The soulful sound of Nat King Cole singing Oh Holy Night greeted Morgan Thames as she walked into Starbucks. She mumbled under her breath, “It’s too early for Christmas music.” Thanksgiving was still a week away, but fake holly and miniature Christmas trees throughout the store were already bringing joy to the world.
Joy felt like a slap in Morgan’s face. If she were a drinker she would have found a rundown bar with seedy characters in the dark corners. But she was not drinker so dulling her sorrow with large amounts of caffeine had become her chosen alternative. Morgan rolled her eyes when her vanilla latte appeared at the bar with a smiley face in place of the “o” in her name.
Melissa was running behind on her rounds, but could not force her legs to move. The boy who held her attention looked to be about 7 years old. She half hid herself behind the wall at the entrance of the waiting room to help conceal her bright pink scrubs as she watched him. Through her years at the children’s hospital she had seen hundreds of kids in this room, but none like this. Some were afraid and held on tightly to their parents. Others were easily distracted by the bright colored walls and toys and began playing as soon as they could escape the grip of their parent’s hand.
The small boy sat on the floor next to the Lego table quietly watching the people around him with deep blue eyes. His shaggy brown hair shifted slightly every time he turned look at something new. His eyes moved slowly around the room, taking in everything, until they came to rest on her. He met her gaze and she waited for him to look away shyly like children do, but he never did. She smiled and he quickly returned expression as if he had been waiting for an opportunity to do so.
The snow floated down lazily with each flake giving way to those that fell beneath them until coming to rest on the white blanket that spread out across the city. The late morning sun ricocheted brightly off the monochromatic landscape. Winds whipped through the yard of the small brick house where death lived. In the midst of the cold a single flower stood in defiance of winter’s invasion. Red petals clung to the stem that gave them life. Winter had come in the night and stolen the color from the city.
He hated the winter. The vibrant hues of life were the only thing that made it worth going on. Staring out his window he was mesmerized by the flower. It had stood up against the onslaught of white that had destroyed his beautiful world and for that it would never die. He would protect it against…well himself. His name was Bob and he was death.