Summary: Anne and Gene get a shock from a newspaper headlines in 2006.
Notes: From Annie's pov, Gene comes in later, based in 2006.
Word count: 1096.
After a long day out she decided to treat herself to her usual. Strawberry milk and a wagon-wheel. Always does the trick. She kicked off her shoes and flumped down in her chair after carefully placing the glass on the mantle piece among many old photos, of what she considered to be the best time of her life. Many familiar faces stared back at her, Gene, Chris, Ray, even one where Sam had long hair. OK, it was a wig, they never got him to grow his hair out, but he did have some nice side burns. Annie could either cry or laugh at the memory of Sam. Today she chose the latter.
Picking up the local newspaper she allowed herself to slouch back comfortably, until she saw what was on the first page. A picture of Sam, just like the one on the mantle piece (minus the wig) was looking straight at her. The head lines read:
Policemen in coma after hit and run.
She managed to force herself to breath again and read on….
Local Policeman DCI Sam Tyler was hit by a car yesterday whilst on his way back to the station. As there were no witnesses the police are unable to deter whether this was a murder attempt. The first suspect would be Kramer, a jail escapee who DCI Tyler was trying to put back behind bars (see page 10 for more on this story)
Sam Tyler, 36, was rushed to hospital where doctors fought to keep him alive before he was put on life support. His mother, Ruth Tyler, and his fiancé, Mia, both tell us that the idea of shutting him off is out of the question. Doctors remain hopeful after carrying out a number of reaction tests, however they do say that he is in a deep level coma…..
Annie couldn't read anymore, her whole body was shaking and a horrible feeling was clutching at her stomach. She places a hand over her mouth, forcing herself not to throw up.
Deep coma, Kramer, Mia, Ruth Tyler….
All of it….it was what he had told her!
Stumbling across the room she pulled out a dusty box from an antique cupboard. It was full of faded photographs, souvenirs and, the notes that Sam had given her back in 1973.
Going through the list she felt the colour drain from her cheek as she mentally ticked the things off.
The Twin towers.
All that time they had known him he had been lying in a hospital bed fighting for his life! He had asked her for help, and she didn't believe him! She told him he was insane. That stupid stupid psychology degree!!!
And right now, he was back in 1973, meeting them for the first time!
Flustered she grabbed her coat and half ran half fell through her doorway.
She'd bought him flowers along the way, feeling she at least owed him that. Gripping the bunch in one hand and the door handle in the other, she finally managed to talk herself to walk in.
Nothing had prepared her for the sight which fell before her eyes. Her face turned an ashen grey and her eyes widened in shock and fear. So many machines, so many tubes going in and out, he looked so small. His body still, lifeless. No proof that he ever smiled, laughed, cried, ever lived. People say those in coma's look peaceful. He didn't. His face had a deathly pallor, and his body was so thin and fragile, as though just one touch was all it would take to break him. Tears priced her eyes as she edged her way towards him. The flowers held loosely by her side, forgotten, like him.
"No! You'll never be forgotten."
She couldn't help but feel so ridicules talking to someone who seemed no more than a rag doll. But of cause she better than that. She'd been with him when he was…is…..
"Not right is it."
A gruff voice startled her. Gene stood in the doorway wearing a rather faded camel coat and 2 cups of coffee, one of which he handed to her.
"I figured you'd show up."
She nodded slowly.
"You got him something too then?" He indicated the bunch of flowers which she placed neatly on the shelves. "I got him a good bottle of whiskey. My best that was , so if you've not woken up in a fortnight then I'm drinking it."
Neither knew how fast 783 was moving in Sam's head, but they both knew that he wouldn't be awake by then. He had a lot to get through first.
Neither of them took their eyes off Sam. 10 minutes passed with only the sounds of the machines keeping him alive, that alone was enough to chill them to the bone. Annie was the first to break the silence.
"All that time we knew him…he was here….."
"I think I prefer the he was mad theory myself." Gene had been sceptical of what Annie had told him about Sam, but now like Annie, he was faced with the truth.
There was something in his voice, concern, worry, fear, which made her turn round. If he ever did feel any of those thing she managed to keep them well hidden, except the eyes were becoming bloodshot.
"He's a fighter our Sam, balls of steal." He leaned over and patted him on the shoulder. She almost stopped him in fear that he'd hurt Sam.
It was time for her to go, Annie knew it. She didn't want to leave him here like this, it felt as though she should protect him. But she'll be back tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that. But there was something to do first. She hadn't helped him then, but she could now. Leaning forward, her breath on his ear, Annie whispered: "Keep fighting Sam, for Gene, for me." Giving his hand a reassuring squeeze she collected her coat. Her eyes catching Gene's, just for a moment, but it was enough. He'd known how she felt since Sam had first met them, knew before she did, but he kept it to himself. With a final nod she left the with each other, pausing slightly at the door where Gene thought no one could here him as he pulled up a chair and started talking to "Sammy boy" about old times. She wondered if he could hear them, back in 73. That at least gave her reassurance.