Secret of the Swan Baby

written by Frances Wosmek

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Chapter One

"Leanne! Leanne! Can you hear me?"

The eyes of the girl in the white hospital bed opened. They closed again quickly, but not quickly enough to avoid that same intense, thrusting face that had begun more and more to force its way, unasked, into her own special, private peace.

It should have been so easy to float float forever on that great sea of clouds where wispy dreams drifted in and out endlessly, leaving nothing behind, not even the trace of a shadow. But suddenly, this face with its anxious, searching blue eyes seemed intent on drawing her out against her very strongest will. It was insisting she come back to some long forgotten terror full of noise, pain and confusion. She know vaguely that she had escaped it once. Now no one was going to force her to return not even The Face.

The nurse with the intense blue eyes turned to the man in the grey rumpled suit slumped on a straight-backed chair by the window. She shook her head. "Poor little thing seems able to come back just so far and no farther," she said, "but she is beginning to come 'round, that's certain. One of these times she'll make it all the way, you'll see."

The man's shoulders drooped even more. The folds of his slightly flabby pink face sagged. He opened his mouth to speak. One small, quick sigh escaped before his words. "All the way" It's been such a long time since the accident. How can she be expected to come through so much and still be the same as she was before?"

"Time works miracles," the nurse replied briskly. "We have every right to hope. The doctors have been very optimistic lately."

In silent, pensive sadness, the two of them studied the still figure in the white bed. Long, thick, softly waving hair the color of honey spread over the pillow. The small-boned, triangular face was broad at the temples and narrowed down to a firm, deeply indented chin. A few pale gold freckles had almost faced from the ridge of her nose. There was a small birthmark on her right cheek.

The man turned to the nurse. "Do you believe in curses?" he asked suddenly.

The nurse looked startled. "Curses!" she exclaimed. Then she laughed. "You can't be serious! This is the age of science. Everything has an explanation."

The man said nothing more.

The nurse was looking at him strangely. She gave his shoulder a quick pat. "You're worn out," she said. "Now, go on home and get some sleep, d'ya hear? Things are going to work out just fine!"

She opened the door and held it, waiting. The man rose. He started toward the white bed, hesitated, then walked quickly through the open door. The nurse followed, closing the door softly behind them.

NEXT

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