The stark, white wall stared at him with mocking disdain, taunting images of Taylor as if it were a movie projector. Crimson blood spilling over her pale skin. Her green eyes, so frightened, so confused, changing to a grey-moss hue as they rolled up into her head. The flush of her cheeks as they faded to a chalky clay.
Ricky closed his eyes and raised his hands to wipe the images from his mind. He felt useless just sitting here on the cold floor. After Will had taken Taylor up to surgery and assuring Ricky she was is good hands, he’d paced up and down the corridor. He would have made a sizeable divert too, except the head nurse made the face his ex made once and he decided it wouldn’t be worth it.
The waiting room was infested with unknown pathogen-carriers; one kid racing around the chairs as if he were playing duck, duck, goose. Ricky’d admit it. The thought of teaching the kid the error in his choice of game was a little enticing, but not at the risk of being thrown out. Knowing Taylor was still in surgery sent pins and needles down his arms. It was getting late. Or was it morning?
Twisting his wrist to check the time, it blinked three minutes since the last time he’d looked and Ricky let out a frustrated sigh. He glared at the doors down the end of the hallway. SURGICAL STAFF ONLY, was plastered across them in big, black capitals. They’d been in there for almost seven hours. Way too long for just a stab wound and every possible scenario had played through his mind. The numerous ways he could hurt and kill the bastard who did this to Taylor had also bombarded him with suggestions, his hands itching for a neck to wrap around.
Pulling his phone from the pocket of his sweat pants, Ricky checked it for messages. He’d called Charlie six hours ago. He wasn’t supposed to be working, but had dropped everything when he heard what had happened. He would find something. He had to.
The doors down the corridor swung open and out walked Will in his green scrubs, pulling off his face-mask.
Ricky scrambled to his feet, thumbing the phone back into his pocket. ‘How’s she doing?’
Will rolled his shoulder and stifled a yawn. ‘We were able to stop the bleeding. A piece of the blade somehow broke off …’
‘Broke off? It went clean through her rectus abdominal. How the hell did a piece break off?’
‘Your guess is as good as mine.’
The doors swung open again and Taylor was wheeled out on a stretcher by a couple attendees. IV lines, tubes and wires spilled over her. In her.
Ricky took a step towards the attendees as they approached. Will caught his arm and kept him at bay as the stretcher rolled passed. He moved forward, but the tug on his arm held him back and with his teeth grinding together, he turned his attention to Will’s gaze.
‘There were complications, Ricky. She’s not out of the woods yet.’
‘I can see that. What sort of complications?’ He saw Will swallow and a sick feeling bubbled against the knot already in the pit of his stomach.
‘We lost her twice on the table. We had to crack her chest.’
The air whooshed from his lungs as if the blow he’d felt to his stomach had been real. ‘How? She was …’ His lips pressed firmly together as he swallowed the bile back down his throat. He took a breath. ‘She was stabbed once in the abdomen. How is it that it became this bad?’
‘That piece of the blade I told you about?’
Ricky nodded. His neck felt like a rock and he told himself to relax his shoulders.
‘I think it may have been tainted with something?’
‘When I located the metal piece, the blood surrounding it was frothing, like it was boiling or something.’
Ricky stared at Will. ‘Someone. Poisoned. My sister?’
Will glanced away. ‘I’m not sure. I’m having the piece analysed, but once I removed it, everything seemed to go back to normal. The blood, her vitals. I don’t know what’s going on.’
A million and one thoughts flashed red through Ricky’s mind, but all he did was nod his head.
‘Taylor’s gone to the ICU. I’ve told them to give you full access, but you should go home. Get some rest. Have a shower.’
Ricky shook his head before Will could finish. ‘I’m not going anywhere. Not until I know she’s okay.’
Will stifled another yawn. ‘I’ll come check on you guys later.’
Ricky stepped in close to Will and clapped him over the shoulder. ‘Thanks, brother.’
Will nodded and turned back to the surgical area, disappearing through the doors.
Ricky’s phone vibrated and he pulled it out, reading the text. His fingers clawed around its edges, wanting to crush the phone in his fist. The fuel station had had no cameras. There was no footage of the attack. Charlie said he was looking into something else, but he hadn’t said what.
Taking in a controlled breath, Ricky shoved the phone back into his sweatpants and headed down the corridor towards ICU. He needed to find gum and coffee, then he would sit by Tay's bed and wait. Wait for her to open her eyes and see she was okay. She was safe.
Ricky clenched his fist. She'd open her eyes, he nodded to himself. She'd open her eyes.