The Dead: Book 12 (frag. 1)

The Book of the Story

"SAM."

The voice—not really a voice—came as through a fog, the remnants of the pain, the antiseptic odors of rubber and alcohol and bedsheets and sweat, drifting silently away.

"Can you hear me, Sam?"

She wasn't conscious. She knew that. But she was fairly sure this wasn't just a dream.

She made an effort.

"Who are you?"

"Don't be afraid."

There was a rustle of feathers and a great amount of light.

Sam's mind cleared somewhat, though she was still not certain where she was.

"An angel? You seem like an angel."

"You see wings, and feathers, yes? I'm wearing white?"

"A robe."

"Well, you're Catholic, you see... Close enough, anyway."

"But why..."

"We need your help. There's a decision to be made."

Her head was much clearer, now.

"A decision. Who's we?"

"There's me, of course, and several others who would mean nothing to you. And then there's... I suppose you'd say God."

"God needs my help?"

"Not so much needs as insists upon, really."

"But why?"

"You're the woman."

"The woman? It's because of the pregnancy."

"Partly."

"I was so stupid. Glen isn't ready to be a father anymore than I'm ready to... And there are so many other things... It's just the worst possible... Am I in trouble ?"

"For getting pregnant? That wasn't completely your fault. In fact, most of the responsibility lies elsewhere."

"With Glen, you mean? Because that's not fair. I was just as much..."

"I wasn't thinking of Glen. You're not in trouble. You did exactly what you were designed to do, and so did Glen. If others had had half a grip on reality... but that's not my business."

"Really? I mean—is that what God thinks?"

"Believe me. If anyone's 'in trouble', it's not you or Glen. But you do need to make a decision about the..."

"The baby ?"

"Okay. If that's what you want. The baby."

"You mean about the abortion? Oh, you don't have to worry about that. I know what I'm supposed to do. I already did it, and Glenn did, too. We told the doctors. No abortion. Absolutely."

"That's why you're here."

"You don't mean.. You mean God wants me to... to..."

"Have the abortion? Of course not. He doesn't want you to have it or to not have it. He wants you to decide."

"To decide?"

"To gird up your loins like a... like a woman, and make the decision."

"But I already did."

"You didn't, you know."

"I told the doctors..."

"Exactly what you'd been taught to say. It wasn't a decision. It was a programmed response."

"And you... God ... wants me to change it?"

"I already told you. He doesn't want you to change the decision, he wants you to make the decision. He's pro-choice, you see."

"But that's... that's... You mean he really doesn't care? One way or the other?"