✧The Monster’s Face✧
The car skidded to a halt in the front of the hospital and Bastian was out before it came to a complete stop. Lovis was there ready to greet him. His normally flawless butler’s uniform was a crumpled mess and stained with blood.
“I’m sorry, sir, its my fault, I was negligent…”
“Where’s my wife,” Bastian snapped, his face looked pale. He had gotten an urgent message halfway through the new years celebration at the naval base. The soldier that had given Bastian the news looked frantic. Bastian had no thought for anything else, after getting a call about Odette’s collapseand sped to the hospital as fast as he could.
“I asked where is my wife?” Bastian said again, impatience burning up his insides.
“Sorry, sir, she’s on the third floor, in the east ward.”
Bastian ran down the hallway, nearly knocking over a young looking nurse as he went. He didn’t care for anything but seeing Odette and making sure she was safe. It didn’t take him long to reach the east wing on the third floor. He knew which room Odette was in as the maid, Jean and Dora, was pacing in a tight circle in the hallway.
As soon as Dora saw Bastian, she clasped her hands together as if she was praying and burst into tears. Her always neat apron was stained with blood. Bastian passed her by without so much as a look and opened the door to the room without delay. The room stank of antiseptic and disinfectant.
Doctor Kramer was at Odette’s bedside, with a team of nurses that fussed around her. She lay on the bed, limp and unconscious. Her skin was deathly pale, and the hem of her dress was completely red.
“Bastian,” Doctor Kramer said, seeing Bastian come into the room. “Don’t panic, everything is under control. She ingested poison, not a fatal dose and the nature of the poison has been identified and an antidote administered.”
Bastian listened silently, then replied with a simple bow. His calm demeanor belied the fact he’d raced here upon learning of his wife’s death, but his hands were trebling with fear and hatred. Poison? He clenched his fist so tight, his knuckles turned red and his nails threatened to break skin. His eyes were vacant and his lips curled into a snarl.
Doctor Kramer turned his attention back to Odette as they were frantically doing something, then Bastian heard Doctor Kramer say something, the words rattled around his head and it took a second for him to registered what he said.
“I think we are going to have to call it, there is no hope of saving the child.” It was difficult for Dr. Kramer to say that news out loud. “We will be able to protect Mrs. Klauswitz. We will do our best.” The sheets were drenched in her blood by her waist as the doctors and nurses worked frantically. It had already been a long time since her water broke and the baby’s heart had stopped.
While in a dream like daze, Bastian took a step toward his wife’s bed. He couldn’t help but notice how peaceful Odette looked. As if she was fast asleep. He tried to call her name, but his voice had been muted. He wanted to hold her blood-soaked hand, but he couldn’t even twitch a finger. It was like he was that little boy once more, confronted with his dead mother.
All that’s left to do now is kill her. Franz’s echoing laughter rang through Bastian’s head. That’s your way of loving, isn’t it?
The truth became a strangling snare and as his breathing became more difficult, Bastian looked up and saw his fathers face smirking back at him.
The calm face of the monster, even after killing his wife and child.
Even after realising it was his own face reflected back at him, he continued to stare at his grim visage with pure hatred.
The sea was coloured the dazzling orange and yellow of the late afternoon sun. Molly carefully crawled out from the crevice between the rocks and looked around. It had been a long time since the search party had passed by and it seemed like she could finally make her escape.
It is done, she could relax now. She had been chased through the woods, hoping that the side road would lead her out, but had already been blocked by the staff. Molly had no choice but to head to the sheer cliffs. One misstep would have dashed her on the rocks below.
She got quite near the bottom when she had heard a dog barking, probably Margrethe. That damn dog had hounded her the entire time. Distracted, Molly slipped from the cliff and tumbled through the air. Luckily she was close to the bottom and only suffered a minor injury.
Molly wiped her salty face with the crisp apron and hobbled away along the coast. It was time to collect her reward.
Gritting her teeth against the pain, She made her way along the sandy path that ran down the coastal cliffs. It would bring her to the public beach where she was set to meet back up with Theodora Klauswitz.
Filled with hope, Molly ignored the pain in her wounded leg and hastened on. Thankfully, the rabid dog was out of sight. It seemed the luck, which had abandoned the beggar, now was on her side.
Around the sunset, Bastian received confirmation that the baby had been pulled from its mothers womb and was dead. He could barely hear the words from the nurse, knowing full well what was going to happen, but now that it was a reality, Bastian found it hard to comprehend. Bastian, once stared at his stretching shadow, lifted his eyes to meet the nurse’s. The hollow VIP lounge was now awash in a ruddy glow.
“I am so sorry,” the nurse said, bowing her head in guilt.
“Thank you for your hard work,” Bastian said quietly.
About 10 minutes later, the nurse left a message telling him to go to the hospital room and quietly left like a shadow.
Bastian stood up and eyed himself in the mirror, adjusting his uniform and realigning the gleaming medals on his chest. The slight twitch in his fingers slowly stopped. After taking a sip of water to moisten his lips, he left the waiting room.
The rhythmic sound of his footsteps echoed in the near deserted hallways of the hospital until he stood in front of Odette’s door. When he went in, the medical staff still present each offered their condolences.
Bastian thanked them formally and approached his wife. Thankfully Odette was safe. It was only a small amount of poison and thanks to the medical staff, quickly counteracted.
Bastian brushed the hair from her face so that he could look at her properly. He stared at her pale face for a long time.
The maid had said that Odette barely touched her tea because she was so engrossed in the huge pile of catalogues the interior decorator had left. He knew what Odette was looking at and why. It was meant to be the first gift for their child. The child was never going to get their gift now. But Odette was save, and that was all that mattered.
Doctor Kramer came into the room, told him about patient’s condition, doctor’s opinion, future treatment plan, and the after care treatment plan. Bastian listened and nodded his head, responding rationally even to the surprising gynecologist’s advice. Dr. Kramer, initially anxious, felt relief seeing Bastian, momentarily shaken, now as steady as always.
“Where’s the child?” Bastian said, he wasn’t even aware that he was going to ask any questions at all.
“There’s no need for that,” Doctor Kramer said, guessing at Bastian’s intention. “We will take care of the child.”
“I’m the father, I have the right,” Bastian said in a calm tone. His face was expressionless, but only served to make him look even more stubborn.
Doctor Kramer was speechless and hesitated. Bastian turned his head and looked about the room, where he spotted a medical basket just big enough to fit a very small child.
“Please don’t do this, Major Klauswitz,” Doctor Kramer pleaded, moving to block Bastian’s path.
Bastian politely removed Doctor Kramer’s hand from his shoulder and walked to the basket which had been covered with a white cloth. Bastian looked down at the basket and slowly pulled back the white cloth.
The calm, like a post-storm ocean’s sigh, lasted until the last sunset, surrendered entirely to the inky arms of the darkness.