Saving Ludo - chapter 9
Alice did treat Theo. But Theo didn’t enjoy the food at all, even though it was the thickest and most tender beef burger he ever tasted.
During the lunch time, Theo kept thinking about Alice’s words, that Theo will give something very valuable to Alice.
He knew that he would bind his soul to a Demon. Sooner or later, he will do it. And, he was terrified.
He walked sluggishly to the hospital. It was after school time. So, like usual, he would go to the hospital to see Ludo. It’s like that every day. On the weekend, he would stay in the hospital all day. The nurses felt sorry for him and cannot ask him to go, even though it was out of the visiting hours already. Poor kids like Theo and Ludo, who have to be separated from their best friend, must be given such privileges.
Theo knew that he didn’t have to visit Ludo every day, there is no obligation for that, but he knew… he had to visit Ludo. Ludo will be looking for him if he didn’t show up, waiting for him, like he does every day on his bed. He wouldn’t tell anything to anyone, but he will definitely wait. He was sure, if he was in Ludo’s place, Ludo would do the same.
The sound of a big bell echoing loudly made Theo woke up from his daydream. He jumped in surprise, frantically glancing around, afraid of being followed by Alice. But, instead of a white fatty rabbit or a beautiful demon, Theo found himself standing next to a large church.
It was strange, he has walked through this path for months and yet he never seen that big church before. Theo almost convinced that the bell actually did not ring, it was only in his imagination. The bell didn’t budge at all.
Did Alice do it? But… this is a church. She is a Demon. She might not do it, it’s impossible.
Theo stood for a long time in front of the church gate, considering, gulping. Somehow, he didn’t know why, feeling tense.
Finally, Theo jumped from his place, pushed the gate and ran into the church.
The worship place is empty. There were rows of dark brown wooden chair, shining like a common worship place. There were red carpets, altar and all kinds.
The ceiling was very high in that room. Stained glasses over his head, showing giant pictures of a lady with her baby, hugging in a burning red background. Why was it red?, Theo thought. Why the blood like color?
Theo shrieked, jumped in surprise. He looked around frantically and turned his body back. A young man walked slowly to him. He wore a long black coat with high collars, bringing a black covered book and a brown prayer beads on his hand. His soft blonde hair was glowing dimly under the shade of the stained glass colors. He smiled, “Are you going to pray?”
“Eh…,” Theo softly answered, he was nervous like a kid who just caught stealing candy at a grocery store. “No, I..,” Theo muttered in panic, “I want to ask…”
The man nodded. “What do you want to ask?”
Theo’s eyes panicked, looking for something he could use to make a question. Finally, his eyes noticed the prayer beads on the Priest’s hand. “Why… why do you need that thing?”
“This one?” asked the Priest. Theo nodded. “This is a prayer beads, used to count prayers”
“I know. I mean, w..why…” Theo’s voice sank to sound like a whisper. “Why do you need to count the prayers?”
The young Priest was stunned to hear Theo’s question. But Theo didn’t wait for the Priest answer, the next second, he already ran out of the church with a trembling body like leaves in a windstorm.
Theo ran fast to the hospital. He didn’t understand, why he asked that question to the Priest, he thought that the Priest was carrying a walnut necklace. And now, his whole body cannot stop trembling. Theo tried to stop the tremble by stomping hard, but it didn’t work. He ran faster, nearly crying. Some people shouted at him when he ran into the hospital, but Theo didn’t stop. He didn’t care about the people, he just need to see Ludo as soon as possible. He must tell something, anything, but not about Alice. The important thing is there is something to talk about for the last time with his best friend.
“Ludo, you know what? Yesterday I beat up that fatty George’s nose with a ball. And today, I beat up the ball! With my legs. I hope he learned his lesson and stopped… “
Theo stopped blabbering. Ludo’s room full of people, the nurses, doctors and staffs, everyone shouted giving instruction and shouted back to answer. In the middle, Ludo lay weak with many hoses and needles stuck to his body. An oxygen valve overshadow his nose and mouth. His face white, grayish gray or even greenish, cannot be defined anymore.
Some nurses stopped and surprised to see Theo. In the middle of the scattering doctors and nurses, Ludo opened his eyes a little, slightly opened, so it was only Theo who knew that Ludo had opened his eyes. Tears flew from the corner of his eye. Ludo’s hand moved weakly, his finger formed something.
Ludo has had hearing problems since he was a baby. Although he still can hear, his parents worried that this hearing problem would get worse as he grow. They taught Ludo the sign language, just in case. Ludo taught a little for Theo, and Theo taught his parents.
Theo’s eyes blinded by tears, but he got the sign made by Ludo’s finger.
The thumb outstretched far, the middle finger and the ring finger folded, the index finger and the little finger sticking out trembling.
I love you.