Repentance – Flash Fiction short story
A little longer this time but at under 850 words, still well within the accepted limits of flash fiction …
Not a day went by when Richard Dewsbury didn’t regret what had happened. He hadn’t meant to hurt anyone, but when you’ve just robbed a bank, you’re not too fussed about speed limits or safer driving. He never saw the little girl midway across the road when he took that last corner trying to shake the cops off his tail. She never had a chance when the car he was driving catapulted 9-year-old little Suzie over the bonnet. She died instantly. The ten-year prison sentence Richard received was nothing compared to the guilt and torment he’d had to live with ever since. He would have given his life to turn the clock back, but there was nothing he could do to bring the little girl back. He swore though he’d do whatever it took to make amends
At exactly 11:00 just one week after his release, Richard Dewsbury walked into the transplant and dialysis department of the nearest hospital. At 11:15 he set about making good on the promise he had made to himself all those years ago …
“Hello, nurse?” Richard Dewsbury said, trying to catch her attention.
“Yes. Can I help you?”
“Probably not, but …” Richard replied, extending his hands to display his now bleeding wrists.
“Ahh, Wh …What the … Stay right there; I’ll get help,” she replied, clearly shaken by the unexpectedness of the sight.
There was nothing they could do of course. Richard had cut too deep and waited just a little too long. Normally a simple blood test and the appropriate blood-type transfusion might have saved his life. But Richard was far from being normal. In fact, he was practically unique, and being so had almost certainly signed his death warrant. He remained calm though. It was the death sentence he should have got when he knocked down that little girl, he thought. He was doing the right thing, he told himself.
“I can tell you now, it’s no use, you won’t have my blood group in your blood banks,” Richard began telling the doctor who had just arrived. The doctor was busy trying to stem the blood flow from Richard’s wrists as he and a hospital porter wheeled him towards the elevator to take him up to surgery.
“Let us worry about that; you’re in good hands,” the doctor replied.
“My inside left-hand side pocket, there a letter and a card, “Richard struggled to tell the doctor, the loss of blood and oxygen to his brain and other vital organs quickly taking their toll now.
“Yes, all in good time. Now, try not to talk.”
The doctor wanted Richard to conserve his strength, but he knew it was a losing battle, he was dying. Richard never made it as far as the elevator. The blood loss had been too fast, accelerated by the several aspirins he’d taken an hour beforehand to thin his blood.
“Time of death, eleven thirty-one,” the doctor stated. The nurse accompanying them nodded her agreement.
“Let’s take a look at that card and letter he was referring to,” the doctor said, remembering Richard’s words from a few minutes earlier.
Just like Richard said, there was a card and a letter. The card he immediately recognised as being a medical one, stating the holder’s blood group and other health details. His jaw dropped when he saw that Richard Dewsbury was listed as Rh-null, the rarest blood group on the planet, the so-called Golden Blood of which there were less than a dozen donors worldwide, blood that could be given to any recipient in the world no matter what their blood group or however rare. Unfortunately, Richard Dewsbury was dead. Such a waste, the doctor thought. He opened the letter. It looked like a legal document at first glance. Then it struck him. It was a letter of authorisation signed by Richard, his solicitor, and two witnesses. It was a cast-iron statement of authorisation for Richard’s organs and any other part of his body to be used for organ transplantation and research after his death.
Within the hour, Richard’s organs and just about every part of his body were being harvested for those recipients with the rarest and hardest to match blood and tissue types.
One of those recipients was a Jessica Cambell, a girl estimated to have less than a few weeks to live without a suitable donor transplant heart. Had it been a kidney she needed, her twin sister might have been able to be a living donor. But her twin sister, Suzie, had been killed in a tragic automobile accident years before so that wouldn’t have been an option either.
Suzie and Jessica’s parents stood in attendance at Richard Dewsbury’s funeral, the man they had hated since the death of their young daughter. He had taken one daughter away from them but given them back the life of the other.
They each dropped a flower onto his coffin as it was lowered into the ground, wishing him eternal peace.