by Cheryl Murfin, 2013


Drip. Drip. Drip.

Angel watched the crystal-clear droplets squeeze one-by-one from the valve at the bottom of the IV bag. The drops pool together in the drip chamber and then continued their journey down the long and winding tubing, through the Heplock and into her son’s unmoving arm.




The word reverberated in her brain with each tiny splash into the chamber.

Despite her name, Angel didn't believe in winged intercessors. She didn't believe in God. But magic. That was different. There was no doctrine to magic. Magic was possible. And so, eyes glued to the liquid life pouring into her baby, she clung to the word. Magic.

Magic would open his eyes and reanimate his limbs.

It would re-thread the mangled strands of his Green Lantern mask and push him back up on the sidewalk. It would cement the plastic walkie-talkie to his palm so it would not fly out of his hand into the street just as the bright blue Mercedes turned the corner near the bus stop where they were standing.

It would reverse time.

"Have you come to a decision?" 

The voice behind her was dull and distant. A million miles distant. A sound like the thud of waves crashing on a shore far enough away to be heard but not really.

"Ms. Allen?"

She turned her head, not because she heard the actual words, but merely from primal instinct, from the sense that danger was near. A quick tilt and tick at the back of her neck, a flush of heat down her back.

"Ms. Allen?"

It is just an echo, she told herself, not danger.

Her eyes returned to the Lactated Ringers rolling down the line.

Drip. Drip.


Magic. She followed the magic flow from bag to the boy on the bed. Flow ing into hisorearm, which is as far up as she could see, would allow herself to look because this could not be her boy. If she didin't look it could not be. This forearm on this boy who was not her boy – it couldn't be because beyond the forearm was a boy whose gauze coverings, blackened skin, and brokenness rendered him unrecognizable. This was not her beautiful boy. Her magical boy.

Her boy was still standing on the sidewalk, his green mask blazing. Plastic radio in hand. Talking to Batman. 



Had she made a decision?

She watched the drops, felt life's balance flowing through his veins and floating him out to sea.

Yes. She’d float with him, out to the planets, the universe, to infinity.  

A decision? Had she made one?

No. She would not open her eyes. 

A decision? A decision?