Lion Among Lambs
Lion Among Lambs
Living life as a non person was pitiful. Tom Avery shoved his hands into his pockets as he approached a homeless shelter. He had no where else he could go. The people back at the Armory told him that everyone thought he was dead. They even brought him back from the dead because he was something they called a doppleganger. None of it made any sense to him. The more he thought about it, the more his head hurt.
The young lady behind the desk at the shelter smiled warmly at him. “How can I help you Sir?” She asked. Mercy on a strange man in a strange place made him cling to one glimmer of hope. Maybe he could rebuild his life, but at what cost?
“I have no place to go.” He managed to say. “I have no money, but I’m a trained paramedic. I can help out in the clinic or infirmary if you have one?” He had a week’s worth of stubble on his chin and he didn’t remember the last time he’d showered.
The girl behind the desk smiled. “We never turn anyone away from here. I promise. Just wait right here. I’ll be right back.” The girl seemed eager to help and genuine in her emotion and concern.
Tom nodded. He saw coffee and donuts off to the side. The Armory called him a doppleganger, but dopplegangers had to eat too. When the girl stepped into one of the offices, he moved over to where the coffee and donuts were. He took a stryofoam cup and poured some of the coffee into it. Some creamer sat nearby as did sugar. He could remember many late night runs in Atlanta that took him into the wee hours of the morning. That pot of coffee at the nurses station in the ER was a lifesaver. As for a donut, he went simple with a glazed one. When you were hungry, the last thing you cared about was cream filling.
The former paramedic started to take in his surroundings. It was a modest dwelling with a closed in lobby and a simple glass door in the front. There were several books and magazines there with highly Christian themes, especially the several copies of the New Testament sitting on a table that was labeled FREE TAKE ONE. Tom decided to pick up a copy and slide it into his pocket. Nothing like a little reading material right?. His parents did raise him in a good Southern Baptist Home. What would they say if they knew he had been plucked from the afterlife with no real meaning and by magical means. He shrugged his shoulders and walked around a bit more.
Down another corridor came a varying degree of smells that made his stomach rumble more. This particular homeless shelter had a soup kitchen in it. Oh sure, they served more than just soup, but that was just a generalized term. Tom was sure he could pick out a few distinct smells like something with chicken, buy right now he definitely wasn’t the least bit picky.
There was a man across the room who was trying not to blatantly stare at him. Tom could tell that the man was looking at him like he’d seen a ghost. It was a bit unnerving to say the least. He leaned against the wall trying to avoid the man’s gaze. Unfortunately the innate curiosity of the man got the better of him. “Stefan? Is that you?” The man asked as he got into closer range.
Tom ground his teeth and practically bit the coffee cup that was raised by his hands to his lips. He put on a pained smile and turned around. “I’m sorry. My name is Tom.”
The confused man could see that he’d annoyed the other. “Sorry. My mistake.” He backed away slowly feeling more than a little confused.
Maybe trying to stay in Mystic Falls was a truly bad idea. If one person thought he was Stefan Salvatore, another was likely to pop up. He had just finished his coffee when a friendly woman with snow white hair, almond shaped eyes and high cheekbones came toward him. She was almost the perfect image of what a grandma should look like. “My granddaughter tells me you’re a paramedic by trade. It’s like God Himself sent you here. We definitely need your help.” She extended her hand to him.
Tom took her hand and shook it. He smiled warmly at her grateful he had not run away. “I told your granddaughter that I have no place to go and I’d be glad to help out in your infirmary if you have one.”
The grandmother was absolutely delighted that he was here. She believed firmly in divine providence. Having him here was an answer to prayer. “Come with me. What was your name?”
“Tom Avery. I was employed by Metro General in Atlanta about ten years ago.” He knew he was likely going to have to be checked out of course. He wasn’t a doctor but he could treat less serious cases and if something happened, then he could stabilize someone until medical help arrived. “I’m sure you have a doctor that comes in from time to time.” He added as he followed her down the hall.
She turned toward the left and the simple room inside. “This is our infirmary, Tom. And you’re right, we do have a doctor that comes in when she can donating her time for the good of the community.” The grandma was happy to have him here. She just had a good feeling about him.
Tom felt at ease in the room. It looked almost like a throwback to the rooms of the 1980s and the neighborhood doctors office. He was looking around when the granddaughter came back with a few clothing items. She laid them on the bed for the patients in the room. “Thought you might want a fresh change of clothes and a shower.” The girl responded.
Tom was so relieved that he almost cried. “Thank you. Thank you for everything.” He spoke with a soft voice.
"Not all those who wander are lost." - Tolkien