It was time for a child, Avi decided. And this had nothing to with her family. She wasn’t giving in to their wishes. She just wanted a child herself. Avi liked to think it was her maternal instinct finally kicking in, but knew that could never be. Any chance of that had been killed, years ago. No, this was about lineage. She had heard the others in the family extolling their young one’s accomplishments, how quickly they evolved and adapted, and she wanted that too. It was a simple, burning need. The desire was almost as intense as the hunger she felt when she hadn’t eaten for a few weeks. It was this intensity, this urgency that finally changed her mind. It wasn’t a maternal instinct, yet it was a natural instinct, and that was as good as it was ever going to get for her.
Avi peered in through the window of the ICU on the twelfth floor of the Lilavati Hospital, her tenth hospital visit for the night and her last. It would be dawn in a few hours, and she had to get back to the house soon. She drifted outside the large windows on the twelfth floor of the hospital, peering at the scenes unfolding in the ICU ward, unblinkingly watching the quiet chaos of human life and death. She closed her eyes, listening to the bustling of the doctors and the nurses in the corridor, the thrumming of young and old heartbeats. She could taste the sharp, metallic edge of antiseptics and blood.
Her decision from years ago held truer now than ever before. Yes, Avi had decided this day that she wanted a child, but she was also going to hold fast on to her principles that she had taken on all those decades ago. She would not want as a child someone who still had a chance of a healthy life ahead of them. She would only choose someone for whom life was no longer an option, someone who was beyond the help of the bustling doctors and nurses. The beauty of life lies in its fragility, and Avi would not steal that away from someone who had another choice. She sighed soundlessly. No serious cases as far as she could hear, see, or smell. She moved away from the window and floated around the Lilavati Hospital to the window right outside the oncology ward. She gazed inside.
She could hear the familiar heartbeats and see the familiar shapes in the room. Except for one. There was a new person in the room. A weak, syncopated drum march was the heartbeat of a woman, a young woman who was severely ill. Avi turned towards the direction of the muffled beating, but the window could only let her see as much. The young woman lay out of sight, even for Avi. Avi shut her eyes again and strained to listen closely to the listless beating of the young woman’s heart. The sick woman wasn’t going to survive very long. Only a few months from her smell, her heartbeat. Her disease was eating away at her, wasting her with each shuddering breath she took. Avi could give her new life. A difficult life, but an immortal life. She would finally have someone to call her own, the child she wanted so badly, without giving up on her principles. It was perfect. This was exactly what she had been looking for.
All Avi needed now was a way to get invited into the hospital.