Above all things, Joe loves the thrill of the ride. The motorcycle roars as he speeds along the highway, adrenaline pumping faster with every vibration. A red convertible weaving through traffic catches his eye so he revs up the metal horse to check it out. He pulls up even with the sports car and is delighted to find a girl about his age at the wheel. With a wink, he pops a wheelie then speeds on. ”It’s great to be free.”
Not long after the flashy showmanship, a truck pulls out onto the two lane highway. It’s a big truck; a big slow truck. Patience has never been a strong point of Joe’s so instead of slowing down to accommodate the annoyance he whips around making sure to share his valued opinion with the flip of a single digit. As luck would have it, Fate, being the infernal bitch, mischievously places another large obstacle in the oncoming lane. Joe sights an even bigger truck going much faster and tries to back off but the monolith to his side won’t budge. He attempts to bail by pushing off the bike to spin into the air as the trucks pass but ends up bouncing from one to the other slamming into the sides of the trailer vans repeatedly. Darkness graciously overtakes the bike riding rag doll.
Joe wakes long enough to realize he’s laid out on the ground, bleeding heavily from various slashes thanks to his double booked dance card. Just before he falls unconscious again, his brain registers a red blur.
The darkness fades as Joe gradually opens his eyes. Surrounded by white curtains, the clinical smells of a hospital nearly cause him to lose his lunch but he fights off the urge. Inspection of his body parts tells him that most of the wounds have been patched up including a fresh cast on his right arm. Not a pretty ride. Struggling to sit up, he notices an IV and is intrigued by the off color red in the line. Curiosity draws his eyes to the medical trash where he finds several empty blood bags with traces of the same red. At that point, he notices the call button at the fingertips of his good arm and in moments a nurse comes in accompanied by a doctor.
“–As soon as I find out…” the lanky doctor smiles at the revived patient, “Nice to see you found the call button.” Joe responds with a shrug. “First things first, do you know your name?”
“Okay, Joe, about a last name?” After making a note, he looks back to the remarkable patient.
“Can I get some water? My mouth feels like it’s been cleaned out with cotton.”
The doctor looks to the nurse who leaves to get the requested drink. She returns with a small cup and instructions to take small sips. Joe drains the cup then grabs the pitcher from her hand and empties it as well. “I told you to take small sips.” she huffs.
“Can’t talk with a dry mouth.” He wipes his mouth with the back of a hand and holds out the pitcher, “How about a refill?”
The nurse’s prepared retort is interrupted by the doctor, “Nurse Jordan, get our patient more water.”
“Just do it, please.”
With pursed lips, she stoically walks out of the room. The doctor looks back to the patient, “Joe, we’ll dispense with the last name for now. I am Dr. Green. Do you know how you came to be here?”
The doctor grunts, “Hmph, you’re lucky. Your helmet and bike took the brunt of it and fortunately the young lady who brought you in was of compatible blood type.”
Joe nods as though he knows all this but wonders about the girl. “How long will I be here?”
“A few days, tops.”
“Let’s just say I hope it’s insured.”
Joe frowns. It wasn’t. “So what do I do in the meantime?”
“Rest.” The doctor points to a TV in the corner and hands over the remote. “Watch television. Keep in mind, we only get the basics.” Dr. Green checks his patient’s vitals one more time. “I’ll look in before I leave for the night. Maybe by then you’ll have a last name.”
“Alone at last” he mutters surfing the channels in search of worthwhile entertainment. A movement catches the corner of his eye, Probably that dumb nurse, he concentrates on the TV screen. Unimpressed, the remote is tossed on the bed. The temperature in the room seems to rise, he tugs at the hospital gown stuck to his skin. He looks to the door – nothing. Brow cocked, he looks to his right and to the left – still nothing. However her fragrance tells him he’s not alone. “You might wanna rethink the perfume. When did you sneak in?” I’m
pretty sure I would have noticed you.
“You noticed.” She smiles at his struggle to be nonchalant.
“Wait, what?” puzzled by her response.
She strolls around the room eyeing the baffled young man, “Not bad for near road kill. You do this often?”
Joe smirks, “Bike riding, yes, being a puck, no.” Privately enjoying her attentions, he acts like its nothing as he checks his wounds, which appear to be healing faster than expected. “Guess I have you to thank for the generous donation.”
“Puck?” she laughs, “More like a rag doll. You’re lucky I made the big guys veer off – another inch and we’d be at the morgue.”
“How’d you do that?”
“A girl has her ways; don’t dwell on it too long.” giving him a devilish smile and a wink. “Wouldn’t want to undo the good doctor’s work.”
“Okay, so how about answering one question.” Perturbed by her obvious avoidance of a clue.
“Who are you?”
She comes around to stand in front of the curious man. “I am Etain, welcome to my world.”
He chuckles, “Your world?” Etain pecks a kiss on his cheek and disappears out the door. Her sudden entrance and unexpected exit leave him confused and full of unanswered questions. “Weird girl,” he mutters as he twists the bandaged arm and realizes the wound has healed. “That’s even weirder.” He focuses on the bandage in an effort to determine how it could be, his eyes bulge, “This is some wicked mojo,” and grins at the dressings in his lap. Within minutes all that’s left is the sling around his shoulder and the cast on his right arm. Theory in mind, he puts it to the test, unplugs the IV, and rips off the tape, “I think it’s time for a trial run.” Sitting on the side of the bed, he brings the cast up to eye level. The flesh beneath feels whole, he knows it has mended.
Going to the door, the shoulder bandage is thrown off and the young man takes a chance with the cast. A couple of hard taps against the counter and it falls apart to reveal a perfect appendage. Another twist of the arm confirms all is well. With a satisfied smirk, he peeks out to make sure the coast is clear, speeds down the hallway with a slight detour for a change of clothes and races out of the building. The presence of the girl in the hallway never registers.
Forget the bike. Forget Joe. Freeblood ran.