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They held each other tight, not speaking, barely daring to breath, as if making the slightest noise could tip the scales of fate. Their child lay still, barely recognisable beneath the bandages, wires and tubes. The steady hum, regular beat and measured hiss-hiss of the apparatus surrounding her were all they could hear.

A doctor tapped softly on the door and they turned.

“Mrs and Mrs, ah, Jarman, if you could…”

He gestured for them to come with him. Reluctantly, they kissed her goodbye. They left her bedside and followed him into a quiet side room.

“I understand that the nurses already spoke to you about, ah, donation options, and that you have made your decision,” he said.

They nodded.

“I shall just need you to sign these consent forms.” He held out a clipboard and a pen. “Then we can, ah, proceed with the, ah, with the operation.”

Mr Jarman took the form, and with a shaky hand filled out the details. His daughter’s name, her date of birth. He ticked the boxes, and signed and dated it at the end. Beside him, his wife sobbed.

They stayed there, in that quiet little side room, until the doctor returned with a small datachip. He handed it to Mr Jarman with a sympathetic smile.

They left the hospital building and walked slowly to their car. A recorded voice greeted them as they opened the doors, cut off as Mr Jarman pushed a small button. He slid the datachip into the tray and closed it.

There was a silence for a few moments before a delicate, slightly electronic voice spoke to them.

“Hello, Mummy. Hello, Daddy. Are we going home now?”

© Kari Fay

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