Chapter 11 (WIP) – Down to Earth

Jessica opened her eyes. She was still in the hospital bed. She had been hoping that everything that had happened in the last few nights was just a dream. She took a deep breath and climbed out of bed. She knew that since she had not been hurt she really should get out of the hospital as soon as possible to avoid drowning under hospital bills. She also knew that it was too late, money was tight enough as it was. As she stretched out from spending so much time in bed, she considered making a run for it and finding a way to live off the grid.

She walked out of her room and found a nurses station. She asked if she was able to leave. The nurse told her that the doctor would have to give the go ahead, and she paged him. A few minutes later the doctor arrived. He led Jessica back to her room, asking how she was feeling along the way.

Jessica said that she was feeling well, but really needed to get home and get back to work.

Jessica sat on the edge of the bed where a nurse took her blood pressure and temperature. Meanwhile the doctor continued questioning Jessica.

“Do you know what your name is?

“Jessica Marie Owens.”

“Do you know what the date is?”

Jessica stopped short, “Well the robbery was on, let’s see…I have not had a day off in quite some time so the days are running together. It was a Saturday when Mom called. That night I trained Kenzie, —-Kenzie! How is she? Is she alright? Can I see her?”

The doctor sighed “She is doing just fine. She is well enough to receive visitors. You seem to remember pretty well, but let’s make sure.”

“Of course, the robbery would have been Sunday. I know that I was told that I had been here 24 hours last time I spoke to you, Dr…”

“Rodney. That is accurate. It has been about eight hours since then.”

“So it would be the twenty….third today?” Jessica inquired.

“Correct,” said the doctor. “That is good. What we are concerned about with you is that although you do not seem to have suffered any injuries, you slept for more than thirty hours, nearly solid since you arrived. We did CT scans and X-rays, but we could find no signs of injury. We have no explanation.”

Jessica heard the bills going up in her head as she heard this. “I work graveyard. It is very hard to get any sleep. I suppose my body just decided to catch up.”

“That would be highly unusual, but the human body is an amazing thing. I want to do some research while I keep you under observation for a few more hours.”

Jessica started to tense up “I am sorry, I have no insurance. I can’t pay for everything you have already done. I need to go home.”

“Have you been under much stress lately?”

Jessica was a bit confused by the abruptness of the question. “Well yeah, like I said, I have not had a day off in over a month. I work graveyard, I can’t afford insurance, and bills are starting to pile up. Isn’t everyone stressed out right now?”

“It is possible that the stress combined with the lack of sleep might be enough to account for how long you slept. I just want to make sure that there is nothing else. I also suggest that you take a few weeks to recoup before going back to work.” Rodney turned to address the nurse. “You can take her to her see her friend.”

The nurse offered to help Jessica up, but was refused. Jessica was hardly paying attention as she was trying to figure out how to get out of this insurmountable debt she knew she was accruing. “Ms. Owens? I know that things look hopeless, but allow me to make a suggestion.” She handed Jessica a business card. “They may be able to help you.” She stopped Jessica, and lifted her face to see her better. “Now, you are going to see someone who has been through a lot too. I think she would like to see you smile.” Jessica let a weak smile out, “That’s better, now here we are.” The nurse led Jessica into a nearby room, where Jessica was greeted by Kenzie, who sat calmly watching television until she saw Jessica. Kenzie smiled and turned off the TV.

“Hey Jess!” Kenzie greeted her as if they had been best friends for years.

Jessica smiled, “Hey Kenzie, how are you feeling?”

“I’m good. They got the bullet out and patched me up good as new.” Kenzie was so cheerful, Jessica felt guilty for being so depressed. She tried to cheer up for Kenzie’s sake.

“That is a relief. It is good to see you.”

Kenzie noticed the hospital bracelet that Jessica wore. “Were you admitted to? Are you alright?”

Jessica felt a little embarrassed, but she tried to stay positive, “Yeah I am fine! I just had a good long sleep since I got here.”

“What?! You have been asleep this whole time?”

“Yeah. I guess that is what work has done to me. I should probably call Ms. Thomas and see how things are going over there.”

Kenzie tried to brush off her concern, but kept a close eye on Jessica as they talked like old friends. Jessica found it odd that Kenzie, who had been so quiet at work, was so vivacious and cheerful now that she had been shot and sat in a hospital bed.

Finally Jessica decided to broach what she thought would be a sensitive subject. “What were you trying to do when the robber was there? You risked your life.”

“I was trying to save him from ruining his life. I know he was desperate, but there is more hope for him before he does something crazy.”

Jessica sat quietly for a few minutes, running over the scenario in her head. She had not really thought of the robber as anything other than a threat, but Kenzie’s explanation seemed to fit what happened. Suddenly Jessica realized something she had forgotten. “How did you open the safe, and why would you do that?”

“I learned how to crack safes from my father. I just decided not to follow in his line of work. I know he probably did not even know it was there, but I thought that it would be a bigger temptation, and that I could convince him that it was not worth it. I suppose it was pretty dumb.”

“No, not dumb. It is amazing. You are really an enigma.”

The nurse came in and told the girls that it was time for Kenzie to get some rest. Jessica was escorted back to her room with a whole array of new thoughts running through her head. On one hand, she could see the robber as a person now, maybe even see his face a little clearer in her memory. She wanted Kenzie to be right, that the boy could be saved, but at the same time she saw Kenzie in a different light as well, and felt the need to protect her from the cruelty of the world. She felt that the robber should pay more for hurting someone so pure than she had even thought before.

Chapter 12 – Castles in Disguise

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