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Gila River Review
Taylor Lee Atchley

The Gift of Doctor Eversol

            A chill.  That’s all it took to realize my fate.  No words of comfort from any doctors or nurses, just silence and the cold setting in on the entire room.  I knew.  For a long time now the chance of hope was slim.  But actually hearing the words and seeing the evidence and knowing, just knowing I was going to die.  The suspense was worse, now that it was clear what was going to happen, I didn’t know how to feel.  Scared?  Sad?  Confused? Yes, all.

            All my life I’ve been one to look at the positives.  Whenever a trial came that should’ve left me crying on a friends shoulder, I let time eat the memory away.  Time was always my answer to everything, but now there’s none left.  How precious a gift it really was.  Showing my fear and sadness wouldn’t help my family; best thing would be to smile while they wept. 

            And what a short time it was.  Soon the dark came, prepared or not, and the images faded away.  Death felt much different then I imagined.  It was almost peaceful, the pain in my head left instantly.  There was something amiss though.  I also imagined death taking spirits to another world.  When I opened my eyes I was still in the hospital.  The air was thick and cool, and everything that had light or reflected light was doubled in intensity, it was a wonder I didn’t squint.  Everything was white and glowing, but very much the same place I was earlier.  This was a peculiar scene.

            My heart sank when I thought of the afterlife.  This couldn’t be it could it? There has to be more to it, or someone else around to help me.  I decided to get off the bed and have a look around. At the same time I noticed that my body still lay still in its place.  I must be a spirit or having an out of body experience.  So many questions but none could be solved here.  I looked at the door and then at my hands, calculating if it was possible to touch still, and open the door.  My spirit form was identical to my normal body, only I was very transparent and my veins glowed in my wrist.  I checked again, and my fingernails also glowed.  There was a mirror by the sink in the room that I walked, yes walked, over to observe.  My golden hair now looked white and shined just as powerfully as the light in the room. My eyes also glowed and the veins in my neck.  There was only one area that didn’t appear spirit like.  In my transparent state I peered at my skull and found a dark purple spot in the inside.  I only knew too well what it was.

            This new form wasn’t all too different from commanding a normal body, thankfully.  So I attempted to open the door, but instead of turning the knob, my arm went through it!  Slowly I let my whole body do the same.  It was magical; I was actually walking through walls.  Out in the hallways was a surprise.  It was still bright and white like my room, but I found more people that looked like me.  One was a bald child that looked very lost, another was a woman walking through some of the doors than reappearing with a disappointed expression, and another was a young man that sat on the ground legs crossed. 

            I wanted to speak, so I gave it a shot, they were once people after all.

            “Hello?” I greeted.  My voice echoed softly and sounded as thick as the air in the building. 

            The women stopped checking the rooms to look at me, and the young man on the floor spoke, “Hey,” with the same thick chime.

            “What…  Is this the afterlife?” I asked them.

            “No,” the young man said flatly, “This is your almost afterlife.”

            The bald child looked up in alarm.  I knew how he felt, death was a hard thing to accept, especially one so young.

            “How is that possible?” I continued questioning.

            “You’re almost dead,” the snoopy spirit woman butted in, “On the border, not over or behind.”

            There was a sense of relief in these words.  I had no knowledge of life after death but it would be nice if this weren’t it.  The child suddenly began to cry, and instantly I went to soothe him.  A spirit was very light, I decided after picking the bald child off the ground.  I let him put his arms around my neck for comfort and pat his delicate transparent back. 

            “He doesn’t need to be afraid,” said the young man on the ground, almost glumly, “He has an innocent spirit.”

            “And what if you don’t?” I said cautiously.

            No one responded for a long time, then the woman finally spoke, “The ghost will decide.”

            I had no idea what she was talking about, but then something extraordinary happened.  The child I was holding disappeared and I was suddenly holding nothing.

            I gasped, “Where did he go?”

            The woman and the young man both turned to face the end of the hallway.  It wasn’t hard to see what they were looking at, because in all of this light this was the only dark presence in the whole room.  It was a figure of a man, but everything about him was dark and gray.  He began to walk forward, and smoky black clouds left a trail from his feet.  In his arms was the bald child.

            “What are you doing?” I demanded.

            I haven’t really known the child, but I felt like the dark man was a threat.  He instantly stopped moving and cocked his head to the side, as if perplexed I would defy him so. 

            “Who are you?” He addressed me, but his voice wasn’t like mine, it was deep and raspy.

            “I’m…I was called Lila,” I decided to reword my sentence, “but you didn’t answer my question…”

            “That is Ghost,” the spirit woman whispered, “It’s his job to round up the half dead…to see where they go from here.”

            Ghost sighed loudly, “Yes.  This boy is ready to pass, and you…Lila…Lila.”

            The Ghost glided closer towards me with his free arm not holding the child outstretched to me.  His hand fell on my forehead, where he let it sit there examining something. 

            “Lila… I may soon come for you.” And with that, the Ghost disappeared in a whirl of black fog along with the bald child.

            What a bizarre world this is, I thought.  “He’s an ominous fellow, huh?”

            “Yes, but he’s actually not a bad man at all,” the woman said, “So, Lila.  I am Georgia.  And this is Randy.”

            The young man on the floor looked up at the call of his name.  I was able to see a dark spot similar to mine in my cranium, but his was on his chest, his heart.  There could be so many reasons why his heart was failing, and the thoughts made me sad.  The woman however didn’t have any signs of black spots showing why or how she was dying.  I questioned, “How are you here, Georgia?”

            Her glowing spirit eyes shut ever so slightly, and she mumbled, “I tried to take my own life.  Over dose on the doctors medications…”

            “How terrible, but why?” I asked horrified.

            “It does not matter,” she grumbled, “You two however…”

            Georgia turned to Randy as she spoke, “You and Lila can find Dr. Eversol.”

            Randy just looked at her, frozen like a statue.

            “Who is he?” I asked interested.

            “The doctor of life,” Georgia explained, “He has taken many burdens from people like us, but only those who deserve it, and need to stay…”

            Randy finally moved to look up at me, and out of nowhere decided to get up off the floor.  He came closer to take my hand, and in an instant I felt his soul.  It was good, had good intent, and deserved a good life.  I wonder what he felt in mine.

            “Where can we find him?”

            Georgia explained how she once found Dr. Eversol.  He couldn’t help her, because of the given circumstances of her actions apparently.  I would like to stay alive, who wouldn’t, and what did Randy and me really have to lose.  Her instructions couldn’t be less vague though.  This hospital was a maze.  “It’ll rely on your instincts.  And time is short so if you intend on finding him you best leave now,” she suggested.

            “How long?” I asked.

            “Seven minutes.”

            “That’s it?” I gasped in my ghostly spirit voice.

            Randy patted my hand, “Time here is different.  How long did you think we had to stay half alive?” He said this to sound like a joke, but I was hardly amused.

            Georgia gave us a half smile before letting us set off, and that’s when she disappeared.  My soul felt sad to lose her, though I knew her just as little as the bald child before he left.  This time no dark silhouette of a man came to take her spirit, only the dark fog that swallowed her in its depts. 

            “It’s not evil,” Randy reassured, “It’s part of life.  Or the afterlife…we can’t stay here forever.”

            I just nodded, but the Ghost and his darkness still frightened me.  Randy held onto my hand and we began to run through the hospital.  If I still had my heart in tact it would be thudding, I thought, remembering what it felt like to run and breath. 

            It was like a slow-motion movie sequence.  There were several spirits, like us, but there were also living bodies.  The living walked slowly while we ran at normal speed past them.  I noticed all the spirit people paused in their wandering to watch us pass.  At the same moment, they all raised their arms and pointed down a long hallway with an elevator at the end.  Randy and I took it as a sign and sped off towards it.  While running, I peeked at the clock that hung above a frozen living nurse assistant.  Randy was right, the clock moved at such a slow rate we could have a better chance finding Dr. Eversol.

            The hallway seemed to be stretching, and the elevator didn’t appear to be getting any closer.  This made Randy run harder, dragging me along, and eventually the hallway ended.  Instead of waiting for the button, we ran straight through the elevator doors.  The lights inside were extreme and the metal on the inside of the box room shone dark blue.  There was a selection of buttons next to the sliding doors, all very bright, except for one.  This one, floor nine, had a red glow, and without a second thought I went to push that button.

            “No,” Randy tugged me away.

            I gazed at him perplexed.  He pointed up, and miraculously I understood.  We leapt and soared straight through the roof and into the elevators domain.  This area was dimmer, but still abnormally light compared to its not spirit world form.  I made sure to check all the floors we skipped making sure we stopped at nine.  I saw eight and smiled, knowing nine was just ahead.  When we reached it however, the doorway wouldn’t let us in.  We tried walking through it like everything else, but it resisted. 

            Randy shrugged, “We’ll go to eight and find a stairway up.”

            Floor eight’s door let us pass with ease.  The new hallway we entered looked identical to the one before, only there was something chipper about it.  The aura here was joyful and sweet, full of…love.  This room had more love and life than I ever could have felt in my normal body.  This time I dragged Randy down the hall, and then I found to source of such happiness.

            Babies.  There was a large window, and in the separate room were multiple tiny newborn babies.  All of them glowed, unlike the other bodies I observed, but they were definitely living.  Farther down the hall, I found a young woman with a man seated next to her in her bed, and the both of them smiling down at a bundle in the woman’s arms.  That was her baby, I knew.  I wonder if they could feel the glowing spirit this newborn had.  It was obvious they loved their baby just by the looks on their faces, but the room was almost engulfed in the undying eternal love they would now forever share. 

            The feeling was overwhelming and I felt my spirit shake.  It was truly beautiful.  This was life.  Randy also felt it, I knew because his spirit shook in my hand.  I smiled up at him, and he returned it without hesitation.  If time wasn’t limited I could spend my spirit life in this one room, but we still had a mission.

            We left the hallway sadly, feeling the power from the rooms leave our souls.  Past another lobby we were able to find stairs, which we glided up with ease, and thankfully this door to floor nine let us through.  I gripped Randy’s hand tighter, feeling scared again.  If we did find Dr. Eversol what would happen?  What if he didn’t accept us?

            This room looked like all the others, which was expected.  The thought came to me that we should check all the rooms, so I told Randy and we split up in search of Dr. Eversol.  I imagined it being simple, just look for the only spirit doctor, but I could find none.  Every room I entered had an old woman or man lying in hospital beds, all of them looking not very well off and needles stuck in their forearms.  This damaged my hopes and I almost gave up completely.  Would it be so bad to die?  Technically I was already dead, somewhat. 

            Suddenly I felt distress.  I looked around for Randy and saw his glowing spirit body start to flicker. 

            “No!  Randy we’re almost there!” I pleaded.

            Rushing towards him, I found that I was still able to grasp his hands, but his glow still faded.

            “I knew I had less time than you Lila,” he said bravely, “I’m not afraid…you can still make it, you will find him…look at the living.”

            His voice started to trail away, as if he was falling down a well.

            “Randy!” I called out to make sure he heard me, “Please wait…I want you to come back with me.”

            But the dark fog appeared again, and this time Ghost as well.  Randy smiled and held my hand one last time before slipping away into the darkness. The Ghost placed a hand on my arm in absolute sorrow, “He is good. His next resting place is a happy one that I can promise.”

            I ignored Ghost, but felt that his intent was true.  Our…well my mission was still at hand.  If I lived, I would never take another day, another person, another soul, another loving moment, for granted ever again. 

            Ghost stepped away and dissolved into the air, probably in search of the next gone spirit.  My time would soon come.  Randy’s last words were “look for the living.”  Did that mean that Dr. Eversol wasn’t a spirit?  In any case, I set off on my search again, alone this time.  The rooms still looked the same.  I checked them over and over, but no sign of any doctors.  The clock was still slow, but my time would only last so long until I too passed. 

            Then, I heard a very soft voice from one of the rooms.  It was hard to make out what they were saying so I checked the rooms until the voice got louder.  I finally stopped at one.  It looked simple, an old man in a hospital bed, but he was looking right at me!  He could obviously see me, even though he was alive.  I walked into the room, and there was a wave of warmth that welcomed me. 

            “You…looking for…me?” The old man asked.

            His voice was almost a whisper, and he had to take in breaths before the sentence was over.  Perhaps his time was soon up too. 

            “You aren’t…Dr. Eversol are you?” I asked stepping closer.

            The old man chuckled, “Actually…I am…and you…dear…I’m assuming…want to live…again?”

            I nodded; it was what I came for, “How can you see me?  I thought you would be a spirit?”

            Dr. Eversol grunted, “Heck if…I know.  Perhaps…I was meant…for this…duty.”

            He gestured for me to come closer.  I knelt next to his bed and waited, watching him examine my face.  There was a mask of acknowledgement and concern on the doctor’s face.  He moved his delicate, dying hand towards my forehead and touched the dark purple spot in my skull. 

            “Hmm.  You pass, you’re spirit is good.  Would you like me to spare you?” he asked seriously.

            I thought about it.  Is it wrong to live again once dead or dying?  Was there a certain time when everyone had to die, and doing this is acting against nature and the will of spiritual life?  Then again, if this opportunity was here, why shouldn’t I take it?  Just then, I saw the dark fog seeping through the windows and doorway, this time I’m sure it is for me.

            “Yes,” I said, quickly, “I want to stay alive, please.”

            “Are you sure?” he asked sincerely, “Once given the gift, one day you will have to give it to another.”

            The time to ponder was running short, because the fog was approaching rapidly.  I thought I felt the hand of Ghost on my shoulder getting me ready to leave.

            “Yes I’m sure!” I blurted out. 

            Dr. Eversol shut his eyes.  He moved his hand again to touch the dark spot in my skull, and yanked.  I sighed, as a new form of relief came over me.  Now the whole room was a blur.  Dr. Eversol faded out of the picture along with the spirit fog, until I couldn’t see anything.  Then I felt soft blankets, and my lungs filling with air.

            The next hour was confusing and insane.  I was back in my room and the lights were normal again, but also back in my body, and there were voices screaming and gasping all around me.  My guess was my family.  I finally opened my eyes to find them all bewildered but so very happy.  When I asked about what happened they said the doctors checked in after I died, and saw that the tumor was gone.  Around right after that, I breathed again, which lead to now.

            The excitement of the miracle lasted hours, more tears than I’ve ever seen, and I was reminded of the feeling Randy and I had in the room with the newborns.  Love in a family was strong.

            Once my astounding recovery got around and the excitement died down a bit, I wanted to ask the nurse about a few patients that also stayed here.

            “Did you have a Randy here?” I asked.

            “Yes,” the nurse responded, surprised, “But he died not too long ago…his heart gave out on him.”

            I nodded, already knowing the possibility, “And a…Mr. or Dr. Eversol?”

            The nurse eyed me suspiciously, “George Eversol?  He just passed as well, liver cancer and a brain tumor.  Very sad.”

            Mr. Eversol didn’t make my tumor disappear.  He took it to suffer himself.  After the nurse left I cried.  Strange that humans can cherish others lives before their own.  Because of him, I was allowed another life, away from my certain young death. It was like being born again, and this time nothing can stand in my way for living it at it’s fullest. 

            After a moment of tears something hit me.  What Dr. Eversol said before he saved me was that I would have to give away the gift I was receiving.  Maybe that gift was the second chance at life, and just maybe there was a way to use that gift again to help another soul.  That got me to thinking of the possibilities of more than one Dr. Eversol.    In fact, who knows how many could be out there, including myself now.  I have the gift to save a life.  Now I am Dr. Eversol.

Taylor Lee Atchley:  "I'm a new student at Chandler-Gilbert Community College.  I am eighteen-years-old, and I recently graduated from Highland High School.  For my major I'm shooting for the fine arts, so I love drawing and creating, but also writing.  There are five of us in my family: my parents, my two younger brothers, Dylan and James, and then me.  We moved to Arizona when I was in the fifth grade and we are originally from Santa Monica, California.  My dream is to publish at least one book in my lifetime and travel to as many places around the world as I can!"             

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