BELTON REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER
April 20, Friday
Sara drifted in and out, days measured by diurnal light and nursing shift changes. Even through the deepest of drug-induced fogs, she knew. The unthinkable had happened.
Bryan was dead.
Gone from her life forever.
Her heart ached with abandonment, emptiness she'd never known. Sometimes in the dark of night he stood beside her bed. Told her he loved her, that everything would be okay. The comfort it wrought was real, even if his presence wasn't. He expected her to do something.
Why or how she'd arrived in this ethereal prison was unclear. A vague realization persisted that her father and his wife, Connie, were often there, holding her hand or stroking her face and hair.
The soft murmur of voices breached her consciousness. Again, she remembered.
He was dead.
Semi-reclined in a hospital bed amidst the chirp of monitors, heavy eyelids opened on a tangle of IVs.
Physical pain trailed increased wakefulness. Fiery daggers that mocked the futile yearning in her soul. Tears flowed, as if originating from her empty heart. Her trembling hand wiped them away. She froze. An entourage in green scrubs stood at the foot of her bed. A stocky uniformed Hispanic policeman with a Poncho Villa mustache was among them.
"How are you feeling, Mrs. Reynolds?"
The speaker held a clipboard, probably a doctor, judging by the stethoscope around his neck. Of medium build with curly, brownish-red hair and a nicely trimmed beard, he appeared a decade or so older than she was, probably mid-forties.
Her reply was raspy and lagged her mind like an echo. "Awful. S-someone, please. Tell me. W-why am I here? W-what happened?"
The cop stepped forward, his round face solemn. The doctor waved him off.
"N-no. Please," she pleaded. "I want. . .need to know." The doctor's lips tightened, but he stepped aside, arms folded.
"Hello, Mrs. Reynolds. I'm Mike Fernandez, Falcon Ridge PD. I'm investigating your accident. I hope you remember enough to help. After the EMTs rescued you and removed your husband's body, we went back with the equipment to recover your truck. Unfortunately, it had fallen from that shelf into the canyon."
Her eyes widened. "Our truck fell into a canyon?"
"Yes." Dark eyes searched her face. "You're lucky to be alive."
She stared back, speechless, the cardiac monitor's lazy beat shifting to staccato.
A tall nurse with a straight blond ponytail stepped over and took her hand. "We'll take care of you, Mrs. Reynolds. You'll get through this."
"Do you remember anything about the accident?" Fernandez reiterated.
"No. Only that Bryan left me—here."
The cop exhaled hard. "I'm sorry, ma'am. We're trying to figure out what happened. If you remember anything, let us know. I'm sorry we couldn't recover any of your personal effects. Any evidence of how the wreck occurred is also gone. Maybe you swerved to miss a deer, or someone ran you off the road. On a blind turn like that there are several possibilities."
Her heart raced, fear ripping through her. Something deep inside stirred, but her mind shoved it away. "I'm s-sorry. I have no idea what happened."
"Do you remember where you were going? Or coming from?"
She closed her eyes, trying to think. The time prior to Bryan's departure and everything since was blank. Only that blinding light that stole the love of her life.
"No. Nothing. I'm sorry."
Her eyelids drooped, the maelstrom inside her head eliminating lucid thought.
"You're the only clue we have." He placed his card on the tray table. "Call if you remember anything. Even something you think is insignificant could be important. Again, I'm sorry for your loss." He patted her hand, nodded at the medical personnel, and left.
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