The Heaven Trilogy

Free The Heaven Trilogy by Ted Dekker

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Authors: Ted Dekker
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swallowed hard. What this one face here could possibly have to do with the others he could not fathom. He did not know this face. Had never seen a face in such agony, so distorted in pain.
    And then he did know this face. The simple truth tore through his mind like an ingot of lead crashing through his skull.
    This was Gloria on the bed!
    His heart was suddenly smashing against his rib cage, desperate to be out. His jaw fell slowly. A high-pitched screaming set off in his mind, denouncing this madness. Cursing this idiocy. This was no more Gloria than some body pulled from a mass grave in a war zone. How dare he be so sure? How dare he stand here frozen like some puppet when all the while everything was just fine? There had been a mistake, that was all. He should run over there and settle this.
    Problem was, Kent could not move. Sweat leaked from his pores, and he began to breathe in ragged lurches. No! Spencer was out in the lobby, his ten-year-old boy who desperately needed Mommy. This could not be Gloria! He needed her! Sweet, innocent Gloria with a mouth that tasted of honey. Not . . . not this!
    The doctor reached down and pulled the white sheet over the bloated face.
    And why? Why did that fool pull that sheet like that?
    A grunt echoed down the hall—his grunt.
    Then Kent began to move again. In four long bounds he was at the door. Someone yelled from behind, but it meant nothing to him. He gripped the silver knob and yanked hard.
    The door would not budge. Turn, then! Turn the fool thing! He turned the knob and pulled. Now the door swung open to him, and he staggered back. In the same moment he saw the name on a chart beside the door.
    Gloria Anthony.
    Kent began to moan softly.
    The bed was there, and he reached it in two steps. He shoved aside a white-coated doctor. People began to shout, but he could not make out their words. Now he only wanted one thing. To pull back that white sheet and prove they had the wrong woman.
    A hand grabbed his wrist, and he snarled. He twisted angrily and smashed the man into the wall. “No!” he shouted. An IV pole toppled and crashed to the floor. An amber monitor spit sparks and blinked to black, but these details occurred in the distant, dark horizon of Kent’s mind. He was fixated on the still, white form on the hospital bed.
    Kent gripped the sheet and ripped it from the body.
    A whoosh! sounded as the sheet floated free and then slowly settled to the ground. Kent froze. A naked, pale body laced with purple veins and blotches the size of apples lay lifeless before him. It was bloated, like a pumped-up doll, with tubes still forcing mouth and throat open.
    It was Gloria.
    Like a shaft of barbed iron the certainty pierced right through him. He staggered back one step, swooning badly.
    The world faded from him then. He was faintly aware that he was spinning and then running. Smashing into the door, facefirst. He could not feel the pain, but he could hear the crunch when his nose broke on impact with the wooden door. He was dead, possibly. But he couldn’t be dead because his heart was on fire, sending flames right up his throat.
    Then he lurched past the door somehow, pelting for the swinging ICU entry, bleeding red down his shirt, suffocating. He banged through the doors, just as the first wail broke from his throat. A cry to the Supreme Being who might have had his hand in this.
    â€œOh, God! Oh, Gauwwwd!”
    To his right, Spencer and Helen stood wide eyed, but he barely saw them. Warm blood ran over his lips, and it gave him a strange, fleeting comfort. The gutturals blared from his spread mouth, refusing to retreat. He could not stop to breathe. Back there his wife had just died.
    â€œOh, God! Oh, Gauwwwd!”
    Kent fled through the halls, his face white and red, wailing in long deathly moans, turning every head as he ran.
    A dozen startled onlookers stood aside when he broke into the parking lot, dripping blood and slobbering and gasping. The wails

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