Elizabeth Sophia Masen has everything a woman of her time could want; A loving husband, a son she adores and a easy lifestyle in Chicago. Yet the Fall of 1918 threatens what she holds most dear: Her son Edward The Last few days of Edwards life through the eyes of his mother. "Sequel" to 1918 Now UP! For More of Elizabeth and a vampire Edward turn into "Returning to Chicago" ASAP!
8. 29th- 30th September 1918
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2640 Review this Chapter
“Mrs. Masen,” I could hear a young voice saying my name as I was being risen from my sleep. It was a young girl’s voice that made me think of Sherrie, which prompt me to ask out for her, “Sherrie? Is that you?” Oh my dear young friend, if she had pulled through this and came back to nurse me, I swear I’ll see to it that she has the best life possible—
“No Ma’am, I’m Kathryn, Kathryn Bourne,” I opened my eyes to see a young girl dressed in a gray nurses uniform. Her light brown hair was pulled back in a French braid that went down to her lower back. She had gentle green eyes, she had to be the same age of Sherrie; the young nurse continued to speak, “Mrs. Masen, you need to eat something. Dr. Cullen says you won’t get better if you don’t try and get something in your stomach.
“Has—Has Edward?” I asked, I knew she understood what I was asking. “Yes, I just finished feeding him, Dr. Cullen’s just giving him some more medication right now; he’s a fighter Mrs. Masen, he’s doing just fine.” The girls voice was starting to grind on me. How did I know that what she was telling me wasn’t the same thing she had told all parents in this hospital.
I turned to see Dr. Cullen taking Edward’s pulse. I had to hide a gasp as I looked at my son. He looked horribly ghastly. If I hadn’t known that my son was in the bed next to me, I wouldn’t believe it. He was so pale—his movements so slow and small—this wasn’t my Edward, it couldn’t be. I looked from my son’s face to that of Dr. Cullen who was still taking his pulse, his mouth was grim. He couldn’t hide the truth from me with that: Edward was dying. I knew it now, I believed it.
We would not be walking out of this hospital together.
“Mrs. Masen, please open your mouth, you need to have some nourishment,” the nurse called to me, as I turned to quickly and she dropped the spoon full of broth on my bed. The broth wasn’t steaming hot. It fell on my right hand, sending a chicken smell all over the comforter.
“Oh—“ she covered her mouth quickly. “I’m so sorry ma’am. Let me just—“ she quickly took the top blanket off my bed and went to work finding me a fresh clean one.
“Mom—“ I heard a voice call from my right. I turned and tried to smile so he wouldn’t be afraid, “Yes Edward?” I answered with a bitter smile twisted on my face. “The poor nurse is rather klutzy isn’t she?” he asked with a laugh in his raspy voice. He started to cough horribly. I looked at Doctor Cullen who seemed to be going through great amounts of pain seeing my son loose his strength, almost the same amount of pain I was going through.
“I’m sorry I’m sick mother,” Edward said, taking a drink of water that Dr. Cullen had by the nightstand. “I’ll get better soon though—remember what Grandfather Masen would always say, there’s nothing strong enough to beat a Masen—“
“It’s not your fault dear,” I paused a minute, “You’re right—I’m sure you will be better in no time flat” I sighed, getting up from my bed and walking to his weakly, a look of disapproval coming from Dr. Cullen who I knew would insist at any moment for my immediate return to my own bed. Surprisingly though, Dr. Cullen made a note on his board and mumbled “I’ll be back in a while.” I understood, the doctor didn’t want to impose on any family time we had left. I sat on the side holding my son’s hand—wondering what if any comfort I could give him.
Then an idea seemed to rush to my head. I looked into my son’s face, his eyes where the same. He still had those healthy, beautiful green eyes that he had inherited from me, they held some hope, some hope that he was going to make it, that this was just a horrid dream and he’d soon make it.
“Edward, you wouldn’t happen to know a girl named Bella would you?” I asked raising my eyebrow.
“Bella?” he asked, the name was foreign to him, it appeared that way now. “I—I don’t think I do, why?”
Story time had been my favorite time of Edward’s childhood. I could remember as a young boy, I would sit in my rocking chair, with him sitting on my lap –he had to have been four or five at the time—and reading to him stories of Treasure Island, Oliver Twist, Huckleberry Finn. His eyes always seemed to have a glow about them for learning. This new name was the start of a story to him one that he was ready to hear, anything to distract the two of us from the reality that was surrounding ourselves, posing to strike us at any moment.
“I had a dream a few nights ago—our first one in here I think, I was walking in a forest and I came to a clearing. There sitting in the clearing was yourself and a young girl that you called Bella—I was just curious to wither or not you had a secret sweetheart and you weren’t telling me.” I watched as a crooked smile danced on his face. He reached for my hand and gave it a squeeze. “Trust me mother,” he smiled, “I’m sure that I couldn’t hide such a sweetheart from you.”
His voice seemed to have some strength again. Yes he still looked ghastly, but maybe the thought of a girl whom he loved would give him strength. I began to persist.
“Are you sure?” I raised an eyebrow, “Because the two of you where being rather intimate together for just friends— Did I mention she was stroking your hair and that you were not wearing a shirt...“
“Mother,” I could see a slight shade of pink rush to his cheeks. “I think you have had too much medicine during your stay here—it’s effecting your mind and thus your dreams—” I watched him roll his eyes.
“Just out of curiosity—did you dream me up a beautiful girl?” “Edward Anthony you do have a secret love!” I mocked in a small whisper; the small circles of pink seemed to be getting brighter with each passing remark I made.
“No—of course not, That’s Quincy remember?” his eyes suddenly lit up as though he was remembering something very important.
“Quince—Mother, Quincy had a horrible cough the day before—the day before Father...” it was still too fresh on his mind, too fresh on his heart. “Well, Quincy has this influenza or whatever Dr. Cullen is calling it. Is he alright? Has he been admitted to the hospital yet? He hasn’t come to visit and I wasn’t awake has he?”
“No, he hasn’t,” a voice chimed from behind us. I looked to see Dr. Cullen standing at the corner of my bed that had a new comforter on it.
“He hasn’t come to visit or he hasn’t been admitted?” Edward was getting testy—irritable. Oh I knew this was going to come with his sickness, as always—I had been waiting for three days and here it was.
“Neither of those,” the Doctor replied. “Is Quincy all right?” Edward asked his voice low, eyebrows knit together.
Please, I began praying to myself. For Edward’s sake—let Quincy be okay. Quincy has been Edward’s best friend since they where little boys, don’t tell him that he has dead, that would sign Edward’s death sentence and he would be dead by morning...
“His fever broke this morning,” the Doctor answered, his eyes not meeting our own as he began pulling out some medicine from his pocket and setting some pills on our nightstand. “I was on Cherry Lane and he was out on the porch with his mother, fit as a fiddle.”
“See Edward dear,” I smiled, my hand gently brushing his clammy face, “Quincy was sick one day before you where, so you have nearly beaten this influenza! We’ll be out of this hospital before you can say Carolina!” I grinned, genuinely happy. If the doctor was telling the truth, then we where surly going to make it.
Maybe Edward wasn’t going to die, maybe I had just been at my lowest point and had become a pessimist. No—Edward was going to be all right. “Do you think this is my last night here Doctor?” Edward asked, a faint grin touching the corners of his mouth.
The doctor thought a minute, then gave a slight sad smile, “ Yes, I think you’ll be out of here by tomorrow evening, but to insure that you need to take your medicine.”
He actually looked happy as he took the nasty tonic, not evening pulling a face as he finished. “Mother you need to get to bed too,” he smiled, grinning widely “I refuse to leave the hospital with you ill, and I refuse to stay here one more night . . . no offense to you Dr. Cullen, you’ll have to come over to Cherry Lane once everything is over for a dinner. We couldn’t have made it through this with out you.”
I watched my son from my own bed—he was pale. He had been coughing blood for the past two days, but he was smiling. He was smiling that smile that made me want to hope that everything Dr. Cullen was saying was true.
Yet the Doctor’s facial expressions seemed to run a muck—like he was hiding something that he didn’t want to tell either of us.
“Do you have any magic tonic for me Dr. Cullen?” I smiled from my fresh sheets. He looked at me with the troubled eyes that I had been dreading. “I’ll bring it too you as soon as your son has fallen asleep, there are some maters that I need to talk to you about that are best discussed with your son in a peaceful, sleeping state.”
It seemed as though the air had escaped my lungs, as though my heart for that moment had been stopped. The news that I had been dreading, that I was trying to prolong and not hear was going to come rushing to my ears all too soon.
So, I sat and waited, with the ticking hands of clock. If I had my typewriter with me I knew exactly what I would write.
“Oh time, thou art a cruel jailer.” *****
“Mrs. Masen,” Dr. Cullen spoke sitting in a chair next to my bed, the side opposite from Edward, “ I need to tell you about Mr. Whitiker and Miss. Keeley...”
I remembered vividly Sherrie how I had left her, laying in a bed with the heat of the day filling the room—her words depicting her looming death still echoing my ears... It felt like she was there in the hospital with me right now as I thought of her... I believed her now, I believed she did die the same evening as Eddie—she had been reunited with her parents and siblings—and then Dr. Cullen began to tell his story.
“I went to your home this morning after I got off duty—you had told me about Sherrie, I wanted to make sure she was taken care of and see if there where any medications I could give her, just—just incase she was still alive....”
“She wasn’t though, was she?” I knew he must have thought I was crazy, because I said this with a smile, “She wasn’t alive was she Dr. Cullen,” I watched the doctor nod solemnly. “She said she wouldn’t be—she said that she wasn’t going to make it through the illness. I didn’t want to believe her, she was my daughter in so many ways, I don’t think I could bare to think I was going to loose her.”
Godspeed Sherrie Keeley, I thought to myself, may you rest in peace in the Ireland you love. “Mr. Whitiker,” I spoke in a whisper, “What news do you have of Quincy? I know it can’t be the story you told Edward an hour ago or we wouldn’t be discussing it now. Has he, has Quincy—“
“Quincy Tobias Whitker died this morning at his home 256 Cherry Lane; there was nothing I could do for him. He had been dead long before I arrived in their home.” He informed me, still trying to sound optimistic, but it was lost in tone of grieve.
I knew what he was trying to tell me.
There is an unwritten law established since the dawning of medicine and medical treatment. No matter how badly the patient is, no matter how low his chances for survival is, never tell them that they will not make it. Never rob from them or their loved ones that sense of hope; that everything may turn out the way desired and all well again. It is a law that all doctors practice by, they live by it, some even die by it. If their own son was lying near death on the operating table, they would send a nurse into tell their wife that everything was going alright and he would be out with an hour or so, just in time for dinner.
It was this law that Dr. Cullen was trying to break—only with my discovering it for myself rather then telling me.
My angelic Doctor—his heart was set in compassion, it had been since our arrival—what would I have done without him?
“My poor Edward,” I whispered to myself, “Are you trying to tell me, that Edward...” He gave a great sigh that seemed to rack his entire being. “Mrs. Masen, I have tried everything for your son. I don’t want him to loose this battle. The medicine I gave him tonight was the same I have given him every three hours since his arrival, only I coated it with hope, that maybe he could get out. If he has hope, if he tries, then maybe he can pull through.”
“Elizabeth,” it was the first time that Dr. Cullen had called me by my first name, “you are running out of time yourself. I must ask you to have hope for you’re own recovery, and not just your son’s. If you have that, then there is a great possibility that you can pull through this...”
“But if I don’t...” I looked at my hands. They where shaking, they where skinny, fragile and very pale. I had been in this hospital for three days, I knew I probably looked ghastly myself, but I had yet to realize that I was at risk, all my thoughts turned to my son who was laying in a false sense of time next to me.
“Please, try Mrs. Elizabeth—Your husband would want you to live on for Edward and Edward would want you to live on for life. He would want you too—“
“Don’t tell me what my son would want. What my son does want!” I was beginning to be irritable, maybe my family was a pack of bears, whatever the case, I was beginning to be rude; “Edward and I will survive this. Both of us!” I looked at the doctors face, it was pale in the moonlight, “Please, then try and stay strong for your own well being— as well as Edward’s.”
He got up, filled the water glasses as he left. I tried to sleep, but my mind was still buzzing, my coughing still going on erratically. It racked through my body like a child shaking the cage of a bird, and I was the bird locked in as it was shaken. I grabbed the handkerchief that was on my bed side, covering my mouth as I could feel the blood coming out.
I thought of my words with bitterness, in my mind beginning to think “Edward and I will not survive this; Neither of us.”
- Kait Hobbit
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