Love & Hate – Chapter 25: Something’s Wrong

Chapter 25 by Matt Wall

“Knock, knock,” Billy said as he opened the door to Ciri’s hospital room. His faux smile wasn’t impressing Van who rolled his eyes and immediately looked back at Ciri lying motionless on the bed. “How’s the patient?”

Van lifted her hand to his lips and kissed it. “Not much better, no thanks to you.”

Billy hung his head and spoke quietly. “That’s kind of what I wanted to talk to you about.”

Van glared at Billy. “What do you mean?” 

Billy motioned Van to come over to him and placed his finger on his lips. As soon as Van was within whispering distance, Billy said, “Her vitals aren’t stabilizing. She is actually starting to slip.”

“What?” Van shouted.

“Please, keep your voice down. Even in her state, she could still hear us. Why don’t we step outside so we can talk.”

“No. I won’t leave her side,” Van said.

“Okay. I won’t talk about her declining health in here, so when you want to know what’s going on, you come find me. Deal?”

Van nodded.

“I just need to examine her and I’ll be on my way.”

“Do you have to?” Van asked. “I’m sure she is tired of being poked and…”

“Yes, Van. I do need to examine her. She is in the hospital. She just came out of a very serious surgery. Of course she needs to be looked after.” Billy knew that his tone was sharp. He was hoping that Van would break.

As he pulled Ciri’s eyelids open and ran the light across them, he realized what Eden had said. 

“Is she looking better?” Van asked.

“No. Something isn’t right.” Billy began to move through the exam with a sense of urgency. He lifted her sheet up. “Something is wrong.” Billy’s jaw dropped as he looked at her legs. They were covered in large, disgusting bruises representing all the colors of the rainbow. “I need her back in emergency surgery!” Billy slammed his hand against the nurse alarm. 

“What’s happening?” Van shouted.

Nurse Eden ran in the room. “What’s wrong?”

“This patient is about to code! We need her surgery, now!” Billy and Eden rolled Ciri out of the room quickly. “Take her to O.R.” He turned around and put his hand on Van’s chest, who was trying to follow them. “You have to stay here.”

“No, I can’t. I have to be by her side.”

“Legally, you don’t. We have let you stay here out of kindness, but now, we have a job to do. Stay here or go home, Van.”

Van’s face repeatedly changed from anger to fear and back again. His cheeks turned red and then pale and red. He paced back and forth, mumbling incoherently to himself. Just as he was about to snap completely, something caught his attention.

Down the hall, he saw Detective Granger walk out of a room, followed by a deputy, but the deputy stopped in front of the door, as if he were guarding it. Van found this very strange. Who could need to be guarded at the hospital? 

He slowly walked down the hallway and stopped in front of the deputy. 

“Hello, Van.” Andy said.

Van didn’t hear. His mind was somewhere else with his eyes locked on the patient in the bed. “Brody!”

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