He couldn't bear to see the accusation in her eyes. What was he supposed to do? Accept on blind faith that he'd lost or forgotten almost twenty years of his life and take it on trust that this woman was really his grown-up daughter? Or believe he was being duped by some nefarious trickster?
He looked at his hands. Did they look the same as he remembered? The palms were as clean and smooth as they'd always been, as far as he could tell and if there were wrinkles on the backs of his hands, well, that was probably part of the deception too.
He felt his face. There was no use looking in the mirror. Any self respecting trickster would have an image of an old man set up for him to look at. No, the trick was in the feeling. What did wrinkles feel like, anyway? Would he know? Or would the act of running his finger over them smooth them out and negate the check?
“What are you doing?” The nurse paused at the doorway. “I've got to go, Dad. Simon will be home soon and Len's really upset.”
“Just seeing if I needed a shave.” Harold smiled at her. Whether she was Lucy or she wasn't, she deserved to be smiled at. Even demons liked to be smiled at. “You get off. I'm sorry I upset the boy. I'm in a bit of a two-and-eight at the moment.”
“That's okay, Dad. I'll talk to him. See you tomorrow.”
“Bye.” He watched her leave. For the moment he was all alone in the hospital room. How come he had a room to himself, anyway? Weren't hospitals overfull and understaffed? With no-one left in the room to observe him, would he cease to exist?