Say "Cheese" – Part 3

Here’s Part 1.

Melody cleared her throat again, and sat up to drink more water.

“Sorry,” she muttered, refilling the cup with trembling hands and then downing it. “I haven’t had anything to drink in a while.”

“It’s okay. Have as much as you need. How long has it been since you’ve had something to drink … or eat, for that matter?”

Melody filled the cup again, stared into nothing. “I … don’t remember. When I had something. I mean, it’s not like it was days ago or anything. Maybe … yesterday? Or the day before? I’ve been trying to figure out what to do, you know? Not really thinking about … much else.”

Tollin nodded. “All right.” She watched the ragged girl gulp another glass down and then she collapsed onto the bed.

“Melody … Mel … if you’re tired, why don’t you sleep? I can come back when you’ve rested.”

“No … no, I can’t … if I fall asleep and someone takes the camera, uses it or accidentally ruins the film …” A violent shudder ripped over her, and Tollin was startled by the force. “No, I can’t go to sleep until I figure out what … what to do.”

Tollin sighed. “Okay. But if you change your mind, let me know. I can make sure you get some rest, and you’re not disturbed. I’m sure no one will take your camera.”

“No, they will.”

Tollin shook her head. “All right. If you really think so, I’m not going to push you.”

“Do you want to hear this or not? You seem like you’re making excuses to make me go to sleep. If you’re not interested that’s fine, but I have to find someone to listen, someone who can help me …”

“No, I want to hear. Why do you think … why did you come to a hospital, Mel?”

“Because … I thought maybe … maybe some could find a way to … to put them back.”

“Put them back?”

Melody nodded, not meeting the doctor’s eyes.

“The souls, you mean? Put them back in the bodies?”

Mel nodded again, then her eyes darted to Tollin’s. “But you can’t, can you? No one can. I … they’re all going to die like Charlie.” A fat tear rolled down her cheek, and Tollin touched her shin with a tender hand.


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