CHAPTER 8 (WIP) – COLLATERAL DAMAGE

Jessica stood up just in time to see a young man come nervously to the door. Kenzie went over and pressed the button to let him in. Jessica was just about to stop her and explain the intercom system, when the man drew a gun. Jessica ducked behind the desk in an instant.

The man stuttered across the words “Empty the t-t-till, give me your p-p-purses!” Jessica was already in the back room before the plural ‘purses’ reminded her that Kenzie was there too. Keeping her head as low to the ground as possible, Jessica peeked out to see the desk. Kenzie was still standing, slowly moving towards Jessica.

“Sir, I understand that things may not look like they will turn out right, but I can tell you do not want to do this.”

Jessica debated between running to hide in the laundry room and locking every door in between, or waiting for Kenzie, maybe even physically dragging her to the back.

The gunman squeaked out “You don’t–” He stopped to clear his throat and started speaking in a lower more even tone. “You don’t know anything about me, just give me the money.”

Kenzie stepped past the door where Jessica was waiting and kept moving to where the safe was kept. Jessica knew she could not open the safe, what was Kenzie thinking? Jessica fought the urge to run away, as the gunman pressed Kenzie harder, the gun nearly in her face. Kenzie never lost her composure as she knelt down to the safe and opened it by touch.

“I have been where you are, and this money is not worth the damage you are doing to yourself.” Kenzie prepared to scatter the money everywhere to make her point. The gunman jumped up and caught the money in her hand. As he snatched the money from her he seemed to forget that he had the gun in his hand and reached with both hands to hold the stack of bills. As his hand wrapped around the treasure, his finger squeezed the trigger.

Jessica screamed, as he landed across the desk the gunman regained his composure enough to shoot the spot that Jessica narrowly vacated as she reached for Kenzie to drag her to the back. Jessica got far enough in the room to close and lock the door as the young man made it to his feet behind the desk. He took only a few seconds to find and empty the drawer that contained the till and snatch the girl’s purses from under the counter before he dashed out the door breaking the glass in the process and was back on the street.

Jessica frantically tried to stop the bleeding from Kenzie’s shoulder as she reached for a phone and a towel at the same time. Jessica knocked the phone onto Kenzie’s chest as she switched hands to use the towel to put pressure on the wound. Jessica’s hand shook as she tried to dial 911 into the phone slippery with blood.

When the operator answered Jessica could get out just a few words between her labored breaths. “robber–shot–shoulder” The operator helped to calm her down enough to get the address and a general description of the robber. Jessica did not have much since she hid so quickly, and Kenzie was in and out of consciousness as Jessica tried to keep her attention while she answered questions. Jessica knew that she was making the pain in Kenzie’s shoulder worse, but that if she stopped she would bleed out before help arrived. The operator dispatched an ambulance and police, but stayed on the line to help.

Once help arrived Jessica shut down from shock. The paramedics put Kenzie in the ambulance, and helped Jessica step in before she really knew what was going on. Everything was a blur. When they reached the hospital she realized that she was supposed to be working and tried to leave to get back. She was told that the lobby was a crime scene, and the manager had been notified. Jessica fought for a minute before giving up and laying back in the wheelchair they brought for her. As she passed under florescent lights and through door after door the thought occurred to her that she had been putting off getting insurance and could not afford to be admitted to the hospital before she fell asleep passing through white halls and past drawn curtains.

Chapter 9 – Anchors

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