Teddy the tortoise had been roaming the ward longer than anybody else. Not even Audrey the elderly orderly knew who named him—or why he wandered the garden paths at night.
Ann never admitted, not even years later, that she was behind it, but someone—let’s just say it was Ann—started sticking candles on Teddy’s back on Friday nights.
With the candle or without, Teddy walked the paths the same as ever, his glacial pace steady, the candlelight flickering through the desert night, glancing off the Joshua trees, the teddy-bear cholla, the ocotillo, and cactuses small and large before dancing through the open windows and caressing the kids’ faces.
Ann never admitted she was behind it, but the candles stopped after she walked out the double doors onto the sun-baked sidewalk and stepped into her mom’s car. Sure, she used a cane, but she walked out under her own power.
As for Teddy, he’s still walking the garden every night, slow and steady, sure as the world, as unstoppable as time.
This story was prompted by Tracey-Anne Plater (a candle, a tortoise, a hospital).
Leave me a comment with an inanimate object, a living thing, and a location and I will write a story with it.