I HAVE AN ETERNITY AHEAD OF ME
(Intermittent Waves Recorded from the Transformed Heart of a Woman)
AUNTIE YONNY: Late Night Visitor
Hal gathered that he already knew too much and he'd have to be very careful how he chose his words from here on in or out, that is, if there was a way out. By telling him all that she had, Tanya had basically made his decision for him and cornered him into a verbal contract.
His sensational story of the year had evolved into his first column withholding the truth from the public. He had obligated himself not to divulge their secret plot. Who would believe him, anyway? He definitely couldn't report this wild scheme to anyone else or write a story about it without sabotaging his whole career. He had no proof. His voice recorder had clicked off and he had reached in his backpack to get new batteries. Of, course, Tanya knew that, that's why she spoke so freely. Her hearing and eyesight was better than she had led on.
She was speeding things up for Miriam and he fell into her trap. He gave himself another mental kick to punish his being caught off guard. These women were old, but, they definitely were still sharp mentally and dangerous.
And, where did Derek Graves fit in to all of this? He finally spoke out loud to the calculating mastermind, virtually knocking on the door of death in front of him.
"And, what about Derek Graves?"
"What about Derek? Oh, yes, the would be, want to be president following in his great-grandfather's footsteps. He will try to stop you from further tarnishing the family name, renewing the memories of my father's terrible and corrupted presidency, the war, the death and devastation, the Period of Restoration, and the fear of another possibly rigged election, which could thereby, ruin any chance of him ever getting elected to any public office, but let him try."
"Why would you do this, now? What do you have against Derek Graves? Isn't he your nephew?"
"I have nothing personal against Derek. He just happens to be a Graves. But, he's too much like my father and that's dangerous. The Graves Family has too much to pay for. We can't have him or any other Graves adding on to the family debt."
Hal was thinking that Tanya Graves was the one too much like her father and very dangerous. Was she mad? For some reason, she felt she held all the cards within her family poker game. However, she did inherit the bulk of the fortune. Her stepmother, however complicit she was in the crimes or cover-up, had taken her money and ran away from the eye of the public. She had always been rather good at that.
"How is exposing everyone going to help your family image? None of this makes sense!"
"That's why we need you to make it make sense. Fresh news brings new opportunities, no matter if the news is positive or negative. We always capitalize upon the public's attention and play the side that is winning, even if it means burying Derek Graves' campaign to win over the public.
"Like what your father did to the General?"
"Yes, like what my father did to the General. The Red General wasn't going anywhere, and he needed to go, but, he knew too much. He said he wasn't going to be the sacrificial scapegoat or the fall guy, when everyone else was just as guilty. The only way my father could get rid of him without exposing himself was to have the story leaked to the Washington Post and force him to resign, then, say he was fired to make it look good. My father promised to pardon him.
Now, where was I? The new generation of Graves will keep history from repeating itself, clean itself of its old past and arise as servants of the public, helping to build the future."
Hal was about to further question Tanya, when a tall, caramel-colored man, with graying hair, tapped on the door and entered the room smiling. A small entourage of medical technicians rolling carts, followed close behind him. As he approached, Hal read the name on his white lab coat. Dr. Naveen Acharya was obviously Mrs. Yanovich's attending physician and they were going to do some type of procedure on her.
"Good afternoon, Mrs. Yanovich, how are you feeling?"
Tanya nodded her head. Evidently, she didn't welcome the painful news that this voice always brought with it.
"The nurse told me that your urine test results are not good and you have a slight temperature. We want to change your catheter, check your bladder and kidney functioning and get you started on an antibiotic. More pain medication would not be good for you at this time. Still, we don't want you to be in pain, so to prevent future pain, you will have to experience some minor discomfort, now, so, please bear with us."
Hal stood up to leave. It was approaching dinner time anyway.
"I'll let them do what they need to do and come say goodnight later on, Mrs. Yanovich."
The doctor looked over at Hal.
"Thank you, sir. I'm Dr. Acharya are you a relative?"
"Oh, no, sir, I work for Mrs. Yanovich. I'm Hal Siegfried."
That was the first time Hal had said those words and the reality of them struck at his heart. He worked for the Graves Family, at least one faction of it.
"Nice to meet you Mr. Siegfried."
Hal knew better to try and shake the doctor's rubber-gloved hands. He bowed out of the room quietly and headed for his room.
Being served dinner, alone, at the huge dining table, was awkward and lonely. Hal would rather have taken his plate to his room and watched television while he ate, or eaten with the security guards. He wondered what Rachel was doing for dinner and if she was eating alone. He tried not to think about it.
He needed to get out of there for a while and think about things. Could he do what they were asking him to do? What would Rachel think of him if he did? Would she respect him as a person? Could he respect himself?
He grabbed his favorite jacket, then, leaving his phone number with the security guards, let them know he'd be gone for awhile. He caught a taxi to check on his apartment and to retrieve his mail, then, headed for a local sports bar down the street. He took a seat in the back, ordered and drank a soda, read his mail, then, decided it was too noisy to think. He hailed a taxi and headed back to the hospital.
It was nice having his own key and private entrance, but, he had already begun to miss the crazy antics with the receptionist. She was mildly entertaining, but, Hal decided he'd start being very nice to her and compliant when it came to her regiment of duties.
The penthouse was dimly lit except for the security desk. To his surprise, there was a different guard on duty who was of what he considered to be average size. He stood and to Hal's amazement gave him a huge, welcoming smile that warmed Hal inside. He was needing some kind of normal, friendly contact from another human being.
"Good evening, Mr. Siegfried, how are you tonight?"
"Hi! Fine, thank you!"
The guard had a heavy accent which identified him as probably being from a South American country.
"I'm your friendly night watchman, Arturo! Is there anything I can do for you before you turn in?"
"Arturo, you've already done it!"
"I can turn the lights up so you can see down the hallway. Just wait a second. Ah! That one!"
The lights brightened as Arturo pressed a button and he appeared to be extremely pleased at his accomplishment and being able to be of service to Hal.
"If you need me tonight, just press the button for the security desk and I will be there in a jiffy. Oh! And the nurse said that Mrs. Yanovich is asleep and must not be disturbed."
Arturo smiled, happy that he had remembered the message and had done his job well.
"Thank you, Arturo, your kindness is very much appreciated."
Arturo's eyes lit up, he stuck his chest out, stood up straight and seemed to grow an inch. That's what Hal had been missing since he stepped into this hospital--human kindness and people appreciating and loving their job, truly wanting to serve others. Yes, he decided with determination, he would definitely start being nice to that receptionist and to everyone else, regardless of how he was treated.
Hal entered his room, flipped on the light and found his bed turned down with new pajamas and slippers arranged on the bed. Upon entering the bathroom there was a fresh smell and clean towels.
"Maid service, too, huh?" He said aloud. "Yeah, this is going to take some getting used to."
The bed looked inviting and he was really tired, but, after taking his clothes off, he knew he had better head for the shower.
A luxurious shower using his new line of body products, soft towels and comfortable pajamas made him good and ready for bed. He slid between the fresh clean sheets and started to lay his head down, when suddenly he remembered the sheet of paper from Rachel in his shirt pocket. He jumped out of bed and rumbled through his dirty clothes searching for the pocket. Finding the folded paper, he was glad it was still there and hadn't been accidentally lost or thrown away. He unfolded the paper, glanced at it, then quickly refolded it and tucked it in his pajama shirt pocket, turned out the light and climbed into bed. His last conscious thought was,
"No, I don't need sleeping pills."
A man's heavy voice and a woman, who sounded like Miriam telling the man to be quiet, awakened Hal from the first peaceful slumber he'd had in a couple of nights. He crept down the hallway to investigate what was going on. Arturo was probably making his rounds. As he neared the hallway towards Miriam's room, he could hear more clearly.
"Is she going to tell him EVERYTHING?! She's putting a target on his back. There are some people who care, who are still living, like Derek, his donors and supporters, and the families of victims, to name just how many to start with, maybe a few hundred thousand or should we say millions of people?!"
"We've already started protecting him twenty-four hours and I've convinced him to stay here. When Auntie's passed away, we'll have him move in with us or assign him a bodyguard."
"Isn't he going to suspect something if you do that?"
"No, he's an important man now! I'll convince him he needs protection because of his instant wealth and because we are all taking precautions, since Derek is running for president."
Once the story is out, everyone will be exposed. There aren't many people left and we don't know if any one besides Derek's group cares anymore."
Hal tried to make it back to his room without making a sound, but the floor squeaked. He made a mad dash for his bed and covered his head hoping they would think it was Auturo and no one would suspect him.
In light of the conversation he had just heard, he tried to stay awake and figure things out, but, his sleep deprived body wasn't having it. This time, under a deep sleep, the dreams continued. Fighting the unwanted images, he would try to bring himself out of the dreams and for a brief moment, temporarily awake, he tried to understand why they were so vivid and intense.
Too fatigued to fight, he fell into another dream as if falling down a hill. Then, he heard Rachel's melodic voice say, "God is trying to tell you something." That was enough to jar Hal out of his dream state. He sat up in bed poured a glass of water to drink from the carafe beside his bed and headed to the bathroom.
When he came out of the bathroom, he was wide awake, so he picked up a magazine to read from the table. It struck him that it was quite a convenient coincidence that there was an article on interpreting dreams.
He read for awhile, but his mind went back to Tanya Graves and her shrewdness. Tanya like her father was trying to control things until the very end. Like him, she believed that good deeds would get her into heaven; but she didn't have a changed heart. She was still trying to protect her father in her own new twisted thinking way, still not really confessing the sins she committed, also.
She saw her father as having a chance to really make a difference in the world and do something good. She hoped it would change him, too, and make him a better person. She was so hoping to see true faith and belief emerge from her father's heart, but instead the corruption grew, nurtured by those around him and the Russians.
The Crowned Queen, Shale, and Assange were their connection to the Russian plot. They had much to lose.
This had been a plan years in the making. Her father was on board from the beginning when the Russian's offered to advance him in his business deals in exchange for little favors. They stroked his ego and implanted suggestions, telling him he was such a brilliant business man and he should be running the country.
They fed him all the attention and praise that he thrived on and gave him Carte Blanche in Moscow. They offered to send business his way to make him a richer and more powerful man so that one day he could be president. But, all the while they saw him as a lavished, fool with no morals or standards; someone they could manipulate and use for their benefit.
Published by Mishael T