The corridor outside

A fear like none he’d ever known washed over Harley as the crimson stain spread across Genevieve’s stiff sheets. Before he could react a nurse had grabbed his arm and turned him towards the door. By the time he reached it the ward was full of masked people and machines. Noise.

He stumbled to a bench by the reception desk. A chaotic train snaked. Genevieve was somewhere in the middle of it. An electronic voice called ‘North 3, code red’.

Time passed somehow. Somehow the world kept turning. The receptionist brought him coffee.

A passing cleaner took one look, put down his mop and sat next to him, offering a prayer if he’d like.

Harley, said, ‘No,’ then ‘thank you. It’s just I don’t——’

The man took up his mop again.

Harley’s coffee turned cold. He stood, though his legs didn’t want to straighten. He walked to the end of the corridor and back. Then again. And again until he lost count of how many times he’d done it. A white cloaked doctor emerged from the room they’d taken her into. ‘Mr Jenkinson?’

Harley nodded. Through the open door he heard his tiny daughter’s first, instinctive scream for her mother.


2011-Richard Holt / small stories about love (