An electronic pulse roused her. Instantly, she was aware of hands on her body, rolling her over once, twice, then covering her with a cool, starched sheet. Nearby, a man was asking if she’d be all right—Hugo.
A woman with an unfamiliar voice answered, “She may be confused for a while. You’ll have to be patient with her.”
Confused? Irene remembered the blade, its merciless glint, and opened her eyes. She was in a hospital. She was alive.
She tried to call Hugo’s name, but her throat ached, made her wince.
Hugo came to her side. “Irene, it’s okay. You’re safe.”
She swallowed, and croaked, “He had a knife.”
The woman said, “Ssh, easy. You’ve been in an accident.”
Accident? No, that was wrong.
The woman went on, “A car accident. I’m Dr. Ogle. You've had a concussion, and your throat....”
Irene touched her neck. It was bound with gauze and tape. “I need to call my mother.”
Hugo pressed his hand to hers, his face pained. “Irene, your mother is dead.”
“No….” She tried to sit up, but didn't have the strength. It was as though every bone in her body had collapsed.
“Here,” Dr. Ogle pressed a button on the side of the bed, raising its back. “Better?"
Irene blinked. The room was too bright, blanched by sunlight, distorting everything. “I want to go home.”
“You are home,” Hugo sat on the bed. “You’re in Colorado.”
“What?” Her pulse quickened. What had they done to her?
Hugo stroked her arm, kissed her brow. “That’s where we live...and have lived since our wedding. Don’t you remember?”
Causes Barbara Froman Supports
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
Greater Chicago Food Depository
Lawyers for the Creative Arts