Jessica found herself sitting in a classroom. Surrounding her were people cheerfully discussing their class project. It did not take her long to notice that there were young kids in the class with adults, seniors mentoring teens, while the teens helped the grownups with the technology.
Suddenly Jessica heard a voice from behind. “Haven’t seen you around lately.” Jessica peered around to find the source of the voice. “How have you been doing?”
Jessica finally noticed a gentleman sitting nearby her looking at her in anticipation. She suddenly felt uneasy. “I am doing alright, I guess.”
“What are you doing for your project?”
Jessica forgot where she was for a moment. “Project? Oh, uh, right the, uh….project…” She trailed off.
“You seem a bit lost, are you sure you are alright?”
Jessica looked around to get her bearings. She knew she recognized the man but could not place him, she tried to figure out what she was supposed to be doing, or rather, have done already. For a few moments it felt like Jessica lost herself. She had trouble focusing on any one thing as she tried to remember where she was and what brought her here.
Faces flashed in front of her and a voice – “Are you alright?”
She saw the classroom again and realized that the room was geared towards teaching history.
Again the faces flashed before her – “Do you know your name?”
Jessica tried desperately to hold on to the classroom, since it was the only thing that made any sense at that moment as she found her bearings enough to mutter “Jessica.” The name came out of her mouth as a reflex, but it did not feel like it belonged to her.
But the classroom was slipping away and Jessica slowly realized that she was in the hospital and all the terrible memories came flooding back.
“Hi there Jessica. Do you know where you are?”
“Hospital, -Who?” She managed to get out through her confusion.
“I am so sorry, my name is Rodney.” For the first time Jessica had a specific person to focus on and things began to clear up. “Do you remember anything?”
“There was a robber, he had a gun…” Jessica trailed off for a moment as the rest sunk in. “How is Kenzie?”
“She is doing well, but you need to focus on you right now though. You have been through a lot, and I am afraid that these guys won’t help, but they are insistent.” Rodney waved to the nurses. Soon two men in cheap suits entered the room.
“Hi there, I hope you are feeling all right, I am Detective Haskell and this is my partner Barnes. We just had a few questions about the other night.”
“How long has it been?”
“You have been out for about 24 hours now.”
“Shit.” Muttered Jessica as she slid deeper into the bed.
Barnes turned to the doctor, “Can we have the room please?”
Rodney looked at Jessica and said, “Please try not to upset her.” before he reluctantly followed the nurse out of the room.
Jessica felt that her anchor had been taken away, and tried not to panic. She sat up a bit and tried to re-arrange the pillows.
Haskell continued, “I know you have had a traumatic experience, but anything you can tell us will help to put this guy away.”
“Can’t you just look at the footage from the desk?” asked Jessica, who just wanted to hide.
“We would, but cameras have not been working for a few months according to the owner.”
“Well I lost a dollar for nothing.” muttered Jessica.
Barnes looked at Haskell and shrugged.
“The drawer is always off. One day I added a dollar from my purse. The next day the drawer was over by a dollar. I knew that no-one would pay any attention to me adding a dollar, but taking one would be frowned upon. So I left it. Turns out I could have taken it back anyway.”
Haskell glossed over this statement, and seeing that Jessica was finally talking he got down to business. “So what did this robber look like?”
Shocked by the abruptness of his question, Jessica took a minute in answering, which clearly irritated the detectives. “Um, he was young, probably younger than me. He was wearing jeans and a T-shirt.”
“Hard to see ‘em going bad so young” muttered Haskell as he wrote in his notebook. “So was he black, Hispanic, Muslim…?” Haskell trailed off.
Jessica shook her head, “I don’t really remember, white I think.”
“How about that, a white kid…Who knew?” Haskell muttered to his notebook. “Do you think that you could describe him to a sketch artist?”
“I am really bad with faces. I wouldn’t be able to describe either of you even if I were looking right at you.”
“Oh well. Guess we gotta hope the other one comes out of it.” He muttered before asking Jessica, “So what can you tell me about what happened?”
“I dunno-it all happened so fast. I hit the floor as soon as I saw the gun. He wanted all the money we had. I tried to get Kenzie to safety, but she wouldn’t…She just kept talking to him. She got the money from the safe,” Jessica stopped. “–somehow… But she wasn’t giving it to him,” She started trailing off a bit, “That’s how the fight started.”
Haskell looked up from his notebook, “Fight?”
“Yeah, he grabbed for the cash that was in her hand and fell over the counter. In the scuffle the gun went off… While he grabbed the money, I dragged Kenzie to the back to take care of her. That’s when I called 911.”
“Thank you miss, if you can think of anything else, here is our card.” Barnes slid the card over on the tray next to the bed.
As soon as they left Jessica heaved a big sigh and closed her eyes.
She was back in the classroom, this time it was the students’ faces staring back at her as they stood around her as she laid on the floor. The same gentleman from before helped prop her up. “Are you alright?”
“Yes, thank you. I am fine, um—” She looked at the man questioningly.
“You don’t remember me? I am hurt. Rodney, we met at the diner.”
“Oh, right, thank you.” Then she directed a quick, “Thanks I’m good.” to the group that had gathered around her. They hesitated for a little more reassurance, but when Rodney nodded to them they backed away and filtered back to the tables. Rodney helped Jessica to sit up.
“You know if you aren’t feeling well you didn’t have to come to class today.” Rodney sat on the table next to Jessica. Jessica felt better having him nearby, like an older brother.
“But isn’t there a project due today?”
“Yeah it’s the last day, but you can just join the next week’s class to finish it out. It is much more important that you are healthy.”
“I feel much better now. But I don’t have a project to turn in.”
“I will tell you what. Let me take you home so that you can get some rest.”
“No, no, that’s not necessary.” Jessica stumbled over herself as she tried to explain all the reasons that he shouldn’t. “I couldn’t impose, –your project,– I’m fine, I don’t need help.”
“Just listen to yourself, you need to take some time for you. I can turn my project in next week too.”
Jessica got up to go alone, but Rodney got down off the desk to give her a hand. “So where do you live?” The question stopped Jessica short. She didn’t really know this guy. She didn’t want to go to his place, but she didn’t want him to know where she lived either.
“Can we just go to a park or something?”
“I think that sounds like a fantastic idea.”
Chapter 10 – Settling In
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