O, Death: Part II

by Matt P.

The previous Monday, 7:30 A.M.

“It’s not that I’m not thankful,” Siobhan said with a yawn as she got out of her father’s SUV. “It’s just that I did specifically request a graveyard shift.” She was dressed in what she liked to consider her ‘nursing goth’ look. It wasn’t chromatically different from normal, it was all black except for her blue earring studs, but it was practical scrubs. She ran a hand through her hair as she got out of the car and looked around.

Border General Hospital looked like it had been designed by committee. It had an impressive front, with a large tree-filled courtyard surrounded by covered walkways supported by pillars, and the front was given to carvings of what Siobhan presumed were great doctors and healers over the centuries. It was impressive, and also pretentious as hell, and she couldn’t decide if she hated it or not.

“Yes, but since you hand wrote it on the back of a place-mat at a restaurant, we chose to ignore it,” Morgan Winters said as she too slid out of the SUV. She was dressed in scrubs the blue of a frozen lake, surmounted by a white lab coat bearing her ID card. “Besides, they don’t let candy-stripers work the graveyard shift.”

Siobhan scowled. “I stripe no candy, madam,” she offered haughtily, but she ruined the grim aspect of it by stretching and yawning immediately after. Antigone puled herself out of the SUV, and her scrubs were of course bright and sunny despite the fact that it was December and promised to be bitterly cold.

“You know, it’s considered polite to thank someone for giving you opportunities, Bug,” their father said as he leaned against the arm-rest to stick his head out the window of the car. “Morgan didn’t have to offer to do this for you,” he pointed out.

Siobhan and Antigone shared a glance, and Antigone smirked. The offer to spend winter break working at the hospital actually was quite a generous one—normally people coming in to volunteer at the level that Antigone and Siobhan were came from the local community college and were doing it over a semester for credit. To get to actually help out in different departments—stacking and sorting and filing, of course, nothing medical—and see what they were like was an opportunity neither of the girls were able to pass up. Both were off and on considering medicine for their future, albeit in very different capacities.

Under normal circumstances, they might have wondered how they got the opportunity. But the fact that their father was dating Dr. Winters, a well established and respected doctor at the hospital, explained much of it. The fact that she also happened to be the Faerie Queen of Winter, a powerful woman who was over 700 years old, likely didn’t hurt her ability to convince the hospital administration to allow the unusual internship.

Siobhan sighed, shaking her head and shrugging. “You’re right. I can sullenly pretend gratitude like most teenagers, I guess,” she offered, but softened her teasing with a grin. “Thank you.” Morgan gave her a smile back, and reached out to take Walter’s hand through the rolled down window of the car.

“I’ll see you tonight? I have to go back next week,” Morgan said with a smile and a hint of sadness. Walter nodded, with all of the smile and none of the sadness. He took her hand up and kissed the back of it, drawing the obligatory rounds of eww-ing from his daughters. Wiggling his eyebrows at them, Walter put the car into reverse and began to pull back out of the parking lot.

“Poor Ryan, getting to spend all winter break sleeping in and not putting on pants,” Antigone offered wryly as they all walked toward the entrance of the hospital. They made it to the coffee cart inside just as the snow was beginning to fall outside in thick, fat flakes.