Chapter Five

The Time Has Come



God stood in His study going over the accounts of the day when the door behind Him burst open and for the second time in recent memory, the documents in His hands flew from His hands and fell to the floor. He turned to find a visibly flustered St. Peter and frowned. He braced Himself for the unpleasant news the latter was going to present.

"We have a situation at hand, My Lord," St. Peter started.

"Now what?"

"Er...the communication lines were down and we were trying our best to repair them but as You know that we don't have any technicians in Heaven, it took us a lot of time to do so and we could not receive any communication from the Command Centre on Earth but..."

"Cut to the point!" God bellowed interrupting St. Peter's rant. He was getting irritated.

"Sire, the boy is in some laboratory and has caught hold of some chemical. I'm afraid we cannot stop him in time," St. Peter whispered.

"Oh my Me! This is bad. Really bad," God said as he ran a hand through His brow to wipe the sweat that had begun to form.

"What do you suggest we do My Lord?"

"I know it is still early but I believe we cannot wait any longer. We had hoped to wait at least for a few more years, but that option has been taken away from us." He sighed and then asked St. Peter, "Is the Command Centre operational now?"

"Yes it is."

"Very well. Inform the Others that there would a be change of plans. I will be going to him myself. I also wish that you accompany me. Now hurry up. We don't have much time at our disposal." God began preparation for his departure as St. Peter left in a hurry to comply with His orders.

"What a way to end the day!" God remarked.


*        *        *


Jessica returned from her meeting to find Ryan sleeping. She didn't disturb the boy for it was seldom that she saw him so peaceful these days. As she sat there looking at Ryan, her thoughts wandered to the special bond of friendship they shared. The poor boy had gone through a lot. First the sham of a life with his parents then the bullying at his previous school and lastly being sent to an unknown place so far from his hometown. Just when he had found some happiness in Josh, he was ripped away from him. Destiny surely didn't favor Ryan.

It hurt Jess a lot to see Ryan in so much pain. Unknown to the others, she had secretly harbored feelings for him. She kept quiet, though, when Ryan came out to her. She had moved on now, putting her feelings aside and started dating. Those feelings turned to something far better. They turned into love shared between closest of friends. Jessica got up and left the room before her sobbing woke Ryan.


*        *        *


The days that followed Josh's accident were a living hell for Ryan. The doctors were of no help and Josh slipped into a coma. His spine was operated upon successfully but the chances of a full recovery were dim. As a result of the fall, vertebrae of Josh's cervical had smashed into his skull and fracturing it. All seven vertebrae went through the cracked skull and severely damaged his cerebellum and the medulla oblongata. This robbed Josh of voluntary as well as involuntary control over his body. He had to be hooked to a ventilator as the damaged medulla oblongata could not control the autonomic functions of his body. The medulla oblongata was also responsible for maintaining the blood pressure, heart rate and the reflex actions. With it being damaged, Josh had to survive on an assortment of machines which were hooked onto him from all angles. The doctors stated it was a miracle for Josh to still be alive; Ryan was glad to hear it. If he could survive after all this, he could make it through with the recovery too.

Ryan visited Josh at the hospital every day and sat next to him holding his hand, praying that he would respond to his ministrations. His depression was affecting his grades and he was on the verge of being kicked out from all the four teams. No amount of coaxing by any of his friends had any result. Ryan started shutting them out and only Jessica, Steve and John were able to keep the wall Ryan had built around him from affecting their friendship.

Eight months after the accident, Josh showed no signs of recovery. On the contrary, his condition was slightly deteriorating. The doctors had given up all hope and said that it was only a matter of time before the inevitable. This news was the last straw for Ryan and he made his way towards the chemistry lab after school the next day. He had taken permission from the teacher to remain behind to practice a few experiments. During class, Ryan had heard his teacher saying that Copper Sulphate (CuSO4.5H2O) was toxic. He was just about to lift the beaker when it shattered in front of him. Startled, he reached for another beaker and that too burst before he could touch it.

Hearing the noise, the lab assistant rushed out and turned Ryan out, yelling at him for breaking two beakers of the compound. Ryan, shocked as he was, didn't stop to correct the man, quietly left the lab, and exited the building. He broke into a sprint and ran towards the front lawns where an old Air Force aircraft was kept as a memento. He sat down under a pagoda and started crying uncontrollably. Suddenly, a bright white light went out behind him and Ryan turned to look at it. The light was blinding but Ryan squinted his eyes and saw a silhouette of a man walking towards him.

"Do not cry my child, for your days of suffering are over," the mysterious person said.