June 29 at 12:00 PM
Photo by Bart Everson (Flickr.com)
The stairwell faded in and out of focus. No telling how she got me down the stairs or how much blood I lost. The staircase spun and suddenly I was seated in the passenger side of a black Chrysler Le Baron.
Indigo glanced over and then punched on the gas, pushing well over 100. I angled my head to see if we were being followed. I couldn't tell if I heard sirens or just the ringing in my head. I lost myself for a moment and when I eased back my head, I found myself staring into her blue eyes.
It took me a few minutes to realize we were no longer in the car. The room was dark and dank and reeked of gasoline. The ceiling expanded behind her as she threaded my neck shut. Then she turned her attention to my temple. I thought I only got tagged in my throat and shoulder, but perhaps I was being overly optimistic.
I reached for her. I wanted to touch her, feel her. But she faded away, slipping right through my fingers.
An ancient nurse with a blonde wig and false teeth hovered over me. The bags under her eyes were packed so full she could take a trip to Jamaica. Another second staring at that mug and I'd surely turn to stone.
I had to get out of here and fast. My DNA was all over the hotel and the hospital would be the first place they'd look. It was probably too late already.
"Don't overdo it," Phyllis cautioned as I sat up. "Relax. Take a nap."
I gaped at my arm. "What the hell is this?" My only functional appendage had more bruises than a heroin addict.
"We had a difficult time finding your veins, sir. Eventually we were able to take blood from your hand. You have very thick skin," said the caregiver.
Those vampires! Leave it to the hospital to do me in.
Phyllis spread a warm blanket over me and glanced at the monitor overhead. "A shame what happened to the Primus in Chicago."
"What? Tell me about it."
The nurse untangled the remote attached to the bed and placed it in my hand. "Someone set it on fire." She stepped aside.
I turned up the volume and froze.
"As many as 10 people died in a fire last night that broke out at the Primus hotel in downtown Chicago," the narrator's voice was cool and measured. Flames devoured the rooftop, a torrid raging inferno. "Police have not released any details at this time, but they did mention there is evidence of arson."
"Holy crap," I said. "Wait, nurse!"
"Yes?" she turned.
"You mentioned Chicago as if it were far away. Where exactly am I?"
Phyllis smiled. "You're at the Grand Junction Medical Center."
"Yeah, but where is that?" I asked. "Illinois? Michigan?"
"Colorado," she replied.