Solutions: The Dilemma of Faith
Dedicated to those of us who have been damaged and destroyed yet have been given a new life by a power that is able to heal.
BookRix GmbH & Co. KG
Mary sat up gasping for air while hands were clutching a pounding heart as the sheer terror of the nightmare temporary slammed reality back into the morning ritual. Tears and wailing poured out from the soul over an image of her departed daughter, Melissa, a memory that only existed through a faded and tattered photograph. It was an image that haunted her life.
She desperately wanted to remember, but the memories were erased one bitter night in an accident that spared her life but took her daughter’s. She could remember nothing about the accident, yet it became a tormenting accuser, a constant reminder of irresponsibility that could not be passed off to any other. This very fact was made clear and drilled into the mind by all that fed the information concerning the accounts of that night.
The investigators who had put together the pieces of the puzzle at the scene of the carnage, from nurses and doctors who reminded her how lucky she was to have survived, and from counselors that had reassembled what remained of her life. But what they could not tell her, what she could not remember, was why she had been so careless racing about that dark, stormy night with her daughter in the car. It was so irresponsible that it left her wondering what sort of mother would act so carelessly. The thought only made the heart ache more and increased the tears dripping down the cheeks. As much as she tried, as much as she attempted to visualize the event, the memory remained void of any clarity that might shed light on that night.
She had no choice to accept the details of others. She was told her racing car veered out of control on the rain soaked street and slid head on into a truck in the opposite lane. Barely alive, she was told, the emergency crew managed to peel away the mangled metal in time for the medics to administer life saving procedures to her; the coroner to fill out a detailed report concerning the mangled and lifeless body of her daughter.
It was a nightmare played over and over again in the darkness that occupied the small apartment allotted to her by the housing authority under the control of Council Leader Torres. She could only guess why she had been give such a privilege. She was more than aware that while other singles were warehoused in open dormitories within the confines of concrete blocks, yet she was granted a small private unit. And just like her, those that were neighbors consisted of those in good favor with the Council. But it made no difference in her life. The ghost of Melissa existed in the mind and followed her wherever she found herself.
The tears and wailing decreased into sniffles and moans. The morning ritual released enough of the agony to live up to her responsibilities and face the world. She crawled out of bed and flipped on the switch to the coffee maker—another perk added to an undeserving life. The blouse and pants, freshly laundered, hung in the near empty closet. The uniform was plain enough for any to identify her as a lowly worker, yet colorful enough to differentiate her from such workers as common maintenance crews that tended to the streets and sidewalks and lawns and gardens.
She stared out the lone window while dressing and sipped coffee from a mug. Her walking companion to the hospital, the nightscape, waited. The cool of the night offered an escape from the heat trapped in the climate controlled room.
Except for the sound of a helicopter buzzing the air, the wailing of distant sirens, all was silent. All the lowly workers dwelling in the apartment blocks were retired from the day’s labor. After years of walking the same path, seeing the same lights emanating from the same concrete blocks, Mary had long realized that their work occurred in the daylight. They stood behind counters, serving others, or scurrying about the city streets and sidewalks to run the daily operations dictated by Council Leader Torres—she represented the handful of workers assigned to graveyard hours.
As she neared the hospital, the clatter from the helicopter and sirens was now a whisper in the dark. She imagined whoever they were hunting for had been cornered where he or she laid motionless and silent in an attempt to evade the security forces. But they were relentless in their pursuit of any who dared defy the status quo. The hunters would capture the hunted.
Another believer, she thought, another who’s been caught seeking a different power. She could not be sure if that was the truth or not since soon after the accident, the new life, she had lost the interest in the state sanctioned television shows that gave hourly updates on those that sought that type of rebellion. Most of what she knew came by voices passing by the apartment door, or by rumors overheard by those when retrieving the allotment of food and drink dispensed at the apartment building’s shipping center. Either way, however, the whisperings spoke a clear message of compliance to the Council’s orders.
She paused on the sidewalk long enough to scan the surrounding area for signs of life walking about, but found herself alone as usual. If believers were about, she reasoned, they were hidden. If they were trying to escape to the rumored secret sanctuaries as many had supposedly done, they’re pretty good at it. But Mary had long concluded that it made no difference in her life that revolved around work and the idle time in between.
The hospital came into sight. She found it odd that in all the years she had been assigned as a nurse, she never once was called out of the basement to either work or assist on any other floor or in any other department. She was told that had been the assigned duty before the accident, and had been told of her natural ability to tend to the sick and maimed with a compassion that was absent from others, yet she was confined to the basement.
In spite of the day nurse, Mary considered the basement her domain. The attitude grew in the absence of other nurses or nurse assistants or aides to help with the nightly chores and duties. If any emergency arose or any maintenance needed to be performed, it was left for her to handle. In fact, she thought, when’s the last time I saw the director? She knew it had been years, but how many, she had forgotten.
Made available as a private entrance to the basement, Mary approached the lighted pathway leading to a lone door. She stepped into the gloomy corridor. The subdued lighting, meant to simulate the night, was a constant companion. She neither had the authority nor the access to the panels to turn up the lights in an attempt to turn the corridor into something more cheery to anyone that might venture down to the basement floor. But most of all, she wanted the bright lights for the patients who were never allowed to see the light of day.
As she strolled down the empty hallway Mary paused at each door to check on those that she considered family members stricken with disabling mental and physical disorders. She witnessed each lying motionless on beds as the constant doses of tranquilizers administered by the daytime nurse still had control over their supposed tortured bodies and minds.
Mary remembered how extremely proficient she was at carrying out the assigned duty at first, which consisted of administering tranquilizers and tending to soiled clothing and sheets, but eventually curiosity over who exactly the patients were got the best of her. She began to wonder what kind of torturous life it had to be for them to exist only in a dormant state. This prompted her to seek out information that was strictly forbidden knowledge.
Taking advantage of the computer provided mainly for daily reports, Mary surprised herself by somehow accessing the hospital’s data bank where every detailed account from operations to personnel files to patient records was revealed. She could not help but to think the ability to execute such a defiant act must have been born out of a past that had been conveniently manipulated and kept secret from her by all that reconstructed the forgotten life. She began to wonder if all details had been forced upon her or if she had been placed in a position to rely and trust in others for an accurate representation of the past. At the time she just learned to accept the information given by others when the process of self-resurrecting the absent memories utterly failed, but slowly the thought of deception crept into the mind.
An identity, a life she simply could not remember had been drilled into the conscious day after day. Yet, for some reason it all seemed wrong.