Having crossed the market square, he found himself at the end of some side street leading to a cosy space, surrounded with flowers in front of a small building painted warm colours, and went inside. The nurse said he was being waited for. Ost gave her a polite smile and feeling unpleasant, heavy emptiness in his stomach went straight down the hall. While he was moving towards the inevitable future, the nurse closed the door behind him and went back to her seat.
The moment he stepped into the ward Ost bumped into Klielah.
— Thanks for coming.
— Was lucky to have made it before the bridge got broken, — answered Ost, deep in his thoughts, and looked at the body, silhouetting under the sheet.
— I thought we had a few more days. Well…
On the bed like some craftsman’s piece of work, like a cruel joke on the human was a body covered with a thin blanket. A bareboned face, arms like sprouts of a fruitful tree, however, dried out in the desert, the skin was so thin that it was broken here and there. Ost came to a chair by the open window, sat down on it, closed his eyes and for some brief moment shut himself off from reality. He recollected all the similar scenes which he had witnessed and which he had had to be present at being absolutely helpless. He recalled this terminal disease at first changes the body and afterwards it eliminates everything related to being a human. It only leaves you with poor-spirited and black-hearted strangers instead of those that once used to be your friends and family. It makes the diseased hate everyone who’s been lucky to escape the disease and sufferings. Rage and black despair. Any other feelings are beyond their reach.
To get rid of the memories Ost rubbed his eyes intensely and finally opened them. The face of Klielah sitting on the other chair was calm but it still kept slight signs of the recent emotions. Not for the first time was Ost surprised at endurance of the family and cast a look at the face resting on the pillow. It was motionless but that constrained stillness was not the one of the dead. It was a peaceful face. Almost serene.
When in the drawn-out pause silence was felt too intense, way too intense than everything happening in the ward at that moment, the door hinges squeaked and the nurse looked inside the room to check if they needed her help. Ost smiled at her a bit more sincere then a few minutes ago and shook his head no.
— Leema, — slightly touching the dried and cracked skin of the ill woman called Klielah. — Begging you, don’t sleep! — On the calm and peaceful face there was no sign of anything like a reaction.