10. Dream Interlude (Losing Innocence)

"Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death…Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it."

-Song of Solomon 8:6, 8:7

The hospital.

"Bring them into the emergency room, now!"

"Find their blood types!"

"We need a specialist!"

"The Lloyds are here!"

"Cut their clothing away!"

"Where are we going to graft the skin from?  They're burnt all over!"

"This kid's fine!"

"I need a respirator!"

The Lloyds were the first to arrive, having flown in their private helicopter.  Then the Gamelthorpes, the Johansens, the Petersons, the Hyerdahls, the Behrmans.  All wept tears of joy at seeing their babies with nothing but a few bruises.

In one section of the waiting room, however, a very old couple sat, holding hands so tightly the knuckles turned white.  Arnold's grandparents sat silently, not saying a word, while the boarders created their usual havoc around them.  After losing Arnold's parents, could they loose Arnold, too?

Miriam Pataki was sober.  Not a happy state for her.  She was trying very hard not to weep, occasionally reaching for a tissue, then tearing it into miniscule pieces.  Big Bob Pataki paced the waiting room like a caged lion, cursing and praising doctors by turn.  When he wasn't speaking, his lips were a thin white lip across his otherwise stoic face.

No one would tell them anything.  No one knew what was going on.  No one knew anything—except that Helga and Arnold were going to make it.  Helga and Arnold had to make it.  Helga was too strong to fall, and Arnold was too good to be taken away.

Except that nothing is too strong or too good for death.

And a group of very frightened, very young children were learning that for the first time.

Little Arnold/Helga interval there, just to catch you up on what's going on with them…BTW, I heartily recommend everything I've quoted at the beginning of each chapter…lots of fun.  Hopefully the next chapter—where the plot finally rears its ugly head—will be out soon, but considering I have a twenty-page paper on the back burner…who knows.  Bye!

-PI