The fluorescent light above Daniel’s head was giving him a headache. It flittered between life and death as fast as the wings of a moth. He had complained numerous times to the elderly hispanic nurse to send someone in to fix it, but the request fell on deaf ears. Daniel thought about calling out to one of his men waiting outside the hospital room’s door to come fix it, but it didn’t seem worth the hassle.
Lying on the bed in front of him was his mother. Her grey hair was pulled out of the usual bun she kept it in and instead it was sprawled out on the pillow and across her forehead. Her eyes remained shut and unmoving as Daniel watched her chest slowly rise and fall with each breath. She had slipped into a coma a few weeks ago after having a stroke out in her garden. When it had happened Daniel was conducting business overseas and flew into a rage that his sister had not been at her home to take care of her. When Daniel heard the news he rushed back and made sure to punish his sister before arriving at the hospital. He hadn’t left his mother’s side yet.
The light continued to flicker and so Daniel buried his head into his hands to try and ignore it. He listened as the TV droned on about the crisis at the border and the separation of children from their mother’s. He sneered into his hands as the woman on the television droned on and he could feel his heart begin to race in anger at the fake news. He looked up at the television to make a mental note of what channel was leading a smear campaign on this policy so he could post about it later.
As he began to watch the TV, the door to the bedroom slid shut. It was a heavy door and almost unnoticeable to Daniel at first due to the guards along the bottom. It wasn’t until the door came to a rest and with a slight bang that Daniel turned and looked at it.
“Hey!” Which one of you thinks this is funny?” Daniel yelled out. He hefted his overweight frame out of the small wooden chair they had provided for him and went to the door. He yanked the handle down and shoved on it, but nothing happened. He tried again, throwing even more of his mass behind the door, but still nothing.
“Open the damn door you morons!” Daniel shouted as he began to slam his fists on the laminated wood. On the other side there was nothing but silence. His temper grew as he felt he was being ignored. Daniel was never ignored and now wasn’t going to be the beginning of it. He swung his hands harder and started screaming louder. Behind him, the television went to static and began to blare out through the quiet room. Daniel whipped around, sweat dripping down from his blonde hair and glared at the television.
“What is going on?” he asked exasperated to himself. He bumbled angrily over to the bedside table next to his mother and grabbed at the remote. Daniel pointed it at the television but instead of the static dying away at a push of a button, the fluorescent lights covered the room in a blood red glow. Daniel looked nervously around, sweat now freely flowing from his face, his suit sticking to his body. Across the room he saw that the blinds were still open. He doubted he would be able to open the windows but he needed to cry out for help. He rushed across the room, as fast as his body would allow him, only for the blinds to slam shut. He pulled on the string to make them raise back up, but they stayed firmly on the ledge, as if someone had glued them there.
“Dammit!” he screeched into the air. Behind him, his mother began to stir on the bed.
“Daniel,” his mother croaked. “Daniel please, come to me.” Daniel turned and for a moment forgot about the changes to the room. His mother was awake! His face lit up as he walked over to her. His mother’s eyes were open and looking in his direction and she had pressed herself up on her elbows to get a better view. As Daniel came up next to her, however, he saw that there was no life in her eyes. She stared blankly ahead and began speaking once again.
“Daniel.” she slowly croaked out. “Where are my children?”
“Mother,” Daniel replied. “I’m right here. Isabella, well Isabella is back in rehab. She relapsed when she was supposed to be with you. That’s how you ended up here in a coma.” Daniel stopped speaking as his eyes began to well up with tears. The doctor’s had told him his mother would most likely never recover due to her age but he knew they had been wrong. Here she was now, speaking to him as he reached out to gently move her hair out of her face. As he began to touch her though, a sickening smile spread and Daniel jumped back in horror as her head began to slowly twist all the way around her body. In the corner of the room, the television static stopped and a blonde news anchor sat quietly behind the desk. When his mother’s head had made a full three hundred and sixty degree turn, her face was gone and replaced with a young hispanic woman’s face instead. She began to scream.
“Where are my children!” Her eyes were full of fear and she was crying. The hispanic woman’s eyes full of life and staring directly at Daniel. His fear dissipated and instead began turning to a rage.
“Who the hell are you?” Daniel yelled at the woman. “Where is my mother. What disgusting trick is this? Do you know who I am?” But the woman did nothing but scream out for her children again as her head began to turn the same way Daniel’s mother’s head had before. Within a moment, another hispanic woman’s face appeared and began screaming out for her children as well. Behind Daniel, the female anchor started speaking.
“These women are mother’s just like yours Daniel,” she began. “But you are the cause of their pain. They suffer with not having the knowledge of where their children are. You did this to them.” Another face appears, this time of a younger hispanic woman with black hair. Her face is bruised and bloodied and instead of screaming for her children, she screams out as if the marks on her face were just occurring. “These next mother’s are ones looking for solace Daniel. They are the refugees looking for safety. They are the ones looking to our great country for aid. Yet you do nothing.” Daniel’s mother’s head now begin’s to twist faster and faster, showing more and more beaten and bruised women, some screaming for their children, some yelling out in pain.
“Stop this non-sense,” Daniel screams at the television. “I don’t care, okay? Has it ever seemed like I cared? Why would I care about these women, they mean nothing to me.” He stops to catch his breath and as he does his mother’s head stops spinning and it’s her face again. She calls out for Daniel and as he turns, he can tell that she can see him.
“Why are you like this Daniel,” she asks. “I didn’t raise you to be this way, or act this way. What if that person was me? Would you feel the same way?” As Daniel’s mother says this her face slowly bruises and begins to bleed from cuts that are forming. In the sheets by her legs, the fabric becomes a blackened mess. Daniel points at it angrily.
“What the hell is that?” he asks.
“Don’t you know Danny?” his mother responds. “Your loyal people have begun ignoring the women that were pregnant as well. Many are suffering from miscarriages while being detained and are being ignored. The thing you’re pointing at? Well that’s now your sister.”
“Liar!” Daniel responds. “This is all a nightmare or a trick, something to get me to change my policies.” Daniel turns back to the television. “Here’s the thing though you miserable blonde bimbo. I will do nothing because of you. I know my mother is alive and well, just like my sister. Pull all the tricks you want. I don’t care about those people and I refuse to change anything.”
On the television, the news anchor sighs and shakes her head before responding.
“If that’s how you feel Daniel, then so be it,” and as she finishes speaking the television and the room go dark.
Daniel slowly awakens to a long droning beep in the room. As he opens his eyes he sees his mother’s head lolled to the side, mouth hanging open. Around him nurses and doctors rush in to try and save Daniel’s mother’s life. His men step into the room and pull him away. In his pocket his cell phone begins to ring and it’s the rehab center that he sent his sister to. Daniel hands the phone off to one of his men and tells them to take care of it. He begins walking towards the hospital door.
“Sir,” the man who answered the phone says, “it’s your sister. She’s gone. Suicide they say.” Daniel nods his head and continues walking, He doesn’t say anything for a moment before turning back to the man who spoke.
“Set up funeral arrangements for both of them,” he says. “Don’t spare any expenses and try to hide what happened to my sister.” Daniel stares at the man until he rushes off. Next he turns to his right hand man, a thin, anxious looking fellow in glasses.
“I want you to get in touch with our people at the border and tell them to double their efforts,” Daniel says. “I just saw on the news that they think we’re getting soft and we can’t give that impression. We don’t want any of those people over here.” Daniel’s right hand man nods and begins dialing out a call. Daniel smiles to himself as they exit onto the roof towards an awaiting helicopter. Nobody gets the best of him.