Say “Cheese” – Part 2


Here’s Part 1.

Tollin went with deliberate movements to the desk on the wall opposite the bed and dragged the castered chair beside the chrome railing. She raised the seat to be as close to eye-level with Melody as possible and rested her hands in her lap, leaving the chart on the bed.

“Okay,” she said, keeping her voice soft and even, “why don’t you tell me what’s going on?”

Melody turned her head, a dubious movement, doubting the words and soothing tone.

Tollin perked her brows and smiled. “You said if I promised not to interrupt and just listen to the whole thing you’d tell me what’s going on. And I can see you’re upset, but you don’t seem to be hurt. So I don’t know why you’re here, Melody. Are you sick?”

The girl’s eyes pierced the middle nothingness between them for a moment, then she shook her head. “No. I’m not sick. I mean, I don’t have a disease. But …”

Tollin waited.

“… But I … I don’t know. You’re not going to believe me.”

“Why? Why wouldn’t I believe you?”

“Because you’re a … you’re a doctor. You don’t believe in things like souls and … stuff.”

Tollin chuckled. “I can believe in things I don’t understand, Melody. Just because I practice a science doesn’t mean I don’t have faith in some things.”

Melody focused on Tollin’s eyes. “So — do you believe people have a soul? A … like a spirit, I guess, dwelling inside them?”

Tollin smiled. “Why don’t you just tell me the story and I’ll see what I do and don’t believe after I hear it, all right?”

Melody narrowed her eyes, suspicion settling on her again. “This is a trick. You didn’t answer me.”

Tollin sighed. “All right … all right, if you need to hear me say it, then no. I don’t believe in souls and spirits. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to disbelieve your story before I’ve even heard it. Give me a chance, Melody. I want to help you.”

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