With a heart that’s tearing into pieces, I raise my head and then I keep on walking.
Its windy and drizzling when I step outside the hospital. Wrapping my short jacket tighter around me, I hurry down the steps and pick up the speed when the hair on my neck stands. Throwing a look over my shoulder, I expect someone to be after me but there’s nobody there. Running across the parking lot, I flinch when I slip on a puddle and fall.
Ouch...that hurt. Looking at my palms, I groan. Great, as if this night couldn’t get any worse I had to scratch myself too. Brushing myself off, I get up and run over to my car. Those prickles start going at me again, chills raking down my spine and I fumble with fishing my car keys out of my purse. I flood with relief when I hear the clicky sound and my car door opens.
Getting in, I shudder at the cold inside and I’m about to start the engine when I slump. I should’ve at least taken a photo of him, taken some kind of memorabilia so that I won’t ever forget him. He’ll never forget me, that I do know. He’s got an A carved of his arm for crying out loud and I bury my face in my hands and let out a weak sob.
I allow myself to mourn for a short moment before shrugging.
Okay, need to control myself now.
Rubbing my nose with my sleeve, I look up and start the car. The lights turn on and I glance over my shoulder to back out of the parking spot. Once I’ve done that, I turn around again and freeze at the figure blocking the way.
Pale and gaunt in his hospital gown, fists clenched and a maddened look in his eyes.
I turn the wheel around when he with a snarl throws himself at the hood and I hit the breaks in panic, causing him to roll off and he falls on the ground. Choking on a frantic scream, I’m about to get out but John’s already opened the door and is crawling in.
“The fuck are you doing?” he growls in a guttural voice, greedily grabbing my thighs to help himself up.
“What are you doing?” I cry. “You could’ve killed yourself. Throwing yourself over hoods when you’re half unalived already!” He grunts, using my body as a crutch while I shudder and I add, “What happened with the sleeping p...pills.”
“Spat them out.” He grabs me, sits down on my seat and puts me in his lap before clasping my face. “I knew you were up to something, you little witch.” He rubs his thumb over my mouth. “Explanation. Now.”
I shake my head. “Nah-ah, you’re going right back into that hospital bed. I am so not dealing with this...!”
“Autumn,” he warns and I twitch. “I’m a very sick man as you can see. I need you to do as I say, now tell me everything.”
I cross my arms. “You wouldn’t have been so sick if you’d actually stick to the treatment,” I pout but trail off. “Fine, I’ll tell you. Guess I don’t have a choice.” John gives a curt nod and I sigh, “I used to work as an assistant for this veterinarian. Everything was great at first but then I began suspecting that he was up to some shady business.”
“What shady business?”
“I think he was smuggling meds meant for animals to humans. Supplies would mysteriously disappear, freaky people would come in and speak to him. Scary people would come too.” I glance at John and gulp. “Like you.”
“Me?” John frowns.
“I walked in on you one day. You had your hand around his throat. You were threatening him, warned him that he needed to stop selling...and then you locked eyes with me.” I swallow again. “You squeezed harder around his throat and then you said and I quote, “why the fuck does a doll like that work for an asshole like you?”
Licking my lips I add, “Something about the way you spoke and the way you acted scared me and I realized I was dealing with something way out of my comfort zone. And so I ran, I unofficially quit and laid low for a couple of days. I then decided to try leaving the state but you caught me. I guess you’d been keeping an eye on me the whole time.”
I squirm. “Or tried to. That’s when you fell from the bridge.”
John frowns. “How come you’re here? Why didn’t you keep running if you were so scared?”
“Before you fell, you called for me and...your voice was so warm and you yelled that you cared about me. And I believed you, you know?” I gulp. “I took the job as a volunteer when I found out you were in a blackout. And nobody came around looking for you and... I know it’s weird but you just weren’t as scary when you were um...comatose”
Licking my lips, I add, “And like I said, you’d claimed to care about me.” I lower my gaze. “Nobody’s ever said that to me before.”
He strokes my face. “What’s my name? What’s my job?” John asks but I helplessly shrug.