Saturday already? I think I must have fallen asleep, because it only feels like moments ago that I was posting an edition of Serial Saturday.
Last time, ten year old SETH ROGERS had slipped out at night and, with a bit of help from RED, had slipped a knife through the heart of a sleeping homeless man. When we left it last time, Seth had asked if it was enough to save his mum.
When Seth got home, his dad was already awake. He gave Seth a look that said where have you been?but said nothing, instead he picked him up in a big hug.
“I’ve just had a call from the hospital. You mum is showing improvements! We’re going to see her!”
The two left the house, jumped in the car and drove to the hospital. When they walked onto the ward, a doctor, the same one that had spoken with them the previous day, met them. His demeanour was different, and he greeted them both with a smile.
“Mr. Rogers, I don’t want to get your hopes up, and I can’t explain why, but when I checked on your wife first thing this morning, her stats had improved. Her heart rate is steady, her blood work is closer to normal than it has been in months, she looks, well, better.”
“Can we see her?” Mr. Rogers placed an arm around his son’s shoulders and pulled him close.
“Yes, yes. Of course!”
The doctor led them along the corridor and into the room, where Seth’s mum lay. On seeing her, Seth broke into a big smile. He rushed to the bed, jumped on it and hugged his mum. Her skin had tightened; it was a pleasant pinkish colour, and she hugged him with both arms.
Seth’s dad followed, and together they held each other, crying.
“Doctor, what does this mean? How is this possible?”
“Mr. Rogers, if I told you I knew, I’d be lying. We still have tests to run and scans to take, so we still don’t know exactly what is happening inside your wife,” The family stopped hugging and turned to the doctor. “But it is a very promising sign.” At that, the three resumed hugging, and the doctor left them.
An hour or so passed before the doctor returned, explaining that Mrs Rogers needed rest. She was also needed to make a start on the battery of tests that were required, so Seth and his dad left her and walked back to their car. As they were leaving the building, Seth caught sight of Red, leaning against the nurse’s station. He looked at Seth and nodded.
Seth excused himself from his dad, saying he needed the toilet, and came back in to Red, who steered him away from the nurse’s station a little way along the corridor.
“How’s your mum?”
“She’s great! She’s doing really well. The doctors are running some tests, but they think it’s looking good for her.”
“Alright!” Red held up a hand and Seth slapped his palm. It echoed in the quiet of the corridor, and one of the nurses looked up at them.
Red bent down, lowering his voice to a whisper. “My turn now.”
“For what?” Seth asked.
“My turn to pick. It would be a shame to see your mum doing so well one day, only to slip away the next, don’t you think?”
“But she’s well now. Why do I need to do anything else?”
“A deal is a deal, and you sir made a deal.”
“I don’t think I can do it again.”
“Fine. As long as you are clear on the consequences.”
Seth thought he was clear, but asked anyway.
“Will my mum die?”
“Well, tomorrow morning when the consultant pays his first visit, he will find that your mum has slipped into unconsciousness. Further investigation will confirm that the cancer is back. Two days later, her life support will be switched off. By your dad.”
“Please don’t do that.” His voice was small and pitiful. “Please.”
One of the other nurses came over to the pair and asked Seth if everything was alright. Red gave him a look that left no doubt as to the correct answer.
“Yes, thank you,” said Seth. The nurse walked back up the corridor. Red smiled at the nurse as she walked away, but when she had gone, he turned back to Seth and raised his eyebrows.
After a moment of consideration Seth sighed deeply, shoulders slumping.
“Who do I need to kill?”
“Nicely done, young sir!” Red flashed his brilliant white smile again. “It never ceases to amaze me how quickly children adapt to their circumstances!” Seth stood silently. “I’ll take care of the hard work, you just need to complete the task.”
“Has it gotto be someone I know?”
“Afraid so. That’s just the way it is. I don’t make the rules – oh wait, yes I do!” He laughed at this, but Seth saw nothing funny. He was beginning to feel sick and wanted to get as far away from this man as possible. “Look, I’ll come to your house tomorrow and we’ll do it there.” He shrugged. Problem solved.
“What if my dad sees us?”
“I’ll take care of your dad, don’t worry.” He shrugged again.
“You’re not going to hurt my dad, are you?”
“No Seth. What do you take me for?” Standing up, he said, “Now run along little man. I’ll see you tomorrow.” He shot Seth with a pistol finger before walking back along the corridor.
Seth turned and ran out of the hospital and found his dad. Together, they returned home.
That’s your lot for this week. If you really must have the rest of the story right now, it’s available in A Sinister Six. just click the image on this page, or you can listen to it for free, read by myself over on Youtube.
Hope you’re enjoying it!