State of Emergency – Chapter 14, Part III

March 8, 2011


Footsteps and muffled voices echoed along the tiled corridor, sometimes coming closer, sometimes passing over her and fading away. She stood, feeling utterly lost, at the top of the stairs, looking at the clean white surfaces that stretched out in either direction.

Left. Intensive Care. Her husband, Robert.

Right. The Queen Victoria Ward. Her son, Jacob.

And somewhere else, her younger son, her little boy, her Ian. Running for his life. She hoped he was running.

She couldn’t decide, couldn’t make her legs move one way or the other.

The plain-clothes officer a few meters behind her half-turned his back and studied his coffee as she lifted both hands to her face and silently wept, fidgeting awkwardly as he kept one eye on her without wanting to intrude. After a couple of minutes, he cleared his throat loudly and approached, wrapping one arm around the woman’s shoulders.

“Your husband will probably still be sleeping. Why don’t we go see Jacob, hmm?”

A startled laugh broke from her lips in sheer relief that there was someone else to make decisions. Then she gripped his lapels and cried into the stranger’s chest.

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