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Page 6

Bernard Peasley

He sensed that a space right next to him had been made for her, but she had not taken it.  His arm reached out, casting about frantically on the sheets to find her hand where he expected it to be. His hand slowed to a stop – she had not even approached his bed.

Jessie was backed against the wall beside the door, her hands clasped together in a writhing knot that rose too slowly to stifle the cry rising in her throat.

From her position at the desk, the duty nurse could see down all the corridors of her ward. The slam of the door and the clamor of feet alerted her to a patient’s distress. She saw the girlfriend burst from the soldier’s room and run, hand over mouth, to the exit. But it was the wail of anguish pursuing Jessie from the room, so loaded with despair, that compelled the nurse to rush to the soldier’s side. As she drew closer to his room, the scream became one distinct word, repeated over and over, louder and louder, but completely devoid of meaning for anyone hearing it.

‘Parker!... Parker!... Parker!’


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