5. Morgan the Miracle Worker
The drive to the hospital was blessedly uneventful. I parked the Audi in a well lit spot that would hopefully deter people from keying the car and walked through the main doors. I hate hospitals. The smell of antiseptic and hospital-grade cleaning products never quite cover the smell of sickness and death. Some, though, loved the place. I knew a Nosferatu who would sneak up to the part of the hospital where the coma patients are treated and drink from them. I don't imagine the quality of the blood would be any great shakes but at least he didn't have to worry about them waking up. I avoided the reception area and instead followed the signs that pointed the way to the emergency department. The I pushed the doors open and the smell of pain, fear and spilled blood made my nostrils flare. The emergency department was controlled chaos. Behind curtained off cubicles, I could hear gunshot victims moaning and heard the staff trying to stitch up a stabbing victim. I looked around and found Vince checking a patient's chart. As I walked towards him, I could swear that the various patients were envying my wholeness of body and wandering what a fit and healthy person was doing cluttering up their place of sickness and pain. Could be I've spent too much time in the company of Malkavians.
Vince looked up as I approached. He looked like death warmed up. His tired eyes looked at me from baggy pouches and his green scrubs were stained with blood. "Rough night?" I asked.
"Only the usual. Shootings, knifings, gang warfare." He covered a yawn with a gloved hand. "Excuse me. You're here for the girl from the MVA? Over here," he walked towards another curtained off area. I heard a faint, though regular heartbeat. Vince parted the curtain and revealed a young woman lying on the bed. She was hooked up to a heart monitor and had a blood pressure cuff wrapped around one arm. She looked very pale. Pale as I am, actually. And for somebody still alive, that couldn't be a good thing. Her flowing red hair was partly covered by heavy bandages around her head and her face was heavily bruised. I removed the photo my client had given me from my pocket. Kinda hard to tell for sure under the wrappings but this seemed to be Lorelai.
"How badly is she hurt?" I asked quietly. I'd hate to have to inform the client that we'd found her girl but that she was going to die anyway.
"We've run an MRI and CAT scan. There doesn't seem to be any permanent brain damage but we won't know for sure until she regains consciousness," Vince informed me. Then his pager beeped and he left to take a call.
I stepped up beside the injured young woman and picked up the hand that didn't have an IV inserted into it. Gently squeezing her hand, I whispered, "Lorelai? If you can hear me, everything will be all right. You've got a lot of people worrying about you so be a good girl and get better for them, OK?"
Now, I've never believed in miracles. Or God for that matter, but what happened next is the gospel truth, alright? As I held Lorelai's hand and whispered inanely to her, her eyelids began flickering as though she were dreaming. Hell, maybe she was, what with the head injury and drugs. The eyelids parted, revealing bloodshot green eyes. The eyes stared at the ceiling for several seconds before sliding over to my side of the bed. The heart monitor began to bleep faster and I could feel her heart beat harder as she started to come around.
"What?..." she swallowed and tried again. "What happened to me?" she said in a hoarse whisper.
I kept hold of her hand with my right while I fumbled for the call button with my left. Got hold of it and pressed down the button for several seconds. I heard footsteps hurrying towards us then realised I really wasn't supposed to be here. Eeep.
"You're in the hospital, Lorelai," I said soothingly. "You had a bit of an accident." A bit. Heh, that's like saying being decapitated is a bit lethal. She gripped my hand with sudden strength and gasped, "Where's Carmen?" I raised my eyebrows questioningly. I'd kinda forgot to ask if there were any other people in the car. So I decided to lie to keep her calm. "She's fine. Everything's just fine."
At that point the curtains parted, revealing Dr Vince and a couple of nurses. One was young and pretty. The other was old and not so pretty. They were both wearing tired, harried expressions.
"What are you doing here?" The older one snapped. I deflected her attention by pointing out that her patient was awake. "She's awake," I said and nodded at Lorelai who was eyeing the hospital staff fearfully.
"You'd better step out for the time being," Vince said and placed a hand on my back, urging me away from the bed. Lorelai's fingers grasped at mine and she said, "Please don't go..." Ah geez.
"I'll be right outside, I promise I won't leave you," I said and she seemed to relax. The medical staff pulled the curtains across, cutting off our sight of each other. I left the emergency ward and once in the corridor, pulled my phone from my jacket pocket. I dialled Larissa's whorehouse. Excuse me, Gentlemen's Club. A young woman's voice laced with an East European accent flowed into my ear from the phone. "Forbidden Pleasures. Katya speaking." Oh my, but I bet she was a popular girl.
"Katya, hi. Morgan Greenfield, Greenfield and Associates Private Investigators."
"Oh!" Katya gasped, "You are the one looking for our dear, sweet Lorelai?"
"Yeah, that's me," I said. "Look, I need to speak to Larissa. I've located Lorelai but she's in the hospital." Another gasp. What was she doing? Perfecting her fake orgasms? Ick.
"Putting you through now," Katya said, mercifully without any more orgasmic gasps. How stupid must men be to think a woman would actually react like that during sex? Especially if she's being paid for the sex?
After a few seconds' worth of classical on-hold musical, Larissa Sinclaire picked up. "Morgan!" she said excitedly, "You found Lori?"
"Yes, she's at Our Lady of Serene Waters. Car crash." Silence from the other end. Then, subdued, "How badly is she hurt?"
"Head injuries. But doesn't seem to be any permanent damage. Weird thing happened. I was holding her hand, kinda telling her to wake up 'cause people were worrying for her. And she woke up."
"Morgan...it's a miracle," she said.
"Yeah, well, you should probably come down here and see her. She's a little...clingy at the moment."
"I can be there in twenty," she said. "Thank you," she said and sobbed slightly. I felt tears prick at my own eyes. Not real often a case like this turns out so nicely. Most often, a hooker goes missing, she turns up dead a month later.
As I waited for Larissa to arrive, I hovered around the emergency department, pestering the staff about Lori's condition. She was fully awake now and, get this, asking to see me. Kinda like how a goose will imprint on the first thing it sees after it hatches. I felt oddly touched and amazed that, as a vamp, I was still capable of such feelings. My soul may be damned, but right then, it felt like something beautiful.
Vince pulled some strings and I was able to sit with Lorelai while we waited for Larissa to come. I sat by Lorelai's bedside, again holding her hand and watched as she fell into a natural sleep. I smiled to myself and thought that moments like this make my whole unlife worthwhile.