This story is inspired by the Malaysian airplane MH370.
Heather Young looked up at the man infront of her. Dr Crisby, a man with white hair and eyes that was difficult to distinguish between grey and blue looked down at her, with, as Heather noted, some compassion? Or was he just weary? Feeling a large amount of trepidation at what the doctor would say, Heather swallowed and said, "Yes?"
"Your father has a tumour growth in his brain. But, it has already grown so that it is too late to try anything." Here, Dr Crisby paused while Heather's brain slowly processed the news. "Miss Young, he is going to die soon. He hasn't got very long," the doctor added.
She was shocked. Heather wanted to get up and run to her dad, but her feet seemed to be glued to the floor. It could not be true! Heather wanted to yell at the man infront of her, to demand, no, to beg that he save her father.
Taking a deep breath to calm herself down, she looked back up at Dr Crisby. "May I see him, please?" Heather asked politely.
"Of course. I'll show you the way," Dr Crisby took Heather's hand and led her through a corridor, up an elevator and into Room 176. With a promise that a nurse would come for her soon, Dr Crisby left the room, shutting the door behind him.
Albert Young was in a terrible state. His face had lost it's colour, his breath came in shallow, ragged breaths. For weeks, he had kept complaining about a headache. She had done all she knew to do. That morning, Albert had suddenly collapsed, and Heather had alerted their next door neighbour, who had driven them to the Hospital. Heather could not stand the sight of her dad. Her mother was dead. No living relatives close by and many of their friends had cut off contact years ago. Now, her father was dying. Her whole world, and he was being taken away.
Running over, she threw her arms around Albert and began crying. He stroked her hair, making gentle shushing sounds. "Okay, Heather. Stop. I've got to tell you something," Albert ordered gently. Heather sniffled and sat up.
"I'm listening," Heather said, wiping her tears away.
Albert smiled. "Good." His words came out slowly. "Now, I've made arrangements for you to live with a Robert Rudd, an old friend I hadn't heard from for a while. He lives...somewhere. I can't remember at the moment, but he'll come for you tomorrow," Albert said.
Robert Rudd. Heather had never heard of him, but he had to be trustworthy for her father to arrange for her to live with. Wait. When had he made the arrangements? It can't have been today, could it? Did he make them a while ago?
"What does he do? As in work?" Heather asked.
"Retired," Albert said.
"From what?" Heather asked. Mr Rudd must be old to be retired, she thought.
"Work. Just listen to me. You must do as he says no matter what, ok?" She nodded. "Promise?" Albert prodded.
"I promise," Heather promised. Albert let out a raspy cough. When the cough subsided, his voice sounded weaker.
"Good girl. Follow...Y'hovah," he murmured.
"Why?" she asked. He had let her mother die of cholera, now her father was dying. What has He ever done for me? she thought bitterly.
"Please..." Albert's eyes closed and his breathing stopped. Looking over at the heart-rate monitor, it showed what she most feared. Her father was dead.
NO! Heather silently screamed as she clung to Albert, weeping, hoping her father would come back. Yet Heather Young knew against all her hopes and wishes, her father, the one person she cared about most in all the world was gone, never to return.
Glossary – Y'hovah is Hebrew of Jehovah.