A Christmas Wish by Shaun Robertson (c)
"Where did they find her?"
"Wandering the hospital corridor-top floor."
"And how was she when you saw her?"
The Doctor looked down at the woman. She was barely breathing, very pale and very cold.
"She kept saying not time...not time," said the nurse.
"Not time for what?"
"I don't know."
"Well, whoever she is she's pretty screwed," the Doctor said.
"None of the wards has lost a patient," added the nurse. "Security didn't see her come in the door. Yet here she is in a hospital gown. No ID band."
"Well, we need to get her to Intensive Care as soon as," he said.
In ICU the anaesthetist touched the woman's skin and said "Get her a space blanket. She's bloody freezing."
As she was being slid onto the bed the woman woke again.
"Its not time," she said weakly, but earnestly.
"Not time for what my love?" replied the ICU nurse.
"Not time to die," said the woman.
"Dont be silly," said the nurse, taking her cold, pale hand.
"No," said the woman. "Tell my son that I always loved him and that I always will."
"I will. I promise," said the nurse.
The woman smiled. Then she stopped breathing.
"I'm calling it," said the anaesthetist. "Time of death 23.05. She nearly made it into Christmas day.....anyone managed to trace the son?"
"On his way," said the nurse. "Didn't even know his mum was in hospital."
The porters collected the woman and took her to the mortuary.
"Lets pop her in the drawer," the mortician said. The porters opened the top of the trolley to lift out the body.
"Dear Lord," said the porter.
"Oh ha ha," said the mortician. "Where is she?"
"I swear to god, she was in the trolley when we left the ward." The colour had drained out of the porter's face.
"Not funny," said the mortician.
"I swear she was in there," said the porter, looking shaken.
"What was her name?"
The mortician felt very uneasy. It was Christmas Eve. Miracles might happen on Christmas Eve.
He turned to the row of mortuary shelf doors and checked the labels. There was the one labelled Holly Stewart. He looked back at the empty trolley, then at the door again.
He opened the door with her name on and pulled the shelf out a little. A breath of icy cold air issued from the compartment.
He undid the top of the mortuary gown.
"This her by any chance?" he said, with a can't fool me tone to his voice, but his hands were trembling.
"Oh dear god-yes," said the porter. He was very pale. "That's the woman we collected from ICU five minutes ago."
"Not possible, she's been here for three days," the mortician said. "We were holding off until we could track down her son."
And in that strange, magical way, on that Holy Night full of promise, the woman had achieved her final wish-to tell her son that she loved him.