Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 27 of a new online serial novel, The Cuckoo Clock, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week. Click here for previous chapters.
Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications.
“That’s right,” the nurse agreed with Ulush. “I wanted to check if you knew what you were talking about, or if you were just disoriented. The child that you are looking for is here, near the window.”
Ulush’s eyes turned to the bed the nurse was pointing to. She gazed at Gustav’s white face and his half-closed eyes. “Yes,” she said, a lump in her throat. “Yes, that’s him.”
“What’s his name?” the nurse asked.
“Gustav,” Ulush said. She bent over the child. “Gustav? Gustav, it’s Ulush. Do you hear me?” The boy’s eyelids flickered a bit, but didn’t rise. She studied the tiny part of his pupils that she could see. It was hard to figure out what he was looking at, but it certainly wasn’t her.
“Gustav?” she whispered a third time.
He coughed in response.
She turned to the nurse who was standing behind her. “Can he speak?”
“Until now he hasn’t said a word.”
“And…what is his condition?”
The nurse shrugged. “Not good,” she said, and lowered her voice. “If he comes out of this, it will be a big miracle.”
Ulush turned back to the bed, fearfully looking at Gustav’s white face. “Do you know how worried I was about you, Gustav?” she whispered. “Where did you go? Why didn’t you come home that day? Janek went to look for you, and other people did, too… Edo was so sad that you disappeared on him. Do you know how much he loves you?” She blinked.
“Then Edo also left. Do you know where he is? He’s sailing on a ship now to Eretz Yisrael. You will also get well and go to Eretz Yisrael, right? Maybe you will come with us, with me and Janek. And there we will meet Edo and lots of other good Jews. You want to go, don’t you?”
The boy coughed again, deeper this time than before.