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"I'll call Agatha," volunteered Terry, drying his eyes.

Within minutes, Mrs. Hopkins arrived in her nightgown and robe, with Mr. Hopkins in tow. After a few exchanges, Abby, John, and Terry climbed into the jeep and started off for Watertown.

As the cold October wind numbed Abby's face, she prayed that Jake wouldn't die before she had at least one last chance to see him. A part of her screamed to God to save his life, while the other half saw this as Jake's escape from the sexual abuse that he had been so bravely enduring. Confused and grief-stricken, Abby could only trust in God's wisdom.

It was still dark when they arrived at the Mercy Memorial Hospital in Watertown. The night sky was clear, revealing a full moon in the star-dotted expanse overhead. In her grief, Abby felt as though she could almost see heaven, peering down at her from the invisible beyond.

After the small group hurried inside, they quickly located the main desk and inquired what room Jake Murphy was in.

"I'm sorry," said the nurse, "but Mr. Murphy is still in the operating room. At present, I don't have any updates on his condition."

"May I see him when the operation is over?" Abby frantically pleaded.

"Mrs. Murphy," the nurse said in a sympathetic voice, "your husband is under guard by a Deputy from the Sheriff's office. I don't think you'll be permitted to see him, without some kind of pass. I'm afraid I don't know anything more than that. If you'll take a seat in the waiting room, I'll send the doctor over as soon as he comes out of surgery."

John and Terry led Abby to the waiting room and located a few empty seats. Even though it was so early in the morning, other people were also there, some looking worried and concerned, but everyone looking tired.

"I'm calling Dick," declared Terry, suddenly jumping to his feet as the thought occurred to him.

Within minutes, Jake's former warden came rushing into the waiting room, the small tuft of hair on his balding head still uncombed.

"Have you heard any more news, yet?" he asked breathlessly.

"No," answered John, as Abby quietly wept on her father's shoulder. "The nurse said we probably won't get to see Jake when he comes out of the operation, because he's under guard."

"Yes, that's probably true," confirmed Dick, knowingly. "It's regulation for the person requesting hospital visits to go down to the prison, and get a written permission from the Watch Commander. The permission must be presented to the guard, before anyone can visit a hospitalized inmate. Let me make a few calls," he said, checking his watch.

Dick went to the payphone while Abby silently petitioned God to let her see Jake, even if it was for the last time.

Not longer after, Dick returned with a hopeful face.

"I just talked to someone I know at the pen," he informed them. "I need to go down there and pick up the visit pass. I'll be back just as soon as I can. Hold tight, young lady."

Without another word, Dick ran from the hospital as fast as his legs would carry him.

Unable to sit still any longer, John got up and paced the length of the waiting room with Terry, while Abby remained seated where she was.
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