Typing Test


The evil cells were back in his blood, and he had a fever, and there was an infection in the bones of his face. Dr. Blork had said that a fungus was growing there, and had admitted that this news was, in fact, bad, and he had looked both awkward and grave as he sat with them, twisting his stethoscope around in his hands and apologizing for the turn of events, though not exactly accepting responsibility for the failures of the treatment. Oberon had said that mushrooms were some of the friendliest creatures he knew, and that he could not understand how they could possibly represent a threat to anyone, but Blork shook his head, and said that this fungus was nobody's friend, and further explained that the presence of the new infection compromised the doctors' ability to poison the boy anymore, and that for that reason the leukemia cells were having a sort of holiday. The boy was sleeping. They had brought back the morphine for his pain, so he was rarely awake, and was not very happy when he was. Titania moved from her chair to the bed, and took his hand. Even asleep, he pulled it away. "A terrible gift," she said. "Terrible." She sat on the bed, taking the boy's hand over and over as he pulled it away, and told her husband that she was afraid that when the boy died he would take with him not just all the love she felt for him but all the love she felt for Oberon, too, and all the love she had felt for anything or anyone in the world. He would draw it after him, as if in obeisance to some natural law that magic could not violate, and then she would be left with nothing. "Do not speak of such things, my love," her husband said, and he kissed her. She let him do that. And she let him put his hands inside her dress, and let him draw her over to the narrow couch where they were supposed to sleep at night. She tried to pretend that it was any other night under the hill when they would roll and wrestle with each other while the boy slept next to them, oblivious. They were walked in upon a number of times. But everyone saw something different, and none of them remembered what they had seen after they turned and fled the room. The night nurse, coming in to change some I.V. fluids, saw two blankets striking and grappling with each other on the couch. A nursing assistant saw a mass of snakes and cats twisting over one another, sighing and hissing. Dr. Blork actually managed to perceive Oberon's mighty thrusting bottom, and went stumbling back out into the hall, temporarily blinded. One evening, Dr. Beadle came in alone, Blorkless, and sat down on the bed, where the boy was sweating and sleeping, dreaming, Titania could tell, of something unpleasant. "I think it's time to talk about our goals for Brad," he said, and put a hand on the Beastie over the boy's foot, and wiggled the foot back and forth as he talked, asking them whether they were really doing the best thing for the boy, whether they should continue with a treatment that was not making him better. "You don't understand," Dr. Beadle said. "I don't mean that at all. Not at all!" He looked at Titania with an odd combination of pleading and pity. "Do you understand?" he asked her. In reply, she drew herself up and shook off every drop of the disguising glamour, and stood there entirely revealed to him. He seemed to shrink, and fell off the bed, and while he was not purposefully kneeling in front of her, he happened to end up on his knees. She leaned over him and spoke very slowly. The night the boy died, there were a number of miraculous recoveries on the ward. It was nothing that Titania did on purpose. She did not care about the other pale bald headed children in their red wagons and masks, did not care about the other mothers, whose grief and worry seemed to elevate their countenances to resemble Titania's own. Indifference was the key to her magic; she could do nothing for