Village Residents: “The Wounded Healer”

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List of Nobel Peace Prize laureates

Her father had been a friend of Albert Schweitzer.

For some people The Village is simply 9 to 5. It’s a job like any other, maybe the only one they know, perhaps their one outlet for a kind of creativity. And they’d gladly put their whole heart and soul into it. If they had one left.

~

He had actually known Albert Schweitzer. Of course that had been long before her time and she’d never had the pleasure of meeting Schweitzer. She often questioned the timing of her birth and wondered if men in their sixties should father children. He had been eighty-two when he died and she had just turned sixteen. She had loved him very much. His death had been hard. Her mother, bless her, had been a rock. Years later, after her graduation from medical school, she remembered her mother giving her a hug and saying, “Your father would be so proud.” She carried those words with her still. She would have kept them in her heart if it had lived.

~

“Number Fourteen, tell me about your progress. There has been progress hasn’t there?” Number Two looked at her over his glass of milk.

“Yes, we’re nearly at an end of the analysis. Within two days time we’ll be ready to test it on laboratory animals and … ”

“I don’t have two days! We must move forward … NOW!” Number Two interrupted her. For all the world it was hard for her to take him seriously, drinking milk and looking so much like that television star, the comic actor, Colin something or other. Oh, what was his name?

~

It was as an intern that she had found Randal. Their love had grown from the moment they met. She decided early on that he was the one and that she would never leave him. So when he decided to join the Peace Corps her decision was made for her. Like Albert Schweitzer they went out as medical missionaries. They would change the world, together, one patient at a time. And she would never leave him. It was the landslide in Bangladesh, the jeep being swept off the road and into the river, that had taken him from her. Her heart? It died with him.

~

She looked through the test tube, holding it up to the light. The serum was as finished as it could be without testing it on the rats. Of course, if you believed Number Two, Number Six was rat enough. It didn’t matter. It was research to her. Research was what she lived for. It was all she had left. She felt an uneasiness about this. What if something happened to Number Six? Oh, she didn’t care about him, but heads would roll. It might be entertaining to see Number Two’s head roll. But she preferred to keep hers, as pretty and blond as it was, where it belonged. She did, after all, have research to do.

~

She hadn’t thought twice about the job offer. Her mother had died three years prior and without Randal what did it matter? What did anything matter? The Village had been something of a surprise. But to actually be able to experiment on people? It seemed so, so Nazyesque. But with her heart shriveled, shrunken by the death of love, the unthinkable now seemed somehow natural.

~

“We begin tonight.” Number Two was confident, self-assured, and asinine. She thought him an idiot. But her choices were limited. If he just didn’t remind her so much of, oh, yes! Gordon had been the last name. She turned away as milk dribbled down his chin. She would laugh later.

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