“Pick up the phone!”
I stop pushing the plunger, and set the syringe of fentanyl on Nathan’s bed, then reach for the phone on the nightstand. Hesitantly, I put the receiver to my ear.
“Don’t say anything. Put down the receiver and move away from the window, NOW.”
There’s a click on the other end of the line.
Simultaneously, I see the red beam of a laser scope track a bead to Frank’s head from the window on the right side of Nathan’s room.
I step back further towards the head of Nathan’s bed, clear of the window.
Frank looks puzzled.
Then he turns toward the light, closes his eyes, and bows his head, before it shatters into a mosaic of fragments on the wall behind him.
The PICU room’s glass door slides open, and a two canisters roll into the room. The first makes a terrifying BANG! as it explodes in a burst of light. The other emits what looks like smoke, but the immediate burning irritation of my eyes tells me it’s gas. I begin coughing.
Then everything happens so fast.
A blanket is thrown over me, and my head pushed down, while someone drags me forward through the doorway. From this view, I see pairs of booted feet, followed by clogged feet, and then the wheels of three gurneys charge past me into Nathan’s room.
Still covered by the blanket, I’m pushed forward, almost faster than I can keep up, to the hospital’s exit stairway. At times I’m shoved against a wall to make room for more sets of booted feet charging up the stairs.
Eventually, we reach the lobby.
At the exit to the hospital’s parking lot, a familiar sounding voice I can’t place says, “Thank you officer. I know her. I’ll take her to the command center.”
I feel two sets of arms exchange me between them like a package.
“Niki, are you alright? You must be so scared. You’re safe now, Niki. I got you.”
Only then do I pull the blanket away from my head and stand up straight.
Leading me out of the hospital, with his arms around my shoulders, is Officer Mike.