Eirinn's fabulously emotional portal story.
“Quick, she’s stopped breathing! We need a ventilator…and fast!” Dr Howard Vincent cried out. People rushed instantly, but still tried desperately hard to keep two metres apart.
Dr Howard Vincent was the top medical chief in the intensive care unit, for coronavirus, anyway. He saw many things he wished he’d never seen and did many things he wished he’d never had to do.
Dr Jasmine Stone was next in line as leader. This was impossible for her. The patient that had stopped breathing was her best friend since high school, Sarah Clinton. They had both gone on to medical school. Sarah had never achieved her doctoring dream, yet Jasmine had, and she always felt guilty for that. But Sarah had a kind heart, and this never affected their friendship.
Jasmine felt very exposed to the virus, so she went to layer up on more PPE. Just then she heard the cry of Dr Vincent, declaring, “She’s gone! Dr Jason add her to the death numbers to tell the government.”
He had never known about the life-long friendship of his colleague and Sarah Clinton, the patient, so let’s say he didn’t break the news very easily. Howard had dealt with so many deaths in hospital he had almost become immune to heartbreak. Also, his parents had passed away when he was young, so he had had a lot of practise at staying strong.
As for Dr Jason, he was Jasmine’s husband. He went to medical school, too, but in the East End of London. They first met as trainee doctors in Chelsea. He was never too fond of how close his wife and Sarah were, but he respected how affectionate they were for each other, how they would do anything for the other. Most of his high school friends turned out to either be professional boxers or serial killers and neither really took his fancy!!!!!!!
Jasmine broke down at the news, both physically and mentally. She fell to the floor and sobbed. Her heart pain was unbearable. She ran straight to the toilets, still sobbing. It was like she was in a trance.
In the toilets she saw the hospital cook, Mrs Higgins. She was a lovely middle-aged lady, with a great sense of humour. But today, wherever Jasmine saw a smile, she felt she had to glare at them. How could they be laughing at such a sad time? It felt like the whole world should be heartbroken, yet to some it was such an average day.
“Aww, poor Jazzy! Has someone else passed away?” Mrs Higgins asked in her thick Irish accent. Jasmine nodded in reply, incapable of speech. “Oh, poor lass. Another day, another death, am I wrong?” Mrs Higgins sighed, washing her hands thoroughly. Jasmine glared. She just didn’t understand! How were people so okay with all these poor souls dying? It was like…it was like… they were used to it.
All those innocent individuals were passing away each day. And to people now they were just numbers. They were so much more than that. The irony of grief is that the one person you need to talk to about it is no longer here. Nobody seemed to get that.
Dr Jasmine felt like she was the only person sad; the only person who had sacrificed because of this virus, yet as a doctor she obviously knew thousands of families were heartbroken on a daily basis.
Jasmine walked back to the ICU (intensive care unit), still crying. She couldn’t stop. It was like there was a light switch inside of her and it was always on, wasting the electricity, until eventually it went off. For good.
Jasmine was terrified. She had her children at home. Poor Emily and Molly were only nine, yet they were at home, panicked about their Mum’s well-being. But Jackson and Phoebe were fourteen and sixteen, so she knew they were in capable hands.
As she was trudging down the corridor, she saw a door. The door was black and dull at first glance. It looked like every other door in the dark, gloomy corridor. But Jasmine looked closer. She perceived a slight pigment on the door. It was shinier than the rest. Like Sarah. Jasmine wondered if she was the only one who could see it. Everyone else was bustling past the door like nothing was there. Maybe it wasn’t. But she had to try.
She took off her cap and her long dark hair came tumbling down her back. It was down to her hips. She had not cut it since she was eleven. Sarah had always called her ‘The Kiwi Rapunzel’. Her family originated in New Zealand, but she had been born in Kensington. Just the thought of Sarah’s name made her want to weep.
She sat down on the floor and without even realising she leaned her back against the holographic door. Her hair stood on edge; her eyes closed. She felt something there. Someone there.
Then there was a crash and a bang! Jasmine screamed! Someone was grabbing her inside the door. Mrs Higgins rushed to her. Dr Howard rushed to her. Dr Jason rushed to her.
But it was too late. There was no trace of Jasmine there. There was no trace of the door ever being there. Maybe Jasmine had imagined it.
No, she can’t have! For right this very second Dr Jasmine was falling. She didn’t know where to. It felt so wrong. It was cold. It was empty. It was numb.
The air was thin. Jasmine’s eyes shut. She was tired. Maybe this was it.
Who wanted to kill her? Who wanted to send her down here to die? She didn’t know. And she feared she never would.
After what felt like forever there was a thud. Jasmine’s back struck hard against the ground. Her eyes opened and she sat up with a shock, coughing and spluttering. At least she could breathe now.
She heard murmuring voices discussing whatever people like to talk about now. Probably the virus. Probably deaths.
She didn’t even think about how weird it was. Why were people down here? Dr Jasmine did not care. Her throat was dry and her back hurt. At least these people may be able to help her.
She tried to stand up. “Ow!” She whispered as she managed to gather her balance.
“Hello? Anybody here?” Jasmine called out desperately. The voices stopped. She felt a presence around her. There was a bright light and Sarah Clinton appeared in front of her.
“Hey there, sis!” She grinned. She was wearing a hospital gown. More people appeared behind her. All wearing hospital gowns.
“SARAH!” Jasmine burst into tears and ran to her, arms ajar, ready for a hug. But Sarah disappeared.
Jasmine sighed and turned around. Sarah was there. “Jazzy, no more hugs for now,” she whispered quietly.
Jasmine shook her head, tears filling her eyes. “I know.”
It took a while before Jasmine’s eyes suddenly lit up. Then dimmed again. “You are Gerald Heart,” she said, pointing at a middle-aged man. “You died on 24th March with coronavirus.” Dr Jasmine turned and looked at a child no more than fourteen years old. “You are Keira Watson. You died with coronavirus on 16th of April. And there are so many more of you!” She cried. She realised she had done more harm than good. “I have to go!”
Sarah appeared. “Oh, Jazz! You are so much more. All of us you were uncapable of saving. Have you seen how many people have left the hospital with a smile on their face? During this time and in general. You have saved so many lived, sis. Don’t you dare go all sulky for no reason!” She smiled at Jasmine. Sarah reached out and stroked Sarah on the cheek. Jasmine shivered. “I miss you so much already,” she whispered and burst into tears again.
All sense of time was lost. Jasmine sobbed. For a while, she didn’t notice more poor souls appearing. Every minute another person appeared in a hospital gown, and the brightness of the room shone even more. Jasmine’s eyes hurt. Maybe she should just close them, just for a minute…
Jasmine stretched. It was morning time…
Oh no! It all suddenly dawned on her. She was in some weird place at the bottom of the hospital with a load of dead people. Great.
But then she noticed Sarah. Her face shone. Her mouth was opening but no sound came out. She could lipread, right?
No... show…go… GO! Sarah was telling her to go!
“Why? Why do I have to go?” she asked her.
You’ll only get dup…mup…cup...up-set! She’ll only get upset?
And she did.
She saw more people, about 200 more people were in the hospital basement. All in hospital gowns. All translucent. All dead.
“You are right. I have to go,” She said, crying. How could she have been this selfish?
"Wait! Jazz! There’s something you need to know!” Sarah called out.
“What?” Jasmine asked but refused to turn around to look at Sarah.
“We are all in a much better place now; no more pain, no sadness,”
Sarah said solemnly. Then the light disappeared. It was black. It felt
like when she was falling. Cold, and empty and numb. So Jasmine ran.
She ran and ran and ran. She didn’t know where to. She just did,
hoping to somehow leave the dark, eerie portal. “Sarah?” she
whispered. “Please. I want to go home. Let me leave.”
All of a sudden, Jasmine was blown into the air. And with a crash and
a bang, she was back!
Dr Jason rushed over and grabbed Jasmine in both arms. “Where did
you go?” He asked her.
“No time to explain,” She said, hopping out of his grasp. “But how
many people have died since I left?” He sighed.
“Doctor through and through. About 200. Why?” He replied.
“Because…. Well…..” she stuttered.
She looked over her shoulder. The door was gone. “They are all in a
much happier, better place now, and I want everyone to know that!”
She said with a grin. Suddenly, Sarah appeared.
“Never tell, sis, promise?” Sarah asked Jasmine.
“Never!” She whispered quietly, so Jason wouldn’t hear.
Sarah winked. And she was gone.