Dedicated to Kristen, who always finds the time to read my stories no matter how busy she is. You know you are my sister.
Bribing the Ferryman
"Faith, it hurts…"
The hospital chapel was nothing more than a carpeted room, filled with lines of hard, wooden benches, headed by a slender pulpit holding an open bible. Candles were lit, but she didn't notice, or smell their clean fragrance. She could have been anywhere, at home, at the station, in her bedroom. It didn't matter. Her mind could not grasp the simple things now, only the most painful caught her attention.
She walked stiffly down the aisle between the rows, looking to neither side, her eyes fixed on the cross hanging on the back wall directly in front of her. It was a beacon, a lifeline, it pulled her, though her heart beat painfully within her chest. She was afraid, and not of the blood that stained her uniform. She was afraid of the unknown.
It had been awhile since she had been in a church. Too busy righting wrongs and dispensing justice. Too busy watching the dregs of humanity dig their own graves. She didn't have time to give thanks to some higher being that marred her life with the visions she saw everyday.
Now it was different. She couldn't say when she had left the waiting room to come here, staggering down the sterile, white halls like a lost soul, barely seeing the people that glanced at her warily. She didn't even really know why she had come, except that there was nothing more she could do.
"Hold on, Bos, I've got you."
The voices echoed in her head and in her vacant blue eyes, but she was too numb to acknowledge them now. She had only one purpose, and she had to complete it before she could return to the never-ending wait in a hard, plastic chair that loomed in front of her. She had already come this far, now she only had to face it.
The cross gleamed at her in the dim light and she blinked, coming alive again. Releasing a pent up breath she dropped to her knees, not bothering to slow her fall, and her knees hit the plush carpet with a muffled thud. She didn't wince, oblivious to her own discomfort as she searched for something beyond herself.
She didn't know what to do…
She shifted on her knees and clasped her hands in front of her, eyes dry of tears she had already shed. She hadn't talked to God for awhile. Sure, she had offered small prayers for those she loved in mumbled words, but she had never really talked to Him. What could she say? How should she start? Her mind was too filled with the violent scenes of the night to even allow her to comprehend even this one small thing. The words…she needed the right words…
"God, Faith, it hurts!"
"God." The name hung in her mouth, in the air, a silent plea her heart forced into the open. It was a single note of music, a single glance, a single sound. Her voice closed and she could not go on.
He had been shot, Bosco had been shot. His blood stained her shirt, his hoarse words hung around her neck like a chain of dearly bought pearls. She could not forgot them, but what could she do? They had told her to wait, to wait. Didn't they know that he could die? Didn't they know she would go mad with grief if he did?
She could not wait…
But the words. They would not come, so she offered the one thing she could think of that might save her partner. Reaching into her pocket, she brought out a bright quarter, holding the coin at arms length, her gaze fixed on her stained hands. A few harsh seconds and she closed her eyes.
A quiet wish.
The coin dropped from her fingers, glittering as it fell.
She turned, opened her eyes, looked over her shoulder.
"The doctor just spoke to us. He's alright. He's alright, Faith."
She stood, her muscles aching, simply a breath of wind as she left the chapel, the remembered voices dying in her head. He was alright.
It would be hours later, as she sat beside her partner's bed, watching him breathe peacefully, that she realized she had never heard the coin hit the floor.
Author's Comments: The title "Bribing the Ferryman" is in reference to Charon, Ferryman of the Dead in Greek Mythology who ferried souls of the dead across the river Styx. The payment of his services was a gold coin. In this story, Faith symbolically offered a coin as a bribe, to keep death's ferryman from taking Bosco away. I'm not promoting mythology or Christianity by involving the two in this fic, I just used them as a metaphor for the confusion Faith was in, and how she would sacrifice to save someone's life. They were only used for creative purposes. ^_^
Thanks for reading, comments are appreciated!