by Strange Wulf
A story about life, death, and the difference between them.
|The first sign of trouble was the shouting. Security was chasing a woman, a huskie anthro, up the hallway towards their position. She had a bag over her shoulder and wasn't stopping for anyone, looking very frightened but determined. They thought maybe she was a crazed patient that was having a mental breakdown, but it was disconcerting that she seemed to be heading their way, glancing up at the room numbers. The policemen unfastened their holsters, but otherwise did nothing. They didn't want to shoot or harm anyone, but they had their orders. They relaxed when the hospice security grabbed her. Then the impossible happened.
There was a blinding flash of white light. The police looked away and closed their eyes. When they looked again, security and a few others were on the ground, but they didn't seem hurt. The woman was up and running again. The officers pulled out their guns and took aim. "Halt or we will be forced to shoot!" She paused a few feet from the door. She looked up and read the room number, then looked at them, her ears laid back.
"Please... I need to get inside..."
"Not happening. Now put down the bag and place your hands on your head!" She didn't listen. She just whimpered and took a nervous step forward. "Not another step or we will open fire!" Those in the area who hadn't already dove for cover started finding it where they could. But the woman wouldn't budge. She held her bag out to the side.
"Please..." She slowly stepped forward. "I just want--"
The rest was drowned out by the gunfire. But again the impossible happened. The woman dropped the bag and cried out, her body recoiling from the hits. But instead of blood, the holes in her body let out that white light again, closing an instant later. When they stopped, the only evidence that they'd hit her were the bullet holes in her clothes. They gaped in amazement as she wrapped her arms around herself and cried hot tears.
"Why?" she asked. "Why did you hurt me? I only want to help!" The policemen looked at each other, at a loss for words. She picked up her bag again, shaking with fear, or maybe pain. It was hard to tell which. She looked them in the eyes, each in turn, then slowly started for the door again. "Please, just let me through. I have to do this."
"I'm sorry, but we have our orders." The first officer stood in front of it, blocking her way. She whimpered and stopped.
"Jim, are you nuts? How are we gonna stop her?" The second officer was looking at the first, and had no intention of getting in the way. "You saw what she did!"
"We have our orders! No one goes in or out except for the doctor." He nodded towards the woman. "Does she look like a doctor to you, Scott?"
"Oh, come on! Did you see what happened to the guards? She threw 'em off with some big explosion! And our guns... they didn't even phase her!"
"It doesn't matter. We hold our position no matter what. Even if that Bonewaker guy came through here..."
"What?! Do you even hear what you're saying? We couldn't stop him! And we sure can't stop her! We'd need a tank just to--"
"That's enough!" Jim grabbed Scott by the front of his uniform and brought his face up to his own. "We have our orders, and we're gonna stick it out! No one gets through this door, is that clear?"
"I know what our orders are! But I don't see how we're gonna stop her!"
"We hold our position no matter what! If you were half the man you think you are, you'd--"
"Excuse me." The two stopped and looked at the woman, who'd been slinking closer to them while they argued. "I'm afraid I don't have time for this." Before they could respond, she closed her eyes and rushed them.
The next thing they knew, they were lying on the floor and staring at the ceiling, white smoke gently drifting up around them. It took them a while to realize they were lying on top of the door, which had been knocked off its hinges by the blast and was now inside the room. Both looked down (or was it up?) and watched the young woman walk inside. Neither felt like stopping her. Unfortunately, they heard something that meant things were going to get hairy in a few seconds.
"Stop right there! Get down on the ground and put your hands on your head!" Jim and Scott looked at each other. Their buddies had to be deaf. Hadn't they heard what just happened outside?
"Please... I need to see her... I'm just here to help."
"Put the bag down and get on the ground!"
"You don't understand... I just want to--" Jim and Scott rolled away from the entrance and put their hands over their heads, sticking to the floor as the two other officers inside the room opened fire. Once again, the woman cried out and the lights flashed. But something was different this time. Scott, who was closest to her, felt something splash on his leg. Had they killed her this time? Was that blood on his leg? But it was far too cold...
"Holy..." Jim and Scott looked up to see that the woman was fine, but her bag wasn't (and her clothing was beginning to border on scandalous). It was riddled with holes, and something brown and pink was flowing out the sides.
"No... no no no..." The woman dropped the bag and started searching through it franticly, taking out what looked to be protein shakes. Each one had a hole in it since she'd clutched it to her chest. She was crying again. "No, it can't be! They're all ruined!" But she finally found one at the bottom that was mostly intact. She sighed in relief and stood up. The second pair of officers aimed their guns at her again. She lowered her ears and whimpered, but didn't move. "Please, you don't understand... I have to help her..."
"Ma'am, I don't think you understand. It's too late. She's already dead." Max, the policeman by the bed, looked at her in a way a man looks at someone who's not quite sane. "I don't know what you're thinkin', but a little bitty protein shake ain't gonna bring her back."
The transformation on the woman's face was a sight to behold. In an instant, she went from a shivering, timid creature to something like a holy angel with God's wrath behind her. They all got the distinct feeling that Mother was home, and Max had just said something very ugly to her face. "Can you hold this please?" She held out the small drink box of protein shake towards Scott, who reached out his arm and caught it just as she let go. "Thank you." The next thing they knew, she had Max disarmed and pinned against the wall, snarling in his face.
"Let's get one thing straight. That woman is not dead. I've healed hundreds of people, many of whom were almost dead. Lung cancer. Lime disease. AIDS. A stroke or heart attack. I've conquered them all. I could wipe out an anthrax outbreak if it happened." She paused as her eyes began to overflow with tears. "And yes, I've been too late. I've had people literally slip through my hands, their souls going to Judgment as I touch their dead bodies just a second too late." Her voice dropped to a fierce whisper. "And you... you have the audacity to try to tell me different?!" She pointed to the woman on the hospital bed. "She's not dead until I say she is! Got it?" All four nodded vigorously, despite the fact that she was only addressing Max. "Good. Now make yourselves useful and keep the doctors out. I have work to do, and I cannot afford interruptions." She released Max and he obeyed, as did Jim and the fourth officer. Scott offered her the shake back, but she shook her head. "Just hold onto it until I need it." He nodded and stood to the side as she approached the bed. She laid her hands on the woman and closed her eyes. "Hmm... lots of brain damage. She looks like she might've been attacked."
"Some of the people on the news have been saying that. I didn't think it was true."
"No offense, but they don't pay you to think. You're paid to follow orders and draw the chalk circles. But I am glad you all surrendered." She smiled at him. "I don't think I could kill someone if I wanted to." She slid her hands over the woman's body, almost as if feeling for what was wrong. "Bacteria balance is typical; too much bad and not enough good. Might as well fix that too."
Scott looked confused. "How do you know all that?" She looked over her shoulder and shrugged.
"I just do." A moment later, she sighed. "I think I'm ready now. Please don't drop the shake, whatever happens." Scott nodded and she closed her eyes. The sounds of an irate doctor came from the door, arguing with the officers as they stood guard. Security tried to side with them, telling him that the woman could not be stopped and that he wouldn't be able to do anything. He ignored them all and tried to shove his way inside, getting partway into the room and yelling obscenities at the woman. He grabbed one of the officer's guns and aimed at her back.
That's when the miracle happened.
The young woman looked up to the sky, eyes closed, and the room was flooded with white light. It wrapped itself around her and the patient, feeling warm and radiant. The doctor managed to shoot her in the back, but she didn't even flinch this time. A wisp of light knocked the gun from his hand and another shoved them all out into the hallway. They watched from the floor as the light swirled around the room, making the machines go haywire. And yet, there was a feeling of peace and loving coming from it. Those close enough noticed aches and pains they'd had for so long melt away. It was like God Himself had descended from on high to bring healing to whoever was in the room. All too soon it was over, the young woman sighing as if tired.
"It's done." She took the protein shake from Scott and leaned over to give it to the patient. "Terri? Can you hear me?" The woman opened her eyes and looked around, a little startled at the sight of an anthro leaning over her bed.
"W-who are you? And where am I?"
"My name is Susan." She helped Terri drink some of the shake, giggling at the look on her face. "Sorry, it was the best I could do. At least it's chocolate." Terri laughed a little and smiled, taking a couple big gulps of the shake. It was better than nothing and she was starved. "As for where you are, well... you're in a hospice. Something happened and you've been unresponsive for a while. They thought you were dead."
"My parents?" Terri had a look of shock on her face. Susan realized her mistake.
"No, sorry. Your husband thought you were dead. He has a lot of supporters." Terri opened her mouth to ask more, but the doctor rushed in and looked at her, staring in disbelief.
"My god... she's alive!"
"No thanks to you, doctor." Susan turned and gave him a scathing look. Scott wisely backed away so he wasn't in the blast area. As far as he was concerned, Mother was still in the room, and the doctor was pushing it. "She'll need food and water. Take it easy for the first few weeks; I had to borrow a lot of nutrients from other body parts. She probably won't be able to walk for a while, but she'll pull through."
"But... how? She was brain dead! There was nothing left of her mind!" Scott decided he didn't have enough distance from Ground Zero and started moving for the door.
"Dead? Dead?!" Susan closed the distance between her and the doctor, growling in anger, causing him to take a step back. "She was alive. A few scraps of paper and a judge's order might say she was dead, but that doesn't make it true!" And with that, she marched herself straight out of the hospice, leaving behind several stunned onlookers, and a doctor about to be chewed out by the most unsatisfied patient of his career.
* * *
After her recovery, Terri Schindler Schiavo was able to sue her husband's doctor for malpractice and got his license revoked. Michael Schiavo was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to life in prison. His girlfriend still writes him letters to comfort him after his divorce. Terri Schindler is now a great advocate for Right to Life groups everywhere, and she has proved a demon to those in support of abortion and euthanasia. The judge who issued what was essentially her death sentence was forced to retire early at the urging of Governer Jeb Bush.
Terri opened a new hospice a few months later, this one devoted to caring for any special cases where the patient was thought to be brain-dead or in a persistent vegetative state. They are given the best of care and comfort to either help them recover or to make their last moments easier. There have already been several successful recoveries at Susan's Hospice, named after Terri's savior.
Despite Terri's pleas for her to come forward, the female husky anthro known simply as "Susan" never appeared to her again. Some sightings were reported of a woman with the same unusual healing powers, but she was never located. The sightings usually correlated with reports of miraculous healing and general good health. She has become something of a legend, and people still hope to see her face smiling down at them.
There was one incident that proved Susan had not forgotten Terri. One morning, the staff at Susan's Hospice found something unusual near the sign. A thank you card addressed to Terri and a dark pink rose. The rose of gratitude.
All in a day's work for a healer.
Author's Note: Terri may be dead in this world, but she will live on in heaven and in my stories. I can think of no higher honor to her family.
May the "Culture of Death" Satan has nourished in this country and the world be snuffed out!