|Series:||Hearts of Hallowan|
|Release date:||July 30, 2011|
Blake drove his car up to the curb of the street in front of Central Park. He could hear bells ringing, signaling noon. It was raining, so the park was completely deserted, save for a depressed-looking man in a soaking-wet suit.
"Can you come here, Blake?" Jeremiah Kemne asked towards Blake, as Blake moved to close his car door while fumbling with an umbrella.
"You're soaking wet!" Blake said, disgusted, "How do you plan on helping us out like this?"
"Listen, I can't do this.... it's just too much. I just want to die." Jeremiah said this with an emotionless voice, as if he had already accepted this as a final wish.
"Well, that's not going to happen today, we've got more important things to do than worry about you. Now dry yourself off and man up, stop being a sissy and actually do something useful for a change." Blake showed no sympathy for Jeremiah. "Get in the car, now," he said with a tone of finality that Jeremiah dared not disagree with.
"You're going to do WHAT!?" Korey Ullman practically screamed the last word as Blake explained to him his plan to talk to Marci.
"Keep your voice down!" Blake hissed at him, noticing the suspicious stares of people in the main waiting area of the hospital. From behind the reception desk, a clerk poked her eyes over her computer monitor, her glare steely and cold, before returning to work. "It's the best chance we have to explain this all to her."
"But... you think that we can just parade into her room without any sort of backup plan in case we run into trouble? It's very... irresponsible."
"Listen," Blake said calmly, trying to take control of the situation. "I've thought this all through as completely as I can. It will work." Blake looked at Korey, whose doubt showed plainly on his face. "You clearly underestimate me," Blake said, his face turning into a smirk as the pair walked towards the nearest elevator.
"Well, you clearly underestimate my mother." Korey said as the door of the elevator opened and the pair stepped inside.
"We've got her pretty heavily medicated at the moment," Dr. Garenna said to Gabriel and Janie, standing outside Marci's hospital room, "but there's no telling how she's going to react when she's fully responsive. It could have been a hallucination, either as the result of the impact or of some of the drugs she was given during treatment. Either way, we re-did the brain scans and they still show no damage, none whatsoever. She didn't even have a concussion."
"So, let me hear this again," Gabriel said, in a state of near-shock, "she was... thrown into the air and didn't break any bones, lose much blood or have a concussion."
"I know it's hard to believe, and I can tell you that it certainly is amazing, but it's completely true." Dr. Garenna indicated to the window which looked into the hospital room. "There is absolutely nothing medically wrong with her, short of a couple bumps and scrapes. It is truly amazing - you've certainly been blessed, if I may say so."
"But... how?" Gabriel asked.
"Well... it's a miracle." Dr. Garenna said, clearly having no answer to Gabriel's question. "Sometimes, we just can't explain why things are the way they are, no matter how we try."
The door of the elevator opened and Korey and Blake looked out into the busy hospital ward. "Her room's down this hallway" Korey said, motioning to the right down a crowded corridor. "Quick, hide! It's my parents!"
Blake made a move to the first place he could - the open elevator car - and he was soon joined by a pair of nurses bound for the ground floor cafeteria. Korey looked back at him desperately, wishing him to find another hiding spot, but the doors to the elevator closed before he could say anything. Korey, nervous but determined to perform well, walked slowly down the crowded hallway towards his sister's room. It was time to attempt the plan.
"Hey..." Korey approached slowly as Dr. Garenna ducked back into Marci's room. "How is she?" Korey looked to Janie, who promptly looked at the floor, while Gabriel looked towards Korey and answered.
"She's sedated right now, they're not sure what she was going on about earlier. It could have just been because of the accident or drugs she was given or... they don't know, really."
"Oh," Korey said, losing a bit of hope - what good was it to get into her room to talk to her if she wasn't even conscious or responsive? "Can I just talk to..."
"NO!" Janie looked towards Korey, a look of disgust on her face, a stinging glare in her eyes. "You cannot go in and talk to her. You shouldn't be anywhere near her."
"I was going to say," Korey said, raising his voice just a little, "that I wanted to speak to you. Like, in the lobby, somewhere quiet."
"What makes you think I have anything to say to you?" Janie asked snidely.
"What if I told you I wanted to apologize?"
"I'd say it was about time."
"Janie -" Gabriel, at the risk of his own well-being, stepped in "why don't you two take a walk to the lobby and discuss what he wants to discuss."
"Gabriel!" Janie hissed at her husband, "Don't put your nose where it doesn't belong."
"Mom... please." Janie turned and looked at her son... the way he had said 'mom' to her tugged just a little bit at her emotions, and she looked at him without the same stern, almost angry, look that she had previously had.
"Well..." Janie said, attempting to regain emotional control, "if you're ready to apologize, then get on with it. Apologize to me right here."
"Mom... can we please just sit down in a quiet place and talk this out? I really want to talk about it."
"No. You should apologize for it all. Right here."
Korey considered this for a moment, but he knew he was running out of time to make his move. "I'm sorry."
"I'm sorry for lying to you. I'm sorry for lying to the family, I'm sorry for passing it along, I'm sorry for ever talking to Blake Morril."
"Well, you should be. Blake Morril cannot be trusted," Janie said.
"So, can we talk about this?"
"Well..." Janie started, but Gabriel interrupted.
"Janie, just go with him, sit down and talk to him."
"Fine, we'll sit down and talk if it will make you feel better." Janie said gruffly. With that, Korey turned and, along with Janie, made their way towards a relatively quiet room at the end of the hallway. Korey returned to the chair he had previously occupied by his daughter's bedside for a few moments, until he heard a knock at the door. He looked up and was surprised by who he saw.
"Jeremiah. Good to see you," Gabriel said warmly as he waved Jeremiah into the room. "Oh, is it still raining outside?" Gabriel asked, noticing that Jeremiah was still damp from being outside. Jeremiah nodded silently as he entered the room.
"It's good to see you again, Gabriel, though the circumstances could be better." Gabriel said, looking nervously towards Marci, who breathed lightly as she slept.
"Could they, though?" Gabriel asked rhetorically. "She got hit by a car, and she's alive without a scratch on her. It's a miracle," Gabriel smiled briefly and Jeremiah suppressed a nervous chuckle, his hands sweating.
What, Jeremiah wondered, were the odds of two girls in the same town being hit by a car on the same day? 'Not very good,' he answered to himself in his head, or so he thought....
"What was that?" Gabriel asked. "You said something?"
"Oh... no." Jeremiah brushed off his statement, and quickly tried to get conversation moving again. "It really is a miracle, I'll say."
"Yes it is, and whoever did this to her will need a miracle to still be alive after I get through with them." Jeremiah again had a nervous chuckle, and he smiled a nervous smile at Gabriel as he tried to nod in agreement with his statement.
"Is something wrong?" Gabriel asked, his keen instinct picking up on something odd... Jeremiah was hiding something. "You seem preoccupied."
"No, it's nothing... I've just got a lot on my mind."
"Are you sure everything's okay?" Gabriel asked, subduing his natural suspicions. Jeremiah nodded nervously again. "Listen... I know things have been rough since, well, since my sister left you-" Gabriel smiled a sympathetic smile, and Jeremiah just continued nodding, mostly as a coping mechanism from all the fear he was feeling "-I want you to know that I'll always see you like a brother, Jeremiah. And I'm not totally convinced of her reasons for... well, you know."
"Yeah, thanks." Jeremiah swallowed his fear, to get around to the one big question he had been sent to ask. "So, do you suppose you would maybe want to go get some drinks right now?"
"Umm, I can't, I'm actually supposed to be on duty," Gabriel said, indicating to his police uniform, "I'm just sorta 'on a break', for obvious reasons." Gabriel said, looking again towards Marci."
"Well, how about we head down to the cafeteria and grab some coffee?" Gabriel looked towards his daughter again, as if to protest, so Jeremiah jumped in again, "They've probably got her so drugged up it will be awhile before she wakes up; it couldn't hurt just to get one cup of coffee."
"No... I suppose not..." Gabriel said, as he stood up and moved with Jeremiah towards the door. As the pair passed an empty patient room, Blake poked his head out of his hiding space and moved in towards Marci's room, closing the door behind him and drawing the curtains, blocking out the windows looking into the hallway.
"Marci?" Blake leaned over her bed and spoke her name clearly. "Marci?" No response. Blake tried her name a few more times, and tried shaking her shoulders or other tricks to wake her up. "Marci? Please wake up... I have to talk to you. I have to get you out." At once, Marci's eyes darted wide open and focused in on Blake's.
"I have to get out." Marci said frankly, as if the sedatives had no effect whatsoever.
"You led me away under false pretenses!" from above the low din of the hospital corridor, the angry voice of Janie Ullman could be heard approaching, followed up quickly by a frantic one.
"Mom, Mom Please! Please hear me out!" Gabriel eyed the drawn curtains of the hospital room and knew immediately what it meant. He ran towards his mother as she drew ever closer to the hospital room door... "Please, just stop and listen to me!"
Janie turned around on her heel and marched up to her son. "NO, you listen TO ME! I've had it with your lies! I've had it with your games! I've had it with your tactics to spite me and hurt me! GET OUT!! Get out of here now!"
"Janie, calm down..." Gabriel stepped off the elevator quickly at the sound of his wife's voice, a frightened-looking Jeremiah following holding two disposable coffee cups in his hands. He too noticed the drawn blinds. Janie moved back towards the hospital door.
"No, Gabriel, I will not calm down! Our son is an ungrateful liar, and I will not spend another second in his presence." Her hand was now on the door handle, and had begun to pull when a very loud buzzing alarm rang through the entire facility.
Looking down the semi-crowded corridor, one might have been able to spot, if they were looking very very carefully, a pair of disposable coffee cups sitting on a counter very near a fire alarm pull handle, though the owner of the cups was nowhere in sight, and soon would be very hard to spot amongst the virtual pandemonium of the hallway. "Everybody please calm down!" A doctor yelled, moving his way through the crowd towards an emergency exit, being sure to yell over the alarm. "Everyone please move to the exits! Emergency personnel will move the patients very quickly! Please move towards the exits! Do not try to move patients yourself!"
Within the room, Blake was quickly formulating options. "Marci!" He was forced to yell to overcome the fire alarm. "Come with me!"
"I'm... I'm not sure," Marci hesitated.
"If you come with me, I can get you answers!" Blake held out his hand as he stood up from the side of her bed. "But we have to go now otherwise I'll never get you out!" Marci took no further convincing, and was soon on her feet, in a hospital gown, moving towards the door. Blake peered outside quickly; the hallway was far from clear, but as far as he could tell, neither Gabriel or Janie were there; they must have moved to the exits.
"Come on, this way!" Blake said, motioning away from the nearest exit, since Gabriel and Janie would be most likely to use it. "Let's hurry, we have to get out of here really fast!" They made it to an emergency stairwell in a less-populated wing of the hospital. The stairs were nearly deserted, and the pair raced down them and out an emergency door into a part of the back parking lot of the hospital. "I'm parked around the corner. Quick, hurry!" The pair ran out from under cover and were pelted with falling rain as they raced - one barefooted - across the hospital parking lot, trying to somehow not look suspicious. Once safely within Blake's car, Blake reached for his cell phone and quickly dialed up a number
"Korey, this is Blake. Meet me at the lakeshore as soon as you can. Bring Jeremiah." Blake hung up abruptly, and turned the ignition as he looked towards Marci, who appeared frightened and wet.
"Marci," Blake turned in his seat as she looked at him, "Do you know what lies across Lake Hallowan?"