Knight of the Ribbons - Chapter 1

Her eyes seemed to stare through Clay and up to the ceiling. Her lips moved breathlessly. She gasped a huge breath, and it seeped out. Five seconds later she took another, and it made almost a moaning sound as it left her. It was ten seconds before she drew another, and he never heard that breath leave his beloved wife, for it dissipated in cold silence.

The doctor was standing now, his stethoscope dangling from his grip, both hands hanging at his sides. Vast sadness swam in his eyes as he watched Clay. Clay looked away, and then, exhausted, he slumped on the edge of the bed. He remained dead quiet while the doctor set his broken forearm. All pain had vanished, and only complete loss and nausea remained. He stared at the floor and felt the tears burning behind his eyeballs, but none came.

And then he heard those words that would haunt him for the rest of his life: "If only I had been here an hour sooner, son. I might have saved them both."

Lying in bed some hours later, Clay stared at the ceiling. He was bone tired, but sleep seemed to detest him: It wouldn’t come. Vague, waking dreams caromed around in his head. Visions of Samantha making breakfast, which he knew she would serve him when he awoke from the daze he was in. He remembered that a man had been here, and the man had been telling him why there were splints on his arm and how long they should remain before the swelling went down and they could put on a cast. He looked down, studying the cotton-wrapped splint and once again wondering what it was doing there. Then an angel came down and darkened the room, and Clay Logan was asleep. An hour later, the yellow Ohio sun broke over the bare gray bones of the March treetops.