2 Priscille Sibley
receptionist buzzed me. “The hospital is on line three. Said it’surgent.”“Thanks, Tanya.” I picked up the phone, still staring at crosssections o the temporal lobe. “This is Dr. Beaulieu,” I said.“Hi, Matt. It’s Carl Archer.” The emergency room doc clearedhis throat. “You need to come over.”“Page Phil. He’s covering the hospital.”“He’s already here. I need
to come in. It’s your wie.” Carl’svoice sounded as tight as screeching tires. “She’s had an accident.”His tone, more than his words, conveyed the gravity. And itsweight kept many questions tamped down in my throat. I Philhad already arrived, were Elle’s injuries neurosurgical? Or perhapsmy partner simply happened by the ER. Maybe he was stand-ing there telling Elle jokes to distract her rom something minor.
Don’t let her be dead.
“Is Elle all right?” I asked.Carl cleared his throat again. “It’s serious. Come now. I’ll seeyou in a ew minutes.” The dial tone sounded.I leaped out o my chair and charged through the waiting room,past a woman standing next to her wheelchair-bound son, barelyturning to my receptionist to say where I was going. Ater sprint-ing the our blocks to the hospital, I arrived at the emergency en-trance in a cold sweat. I pushed through the double doors andheaded straight to the trauma area. My partner, Phil Grey, stoodnext to a red code cart, its drawers open. He wore sterile gloves, agown, and a surgical mask. An IV pole, decked out with a dozenIV bags and pumps, stood against the gurney. Lines o all sortssprang rom the patient’s extremities. Not Elle. Please, not Elle.The ventilator hissed its accordioned wheeze as it pumped oxygeninto the hose coming out o her body. The nurse stepped aside,and I saw Elle’s ace, white as the bed linens, dried blood caked in