Once upon a time, a man lay with woman.
Nine and a half months later on a bright, sunny day, a child was born lifeless. It took two doctors and three minutes to revive it, and all seemed well.
***25 - I will overcome***
"I will overcome", thought Harry, but didn't.
It were his lungs that failed him first, followed by his heart and finally the brain. He was dead in under 7 minutes, dead in a puddle 3 centimeters deep and a meter across [wide?], with nobody around for miles.
He awoke three minutes later, corrected his tie, and carried on.
In half an hour he arrived at the edge of a small town, drenched in sweat but determent [with an air of det. No meager death was going to make him late. He brushed aside the familiar sensation of vertigo that crept over him as he strode on, forcing himself to focus on his destination. It was all within his grasp, now.
He reached a small house on the corner of Lincoln street, knocked twice on the door and waited. A more perceptive observant would have noticed the broken window to his left, but Harry never paid much attention to his surroundings, not even on the best of days. When his patience ran out he knocked again, then tried the door. To his surprise it was open. Adjusting his tie once more, he stepped inside.
At first he mistook the blood for wine, the hand for a broken bottle. He let out a silent scream and fell down to all fours, retching. A hard blow to his right temple flattened him on his stomach. From his position on the floor, he was vaguely aware of two slender legs advancing towards him, then a second blow made the world go dark.
"Oh, hi." said the angel to the baby lying before it. "Would you like anything while you wait? There's candy." it added absentmindedly.
The baby wasn't paying much attention to the angel. It was too busy crying and... Being.
"You can call me Jack. Well, I guess you can't, in your present state, but you will once you're a bit older. I've always enjoyed our little conversations, you know. This one is rather one sided, I admit, but you will more than make up for it once you learn to talk, believe me."
The angel glanced at it's wrist watch, then smiled fondly at the baby, giving it its full attention for a moment.
"I think this is it, we're starting again, you and me. I have a good feeling about this one. I wish I could help you down there, but you'll be on your own most of the time. Good luck." The angel sighed, dipped a pen that suddenly appeared in a cartridge that materialized out of thin air and began writing in small, curly letters on a large piece of parchment that wasn't there before.
Jenny arrived at the hospital a little early and had to wait for a nurse to let her in. She didn't mind, it gave her a chance to compose herself and prepare a smile for her husband. Her smile always made him smile in return and his smiles were such a rare commodity [rarity] these days.
But as soon as she saw him the smile vanished. His rumpled hair, sweaty face and awkward pose only confirmed what she noticed immediately in his eyes - this was a bad night.
He didn't say anything, just looked at her, then closed his eyes and tried to refocus, so she rushed to his side and held his hand which he squeezed lightly, almost on reflex.
They stayed like that for almost half an hour before her husband broke the silence, his voice so unlike itself she almost had to check it was him: "I want to die". The sound seemed to float in the air above them, waiting to be addressed. She refused to even acknowledge it.
"Please don't ignore me, Jenny. I'm too tired to play the silence game."
"I'm not playing anything, Harry. But I will not be a part of this conversation. Are you hungry? I brought some food..."
"Can't eat anything, it will just go right back up. They'll probably hook me to the IV again. I'm too tired." He said again.
"Do you want me to read to you?" She tried, "There's the one we started yesterday or we can read Chloe's letters again. Maybe even - "
"No, no." He cut her gently, "I just want to rest." And die, he thought.
They sat quietly once more, taking comfort in each other's presence.
"If you won't help me, I think I'll try it myself, you know." He said finally. "I've had enough, no one deserves this." he gestured at the room, at the entire situation.
"You can't." she said sadly, "you'll just come back and it will be worse".
"Then why won't you help me? I've had a good life, Jen. Many lives, if you look at it a certain way. I've had enough, I want out. Every minute I spend here takes away another happy memory and replaces it with pain. I need you to help me end it."