She smiled and nestled back into her sheets. “Goodnight Robin.”
James left his daughter’s room slowly that night, knowing that he had taken from her the pain, taken from her the sickness. Knowing that he had given her the gift of eternal rest.
Jake Wickenhofer has been writing since before he was ten. He has been accepted for publication by Alienskin Magazine and The Oracular Tree.