Thursday, January 31, 2008

1.92.3.A: Innocent/Realm of the Muse

So innocent, naive even, if only Erin had known what kind of a man I really was, she might have saved herself before it was too late, before I almost killed her. She wasn't the first though, she was just another in a long line who fell into the trap I was laying before them.  How funny that none of them ever noticed what I had become, or they didn't until I started to make mistakes, until I started to let my personal life overlap with my professional and that result very nearly cost me everything. 

I wish I could say that I regretted the mistakes I had made, but, I don't know that I do. I do know that I was looking to punish myself, the nameless sex, the alcohol, the fast living, that wasn't me, that was the stranger I was hiding behind. I needed to punish myself for the things I had done, the people I had hurt, or maybe it was more the things I thought I had done, and what better way to do that then by becoming the man most unlike who I really was.

I think back now on what I had become over those months after Abby and I broke up that first time we were together. Looking back on it now, and how I let Nicole take advantage of me, I think that became the real beginning of the end for things, though at the time I didn't see it for that.  I just needed to feel something, anything, even if it was for those few brief hours that someone like Valerie could provide, and when I failed with that, there was always a bottle I could crawl inside of.

If only my actions hadn't found ways to hurt so many others.  Why is it that no matter how hard I try to do the right thing that I always end up screwing things up?  Why is it, that it's always someone else who suffers for my mistakes? Erin, Rick, Patrique, Sakima, and even Chance, no one was safe from the harm that follows me, even in the Congo innocents suffered for my mistakes.

Why, if lives were to be taken, couldn't one have been mine? Why did I have to learn the lessons that would change me so late? I'll never have the answers to my questions anymore then I'll know how I found my way back from the dark place I'd lost myself in, but, that stranger inside me is no more, and at long last I can be sure no one else will pay the price for my mistakes.


21.2 Love and Death Quote/Writers Muses

“I want to die while you love me, While yet you hold me fair, While laughter lies upon my lips, And lights are in my hair.” - Georgia Douglas Johnson

There are times when I almost forget where I am.  I awake in my father's house to smells and sounds that I remember from so long ago, and in that still cloudy consciousness of half-sleep, I can almost make myself believe that Danijela is in the next room.  That our children lie safe in their beds, and at any minute they'll wake from their night's sleep. In those moments I find myself listening for the sounds of their laughter, or the calls for Mama and Tata, that announce their readiness to start the new day. If my sleep holds me a little deeper, I can imagine my arms still hold my wife as she sleeps curled against me, I can smell the scent of her shampoo as my cheek rests against her hair, and the faint residue of perfume she must have dabbed behind her ears at one point during the day.

As my drowsiness leaves me and I leave that realm of sleep, I can't help but remember where I am and I'm left alone with only the sadness and sense of loss such remembrances carry with them. How can I not remember that Danijela and those babies, our babies have been gone so long now that had they lived they likely would have been parents themselves? It seems so hard to believe that so many years have passed, and I can't help but realize that the time we had together was no more than a breath when compared to what might have been.

It's times like these that I can't help but feel grateful, for despite all the hardships we faced, we never doubted the love that existed between us.  From the moment we met we knew our lives were meant to be spent as one, we just didn't know that time would be so short, and I wonder if we had if it might have changed how we lived it.  For all the times I have wished that I had died with Danijela and our children, I would never have wished to change places with any of them and as difficult as it has been to live my life without them, I would never have wished for one of them to face a life alone the way I have had to do.

I hear laughter now, and from the other room comes the call for Tata, and as much as I miss those I have lost, I've finally allowed myself to move on.  After all these years, I've found another to open my heart to, another I've committed my life to, and together we have a son. I have to believe Danijela would understand because I've finally found someone who makes me feel the way I felt with her. I've once again found someone who makes me feel complete, someone I want to spend the rest of my life with, and I finally know what it feels like to be happy again.





Wednesday, January 23, 2008

1.91.3 Wake up...roll over...what is the first thing you touch?/Realm of the Muse

I feel like I'm living outside myself. After freeing Marko from the rubble and carrying first him, then Jasna and Danijela from the apartment I'm left to go through the paces that far too many have already gone through. I know what I have to do, but, that doesn't make it come any easier. My family is gone, my wife, my babies, my life, and I find myself praying as I stand before that shell ravaged building, I pray that a sniper will find me so that I can be with them as they are laid to their final rest.

I feel like I'm living outside myself, going through the motions with no memory of how I got from one place to the next. So it is on that next morning as I wake up...and roll over, and for a moment I can almost forget, I reach out expecting to find my wife and instead find only emptiness, and as my hand falls, I come fully awake to find I'm on a cot in a storeroom instead of the home we once shared. Never again will I wake to her smile, to her kiss, to the laughter of our children as they join us in our bed, this is what I have to look forward to now, and I feel so alone.

1.90.2 D. You don't know what you have, until it's gone./RotM

Standing on that rain-slick street with our son in my arms, watching Abby drive away, how could I not hold myself at least partially responsible? We have been through so much, and despite everything we still manage to find our way back to each other, I have to believe it will be the same with this.

I know I let Abby and Joe down by being gone so long, but, how could I know that in going back to deal with one crisis another would find it's way to us?  Getting that phone-call, learning that my father had cancer, and knowing that there were issues between us that had been left unspoken for so many years, I knew I had to go to him. In a perfect world I would have taken Abby and Joe with me, but, I couldn't and what I thought might take only weeks somehow stretched into months.

I know when I came back that I didn't see the difference at first.  I was so glad to be home, to wake up beside my wife, to spend time with my son. Bringing my brother back to meet them, thinking our father's condition had stabilized, I wanted everything to be the way I always dreamed it could be. Seeing Abby in the hospital after so long away, it was like my world lit up again, and it seemed at first that everything was fine, but, it wasn't.  I learned too late that it wasn't.  Maybe I just didn't want to see the things that were wrong, because if I didn't see them then maybe there weren't really there, but, they were, and the marriage I'd left was not the one I came back to.

I don't know if I'll ever know all that Abby went through while I was gone.  If she'll ever reach the point where she feels it's safe to discuss the things that led her to feel the need to go to the place where she now finds herself.  In a way, it doesn't really matter, Joe and I, no matter where we are, the feelings we feel for her, those won't change. Neither of us can go back and change what happened, all we can do is agree not to let events in our lives pull us apart again. 

Standing here now, with our son in my arms, watching my wife, his mother drive away from us, I have to believe she will find her way back to us.  I have to believe that all of us are stronger then the things that somehow pulled us apart and left us where we are now.  I have to believe that Abby knows what she is doing when she says she needs to do this alone.  Ultimately, I have to believe that all of the things that brought us to this point, are nothing next to the love that binds us together, because if I didn't believe that I don't think I could take Joe and walk away like this.  So, I'll take our son to Croatia to bury my father, and we'll wait for her.  No matter how long it takes.

Monday, January 21, 2008

1.20.3 I Had A Dream song prompt/Writers Muses

I Had A Dream

by Paul Revere and the Raiders

by N/A

I had a dream
I had a dream
Had myself a dream today
The same one
Havin' it most every day now
Since you been gone
Wake up in the mornin' and I find
You're not in my room
You're in my mind
Suddenly the sun has lost its shine
Baby, baby, baby
I had a dream
I had a dream

I had a dream
I had a dream
Had myself a dream tonight
The same one
Havin' it most every day now
Since you been gone
All alone upon a mountain high
Lookin' at your pictures in the sky
Turned around and looked into your eyes
Baby, baby, baby
I had a dream
I had a dream

How do you tell someone you made a mistake when they won't even talk to you? How do you tell them that the things you said weren't really the things you meant? That if there was a way you could take them back, or if you could undo it all you would without a moment's hesitation?

I don't know how we got to the place that we did. A place that would allow both of us to hurl words at the other that were meant to hurt far more than any physical blows would have. How do you begin to apologize for having issued insults only someone harboring a deep hatred of someone could have said?

If I harbor guilt at what I said to Abby, far worse was hearing what she had to say to me. I don't think until that night I realized that she felt jealousy toward Danijela and my feelings for her. I know we've talked about her, the life we had, and she has to realize that my wife's death couldn't change my feelings for her anymore then it could change those for my children. It doesn't mean I can't have similar feelings for her, and as angry as I felt, I knew in my heart the love I felt for her was still there.

I hate thinking about those first weeks when Abby barely looked at me, let alone spoke. If I entered a room she would find a reason to leave and perhaps even worse was seeing her relationship with Carter starting to develop. I didn't want to wish bad things on them, bad things on her, but how could I not if there was still hope for us?

It took time but Abby and I finally found a way to move past what had happened between us. I think we both realized that neither of us really wished the other any ill will, and the words we'd spoke were ones of anger and nothing more. As we found a way to forgive we also found our way back to our friendship and I think that in itself was the one thing I had missed the most. I want Abby to be happy, and if this is what it takes then I can live with it, and whatever happens from here happens, only time will tell if anything more comes of it. In the meantime, well, I can dream can't I?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Prompt 19.4: Quack Quack

Fictional Prompt: You're in bed with a blonde and a duck.

For the first time in far too many nights he had finally been able to sleep and even as the sun began to leave a thin trail across the stone floor, Luka found it still too soon to leave the warmth of the down comforter. The gentle breathing of the one sharing his bed warned him that sleep still held them and he found a smile spreading across his face as he turned onto his side so he could draw them closer.

"Quack, quack." The squeak was unexpected and he raised up on his arm to fish the small animal out from under the weight of his body. As the small hand reached for the duck he relinquished his hold and instead wrapped them around his young son.

"Go back to sleep, Joe, it's too early to get up." He brushed a kiss against his hair before releasing a sigh of his own and closing his eyes again.

"Quack, Quack..." The sound of his son's play with the duck echoed in his ears, as he tried to give himself back to sleep, definitely too early to get up.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Prompt 213: Sorrow Quote/Theatrical Muse

"There's enough sorrow in the world, isn't there, without trying to invent it."
E.M.Forster, A Room With A View.

"Mama's coming today, Joe" Luka shared the news with his young son as he lifted him from his crib.

"Mama." The toddler parroted the name, the word just one of his growing vocabulary.

"That's right, Mama, she's going to be so glad to see you, to see how big you've gotten." He drew the boy in for a good morning hug and kiss before carrying him to the bed for his diaper change.

The last few weeks had been difficult ones, not just for having to work with Niko on the arrangements for their father's funeral and burial, but for time afterward when those close to Josip Kovac had come to pay their respects to his grieving sons.  While many were content to reminisce about the elder Kovac, other's were unable to contain their curiosity over his return, questions about Joe and inevitably the whereabouts of Abby.

While at the time he has evaded their scrutiny by simply saying that work had delayed her joining them, the truth was what was keeping him up at night, Even now, knowing she would be here before day's end, he found a cloud hanging over them, what if it was only to say she was leaving?

Tending to the arrangements for his father and to his son's daily needs had been a way to avoid thinking about the things that had led Abby to her relapse, but, her arrival tonight meant they would have to face them.  Was he ready for that?

"All done, Joe, ready to get some breakfast?" As he finished dressing his son, he tossed the soiled diaper in the hamper and picked him up.  What if the worst were to happen when Abby arrived?  What if this time away from both he and Joe had made her realize that marriage and a family were not what she wanted in her life?  Was he ready to hear that, was he ready to let her go if that was her decision?

"" As Joe laid his hand against his father's face Luka forced his thoughts back to the present. He couldn't worry about what might happen when Abby got in now, it wouldn't make the day go any faster, or her arrival come any sooner, nor would it change whatever news she might bring with her.

"Yes, Joe, time to eat." He kissed his son's palm before resettling him on his hip.

"Let's go feed you." The worry could wait, he had a hungry mouth to feed.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Prompt 18.4: Trip/ Writers Muses

Write a ficlet about a trip where things didn't go the way they should have..

It was hard to believe I was finally back at County but, as the elevator doors closed, shutting out the noise of the well-wishers, there was no denying it. I never thought it would be so exhausting, it wasn't even that anything had been asked of me, no, that would come later, and I knew it would. I wasn't the hero they made me out to be.

I'd told myself that my going to the Congo was a way of helping those in need, even though I know now that I was only using the trip as an excuse for running away from my own problems. I had begun to doubt myself, question my decisions, and put the lives of my patients at risk, and I thought that maybe by going, I would find something inside of myself that would help me rediscover what had drawn me to medicine in the first place. If you had asked me that at the time though, I would have denied it.

In the beginning, nothing changed for me. It didn't matter that I was suddenly working 18 hour days, facing victims of war instead of those who made their way daily into County's busy ER, I still wasn't seeing their faces.

It wasn't until I made the decision to go to the clinic in Matenda that things would change for me, though I wouldn't know it at first. I'd already been there once during my stay, nothing had changed then, why should this time be any different? In fact, I wasn't there alone when all of this started, John was with me, and Gillian, as well as Patrique, we had a clinic full of patients and a war raging around us. We knew the fighting was close, we just didn't realize how close until the explosions began, and then came the screaming that would introduce us to Chance and her mother. We barely had time to take the little girl's leg before the soldiers and Mai Mai over-ran the camp. I scooped her up into my arms, we gathered our patients and we ran away from the clinic and into the darkness, hoping to find some sense of safety with no idea if it was to be found. After a night spent hiding in the abandoned cane fields we returned to find the clinic ransacked, our supplies seriously depleted.

They wanted us to abandon the clinic after that, but my ego wouldn't let me, I said it was because I wouldn't leave my patients, but I think I was still taunting death, and even aanother direct confrontation with the Mai Mai wasn't enough to scare me into leaving. I don't think even then I was really considering what was best for my patients, and it wasn't until we were again forced from the clinic, and all but Chance and her Mother abandoned Patrique and I that I realized that they were willing to sacrifice their lives for me. They had a chance to save themselves like all of the others, yet they refused to go, and it didn't register with me as to why. Even when I told Patrique to leave me, to take the girl and go, they wouldn't budge. Because of me Sakima was subjected to rape, her daughter was forced to witness things no child should have to see, and Patrique, Patrique made the greatest sacrifice of all, he gave his life to save mine. I wish I could say I understood why, but, I'm not sure I know what all of these people saw in me, that was invisible to my own eyes.

Somehow, Sakima was able to convince them to spare my life, she and Chance were allowed to live, and despite all they had suffered themselves, they still took on my care as I battled untreated malaria. I don't know how Carter and Gillian found us, I don't know how they convinced the Mai Mai to let the three of us walk away after all we had seen. All I know, is I left the Congo a far different man then the one I was when I had arrived. Now, that I'm back at County, I have to wonder how all of this will affect me, how it will change the way I look at my patients, and the care I provide to them. I know there will be changes, there have to be because I'm a different person, I don't know that anyone could have gone through what we did and not been changed by it. I owe my life to Chance and her Mother, and to Carter who refused to accept that I was dead when he heard the news, and while thank you's don't begin to cover how I feel, it's a start.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Prompt 212 - What event do you wish you could have been a "fly on the wall" for?/TM

Standing in the road, watching Abby drive away from Joe and I, I can't help but find myself questioning what we have done to deserve this after all we have faced.  I think about the challenges Abby and I confronted during our first year together, and how in the end they proved more then our relationship could handle.  The bitterness of the words we exchanged when we parted ways, and how we both regretted them when we looked back on them much later.  Somehow, we managed to find our way back from that place, we built a friendship from the rubble and without even realizing it, love slowly took root.

I don't think either of us expected we would again become a couple, we certainly never expected to have a child together, but, once the commitment was made we both were determined to make it work.  There was no rushing into things this time, it wasn't just about sex, for the first time we began to talk, to discover what made each other who we were, and I guess in a way, that meant dealing with each other's fears as well.  In a way, I think that's what made it so hard for Abby to tell me she was pregnant.  She had so many fears about being a mother, not just because she was worried about turning out like Maggie, but, because she was so unsure about herself.  I thought she had mastered those fears when she decided not to have the abortion, but, maybe I was wrong.

Once the decision was made to keep the baby, things seemed to get better for us, sure we had our challenges, what couple doesn't, but, we faced them together, and we overcame them.  There were times when I wasn't sure we would make it, when I feared for our very lives, when I saw her fall after Steve had kidnapped Sam, when Joe fought for his life in those first few months, when I left the apartment that night with Curtis Ames.  Any of those would have taxed a relationship, but, we survived, so why was my leaving to take care of my ill father so different? What was it about this time that made it unlike all the others?  I wish I would have been a fly on the wall, that I could go back and see what it was about those months that made them so much more difficult for Abby.  What about them caused her to undo all she had worked so hard for and let her endanger not just Joe's safetybut her own.

Watching her drive away from us now, I know she would never have willingly hurt Joe, but, who she is when she's drinking is not the person she is sober.   I know Abby knows that, I think that's why she needs to do this now, why she wants Joe and I to go to Croatia alone.  I can't help but worry that something will happen in her treatment to make her decide that life with Joe and I is too much for her, I hope I'm wrong.  Time will tell, but, we'll be there, waiting for her, whenever she's ready for us to come home.


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Prompt 43C. "Enjoy life. There's plenty of time to be dead." -Unknown/Canon Muses

It was the odd sensation of feeling as if he were being watched that woke him and as Luka came awake it was to find himself almost nose to nose with his young son as the toddler stared at him.

"Well, good morning to you, Joe." Catching him under his arms, Luka lifted the giggling child into the air as he rolled over onto his back.

"I think we are going to need to get you a crib, what do you think about that, huh, Joe?" He brought the boy closer so he could kiss him before raising him again as the child squealed in delight.

"Eew, stinky pants, I think we'd better get that diaper changed before we do anything else, then maybe some breakfast.  You want something to eat, Joe?" As he asked the question he sat the boy back on the bed before sitting up himself.

"Ee, ee." While he wasn't yet talking himself, it wasn't for lack of trying and as his father spoke Joe had begun mimicking the words.

"That's right, Joe, you're going to eat, good job." He was growing so fast, if only Abby could be here with them to see. He stopped the thought before it had a chance to take root, choosing instead to focus again on his son. It would be so easy to let the darkness wash over him again, and who would fault him for it? 

He had watched his father wage a losing battle with cancer only to die while he was away, and had returned home to find his wife once more drinking and his marriage in possible jeopardy. No, he would not allow the thoughts to take up residence, Joe deserved better then that, Abby deserved as much. If she had the strength to fight her way back from this how could he not do the same?  How could he deny Joe the childhood he deserved because of the weaknesses of his past? 

"Ee, tata, ee." The grin spread across his son's face as he reminded his father of that which he thought he might have forgotten.

"That's right, Joe, we were going to get you breakfast weren't we...but, first we need to change those stinky pants, so up we go." He scooped the boy up as he got up off the bed, they would get through this, and when Abby was ready they would go back to her.  In the meantime, he would show Joe the world he grew up in, and through his eyes he would see it once more with joy instead of with the sadness that had prompted his leaving it so many years before.


Prompt 1.89.3d: Apocalypse/Realm of the Muse

d. Do you think you could survive an apocalypse? Would you want to?

I've lived through a war, survived when those I loved, those most important to me, my wife, my small children, had their lives taken from them for reasons no one can ever justify, I endured hardships I only months before would not have thought myself capable of, and imposed those same burdens on children so young that they still believed that their Mama and Tata could protect them from whatever harm might befall them. 

If only they knew how wrong they were.  If only they knew what a failure I would be in that one task that I had always sworn I would be there to do.

What father doesn't promise his child that he will look after them?  From the moment they are old enough to walk we are there to see that no harm comes to them, picking them up when they fall, kissing away scraped knees and bumps on the head.  But, how do you protect them from days spent huddled under mounds of blankets because you lack electricity, from rationed water and meals of little more then turnips and onions in hot water.  How do you protect them from unseen snipers and bombs falling from the sky?

I couldn't, but, while I failed them somehow I found something deep within myself that refused to let me join them in death.  Something that forced me to go on when all I wanted to do was lay down beside them, and let death find it's way to me too. It wasn't for lack of trying, and over the years it seems I have cheated death repeatedly only to watch others around me die in my place. I suppose for this reason alone I have to believe I could survive an Apocalypse, but, there is a difference in my life now that hasn't been there for far too many years, you see, I no longer seek death.

I'm a husband again, and a father to my son, Joe, and for those reasons I know I will cling to life with every fiber of my being.  As I did for Danijela, for Jasna, and for our baby, Marko, I will find ways to offer them hope when there seems none to give, I will be the strength they need to endure whatever hardships confront us, that's my role in life, it's what I do.

So, yes, I will survive, we will survive...


January Prompt 005: Ghosts/Creative Muses

005. Do you believe in ghosts, the occult, aliens, or the supernatural? Why/Why not?

Laying in bed, on that fine line between sleep and consciousness they come to me. I hear them calling my name, sometimes it's their cries of terror and I know they are searching for me in those final minutes before I made it back to the apartment. Other times I hear them as if they are simply in another room and it's those times that cause me the most pain because if I'm too close to sleep I can almost believe they are real. Maybe, the truth is, I need to believe they're real because, even after all of these years, if I don't have that to cling to then I have to let them go, and I can't do that.

I look at my faith and think of how we have always been taught to honor the Holy Ghost, to be aware of the spirits both good and evil that may influence our actions, or possess us. I can't help but wonder how my holding onto my loved ones is any different, what harm is there in my allowing them to remain close to me? Then again, am I by doing this preventing them from moving on to their Heavenly rewards? I wish I had the answers, but, I don't, and as selfish as it may be, neither am I ready for them to abandon me completely.

I tell Joe they're his angels, watching over him, making sure he is safe, I'd like to think that's true, what harm can there be in it?

January Prompt 005: Time/Artistic License

Another cemetery, another good-bye to someone who was taken too soon. Why is it we only realize how little time we have spent with those who mean so much after we lose them?  It wasn't that I didn't know that my father would die, I'm a doctor, I understood exactly what he was facing, but, I thought we had more time, I was wrong.

I look back now on all the years I wasted, years when I was too busy running from my own life to think about anyone elses.  Standing at my father's graveside with my small son in my arms, for the first time in my life I found myself ashamed, and in those minutes I wished I had the power to turn back time and undo all the hurt I must have caused him over the years.

When I was a child I idolized my father, my tata.  Tata was a train conductor and one of Niko and my greatest joys as young boys were those times when during school breaks, he would allow us to ride along on his runs with him.  If we were together we would chase each other from one end of the train to the other, proudly bragging to any and all that it was our father driving the train. Our greatest pleasure though came on those times when we had time alone with him on those trips, when we would sit on his lap as he steered, and he would let us pull the chain to sound the whistle at the crossings.

Tata was a proud man and while we were never rich, he always made sure we had everything we needed and as difficult as it might be, he even managed to find a way to afford those few extras. As we grew older, our tata became our adviser, making sure that both Niko and I knew what it meant to be men and the responsibilities that came with that.  It only made sense too, that when I met Danijela and knew that she was the one I would spend my life with it was he I went to before anyone else.

I don't know that I ever saw my father happier then I did on that day when he first learned he was to be a grandfather, a djed, unless it was on the day that I first laid Jasna in his arms.  Tata loved my baby girl so much, and she in turn fell in love with him, becoming his little princess, delighting us all when on our visits to see him she would follow him everywhere.  But, as much as he adored my little girl, when Marko came along I was sure his his heart would burst for the joy he felt. If only I could rewind time and erase the look on his face, the grief that enveloped him when I broke the news to him that they as well as my beloved Danijela were forever gone.  Never again would he hold his princess in his arms, never again would he hear their laughter, or turn to find one or both following in his footsteps.  If only I could rewind time, but, at the time I wasn't thinking of his grief, I was too busy being consumed by my own.

I think it was my time in the IDP camp that made me realize that I had to leave.  As hard as it was to leave him and all I knew I had to find a way to forget, and I couldn't do that where there were so many memories around every corner.  It took time too, for me to realize that despite what Niko said, my leaving didn't make me a coward.

It took time for me to finally talk to tata about the choices I'd made in my life, time for me to finally go back and face the ghosts that lurked around every corner. I wish I could rewind time just far enough that tata could hold Joe in his arms as he had held Jasna and Marko.  He was so happy to learn he was once more a grandfather, to learn he once more had a daughter-in-law, if only I could rewind time enough so that they could know the man that he was. I only wish I could rewind time so they could have the time to love him as I always will.

I'm so sorry, tata, I thought we had more time.


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Prompt 17.6: Risk/Writers Muses

Was this it? He could still hear the echoes of the man's final death screams, and he couldn't help but be aware of Patrique's body laying in the dirt beside where he still knelt. How long before they came for him?  How long before he too was dragged across the compound and into that bloodstained tent to meet death at the end of a bullet? So tired, he couldn't kneel anymore, couldn't keep his arms raised above his head anymore, did he dare risk defying them now? Then again, what was the worst they could do to him? Could the price they would ask of him be any greater then those who had stayed with him already paid?

It wasn't supposed to have been like this, he had come to the Congo to prove that he could still make a difference as a doctor.  He had come to pay penance for all the mistakes he had made and instead he was responsible for more harm, and yet another innocent had lost their life because of his actions. If only there was something he could do to spare Chance's mother any further harm, if only he could prevent Chance from having her innocence brutally stolen from her. At the very least he could offer up a prayer that they be allowed to live when the Mai Mai finished with them.

As he forced himself to his knees again he could swear he heard music, where was the music coming from? Cocking his head, he found himself listening more closely, it had to mean they were coming for him, he was sure of it. If it was true, he needed to make his peace with God, more importantly he needed to ask him to spare the lives of Chance and her mother.  It had been so long since he had prayed, did he even have a right to ask for a favor like this after so many years of blaming him for the death's of those he loved? What did he have to lose, he had no doubt that his own life was already forfeit, likely before day's end he would finally be re-united with Danijela and their children. If there was a chance it could save the little girl and her mother, he would take that risk.  Clasping his hands together, he closed his eyes, then bowed his head and called up the long repressed prayer.

"Oce nas, koji jesi na nebesima,
sveti se ime tvoje...
dodi kraljevstovo tvoje,
budi volja tvoja...

Kako na nebu tako tako i na zemlji.
Kruh nas svagdanji daj nam danas...

I otpusti nam duge nase
kado i mi otpustamo deznecima

I ne uvedi nas u napast,
nego izbavi nas od zia."

(Luka's prayer is "The Lord's Prayer")