Part of the Echoes & Illusions Anthology with Melange Books.

The early morning of a clear and barely lit sky held the promise of a new day. The dawn rays seeped into the expansive six-building complex known as Huntsville Medical Hospital. Night personnel of various trained professionals left for respite, as the day crew took over. Reading over assortments of charts, graphs and medical literature, the rhythmic ballet of the machines and monitors soothe the workers keeping things in a calm and stable motion. At each station, on every floor, the usual barrage of paperwork was filled out by head nurses and signed off via corresponding doctors. On the recently built Pediatrics building, the flow of traffic was special as were the patients. Specializing in several children’s specialties, the Huntsville Pediatrics Building housed the best doctors who had spent their lives perfecting their art.

The second floor of the Pediatric building housed the Neurology Wing filled with the nation’s most brilliant minds. Though the current activity on the Pediatric floor was slow, nurses and doctors kept their usual routine. Patient’s vital signs were monitored and needed medication administered. Down at the end of the hall was one of their most dedicated doctors arguing with Pathology over the progress of one her patient’s reports.

“This is Dr. Ana Fiore still waiting on Pathology reports…Yes I know I called earlier...I see your powers of observation haven’t failed you yet…Well, Deidre, I’m going to explain something called urgency…Yes I know you know what that word means, but it has obviously failed your range of understanding. I have a patient who’s in the Intensive Care Unit, and I need the reports that Pathology has still failed to send. I ordered the biopsy two weeks ago and I still am getting the run around….Yes, I’m sure you are extremely tied up, but how can that procedure take two weeks when normally analyzing and reporting takes a two hours from start to finish?....So when will my report be ready?....Really next week….Well Deidre how about this idea. I expect that Pathology report on my desk in 30 minutes or I’ll walk you through the fine details of work termination with your employer…Do we understand each other Deidre? We do? Oh good, speak with you soon.”

Hanging up the phone, Dr. Anabella Fiore let out her annoyed sigh and stretched her neck. Frustration started with the minute she walked through the building doors the previous night. The flame though had a mind of its own and kept dancing long into the night and now into the early morning. A majority of the irritation was the just recent confrontation with her colleague, Dakota “Cody” Hastings. Dakota had no end to making the day go straight to hell in a hand basket. Most of the irritation didn’t stem from that directly though, the opening of the Chief of Staff position became the winner.

The candidate list was already made and she had made it along with Dakota and another doctor, Shannon Worth. All three candidates were qualified and respected neurosurgeons, but the final decision came to the current Chief of Staff Samuel Hennessey. After years as the hospital’s head, he was stepping down to ‘enjoy the good life’ for as many years as he could. Though many of the fellow doctors and staff didn’t believe he would actually retire, it seemed this time he was serious. With the list of candidates out and floating through the building, the departure announcement looked more believable.

No one at the current hospital knew that Samuel Hennessey was her father and she wanted to keep it that way. The pressure from his stepping down added to her current anxiety, but she understood that it was time. Strange, that even after all the years she had been working with her father side by side, he still hadn’t mentioned anything about retiring. That was he didn’t mention anything until she forced the issue. When confronted about the issue, he finally stated his intentions. He promised her mother a two month cruise out somewhere and she knew they deserved it. She envied her parents for their marriage. Though married to a doctor wasn’t an easy life, being married to a neurosurgeon wasn’t a picnic either. Ana remembered many days and nights without her father around, but it didn’t stop her parents from giving her the best education and life possible. Neither love or support were in short supply in her life. As the oldest of five, she grew up knowing that even though her father wasn’t able to be around for certain moments in her life, he was there for the most important ones.