WIPpet Wednesday—No chance for a miracle

A few of my favorite recent pictures from my walks around the pond:





WIPpet Wednesday is a weekly bloghop hosted by K.L. Schwengel. The caveat is that excerpts must be related to the date in some way. I’m sharing 23 lines, for 22+2015.

Aleksey’s 18th birthday party has been adjourned in the wake of one of his nephews, 35-month-old Prince Savva Konstantinovich, suffering a cerebral hemorrhage after a minor fall. Some people left for the rival Vladimir Palace to continue their merrymaking, and then Aleksey himself left the party for his nephew’s sick bed, over several protests. As much as he hates having to revisit the kind of scene which is now just the stuff of nightmarish memories, it’ll be far worse to remain at the banquet.


Unhappily taking a therapeutic mud bath in the Crimea

By the time Aleksey had reached Olga and Konstantin’s room, the palace pediatrician had been summoned and Savva lay unresponsive on the bed.  One of the palace chapel’s priests was also in the room.  Almost more heart-stopping than the sight of Savva was Olga, who sat in a corner clutching a prayer rope.  She hadn’t looked so catatonic and melancholic since captivity.

“This is very bad,” the doctor said. “The child has lost consciousness, and will probably be gone before daybreak.  There are six other priests on their way here to perform Extreme Unction.  He’s too far gone for mere Last Rites.”

“Are you absolutely sure he can’t make a miraculous recovery?” Konstantin asked. “My brother-in-law here was given up for dead so many times, even after Last Rites, and today he’s reasonably healthy.  Don’t plan my firstborn child’s funeral while he’s still in the land of the living.”

The doctor shook his head. “I’m truly sorry, Your Highness, but this is a cerebral hemorrhage, and your son lost consciousness very quickly.  As much danger as His Majesty was in all those years ago, at least that hemorrhage wasn’t in his brain.  Who knows what caused that miraculous remission.”

“It sure as hell wasn’t that damned monk,” Mikhail said, facing a window. “Whatever happens, please don’t use this tragedy as an excuse to invite another person like that into our home.  Once was bad enough.”

“Oh, believe me, we won’t be inviting any crazed monks into this home,” Konstantin said. “I’m sure we all remember what his influence led to, and no one wants to repeat that devastation ever again.”

Twenty minutes later, the other six priests hurried into the room, carrying seven candles, a bowl of wheat with a shrine lamp, wine, olive oil, and seven anointing brushes.  Savva still hadn’t regained consciousness, nor was there there any sign he was recovering.  During the entire ceremony, he lay motionless across his father’s lap.


10 thoughts on “WIPpet Wednesday—No chance for a miracle

  1. I was rather relieved to read the caption on that photo – for a moment, I thought he was covered in blood and was trying to believe that volume of it was possible.

    Good to see they have learned from history and aren’t going to let it repeat itself. What an awful situation to be in, though; I can’t imagine losing a child, especially to something awful like that.


  2. Are those cherry tomatoes or berries in the first picture? It’s a lovely picture, regardless. I love the colors!

    A mud bath? Ick! Like Emily, I first thought that the child was covered in blood and had lost limbs. Glad to know that wasn’t the case.


  3. The miraculous recovery hopefully will not become a source of consternation between them once Savva has been buried. This family has truly been through the wringer.

    Nice pictures. Nightshade, Echinacea, and choke berries… great colors.


  4. How awful for the family. I was thinking what Eden said–that it could be a stress between them. It often is, when one child survives something and another doesn’t.


  5. Oh. I love your writing, but I can’t love this. Especially not when I’m reading it two days before the anniversary of the day my own profoundly brain-injured little boy died.

    Sometimes, I want to change things that can’t be changed.

    Real things, and fictional ones.

    I am sending Olga all kinds of love, and the other child, and the child-to-be who won’t know a big brother…because I have one of those, too, and, all her life, it’s been a heartache we can’t fix for her. As a parent, that’s very hard to deal with, sometimes….

    Brilliantly and hauntingly written.


  6. 😦 Poor Olga and Konstantin. Losing a child is something I never, ever, ever, ever want to go through. Poor Aleksey, too. I imagine it’s very difficult to watch your nephew die of the same problem that could’ve killed you at any time. I think it would induce a lot of guilty feelings. “Why him and not me?”


  7. He really does look unhappy in that photo and I’m not surprised at all. It looks awful! (Not helped by the fact that in black and white it kind of looks like he’s being smothered in a particularly thick chocolate cake…)

    That’s a beautifully written snippet, but so very sad…


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