He gripped the bars on the side of my bed, like I’d reminded him of some great news hehad to tell me. “You were attacked!” When he saw my eyes squint in disbelief, he continued. “Your
neck got all sorts of mangled. Missed all your serious arteries though, I guess. Docs think it could
have been…” He looked at me from beneath his brows, tugging on the scraggly, lame excuse hehad for a goatee, smirking. “… a mountain lion.”
I let my lips pull slightly in a smile. He was trying to cheer me up with the best weapon heknew; our mutually
off sense of humor. “We are still in Detroit, aren’t we?” I double
-checked, takingthe bait.
“Oh yeah, we’re still here. But they say underground mountain lion fighting’s all the ragenow. A lot cooler than dogs. Guess one just got out of some gangsta’s garage.” My mom came
back with the water, but because I was still feeling a little sick, I shook my head. Dean snagged thecup from her and took a gulp, but before he could earn another slap on the head I heard a knock atthe door, and then it opened. In strode a skinny man with a receding hairline and white jacket,followed by a taller, younger man in a black uniform. A cop. Dean also noticed the official, guiltilysetting my cup down on the table next to me and making a show of fluffing my pillow.
“Well good morning,
,” the doc greeted us all in the usual I’m
-pretending-I-carevoice, not even bothering looking up from his clipb
oard. “I’m Doctor Fitz. How are you feelingtoday?” The police officer took a post at the corner of my bed, folding his arms. He almost looked
friendlier than the quack. I could see his eyebrows knitting as he regarded the horrible contraptionthey had me in.
I opened my mouth to answer, but mom got there first. “She’s feeling sick. Also, she feels
hot. Does s
he have a fever? That wound’s probably infected. It’s not even bandaged enough!She’s bleeding right through it.” I rolled my eyes.
Doctor Fitz looked
up finally, staring a moment at my mother. “Right.” He stepped to theedge of my bed and peered closely at my restraint. “Well there’s a slight bit of
but I’m surewe’ve already got the blood stopped.” He made a few notes on his clipboard, then se
remember that the officer was there. “Oh,
Valerie. This is Officer Da
le. He’s here to talk about your incident from last night.”
Officer Dale unfolded his arms before stepping foreword. He took the hand not puncturedby an I.V. and shook it careful
ly. “You can call me James. We don’t have to talk now if you don’twant to. We can wait until you remember more of your attacker.” Dr. Fitz glared down at my hand
after the greeting, and I thought he was going to swab it with alcohol.
“Attacker…” I still found it hard to believe. James nodded. “We’ve been having someserious problems around here. I’m sure you’ve seen the news. Lately this wave of cults has gotten
people holed up at night, afraid some Satanist goth kid will stalk them home from work and jump
been a few close calls, bu
t this is serious.” I could sense
Dean glaring holes intothe man. Fortunately, Officer Dale was still looking at me and not my brother.
Dr. Fitz seemed to finish doodling. “Well
, I’m going to leave you no
w. A nurse will
be by later to give you something more for the pain in your I.V. We’ll watch you overnight and seehow you feel about going home tomorrow.”
I made a face. Hospital food….yuck. “I can’t… I have to feed my fish. I have work in themorning.”
“Already took care of it,” James patted my hand. “We called your employers and had a talkwith them, you can go back when you’re ready.”
Dr. Fitz, satisfied he’d achieved sufficient sentiment, disappeared out the door.
Dean wanted to make sure we hadn’t forgotten about him. “Attacked and mutilated by a
thirsty cultist? She’s probably already used that excuse.
Also, she doesn’t have a fish.” Mom