The Escort

This time he wore a navy blue, three-piece suit.

Helen had witnessed his arrival several times in the last two years, ever since he had come that awful night for her husband, Bud. Sixty-two years of marriage—ended by a heart attack. At the time, she thought he was one of Bud’s golfing buddies in his green polo shirt and jeans.

Tonight, he walked into her room, giving her a wave. He carried himself like a younger man—confident in who he was and where he wanted to go. He approached the bed where her roommate, Connie, sat watching Law and Order. Helen had known Connie for six months and they got along well, even if Connie was deaf in one ear and told the same stories repeatedly.

Connie’s face lit up in recognition. Helen pressed her dry lips together to keep from calling out to an aide. The only time she did that, she’d ended up under psychiatric evaluation for a week. No one needed to know about her unusual visual abilities.

Her roommate glanced up at him, smiling. “I knew you’d come.”

He nodded, his blue eyes bright. “It’s time.”

Connie rose from her bed, slipped on her pink slippers and placed her hand in his. She looked like an elderly Cinderella going to the ball with her prince. As they passed, Connie smiled at her. Helen whispered, “Godspeed, Connie,” and looked away. She still wasn’t used to seeing the soul leave while the body lay like a discarded doll.

Later that night, after a nurse came to check on Connie, Helen overheard the staff arranging a call to the family. Anger filled her chest, clipping her breath. Why did he take her roommates? Weren’t there plenty of horrible people who deserved to die? What about the man over in the other wing who yelled obscenities?

The Escort

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