Mrs. Cara had been holding the comatose Bobby’s hand, letting the pulse of the machine remind her that he lived. There were dozens of tubes and bags all working in conjunction with the machines to sustain Boogie’s life. The room at Charity Hospital was fairly chilly. The hospital liked to keep the rooms cool to hinder the spread of germs. However, Mrs. Cara felt the air chill to the point that her arm prickled with bumps. She had let her shoes slip off earlier, so when her bare feet hit the floor, she was shocked how the tiles felt icy with frost.
She started for her shoes that were stowed away neatly beside her purse on one of the chairs, when she thought she caught a glimpse of movement on the other side of the bed. She cautiously took another step on the cold tile and extended her neck to get a clear view of the other side between the bed and the wall.
She let out a yelp as Buddha’s cat jumped out from behind the bed.
She breathed a sigh of relief ans asked, “What are you doing here? You can’t be in here.”
The cat pawed at the window and Mrs. Cara opened it. “Ok. Out you go.”
The cat jumped out the window and when Mrs. Cara turned around, she froze. Her heart beat like a bass drum. She recognized the teenage girl from the water fan in the park, only this time she wasn’t floating. She was kneeling with her hands steepled in prayer. When Cara had seen the girl in the park, it was a surreal, ethereal experience. This time couldn’t have been more different. The girl was dressed in a black and red velvet dress that looked more at home in another century. She wore patent leather spats laced up to her mid-calf with the toes out behind the praying girl. The ghost’s black ringlets were so dark, they gave color to the dress. The girl’s steepled hands clutched a long rosary of brown wooden beads. She held the rosary so tight her knuckles looked painful and bloodless. Then one solitary drop of blood ran over the top of a perfectly manicured hand over the crucifix to land in a small pool of its brethren on the tiled floor. Her perfect porcelain skin was accented by two bright pink bowtie lips that had been almost silently chanting a prayer. In a flash, her eyes shot open and she whispered to Cara, “Good girls pray.”
Mrs. Cara let out a high pitched squeal and stumbled back. Her balance lost, she reached for something to grab, but found only air as the back of her head was on a collision course with the hard tile floor. She found her reprieve as a pair of tree trunk massive arms caught her an iota of a second before her collision.
She looked up into his white eyes and realized the arms belonged to Curtis Shaw. The Prince appeared from her blind spot and took her hand, helping her to her feet. She had known the Prince for as long as she could remember, but the way he helped her up, but did not turn her hand loose, combined with the praying ghost, unnerved her. She didn’t even know ghosts prayed. He held her hand with his right and gently pointed her chin towards the ghost with his left.
“She prays for him to live because a dat King’s heart.”
Her voice creaked in the cold air, “Is he gonna live?”
“Mr. Curtis done bring him soul back. After Mr. Curtis woop dat ole pirate, he would have let him bring back Jack de Ripper much less me old bombaclad apprentice. Him soul be in dat shell. He just need a reason to live.” He looked deep into her eyes, then touched Bobby’s foot and the machines went haywire.
Mrs. Cara knew the machines were panicking at losing their patient and she started for the door, but the Prince’s grip tightened on her hand.
“I’m gonna be needin’ a favor and from de sound of dat box, we don’t have long.”
“Let me go!” She tugged at his unyeilding hand. “I need to get a nurse!”
“First ting I need, him Buddha carries a letter he tinks kill Mrs. Jesi. It didn’t do what him tink.”
“At de end you wanted to tell him someting.”
“I need to get help quick!”
BEEEEEEEP… The note drowned on. Cara’s head fell. “I wanted to say I loved him. I wanted him to be mine. I loved him in secret. He was always mine in my heart. Is that what you want to hear?”
The beep in the background reverberated off the walls.
“Would you bleed for him dat you say belongs to you in your heart?”
She frantically tried to pull away as Mr. Curtis grabbed her shoulders and held her in place.
“Over and over again,” Mrs. Cara whispered.
Isabella Leboux grabbed Mrs. Cara’s hand with her tiny, bloody, ice cold palm.
“We have come to terms. Payment made.” The Prince stuck a hat pin through both the girls’ hands.
Cara was awakened to nurses pulling her from the bed where she had fallen asleep holding Bobby’s hand. The solid beep filled the air like an orchestra of fingernails playing a concerto on chalkboards.
Good girls pray. Mrs. Cara closed her eyes and prayed.
Good girls pray.
Beep. Beep. Beep.