Paul Hennessey danced into his home. A bag or two of snacks under his arm and a six-liter of soda in the other, he sung the Michigan fight song under breath as he set himself into a familiar place and flicked on the TV through the remote control. The Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers game was going to be starting any moment now. He opened his first bag of chips and dumped them into the bowl before him. He added a bag of corn chips and another bag of another brand.
"Hello, friends," He shined. "It's been a while." He celebrated the end of his special diet and bad-tasting medicine. A recurring doctor's visit was all he had to worry about now. No one knew how he had survived, but his recovery was a lot more than just a miracle. He felt young again, and once again, he had the insatiable appetite and sex drive of a young man, and a sexy wife made it all that much more fun. His wife loved him again too. He had awakened shortly after the unknown girl had stormed the hospital looking for drugs. At least, that was the public story released to the papers for the vandalism and attacks at the hospital. No one was sure who she was, none of the security pictures got her face, but she had put three men in traction and Dr. Masterson took a sabbatical to get herself together after the ordeal. Cheering his home team, Paul looked around his house looking and waiting for the usual family disturbance. There was nothing. Was he the only one here?
"Cate? Kids?" He called them shined happily to the TV. "All alone…" He grinned and giggled like a young kid to have the TV to himself. Finally he thought. Just as he wanted it... all was right with the world...
"Daddy, is that you?" Bridget yelled from upstairs.
"Oh, crap….." Paul whined over his lack of alone time. "Where's your mother?" He called to her up the stairs from before the TV.
"She called to say she'd be working late." Bridget started to come down then distractedly raced back to her room for something. "Kerry's with Kyle."
"And Rory?" Paul inquired during a commercial.
"Who cares about him?!" Bridget yelled down. Paul accepted that answer and munched on some chips. He made a face of annoyance and slid a coaster under his drink in case Cate wandered in unexpectedly. He lifted his glass of soda as the sports commentators came on to discuss the game and heard Bridget stomping down the staircase. He raised his drink to his lips, took a sip of soda and casually glanced to his daughter in the long red cape and short red skirt with the symbol across her chest and spewed soda from his mouth across the table.
"Bridget!!!" He stood in shock! "What… How… Why… What… are you wearing?!"
"Daddy, I'm going to work." The blonde one answered matter-of-factly.
"Work???" He refused to believe it. "You mean you've… you're that…. This whole time!!!" His hand reached to his heart.
"Well, duh…" Brigid sipped milk from the jug in the refrigerator and unfurled a long ten-foot list from her cape. "Let's see, I've got a wrecked train, cyclone in Kansas, earthquake in Mexico, volcano in Germany…."
"Wake up, wake up…" Paul slapped his face trying to wake himself. "Wait, there are no volcanoes in Germany!!!"
"Well, they do now…" Bridget walked before the TV with her cape swaying to steal some pizza from her father. "And I've got to take care of it." She took a bite as she paced a bit in her costume. "I'm going to need a lot of help. Jackson, Maddie, Jackie, Lily, Derek…"
"Who are these people?" Paul asked.
"No one…" Bridget stepped to the door and opened it heading out.
"Bridget, please…" Paul clutched his chest. "I think I'm having another heart attack!" His daughter beamed lovingly to him and bent forward to hug him. She kissed his cheek and hugged him then signed something off her list.
"Oh my god!!!" Paul tried to see that list.
"Got to go, Daddy… Love you…" She reached up to the sky and started lifting off the ground. "See you in March…"
"March?!!!" Paul realized this was the first week of December. He looked up into the sky. "Bridget, please, come back! Come back to me! Stay away from airports! Brigid!!!" He screamed reaching to the sky.
"Brigid!" He reached from his hospital bed. His eyes looked around for the moment and noticed his wife by his side. Cate looked deep into his eyes and beamed out of joy to see him awake. She took his head in her hands and kissed him. Her eyes were filled with tears and her heart feeling elated with feelings of joy. Paul felt tubes into his nose and looked to machines connected to him by wires, tubes and cords. The room was filled with flowers and bouquets of every type. The other chair was filled with three potted plants and cards both store-brought and homemade littered the walls.
"Paul…" Cate kissed him over and over. She sniffed briefly and wiped her nose with Kleenex before beaming over her husband again. "I've been here everyday after work to check up on you. I was so worried about you."
"I guessed I scared everyone at the party last night, huh?" He dreamily and tiredly gasped. His chest was cross-crossed was stitches under his robe. "Did I make my surgery?"
"You had your surgery." Cate lovingly confessed sitting by his side. "Two surgeries… and the party was last month, not last night. You've been slipping in and out of a coma ever since." Paul's face confusingly looked up to her. "The doctors said somehow, someway that you were fighting stay alive. They couldn't explain it, but they knew something was keeping you alive."
"A month?" Paul looked to Cate. He looked around the room once more filled with walls of loving cards and flowers. Not a surface was clear, not a clear view to the wall from five feet down from the ceiling. Furniture from home was here, pictures of the kids surrounded him and a large wreath from Harry humorously read "Get Back To Work!" He beamed from one end to end of all of his well-wishers then realized something was missing.
"Bridget?" Cate stroked her husband's face. "She's not here, Paul. She's never been here."
"But… I felt her…"
"Paul…." Cate choked back the grief. "Bridget vanished the night you went into the coma."
Paul looked at Cate. The fact had been hard for her. The news had shaken up the family to its core. While grieving for her husband, she had to grieve the loss over their firstborn daughter. His wife kissed his hand and stroked his features. Paul stifled back on his emotions and tried to speak, but all he could do was choke on his breath and the deep sorrow permeating through his soul. He woke up for this? To say goodbye to his daughter?
"She just vanished?"
"The police found a girl's body in the river a week afterward, but they didn't think it was her." Cate's voice trembled before she blew her nose. "She'd been in the water too long to identify. I don't want it to be her, but my dad wants me to accept it. He and CJ have been staying with us, but as long as I got hope, somehow, someway I know my daughter is alive somewhere out there." She began crying again.
"Beej…" Paul's eyes welled up and his new heart valve started breaking. His chest pumped a few times and he began crying. Cate didn't want to have to tell him, but she knew he'd find out sooner or later. They heard someone else enter the room.
"Cate," Dr. Masterson was back on duty. "Visiting time is over." She looked over to Paul. "How you feeling, Paul?" She walked up checking his stats.
"Can't I stay longer, Liz?"
"Sorry, hun…" Liz held her clipboard to her chest. "But John has tests he wants to check with Paul before he can even think about dismissing him and that could take all night, but don't worry, I'm on duty all night."
"Okay…" Cate turned and kissed her husband around his tubes. "Don't be going back to sleep now."
"If I do, I'll try to wake up." Paul's pale and beleagered face tiredly beamed his weary grin to her. Cate lovingly held his hand a few seconds more as she collected her purse and jacket. A kiss blown from her lips, she wrestled with her jacket and hesitantly pulled it on over her arms moving her purse from arm to arm. As she pulled her hair out from under her collar, her eyes fell upon the crack in the wall outside the room. It just never went away. They spackled it, painted it and replaced the wall, but it kept returning. Someone said it extended through the whole building from the foundation to the roof. Passing it out of her mind for now, Cate pressed her fingers to it briefly and thought of her missing daughter for a moment for some reason. Wherever she was, she hoped she was okay. Her feet headed on out through emergency. Marcy waved at her over her coffee and maintenance wrestled with the busted sliding door. It hadn't worked right since that unknown girl smashed through it after supposedly trying to steal drugs. Liz looked back to Cate with a secret and wondered, did she know the truth yet?
Cate swung her purse strap over her shoulder and walked toward her car parked a few car lengths away. She missed her time working here, but it was much more liberating working as a school nurse than as a nurse on call. That was something she had neglected to tell Paul. She was now working at Liberty High around her daughter, and next year, Rory would be there too. Not a day went by that someone didn't ask about Bridget. Cate thought about her a lot these days, praying she was alive and somewhere out there. She sniffed and sighed upon reaching her car and tossed her purse inside to the other seat. As she briefly slid into the car, she noticed a bright figure standing in the light ten feet from her car. She gazed at it from inside the car a moment then stepped back out for a better look. The long blonde hair, the teenage posture, the large red "S" emblazoned to the front of her chest and the long red cape hanging from her shoulders…. Bridget stood standing a mere few feet from her mother… in the open… in her costume…
"Hi, mom…" She looked away briefly. "Sorry, I've been away, but…. I've been busy."
Awestruck and shocked, Cate stared at her speechless. She didn't know what to say. All she could do was look upon her daughter with stunned astonishment. Her heart said run to her, but her eyes told her to hold back. Mother and daughter stared back and forth between each other and realized things would never be the same again. They waited for each other to make the next move.
Twilight Zone voice-over: "Someone once said… that with great powers comes with great responsibility, so with greater power comes even greater responsibilities. Bridget Erin Hennessey learned that lesson. However, yet, another person once sung about the best of both worlds… but did Bridget earn that promise? Did she give up her future for the life of another, or did she keep her promise and get rewarded with her heart's desire. That's an answer this witness will not make here, but it's a choice you the observer will get to decide. The secret to this scenario can only be found in a dark expanse resting somewhere beyond. It's a realm known better as… The Twilight Zone."