Chapter Thirty Eight

Raylan stumbled on a patch of broken concrete, catching himself with one hand on the cinder block wall. A glance over his shoulder showed that the gun was still pointed firmly at his back. He walked on, stifling a cough from the dust in the air.

They were deep under the hospital, down in the maintenance area. Pipes lined the walls, some painted, some plain silver. The air was heavy with dust and steam. Puddles formed on the floor, grey and filmed with things Raylan didn't want to think about.

"Next door on your left. Open it and go through," the doctor said.

Raylan nodded. "Okay."

He almost walked past the door. It had once been painted green, but time and dirt had changed it to murky grey. He grabbed the handle, surprised when it turned easily under his hand.

The room inside was also a surprise. Rather than being dirty like outside, it was clean and orderly. The floor looked freshly swept.

Raylan stopped just inside of the door. "Now what?"

"Now we wait for my boss. He's coming. He's very interested in meeting you."

"Well, I just bet he is," Raylan drawled and took a seat on one of the straight backed pine chairs. He ached all over, and the dust in the hallway had made his already sore chest feel ten times worse.

The doctor slammed the door and dropped onto a seat of his own, keeping the gun pointed at Raylan.

Raylan tilted his head. "You wanna put that thing away? We both know that I'm not going anywhere."

The other man shook his head. "Nope. I'm fine just as I am."

Raylan shrugged. "Looks to me like your hand is cramping pretty badly. Guess they don't teach you how to hold a gun for hours in medical school."

The Doctor glanced down at his hand. Tremors raced through it from his over-tired muscles. "No, they sure don't teach this in medical school." He smiled wildly. "Money is way better though. I'd ask you to join us, but I'm pretty sure you'd say no."

Raylan rocked the chair back onto two legs, balancing with his toe on the ground. "Yep, I'm pretty sure I would too."

They fell silent for a long moment. Raylan let his gaze run around the room, taking in the movie posters on the cinder block walls. There was a small bed, tucked away in the corner. A faded blanket covered it. Two flat pillows leaned against the ratty headboard.

"So now what? We just wait here until your boss shows up?" Raylan asked, glancing at the doctor's hand. "'Cause I'm pretty sure that you're not going to be able to keep hold of the gun for much longer without firing a bullet." He tilted his hand, lips pressed together. "And I'd really rather that bullet didn't go in me. I have enough holes."

"He'll be here soon," The doctor said. "He promised."

"What are you gonna do if he doesn't show up? If he decides to leave you to clean up all this mess on your own?" Raylan pressed.

"He wouldn't do that. This was all his idea. He needed the money, had the land... he just left it up to me to find the girls, and treat them when they got hurt."

"So you did all the dirty work, and he got the money? Am I right? I bet I'm right." Raylan let the chair thump down onto four legs again, and stood slowly. "I'm gonna walk about a bit. You know how those hospital beds are. Make you as stiff as a board."

"Hey, sit down right now!" The doctor shouted. "Sit down, or I'll shoot you."

Raylan glanced over his shoulder. "Oh, I'm pretty sure you're not going to shoot anyone with that hand," he said and turned back to the poster he'd been reading. "Looks like you couldn't hit a barn door if you were in dead front of it."

The doctor lifted the gun, aiming it at the centre of Raylan's back. He tensed his finger on the trigger. The bullet smacked into the wall three feet to Raylan's right, throwing up chunks of cinder block and plasterboard. The impact sounded as if the entire word had been dropped on top of the room. Raylan turned quickly, crossing the space in between them in two long strides. "Told you that you couldn't hit jack shit."

He jammed his hand under the gun, pointing it towards the ceiling. The doctor fired off another shot. It almost took out the light. Raylan twisted the gun, tearing it from the other man's hand. It clattered on the floor, sliding away. The Doctor lifted his fist, swinging a wild punch that brushed over Raylan's cheek. Raylan brought his knee up and slammed it into the doctor's gut. He closed his hand over the dead man's switch, keeping the button depressed so it wouldn't trigger the bomb.

The impact knocked the air out of the other man. He sagged backwards, almost falling. Raylan lowered him onto the bed. He grunted, curling up into a ball. Raylan ignored him and picked up the gun.

The Doctor whimpered as Raylan pressed the gun to the back of his head. "I've killed lots of people. Won't bother me one bit to kill scum like you. You either tell me where the bomb is or I blow your fucking head off. Are we clear?"

"I don't know!" The doctor whined. "He didn't tell me. He's the only one who knows."

Raylan pressed the gun in harder. "Fine. Then you tell me how to get in touch with him. This ends now."

"There's a phone, in the corner. It has his number programmed into it. He told me to use it for emergencies only."

"Well, I'd say this about qualifies, wouldn't you?" Raylan asked, and backed away from the bed, keeping the gun pointed at the doctor.

He found the phone easily enough- the bright red plastic stood out against the dark work surface it was sitting on. "You, come here and phone him. Tell him you need to meet, right away. Find out how long he's going to be." Raylan smiled coldly. "Try anything and I'll waste a bullet on you."

The doctor got up slowly from the bed, crossing the room in small steps. "I think you broke my finger!" he complained.

Raylan tipped his head at the phone. The doctor lifted the handset and hit a button. "Boss, it's me. I need to see you, soon. We have huge problems."