“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Terrence whispered, hovering just inside the hospital room. “We could get caught. I could get fired. You’re not even supposed to be here now.”
“We’ve been over this,” Bill hissed back. He was standing next to the bed, attaching a blood bag he had brought with him to the patient’s I.V. “You remember what happened last time. That nurse came in and we had to lie about who I was. This way, if we do it at night, after visiting hours, there won’t be as many family members or staff coming in every five minutes.”
“I know,” Terrence agreed, “but…”
“How’s your transfer to the blood bank coming?”
“I’ve gotta take some classes first. Then maybe I can put in for a position down there.”
“Well, until then, this is how we have to do it.”
“I won’t get transferred if we get caught,” Terrence pouted.
“We don’t have time for this,” Bill answered. “Elder Fenlye himself donated this blood. Now, c’mon, say the verse with me. ‘For the life of a creature –”
Terrence sighed and joined in. “‘For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.’ Leviticus seventeen-eleven.”
“Good. Now go keep a look-out while I finish saving this person’s life.” Terrence left as Bill finished setting up the I.V. Bill looked down at the frail, unconscious, white-haired man on the bed. Bill didn’t know anything about him, but Terry had said that his time would be soon. Maybe the old man had been a believer, but maybe not. Maybe this blood transfusion was his last chance to be saved before he died. Leviticus said that the life of a creature was in its blood. That meant that the soul, the very essence of a person, was in their blood. For where else could the soul be located? Now Elder Fenlye had given some of his blood, some of his pious and vibrant spirit, to this elderly man. Hopefully, adding a portion of the Elder’s soul to the man’s own would tip the scales in the right direction. If the man had a black and sinful soul, Elder Fenlye’s blood would spread and work through the man’s bloodstream until the patient’s spirit was completely cleansed. If the man had a believing soul, Elder Fenlye’s blood would add to it.
As Bill prayed for the man, his thoughts were interrupted by the sound of voices outside the room. “Where’s the man you let in here?” someone demanded. “Is he in here?”
The security cameras! Bill thought. Someone must have seen Terry letting me in.
“What? What man?” Terry asked. “I didn’t…”
But Terry was interrupted as two hospital security guards pushed past him.
Luckily, the voices had given Bill enough time to hide behind the door. When the security guards opened it and stepped into the room, Bill flung the door open wider and pushed them out of his way as he dashed out into the hall.
The guards fell into the patient’s bathroom, giving Bill the lead that he needed. He had reached the end of the hall and was just about to turn the corner and head for the stairway when he heard running footsteps behind him. He glanced back and saw that the two guards had recovered.
Pouring on even more speed, Bill turned back around and immediately slammed into a woman coming around the corner.
The unsuspecting woman went down while Bill stumbled over her, dazed. He was just shaking off the force of the impact and getting his bearings again when a security guard tackled him from behind.
Bill hit the floor hard and felt a gash on his forehead becoming wet with blood.
“Nurse Erica, are you all right?” Bill heard the other guard ask the woman he had bowled over.
“I’m fine, Jimmy,” the woman replied. “What’s wrong with that guy?”
Bill was getting light-headed and he knew he was about to black out. “Don’t give me any blood,” he mumbled. “Can’t…get tainted…with sinner’s blood.”
“And who do we have here?” Pastor Morris asked.
The hospital chaplain looked down at his print-out. “Says here ‘is name’s Bill Tucci.”
The pastor reached his hand into the bowl he was carrying and cupped out some water. Leaning down, he spread the water over Bill’s head as he said, “Bill, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Be saved now and forever.” The pastor straightened back up and wiped his wet hand on his suit pants. “How many more do we have to go?”
The chaplain scanned his list. “Um…I don’t know. The hospital’s had a lot of new admittances tonight.”
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