It was a dark and stormy night.
The wind and rain lashed at the
windows of the living quarters behind my office. Outside the lightning sparked a savage brightness, while the wind whipped at the trees.
The trees blew wildly and dangled like skeleton hands in the storm.
I had settled into my chair and tried to be immersed in my medical journals as the rain lashed at the side of the building which housed my office and apartment.
I had started drifitng off to sleep when I heard a faint knock on the door.
When I opened it, a pale and cold-looking little girl stared back at me.
She looked ghost white and wide-eyed as she began to speak.
“Please help me doctor,” she said. “My sister’s real sick and she needs help.”
“What is your name and where is your sister?” I aksed.
“My name is Ruthie McClaren and we live at a farm west of town on the Walnut Road. Please hurry,”
I grabbed my jacket and an emnergency kit. The little girl seemed so cold and wet, so I took a spare jacket and placed it over her shoulders. They seemed so icy and rubbery as I helped her put on the jacket.
We drove five miles out of town past a country chuch. Ruthie seemed to cringe as we passed the cemetary.
Soon we came to a driveway with a white farmhouse off the road. Except for the faint light given by an emergency generator, there was no power.
I went to the kitchen door and an older woman answered.
“I’m so glad you’re here,” she said after I introduced myself. “The lights are out and so are the phones.
My daughter is in the living room on the couch.”
A dark-haired young woman sat upright on the couch, wirthing in pain while holding her lower right side. A quick examination confirmed my suspicions.
All the while, I felt a small presence looking over my shoulder, then suddenly disappearing as I went to talk with the older woman.
“I’m afraid it’s her appendix,” I said. “We’re going to have to get her to a hospital right away. She’s going to need surgery.”
“All right,” she said. “How will we get her to the hospital?”
“I think we can get her in the back seat of my car, but we’ll need some pillows to keep her comfortable and upright. Can you get that Mrs.?”
I was momentarily stunned, but I had little time for further conversation.
As I started to make preparations to move Mrs. McClaren’s daughter, a series of flashing lights and roaring vehicles broke through the savage weather. A sheriff’s deputy and two paramedics charged up the sidewalk to the kitchen door.
“I understand you’ve got a sick woman in here,” the deputy said.
“Yes, we do,” Mrs. McClaren said as she let the deputy and paramedics in.
“She’s in the living room,” I said, showing the paramedics to where Mrs. McClaren’s daughter was sitting.
As we got the younger woman on to the stretcher, I noticed a picture of three young girls out of the corner of my eye.
All along, Mrs. McClaren expressed her relief at getting help and her amazement at the response.
“There was this little girl who came and got us m’am,” the deputy said.
I nodded in agreement.
“Do you have a granddaughter?”
“Yes, but she’s with one of her aunts.”
“Is your granddaughter named Ruth?”
Mrs. McClaren gasped and gave me a startled expression.
“Doctor, my little Ruthie has been gone for years,” she said. “She died when she was eight years old. We stopped and visited her grave this morning before going to Kewanee to do some shopping.”
There is a natural explanation to this.
A little unfinished business from Hallloween for your enjoyment.