Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Expert (09/05/13)
TITLE: Crossing The Final Frontier
By Pauline Carruthers
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He lies inert, a helpless victim of his own ingenuity. Glazed eyes focus on the ceiling. Shafts of sunlight casting radiant beams on a blank canvas. His scientific knowledge is second to none. Yet an unexpected glimmer of fear heightens his senses to the unknown.
A nurse enters the room, efficiently checking his progress. She knows, as he does, that his progress is to death not life. She smiles, gentle fingers on his weak pulse, automatically smoothing stark white sheets.
“I’m Sally”, she says. “The Consultant will see you later. He’s the best in his field. Most highly qualified.”
Reaching for the un-named patient’s chart, Sally discreetly notes her observations. She is aware of his identity and he is grateful for her professionalism.
Whilst he slept the sky had darkened to dusk and his bed was now by the window. Sally had sensed his need of a view, apart from the pale contours of an off white ceiling. Semi-vacant eyes observed a sprinkling of silver stars and the emerging shape of a half moon as it idled across the folds of a night sky. He wished his mind was as devoid of feeling as his body. Facing the consequences of his expertise in chemical weaponry had been something he had never before considered. Now, every aspect of its devastating effects on the human body were playing out in his own. He might have shed a tear, had it been possible. Instead, he contemplated, judged and found in favour for the production and use of the evil he had created. Being a master in self deception he needed no justification in defending the merits of his achievements. His thoughts merely wafted by the conception that others had as much right to live as he believed he had to condemn to death.
“Condemn to death!”
An alien concept. He had merely utilised the brilliance he had been given to save the lives of some. Disturbing notions were invading his mind. ‘Given by whom and for what purpose?’ His thoughts were snaking down an uncomfortable path that he had no desire to travel.
Sally entered the room again and sensing his need of a focus left the blinds open, remarking on the beauty of God’s Creation. If he could have turned away he would have rebuffed her with a casual shrug of hospital gowned shoulders. But his inept, chemical damaged body had been deprived of choice, along with thousands of others. His eyes sought the familiarity of the bland ceiling again.
“Jim, I have half an hour before I go off duty. Would you like me to read to you for a while.”
Didn’t she know he was always addressed as ‘Sir’. He was a renowned scientist. Possibly the greatest. She had merely called him, Jim. Sally read quietly, yet the words began to pierce his armour plating, stirring up troubled thoughts. Like a stone hurled into water to create a whirlpool. He realised she was reading the account of Creation from the Bible, a book he had opened only once since childhood. Believing the impossibility of the Creation of the world, he had subsequently hurled mocking rebukes at the God he didn’t believe existed.
“I have to go Jim. Is there anything more I can do for you?”
A snide chuckle slid into his mind. Did she think she was skillful enough to do anything for a man about to sink into oblivion!
The dark blanket of the midnight sky held the half moon in a tender embrace, its light reflected in a lone star. Jim had slipped in and out of consciousness but now lay passive in both body and mind. He had believed that with the approach of death the human brain would grind effortlessly, senselessly into oblivion. Yet his brilliant scientists mind was splitting in two. One half desperately justifying the use of his gift in creating a killer chemical for the common good. The other half connecting with his newly awakening spirit. Urging him to choose between a final earthly death, or a repentant, forgiven and eternal spiritual life with Jesus.
The moon was fading like an ageing canvas as Jim’s earthly life gently ebbed away. God, the Master Creator, who made the universe and all things, lovingly slowed his heartbeat to a standstill, giving only time enough for his heart to choose. And as the morning light drifted in, like a reluctant shadow waking to greet the new dawn, Jim made his choice.
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