Author : Ian Hill

“You look like an angel.” the old woman croaked between breaths, her voice strained and genuine. She lay on her back in a large Peach Medical Industries bed, all arrayed in tubes and healing equipment.

Allison Stafford looked down at her patient and beamed. “Now isn’t about me, Miss McNeil. Now is about you and how simply ravishing you look tonight.”

Miss McNeil offered a weak smile in response. Her wrinkled face took on a pained expression as a stabbing bolt of agony rippled through her stomach. After the brief fit she relaxed and peeled one eye open to watch Allison elegantly float about the room, checking and altering a few of the sleek monitors.

The old woman’s heart ached out of brief regret as she watched the youthful doctor move with ease and alluring flow. Her sharp white uniform somehow managed to convey her status as both a healer and one of the White Republic’s most beautiful elite. Envy tugged at Miss McNeil as she longed to trade bodies with Allison.

“One more time, Miss McNeil.” Allison said somewhat apologetically.

The woman groaned and closed her eyes. “Yes. I want this. I want nothing more than this right now.”

Allison nodded gravely as she looked down at Miss McNeil. There was something haunting about the process despite its liberating and progressive nature. Allison loved her job and knew it was necessary, but she couldn’t help but wonder what thought process lived behind those wrinkled eyes. Pain is a warning, not an affliction.

“I guess this is it.” Miss McNeil mumbled hoarsely.

Allison snapped herself from the reverie and moved to stand beside the bed and its primary terminal. She reached down and rested her thin, pale hand on the shoulder of the old woman’s PMI issued garb. The contrast between the flawless sculpt of the doctor’s ivory hand and Miss McNeil’s weathered face was oddly sobering.

Miss McNeil coughed into the open air. Allison turned back to face the monitor. A pulsating button appeared on the touchscreen, large and imposing. Doctor Stafford stifled a sigh and solidified the brave smile on her face. She reached forward without a second thought and tapped the prompt. The gentle hum of medical equipment became more labored for a moment as the machines cycled through chemicals to select ones of a more lethal nature.

In one final burst of strength, Miss McNeil reached up to her shoulder and gripped Allison’s hand. The doctor looked down mercifully and felt as the warmth of the old woman’s hand gradually faded away.

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