University of San Francisco Hospital
San Francisco, CA
July 22nd, 2011
Jack walked into the hospital room to see Annie glued to JD11’s side and Lise scanning through his chart one last time. Even after all that she’d witness with regards to JD11’s healing power, she still found it hard to believe that he could recover from a near-fatal stab wound in less than forty-eight hours.
“We’re all set to go. It appears that your hospital bill has been paid in full. I suspect the colonel is behind that. Speaking of which, he said that he expects to meet up with us sometime today.”
Lise shook her head in bewilderment and she replaced the chart in its holder at the foot of the bed.
“We’d better get going. We still need to pack-up and sterilized the apartment before heading out. Jack, do you think it’s safe to go back there? It won’t take long for this story to hit the streets. Headlines about miraculous cures are just the sort of thing that attracts the Brotherhood to us.”
“The colonel has people watching the apartment. It should be safe to go back so long as we are quick about it.”
JD11 was dressed and ready to go. Even Lise could find no reason that he shouldn’t travel. In fact, he was the picture of health; with only a small scar to show remind him of the incident.
As they headed out the door, Jack led the way to the right. JD11, however, paused at the door before turning to the left. Annie felt his hand slip out of hers and he headed off in the opposite direction.
“JD, where are you going?” she asked as Jack and Lise turned to see what was going on.
JD11 didn’t answer other than to hold up a hand, indicating he had to take care of something first. This not being completely new behavior for him, the others followed a few steps behind. There had been times in the past when he’d acted apparently out of impulse. Once, he stopped to tell a woman on the street, “Don’t worry, he will be okay in three days.” He would then catch up to the others as if nothing had happened; leaving behind a woman clasping her hands over her mouth.
Another time he’d sat down next to a man begging on the street and just put his hand on the man’s shoulder. Neither said a word and after a short time, JD11 got up and then were on their way again.
There were several instances of this. Each time, when asked why he’d done what he’d done, JD11 would reply with, “There was something I had to help them know” and it was left at that.
One thing that Jack had been quick to notice was that after every one of these events, the Brotherhood showed up and they would be on the run again. It wasn’t as if they would know a member of the Brotherhood if they saw them on the street. What actually happened was that Lanier would call and tell them they had to move, usually with almost no time to prepare.
Now, JD11 apparently had a need to help someone “know” before he left the hospital. As they walked down the spotless, tiled floors, Annie experienced a feeling of complete isolation. In a building filled with people, there didn’t seem to be anyone else on their floor. It was as if the tide of hustle and bustle that were characteristic of every hospital everywhere, had been parted; allowing JD11 and his small group of followers a clear path.
To JD11, the experience of “needing” to do be somewhere in particular seemed to emanate from deep inside his soul. It was like a hunger that needed to be satisfied. As he moved forward, a feeling of intense satisfaction flooded his being. He knew this meant he was on the right path.
At one point, he came to a junction of hallways. Uncertain which way to go, he moved to the left and felt disappointment begin to scratch the surface of his psyche. He quickly turned to the right, expecting the satisfaction to return. Instead, the disappointment remained.
The group has stopped a few steps back and watched as their friend seemed to consider what direction to go. It was clear that he’d lost the clear sense of direction he’d had only a moment earlier. JD11 turned back to the group and shrugged.
Annie stepped forward. She walked to JD11, pausing only long enough to put her hand on his arm in a display of support. She then continued on past and pushed open a door that granted access to some stairs.
She held the door open and looked back at JD11 with a questioning look on her face.
He paused for a moment and then smiled, moving past her and into the stairwell. He continued up two flights of stairs before exiting on the hospital’s fifth floor. A sign on the wall opposite the stairs pointed directions different destinations; three to the left and one to the right.
JD11 went to the right and a few steps later, came upon a set of double doors and into the Children’s Cancer Ward. With a look, he told the others to wait outside. They, of course, complied. Still, that didn’t stop them from peering through thee small windows in each of the doors.
From their vantage point Lise, Jack and Annie saw that JD11 was becoming something more than any of them expected.
He entered the room unnoticed. It’s not that he was alone. There were rows of beds along the wall to the right; each with child suffering from some variant of cancer. There were also two female attendants there as well. But none looked up as he entered.
Walking up to the foot of the nearest bed, JD11 looked down on a sleeping child of no more than six. Although the bald child could not visibly be identified as male or female, JD11 knew her name was Jenny. He placed he hand gently on her head and saw her story.
There was fear and sadness all about her, and it had been that way most of her life. She had no memory of it ever having been otherwise. He knew differently. He went back in her life to a time before she forgot – forgot that that there was no need for fear; no need for grief. There was a time when she “knew” everything there was to know. A time before the forgetting began. He then grabbed onto that memory and pulled it forward.
They met in his forest; he walking with a satchel slung over his shoulder, her standing there next to a small pond, peering over the edge to see if there might be some fish swimming in it.
“Hi Jenny,” he said.
She looked up, unafraid and smiled. “I think there might be goldfish in this pond. How do you know my name? What’s in the bag?”
Kneeling down beside her, JD11 said, “I think you might be right about the fish. I know your name because I know you. As for the bag, this is your bag. I found it for you. In it, I think you’ll find something that’s even better than goldfish.”
Jenny immediately jumped up and clapped her hands excitedly. “Can I see what’s inside?”
“Of course,” he said, “It’s yours. It has always been yours.”
Jenny opened the bag and felt the joy of her returned memories flooding her soul.
Out the doors, the group watched in stunned silence as the small girl sat up as JD11’s hand fell away. She smiled up at him and then reached over and began to play with a teddy bear that had been laying untouched for weeks by her pillow.
JD11 moved on to the next bed and to the one after that - Always with the same result. Somehow, the attendance seemed to notice none of this. For fifteen minutes, the ward slowly came to life, one child after another. Eventually, he was done. In all, fourteen children had been visited.
As JD11 left the room to join his friends, two stunned nursing attendants looked up from their paperwork to find their ward filled with fourteen children chasing each other around playfully.
They walked a few yards down the hallway towards the elevator without saying a thing. Finally, Jack said, “I think that might be noticed.”
Lise laughed out loud and shoved him playfully with her shoulder. “You think?” she asked.
They entered the elevator and as the door closed JD11 said, “Times, they are a-changin.”
Five minutes later, they walked unnoticed out the front door of the hospital.
Unnoticed except for the man that exited the car at the curb and approached them with his hand extended.
“It’s good to see you again, everyone.”
Jack took the hand and smiled, saying, “It’s good to see you again too, Colonel.”
Tests over the next few days would confirm. None of the children from the cancer ward were anything other than perfectly healthy.