Uncle Jacob?

Damnit, Danny! I told you to be careful. I know I’ve only got a few moments at best but that doesn’t mean I want to spend them getting banged up by an inept bastard.”

Sooorry, Uncle Jacob.”

“Sorry, my ass! Now, be careful with the wheelchair, it ain’t a shopping kart.”

“Just a couple more ramps and we’ll be getting on the cargo elevator.”

“Make it quick, I don’t have all night, kid.”

Yes, Uncle Jacob.”

“Did you place the electrostatic field equipment like I instructed?”

“Of course, Uncle Jacob”

“You know, when I initially built this hospital, I hadn’t really given much thought to these… matters of the spirit. It is only throughout the years, while I was getting on in age, that I considered what might lay ahead.”

“Matters of the spirit?”

“I never did tell you about your mother much, did I, Danny-boy? No, I guess I didn’t. I mean, you obviously knew your mother, but you didn’t know her quite like I did. She was a terribly sweet woman. When our own mother died, she took me into her arms, weepy little boy that I was, and simply whispered into my ear that she would make sure everything was ok… that we would be ok.”

“Um… Uncle Jacob, do we really-”

“I know, I know… the old fool is rambling on and you likely just want to get this over with and return to whatever gallivanting and merrymaking you young people do nowadays.”

“Not at all, Uncle Jacob.“

“Ha! Like hell you wouldn’t!”

“I think you are grossly misjudging me, Uncle Jacob.”

“Nah, kiddo. If I were you I would be cursing my luck, too, at having to take care of an old coot like myself.”

“Here we are; the 35th floor, sir”

“About damn time, kid! Now, let’s get to the show-floor quickly. I can’t allow myself to miss this appointment! ”

Yes, Uncle Jacob.”

“What was I saying before? Ah, yes. Your mother. Well, she was the most iron-willed woman I ever did know and if it hadn’t been for her I certainly wouldn’t have lived to build my empire and amass the fortune which you likely hope you will be inheriting.”

“Uncle Jacob, that’s not why-“

“Shush now, kid, the grown-up is talking. Now, all that I ever achieved I did because of your mother’s selfless sacrifice in bringing me up. Every single privilege I ever had was because she put herself on the line for me, always letting me have the best opportunities while she toiled in positions that were always miles beneath her mettle and intellect.”

“The point is, I can only repay her in one way and that is by giving you everything she gave me, except it just happens to be exponential in this case. I promised her as much when she died in this very hospital when you were just 5.”

“I know, Uncle Jacob.”

“Yes. Of course you know. But do you really? I wonder… In any case, when she was diagnosed with Cancer, the world simply ceased to matter to me. Everything I had ever built, everything I had ever created was nothing if she wasn’t there to see it, to revel in its brilliance. You see, I have never been a particularly good or kind man. No… and don’t try to argue with me about this, I know this to be true. I made peace with who I am many, many years ago when I was a young man myself. You don’t get to create an empire by being kind…”

“Uncle, I don’t see what-”

“But back to my point, the idea of your mother simply not existing in this world any longer shocked the living daylights out of me. It filled me with such dread that I thought I would stop breathing from sheer sorrow.”

“So the hospital I built, I applied to the task healing of your mother, the only woman I have ever loved. Don’t look at me that way, it wasn’t like that at all. No, this was love of the purest kind. I adored your mother. I still do. This fraternal love was the most amazing thing I have ever felt and I only truly realized it when she fell ill.”

“So for about a year she hung on, for you. When she grew tired and wanted to let go, she would remain because of you. And for that, I thank you, Danny-boy. You were the reason she fought to remain. But in the end, well, she simply had no strength left and all the billions in the world could not get her well. No doctor, no medicine, no treatment could reverse what fate had decided for her.”

“I really don’t recall much of that time, Uncle Jacob. I wasn’t allowed much around mother when she started turning for the worse.”

“No, I suppose you don’t… You do miss your mother, don’t you, Danny-boy?”

“We’re here, Uncle Jacob.”

“Oh, good! Now, let me see… I must say, I’m pleasantly surprised; you did everything just as I asked!”

“Of course, Uncle Jacob.”

“What time is it?”

11:43, Uncle Jacob.”

“Yes, yes… it’s almost time, now.”

“When your mother died, on that night when she simply ceased to breathe as I held her hand, I thought I would die myself. Had it not been for the promise I made to her on her deathbed that you would receive everything I owned, I would have killed myself right there. So I thought that I would simply wait to take care of the necessary paperwork for that purpose and then seek an exit out of life.”

“I stayed in the hospital for a while after she was pronounced dead, in one of the doctors’ offices. I remained contemplating how I would end it for myself when the oddest thing happened. “

“I felt a change in the air, in the temperature. Something was with me. And then I smelled her, your mother. She was there. I felt her.”

“Don’t give me that look, boy! I know this sounds crazy. But I assure you, it is not.”

“I wasn’t implying anything, sir.”

“For years, I kept coming back to the hospital. Involving myself with all the activities I could in order to justify my presence while delegating as much as I could to my underlings so that business would continue as usual. All just so that I could somehow remain close to your mother.”

“At first, it was rare for her to manifest herself, and all the times she did it would be something subtle; her perfume, personal items that would go missing and would turn up in places where we would have hidden when we played hide and seek as children, things of that sort. But they invigorated my desire to remain near.”

“Are you saying my mother is-”

“It was soon after her death and the realization that she had hung on in the hospital that I decided I would make it so that I could remain, as well.”

“I see the look of dawning realization on your face. Yes, that is what brings us here, tonight.”

“This meeting of mine isn’t some silly flight of fancy. No. I will meet with your mother and be reunited.”

“For over a decade I have toiled and commissioned certain changes be made to the hospital. The addition of this 35th floor, for example… many other modifications that would ensure that a strong electromagnetic field would be created and maintained…”

“You see, the brain is the house of the soul and It only inhabits it because of the electricity therein. Without all these currents and fields the soul, the mind, would simply not be. So I amplified these so that when I pass on, my mind will transfer completely as my soul departs from my body.”

“All the equipment I had you prepare earlier was for this precise purpose.”

“But there was still the matter of your mother… how much of your mother’s soul and mind remained? Was it just a lingering residue of her? I decided to re-educate her, to recreate her as much as possible, not unlike creating neural pathways. So as the modifications amplified the field over time, I would come and spend time with the presence she had left behind. I read to her, spoke to her, about the many things we did, about you, about who she was.”

“Uncle Jacob, I don’t think-“

“Over the years, her presence has become stronger. Staff have witnessed many of her manifestations and she has garnered quite the reputation, much to my amusement and hers, apparently”

“I am not gonna stand here and be part of some crazy stunt, Uncle Jacob. I mean no disrespect, but it seems to me that you have lost it.”

“I know this is hard to grasp now, but I ask you one more thing: with all you are to receive, you must maintain this. You must make sure the hospital continues to run and that the field is maintained ever after. And you must come visit with us once a week. Your mother will be most pleased with this. Think of this floor as your new, second home.”

“Sir, how do you suppose I am going  to do this? Are you telling me I have to euthanize you?”

“Don’t be silly, Danny-boy. I will expire quite naturally, I have assured myself of this. Now, be quiet and turn the equipment on.”

Jaysus…

“Good, well, fetch me a glass of whiskey now, will you? I’m feeling parched over here. And be quick about it, you snivelling fool!”

“Here you go, Uncle Jacob… Uncle Jacob!… Uncle Jacob?…”

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