Nurse Hespera.
Copyright 2011, 2018 by Raymond Johnson. Fifth edition.

Dedicated to everyone at the Lulu Forums for their continued encouragement.

"When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are, anything your heart desires, will come to you." - Ned Washington & Leigh Harline.

After getting seperated from her mother during a shopping trip a twelve year old girl finds herself lost in the middle of town in an area of waste ground next to a building site. Unable to walk due to an ankle injury and unable to raise help she is forced to spend the night outside in the pouring rain. In the midst of despair and on the brink of hyperthermia she is discovered by a passing nurse who saves her life. However the young girl receives the shock of her life when she discovers who the nurse really is.



Chapter 1 - Getting Lost

It must have been twenty years since that fateful day. Whenever I look back upon it even now I still don't fully comprehend what happened. Maybe it was my imagination, I may have summoned her into existence due to my impaired state of mind, but I know deep down that wasn't the case.

It all began on an overcast afternoon in late autumn. I was 12 years old. It was a Saturday and I was in town with my mother doing some early Christmas shopping.

"How about this?!" I called out to my mum within the crowded shop, "Jessica would love this!"

My mother walked over to me squeezing past the other shoppers. She looked at me holding a Barbie Doll complete with nurse's outfit.

"I've never seen a nurse Barbie before," I added.

"I thought you said you weren't into dolls anymore on account that you've grown out of childish toys," my mum said.

I gave her a strong glare.

"I didn't mean for myself," I said through gritted teeth, "I meant for Jessica. You know that's what I said!"

"Jessica's far too young to appreciate a toy like that," my mother replied calmly, "And we both know who'd end up playing with it."

I slammed the box back on the shelf and walked away in a huff. I was at a very moody age and my mother enjoyed winding me up. Of course I loved dolls when I was young like most girls did, but I was no longer a little kid. In fact I didn't need her to chaperone me whilst out shopping yet she always insisted. I was old enough to do Christmas shopping on my own, I didn't need her.

Within a few short moments I had become separated from my mother and was surrounded by the crowds of shoppers. I wasn't worried, I wasn't a child that starts bawling the instant she's loses sight of her mum, instead I calmly walked over to the shop entrance knowing that we would eventually set sight upon each other once more.

In fact I still felt a little flustered and thought of a way to get back at her for treating me like a kid. I decided to leave the shop and walk back to the car. We would still meet up later but not until after she had gotten herself into a panic. It was a good plan.

I looked toward the crowd in the shop hoping my mother hadn't already caught sight of me then quickly rushed out through the entrance onto the pavement outside and headed towards the car park. With it being autumn the nights grew in early and it was already late afternoon. It was also starting to rain and my coat was no more than a thin school blazer. It didn't bother me however a little drop of rain never hurt anyone, or so I thought.

The streets were busy and while I thought I knew my way around town it was difficult with so many people filling the pavement ahead. I knew the car park was on the right hand side and I was going to have to cross the road but I couldn't appear to find the crossing. I was going to have to rush across during a gap in the traffic. It wouldn't be difficult, besides, a lot of others were doing the same.

I rushed across the road practically dodging a bus as it pulled out from the curb. As I reached the other side I headed straight towards an area covered with tarmac thinking that was the car park. It was surprisingly bare considering the amount of shoppers in town. It then dawned on me that it wasn't the car park after all as it was surrounded by cones preventing people from driving into it. It oozed with a strange smell that was disgusting yet also pleasant once it wafted up the nostrils. It was freshly laid tarmac. There was a building site nearby so I guessed it must have been something to do with that. Possibly a new car park for an office still under construction. Some builders were sitting around but I couldn't see anyone actually doing any work, but I guessed that was typical.

I continued heading down the street searching for the car park but the road turned a corner leading to more shops. It was clear I couldn't find it and was only going to get even more lost if I continued looking. So I decided to turn around and go back the way I came.

A lot of shoppers headed into my direction carrying lots of shopping bags causing me to step out of the way beside a lamp post. It then dawned on me where I had gone wrong in my search. I had crossed the road far too late and must have walked past the car park. I remembered the many decorated lamp posts that surrounded it. All I had to do was head back up the road and I should come across it.

I took a deep breath and with haste walked back along the pavement while trying to remember the exact location. I still wasn't worried and besides, I felt old enough to look after myself. I could walk all the way home if I so desired.

A big digger lorry pulled out across the pavement as it left the building site causing everyone to have to wait. Its yellow blinking light appeared bright as night was falling.

Turning my gaze I saw an area of waste ground behind the building site. There were some children on bikes riding up and down the many bumps and small hills. Beyond that were the decorated street lights in the distance and the car park I was heading for. A simple shortcut behind the building site would cut time off my journey as well as being out of the way of the many shoppers slowing me down. I wasn't sure I was allowed but there was no fence to stop people so I quickly headed down a newly laid pavement heading for the waste ground.

The grass squelched underfoot but it wasn't too muddy and it would probably only take a few minutes to cross. I was wearing my school shoes with worn flat soles but it wasn't to be a problem as long as I treaded carefully.

In almost in instant the light hazy rain increased dramatically turning into a downpour. I held my hands covering my head and continued across the waste ground. The decorated streetlights were lit up causing a glow around the car park as if highlighting my destination. My mind was already rehearsing the argument I would have with my mother. I would twist it around to make it appear she was the one at fault, using her own sense of guilt to punish her for treating me like a little kid.

I bit my own tongue as a sharp pain shot up my leg causing my to collapse into a heap. I gritted my teeth trying to hold back my urge to scream. My foot had twisted as it slipped against a mound of earth causing a stabbing pain. I held both hands around my ankle cradling it in the hope the throbbing would stop.

"Grrr!" I growled because of the anger I felt rather than the pain.

I remained motionless, intentionally not moving, while taking deep breaths waiting for the pain to disperse. However, it didn't, and I was sure it was increasing.

Very cautiously I wobbled back to my feet and looked out across the waste ground. The children on bicycles had already gone and night had arrived quickly. I felt totally alone. The lights from the car park and the town still shone bright and there were still shoppers around but I wasn't sure they could see me. I tentatively attempted to put weight on my right foot to see if I could walk, but there was no way I could even take a single step. The pouring rain continued to fall upon me soaking through my clothes onto my skin.

"Hello!" I yelled out toward the busy shoppers making their way along the street in the distance.

There was no way they could hear my timid voice over the sound of the downpour.

"Help!" I yelled as loud as I could, "Please help me!"

There was no reaction from anyone.

I knelt down to the ground and wrapped my arms around myself. Someone was sure to find me soon, I thought to myself, it was just a matter of time.


Chapter 2 - Finding Shelter

The shoppers in the distance were hurrying, including the ones with umbrellas, while I sat upon the wet ground becoming saturated by the rain. My hands were rested upon my head but they offered no protection against my soggy hair that soaked up every droplet of water like a sponge. If only I was able to walk I could at least find shelter instead of sitting there like a sorry mess.

"Help me someone!" I screamed out at the top of my voice hurting my throat before bursting into tears.

No one could hear me over the sound of the ferocious rain that psychically hurt my body with every drop feeling more like stones than water. It was pitch dark all around and I wasn't sure anyone would find me until daylight, but would I even last until then? It was sure to be a cold night.

My tears warmed my face as they flowed down my cheeks closely followed by another warm feeling between my legs as I peed myself. It wasn't intentional, I had no urge to do so, it was as though my body was doing things of its own accord and not listening to my brain.

I continued to sit on the ground having no idea what to do next. I couldn't concentrate. Having never experienced such a thing before I wasn't sure what to do. Was it better to remain where I was or try to move and risk hurting my ankle further?

I heaved myself up from the ground only to immediately crouch down onto my knees due to the pain in my foot. It was then that I realised I could move if I crawled on all fours. The busy town behind me and the car park ahead was quite a distance for a crawl, but I had no other choice. I decided to head for the car park in the hope my mother would be waiting for me.

The grass grew increasingly muddy and my hands dirty as the ground squelched while I crawled. With so many bumps, holes and small hills it was sure to take a long time. There was also a lot of debris scattered around too, broken masonry, bits of glass and twisted metal to name a few. It was difficult to see a lot of it so I had to take extra care with every moment of my body. My right foot throbbed and every so often I had to stop and stretch my leg to see if I should shake away the pain.

There was no let up in the rain as it continued to pour. I even felt the urge to give up and simply lay down but the thought of my mum searching for me made me more determined to press ahead. This had now become a matter of life and death.

There was something strange ahead of me that caught my attention. The rain was splashing against something metallic, like a sheet of corrugated roof, but as I crawled closer I realised it was an entire shed partly buried in the ground. At first I assumed it must have partly sunk in the mud due to the heavy rain but it couldn't have possibly been the case for it wasn't anywhere near muddy enough for that. Either way it would be a good place to shelter for a while so I headed towards it.

My hands and knees grew intensively filthy as I crawled at a faster pace towards the metal shed. I knew of the dangers of moving at speed but was eager to get into shelter as fast as possible. It was taking a long time to reach it while I counted every second in my mind in the hope that would somehow speed up my pace.

As I approached I noticed a steep set of metal steps that led into the half buried shed. It was pitch dark inside and I hesitated with fear.

"Hello?!" I called out in the slim chance someone was hiding inside, "Hello?!"

I turned around looking at the distant glow of the town, then turned toward the car park and its decorated street lights. I couldn't possibly make it in my condition and needed shelter immediately. I had no choice but to enter the shed.

"Hello!" I yelled out yet again.

I turned my body around and very cautiously crawled down the steps backwards. I was weeping intensely.

"I'm scared!" I said in a loud whisper.

There were no more than six steps before I reached the bottom. Luckily it was bone dry but the stone floor felt awfully cold. I could see nothing whatsoever, not even my hand in front of my face. I slowly moved into the corner and hugged myself while shivering intensely.


Chapter 3 - Wish Upon A Star

The sound of the rain as it tapped against the metal roof eventually stopped after what seemed like hours. In fact I had no idea how long I had been there with it being so dark to even take glance at my watch. Everything was silent, I couldn't hear any distant sounds of cars or shoppers, so I guessed it was the middle of the night.

My mother was probably frantic with worry. She would have called the police and they would be searching for me. I imagined they all thought I was abducted and not sitting inside a sunken shed behind a building site in the middle of town. Would they even think of looking for me in such a place?

My clothing was soaked through and I knew I was cold but somehow I didn't feel it and was no longer shivering. I still hugged myself tightly however and was afraid to move any part of my body.

"Somebody help me!" I screamed out frightening myself as my voice echoed loudly.

I slowly wiggled my fingers then my hands willing my body to move. I then wiggled my feet and changed my position so I was on all fours again taking care not to hurt my ankle further. I then crawled back towards the steps and heaved myself up taking a peek outside.

The sky was clear and the air frightfully crisp. In the distance I could see no movement from anyone in town but I did still notice cars in the car park so maybe it wasn't as late as I had first thought. It was still too dark to see my watch however even when I moved my wrist trying to view it at another angle.

"Mummy!" I yelled out.

I gulped deeply as I felt the urge to vomit but instead tears and snot poured out from my face.

To my right was a shooting star flying across the sky. It would have been a wonderful spectacle under different circumstances. I gave it no more than a quick glace.

"I need help!" I shouted as loud as I could.

With that the shooting star vanished from the corner of my eye. Maybe I was mistaken, it could have been a distant firework. I then crawled backwards into the far corner of the shed sobbing loudly whilst hugging myself not being sure I would last the night.


Chapter 4 - Barbie?

My eyelids felt heavy and I was constantly blinking but I wasn't sure if it was due to tiredness or so much crying. If I closed my eyes for more than a few moments they hurt when opening them again due to my tears sticking them together. In fact it was difficult to tell whether they were closed or not with the shed being pitch dark.

I suddenly jumped startled by the sound of something outside. It sounded like the ground squelching under footsteps. Someone was approaching.

"I'm here. I'm in here!" I shouted, "I need help!"

An intense relief filled my body as the pace of the footsteps increased and grew louder. I could then hear the sound of heavy shoes against the metal steps as someone entered the shed. From their silhouette I could make out that this person was wearing a large cloak reminding me somewhat of a superhero.

"Poor thing," I heard a soft female voice respond.

"Can you help me please?!" I cried, "I'm cold and lost, and I want my mum..."

This person standing before me stepped away from the entrance and vanished into the darkness of the shed.

"That's what I'm here for," she responded.

I could hear her crouch down in front of me as if trying to get a closer look, but there was no way she could see anything in the pitch dark. I felt we were about to bump heads as I sensed her so close to me so I leant back slightly out of the way. She wore an unusual perfume that reminded me of plastic, or the smell of paint. She remained totally silent and if it wasn't for her odour I would have sworn she had left.

"I've broken my ankle," I told her, "I can't walk."

"Don't worry yourself about that," the woman immediately responded, "Our main priority is getting you warmed up, you're already showing signs of hypothermia."

I heard her stand and begin walking around inside the shed. Her shoes echoed against the stone floor.

"This is an old Anderson Shelter," she said, "I remember these from the war. I'm surprised it's still in such good condition."

I could hear her doing something at the back of the shed as if moving objects around. I couldn't believe she was able to see what she was doing. I had to turn my gaze toward the entrance to view the dim light from outside just to be sure I hadn't turned blind.

She also had an unusual accent that seemed to waver between English and American. Maybe she was Canadian, I couldn't be sure.

Suddenly there was the sound of a striking match and a small flame which in turn lit a small fire within a stove at the back of the shed.

"We'll soon get this place warmed up," she said as she turned to face me.

I couldn't believe my eyes as the dim light of the stove grew in intensity and lit the small shed. I wasn't sure if I was dreaming or not and had to blink my eyes wide open. The woman standing before me was a life sized Barbie Doll!


Chapter 5 - Medical Attention

The strange Barbie Doll woman was dressed in a traditional nurse's uniform complete with hat and cape. She was the spitting image of the nurse doll I saw earlier that day in the shop. She began to adjust the stove some more which had the effect of increasing the intensity of its flame. She then walked over to me and knelt down.

"You're completely soaked through you poor thing," she said as she squeezed my wet clothing.

I nodded in response as I stared directly at her face.

"Come closer to the stove," she said, "Before you catch your death."

"I can't walk," I replied quietly while staring up into her eyes as they reflected the glow from the stove, "My ankle still hurts."

I felt her hand touch my right ankle causing me to flinch with a sharp pain.

"Sorry," she said as she gently felt it with her fingers.

As of that moment I hadn't told her which ankle was in pain yet she appeared to know which one. The massage of her fingers felt warming.

"Now I'll be as careful as I can but this may hurt a little," she said as she held onto my right shoe ready to remove it.

"Okay," I replied, "I'm ready."

"You may scream if you so wish or swear if it hurts," she added which caused me to smirk at her choice of words.

With ease and without causing me any further pain she gently removed my right shoe followed by my sock then continued to feel my ankle.

"Wiggle your toes for me," she said.

I did as she asked while she continued to hold my foot cupping my heel within her palm while gently holding my toes with her other hand.

"There's certainly some swelling but I assure you it's not broken," she said calmly, "It'll me fine in a few days."

"Thank you," I responded quietly.

She then proceeded to remove my left shoe and sock placing both pairs together beside the stove before turning back to face me and smiling.

She placed her arms around my body then physically picked me up from the floor without any sign of effort on her part. I quickly lowered my legs. Very slowly I hobbled in bare feet on the cold stone floor over to the stove while she continued to hold me.

"There that wasn't so bad was it?" She said.

I nodded while continuing to stare at her. I was sure she hadn't blinked her eyes even once.

"We need to get you out of those wet things," she said while beginning to remove my wet blazer, "They'll dry out nicely on the stove."

I nodded again as she began removing my clothing one item at a time. After she removed all of my top clothing she removed my belt and trousers leaving me in just my knickers.

"I'm aware of your little accident," she said, "We can dry them out too, don't worry."

How could she possibly have known about that? I thought to myself. Maybe she could see the urine stain.

She then lowered my underwear and placed them down with the rest of my clothing. Even though I was naked I felt a lot warmer than I did before. I stood closer to the stove allowing the heat to touch my bare skin. The nurse placed each item of my clothing above the stove hanging them onto the wall using the screws that held the shed together as hooks. She then positioned my shoes against the base of the stove.

"These'll soon dry out," she said, "But they may end up smelling of smoke afterwards, that can't be helped."

She then turned to look at me as I stood naked practically leaning over the stove. With one swift movement she removed her cloak and wrapped it around my shoulders.

"Don't stand too close to the heat," she said, "This isn't flameproof."

I hobbled as I took a step away from the stove. Her cloak felt lovely and warm with its fur lining against my bare skin. I closed my eyes basking in the pleasurable feeling.

"You're out of danger from hypothermia," she said, "So it's safe to sleep now if you so wish."

I turned my head looking for a place to lay down in the bare shed with its stone floor. The nurse calmly sat herself down leaning against the metal wall opposite then smiled.

"It's okay you can sleep on me," she said holding out her arms.

She knew I had difficulty walking and was intentionally not helping. I slowly hobbled over to her. She didn't hold onto me until I was at arms length then sat me down on her lap.

"You may sleep now child," she said.

"Thank you Barbie," I replied.

She responded with a half snigger before gently squeezing my shoulders. I put my thumb in my mouth and rested my head against her chest before gently falling to sleep.


Chapter 6 - Morning

The night passed quickly as I woke to find myself still in her arms. She was staring ahead with her non blinking eyes as if deep in thought. Her cheeks reflected the light from the stove giving them a warm glow. She noticed I had awoken and looked down at me.

"You slept for a long time," she said, "Are you fully rested?"

I nodded while trying to hold in my yawn.

"Very well," she said, "I think it's time to get you home."

I slowly climbed from her and stood myself up. My body felt cramped causing me to have to stretch out my arms. She on the other hand was able to stand to her feet without any signs of ache in her body whatsoever. I looked at my watch then pointed it toward the glowing stove to get a better look. It was 6.30am.

"Your clothing's dry," Barbie said as she rested her hands against them, "But I think your shoes may still be a little damp."

She removed her cloak from around my body and fastened it around her neck. The sudden cold feeling made me shiver for a brief moment. I was going to miss not wearing it. She then helped me to get dressed and carefully put my socks and shoes back on. My ankle was still tender but far less than before.

"Your mother's more than likely to have contacted the police about your disappearance," she said, "So we'll take you to the nearest police station in town, they'll return you home where I suggest you have a nice warm bath and a proper sleep in bed."

"Okay," I responded.

It was then I noticed she kept using the word we when talking about herself. Maybe it was just her way of speaking. She then started brushing my hair using her hand.

"Barbie?" I said to her.

"Yes," she responded.


I wasn't sure of what I wanted to say let alone how to ask. Was she real? Was she a giant Barbie Doll? Was I dreaming? I had a lot of questions with each one more outlandish than the last. I decided to remain quiet.

"Come on," she said, "Let's go."

She picked me up and carried me up the metal steps to the waste ground above. It was still dark and bitingly cold. She continued holding me in her arms while heading towards town.


Chapter 7 - Goodbyes

She walked at a remarkable pace across the waste ground despite the rubbish and uneven surface. I was amazed she never fell over. I was carried over the waste ground, past the building site, into the town centre and directly to the police station in a very short space of time.

However as soon as we reached the steps leading to the entrance of the police station she suddenly stopped and placed me down onto the top step.

"I'm going to have to take my leave," she said.

As I looked up at her I could see the bright stars glistening in the clear sky behind her. They appeared to twinkle more brightly than usual and reflected within her shiny eyes.

"Please don't go," I responded, "I still need you."

She smiled at me.

"You'll be fine," she said, "Just don't be in too much of a hurry to grow up."

I wrapped my arms around her and held her tight.

"Goodbye," she said.

I let go of her as tears started forming within my eyes.

"Bye," I said.

She calmly turned around and walked down the steps and away from the police station. I waved at her but she didn't look back. As I looked up at the dark sky I saw another shooting star as it flew at speed across the sky into the distance. I then opened the large doors of the police station and went inside.



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