David was on his way to the hospital as every other day. This evening, however, the receptionist informed him that his daughter was moved to a quarantine room and visits were not allowed. When he asked what was the reason of Elisabeth’s relocation, the receptionist said his daughter was diagnosed with an infectious disease of unknown origin. Regardless, David insisted on seeing his daughter and demanded to talk to Dr. Santini, but the receptionist informed him Dr. Santini was unavailable at the moment. When David asked if he could wait for the doctor, the receptionist suggested he could try coming back in two hours, but couldn’t assure him Dr. Santini would be available then. Furious, David left the hospital.
An emergency at the delivery room was the true reason Dr. Santini wasn’t in his office that evening. Elisabeth’s condition worsened dramatically and her baby felt the change as well. Elisabeth’s body wasn’t safe anymore. The baby was coming.
Elisabeth fell unconscious as soon as the contractions started which excluded the possibility of a natural birth. When the time came for Dr. Santini to perform the C-section, he was very surprised. Given the size of Elisabeth’s abdomen twin pregnancy was unlikely, however, the contrary was the case. A baby boy and a baby girl were delivered on Christmas Eve.
When Elisabeth regained consciousness the midwife informed her about her babies and asked who their father was. Elisabeth named her son Nathan and her daughter Nathalie.
Unfortunately, Nathan died a few minutes after he was taken out of the womb. The doctors tried to save him, but he showed no signs of life. As soon as the air entered Nathalie’s little lungs she started crying and never stopped. The midwife covered both babies in tiny warm blankets and took them to the maternity ward. Even after the twins were placed to the cribs, Nathalie was still crying. She sensed there was something wrong with her baby brother…
… and mother, too. Few moments after Elisabeth named her babies, her heart stopped beating and her lips let out her last breath. Her life was consumed not by the soul of the Yellow Dragon as the prophecy foretold, but by the curse Dong Huo put on her just before she defeated him. Elisabeth died on the early morning of the 25th December 2027. Alone in the dark silent room.
A few minutes after Elisabeth passed away, a miracle was about to happen on the other side of the hospital. All of a sudden, Nathalie stopped crying and silently listened to her baby brother’s voice. Nathan whispered an incantation in ancient Chinese and soon after, a yellow haze surrounded his tiny body.
At that very moment, a nurse entered the maternity ward and witnessed something unbelievable.
The baby boy who lived for only two minutes before he mysteriously died was now a toddler.
Her heart almost stopped when little Nathan stood up on his tiny feet, leaned on the edge of the crib and started talking to her in a language she couldn’t understand.
Needless to say, the nurse fainted instantly, leaving the toddler and his baby sister unattended.
As soon as Dr. Santini learned about the strange happenings in the maternity ward, he rushed to the science lab hoping to find Dr. Gino Simano.
“You will not believe what has just happened!” Daniel said as he dashed into the lab.
“What happened? The end of the world?” Gino said jokingly while he carefully mixed a purple fluid in a vial.
“The boy’s alive!” exclaimed Daniel. “And he’s a one year old already!”
“What did you say?” asked him Gino in confusion.
“I said the boy, Nathan Loewe, is alive and he’s already a toddler!” repeated Dr. Santini with big excitement in his voice.
As soon as Gino heard him say that, he dropped the vial on the floor and the purple liquid caused a chemical burn to his right foot. Surprisingly, he didn’t feel the pain, or at least, didn’t pay much attention to it since the news was the only thing that mattered at the moment. If the boy mysteriously came back to life and grew up to be a toddler in such a short time, he could be his ticket to the long desired fame and fortune. Dr. Gino Simano suddenly felt a great urge to seize the opportunity and come up with a plan to take possession of the child.
“Have you already told the Loewes?” Gino asked Daniel.
“Not yet. It’s not the best day today.”
“There’s no best day when you have to tell someone their child died. Call them, but don’t mention the boy,” Gino told Daniel.
“We can’t keep it a secret, Gino. Nathan is Elisabeth’s son. They have the right to know,” reasoned Dr. Santini.
“You’re absolutely right,” agreed Gino. “May I just ask you how are you going to explain to them that one of the newborns is already a toddler?”
“Well… Maybe we shoudn’t tell them about Nathan just yet,” concluded Daniel.
“Good approach,” Gino nodded his head in agreement. “If you allow, I’d like to see the boy and run a couple of tests.”
“Of course, of course. We have to understand what’s the mystery behind Nathan’s revival,” said Dr. Santini and left the laboratory.
This boy is going to be the best achievement of my career, Gino chuckled to himself.
Dr. Daniel Santini called Mr. and Mrs. Loewe to his office. It really wasn’t the best moment, but the longer he waited the worse the situation would become.
“I’m so very sorry for making you come here at this time of the day, well… actually night, but… ahem,” Dr. Santini cleared his throat. The sweat on his forehead began pouring down the sides of his face in tiny streams. “Elisabeth’s situation has worsened dramatically and-”
“And?” demanded Kate. David began to feel uneasy. If his worst fears were true, the receptionist should better hire a bodyguard. He came to see his daughter this evening, but she wouldn’t let him see her because of some false excuse. Elisabeth didn’t have any disease yesterday, how could she develop one in such a short time? Plus, she was supposed to be in coma. Unless they hid something more from them…
“It all happened so quickly. There was nothing we could do to save her,” told them Daniel and looked down.
“A-a-are you saying t-t-that Elisabeth… that she…,” muttered Kate, afraid of the dreadful truth.
“I’m truly sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Loewe. Your daughter has died tonight.”
Taken aback by the devastating news, Kate and David speechlessly looked at each other. Despair mixed with anger, sadness and untold suffering reflected in their eyes.
“Also, you should know that Elisabeth woke up from coma last night… a while after you left,” said Dr. Santini and looked at David with shame written all over his face.
“I don’t want to believe what he’s telling us,” David told Kate and absently looked into nowhere. He still couldn’t understand he would never talk to his daughter or see her smile again.
“I hope you are joking! Why haven’t you called us!” Kate suddenly raised her voice.
“We were meaning to tell you… we simply haven’t expected the end would come so soon,” Dr. Santini tried to justify the decision.
“What were you waiting for?!” Kate screamed at him. “For the past two months we have been coming to this hospital with hope of seeing our daughter wake up. We trusted you, doctor. How could you do this to us? How could you do this to our daughter? I’m sure Elisabeth wanted to see us when she woke up, didn’t she?” Kate asked desperately.
David silently observed the doctor and carefully listened to another of his ridiculous justifications.
“To say the truth, your daughter was a little disorientated and even manifested signs of violence. We came to the conclusion it was better to wait a couple of days until she would come back to normality.”
“Violence? Normality? Are you serious? This is ridiculous! You are ridiculous!” Kate exclaimed furiously. “You are going to bear the consequences of your decisions, Dr. Santini,” she told him severely and stood up from the chair. “Now, if you would finally let us see our daughter.”
“I have to ask you to calm down, Mrs. Loewe. I am the doctor here and I know better than you what’s best for my patient.”
“Oh, really? Than how come you let your patient die, doctor?!” she sneered.
“As I’ve already said, Elisabeth’s situation became critical, we had to act quickly unless we wanted her baby to die as well.”
“Wait… Did you say-”
“Yes. A healthy baby girl. It looks like your daughter sacrificed herself to save her child,” said Dr. Santini and once again, left the Loewes speechless. “I suppose you’d like to see your granddaughter now,” he added politely, stood up from the chair and walked towards the door. “The nursery is this way,” said Dr. Santini as he opened the door and motioned towards the end of the corridor.
Meanwhile, Dr. Gino Simano brought little Nathan to the science lab and took a sample of his blood to study his DNA.
“So, here she is,” said Dr. Santini and a smile appeared on his unhappy face. “Her name is Nathalie. This is her birth certificate,” he said and handed the certificate printed on coated paper over to Kate. As soon as she ran her eyes over the certificate, she couldn’t miss Benjamin’s name. Kate silently smiled to herself.
“How can we be sure that this is really our daughter’s child?” David interjected.
“Why on Earth wouldn’t she be?” Dr. Santini was taken aback by David’s question.
“Aren’t you the doctor? Doesn’t a pregnancy normally last nine months?”
“More or less, yes.”
“So how can you explain this baby? If she’s really Elisabeth’s child, that would mean that our daughter would have been showing a noticeable baby bump already in summer and we would have noticed, wouldn’t we, Kate?” David asked his wife, hoping for a support of his theory.
“I’m sure this is our granddaughter, David. Elisabeth told me she was expecting a child.”
“Oh, well… then I guess she’s really our granddaughter,” agreed David and looked at Nathalie peacefully lying in the crib.
As soon as he saw her tiny smile, he recalled baby Elisabeth smiling at him the day he came to pick his girls in this very hospital.
“Isn’t she beautiful?” Kate smiled at her husband and bent down to pick little Nathalie from the crib.
“Don’t worry, Nathalie. We’re going to take care of you. You’re not alone and you never will be,” she whispered to the baby and gently snuggled her.
As soon as Nathalie felt the warmth of Kate’s body, she melted in her arms. She understood it wasn’t her mommy holding her, but somehow she felt this woman was her family.
“Would you like to hold her?” Kate asked David who happily nodded. Kate carefully placed the baby in David’s arms and approached the doctor.
“So, when can we take her home?” she asked him.
“Well, technically, it should be her father to come to pick her up,” Dr. Santini informed her.
“Oh, well, that can be arranged.”
“He’s not a resident of Monte Vista, is he?”
“Does it matter?” asked him Kate.
“No, of course not. I am asking because maybe we could make an exception this time. It’s Christmas after all,” said Dr. Santini and smiled at Kate.
“That would be wonderful. Thank you, doctor.”
In the end, this year’s Christmas holidays turned out to be bittersweet. Kate and David lost their only daughter and biological child, but Elisabeth made sure to leave a beautiful Christmas present to her parents which would hopefully ease their grief. Kate knew Elisabeth was smiling at them from above and that it was a matter of days before they’d see each other again.
When Kate and David arrived home, they went straight to bed. After all, it was nearly four o’clock in the morning and tomorrow was another day.
The moment Kate was about to draw the curtains she saw a tall figure dressed in a dark long cloak by the pool. She turned at David to tell him to come and give a look, but when she looked again from the window the dark figure was gone.
“It’s getting really late, Gino. Can’t it wait until tomorrow? We can discuss everything with fresh minds,” Dr. Santini asked his colleague.
“This boy is extraordinary, Daniel. His DNA is more complex than the human… I…uh… I’ve never seen anything like it,” told him Dr. Simano.
“What do you mean by more complex?”
“He’s not of this world,” he said with chilling seriousness. “He might even have supernatural abilities.”
“This was a very hard day, Gino. I think we both need to rest.”
“I knew you wouldn’t believe me,” told him Gino and with offended expression on his face walked towards the door.
“Fine, fine. I’ll come by the science lab the first thing in the morning, okay?” Daniel called after him.
“Mrs. Vanderburg told me the boy talked to her in a foreign language. I haven’t witnessed that yet, but I believe her. There’s something strange about this boy and I’m going to find out,” Dr. Simano looked at Daniel one last time. “With or without your approval,” he added and walked out the door.
Dr. Santini turned on his computer and searched through the work shifts schedule of this month. He discovered that Mrs. Vanderburg was really working a night shift today. He dialed the number of the maternity ward and called her to his office.
“Good morning, Daniel. I didn’t know you worked tonight,” said Reese Vanderburg when she entered his office. Dr. Santini just smiled and asked her to take a seat.
“You know why I called you here, Reese. So, what can you tell me?”
“Mm-hmm,” he nodded.
“Well, I was in shock. I don’t really remember much…”
“Dr. Simano tells me Nathan talked to you in a strange language.”
“I’m not a philologist, but I think it could have been Chinese,” she pondered.
“But as I said I was in shock… He was dead… and… then he was alive and…,” Reese paused for a moment, shaking her head from side to side. “I don’t know how to explain this.”
“You don’t have to explain anything,” Dr. Santini told her. “To anyone,” he added and looked into her eyes. “Nathan Loewe is dead. Do you understand?”
“W-what do you mean, Daniel?” Reese asked him, dumbfounded.
“You, Dr. Simano and I are the only ones who know and it will stay that way,” he said severely.
“Wait a moment,” told him Reese and stood up from the armchair. “I know what I saw and heard tonight and-”
“And you will keep it to yourself, Mrs. Vanderburg,” Daniel finished her sentence.
“Are you trying to threaten me?”
“Look, I don’t know what you’re up to, Mr. Santini, but I’m not going to be part of your wicked plans. The boy is alive and whatever happened to him or whoever he is he still is Elisabeth’s son. You have no right to-”
“Of course we have no right, but since nobody knows he’s alive he may very well remain dead for the rest of the world,” Daniel tried to intimidate her. “I’m sure you don’t want to work as a nurse for the rest of your life. This is your chance, don’t be stupid, Reese!”
“I believe you know who my grandmother is. Don’t play with fire, Daniel. You might get burned,” warned him Reese.
“Are you going to run to your granny and cry on her shoulder?” he mocked her.
“You are the one who’s gonna cry, because sooner or later, people will find out. Don’t be stupid, Daniel!” Reese payed him back with his own coin and dashed out the door. Daniel’s plan didn’t work out the way he hoped. When the sun began to rise, he was still standing in his office, suffering from his guilty conscience.