“Zehnder . . ?”
Esther blinked her eye open slowly. She gazed around her surroundings, feeling light headed and numb.
For a moment she thought she saw Zehnder again; killing those cops, ripping them apart one by one. And all the bullets flying towards her, and all the blood, and finally the wail of the ambulance as it sped towards them; then a blinding white light, and then nothing.
Esther looked around more, trying to clear her head. She saw white walls and odd machines. It was all just a memory; she was no longer in the alley, no longer covered in blood, and no longer with Zehnder.
She tried to sit up, to get a better look around her, but a sharp pain in her side made her fall back down again. She felt confused, tired, and disoriented, so she lied back down and went to sleep.
* * *
Esther was woken up buy the sound of someone entering the room.
She called out quietly, wanting to see her friend again. She was disappointed when she saw that the one who had entered the room was not Zehnder, but a young woman.
It was only then that Esther realized she was in a hospital. The young woman, a nurse, had come in to check on her. She smiled when she saw that Esther had woken up from her sleep.
“How are you feeling?” She asked with a kind smile.
“Well, I uhh . . .” Esther stopped talking at the sound of her own voice, and she noticed she was wearing a breathing mask, which muffled her words a bit. “I’m fine.”
Esther looked around, seeing that she was hooked up to a blood pack and a heartbeat monitor as well.
“How long have I been here?” She asked.
“A few days. I think you might be able to leave in a few more though.” The nurse replied cheerfully.
“Well, umm, how did I end up . . ?”
“In the hospital? They told me that you got shot, and were taken here by an ambulance.”
“Was anyone else taken here too?”
The nurse thought for a moment.
“I remember there were policemen, two of them got out just fine; but the others . . . they just . . .” The cheeriness seemed to leave her as she thought about the fate of the other policemen. “They didn’t make it.”
“Umm . . .” The nurse pondered.
“Anyone at all?”
“Not that I know of; sorry. Were you with someone?”
“No . . . just wondering”
They were in silence for a while, but then the nurse turned to leave.
“Well, I can see you’re doing better; I hope you get well soon!” She smiled kindly again and left.
Esther felt her side, at where the bullets had hit her. She looked under her hospital gown at the bandages wrapped around her, a little bit of blood on them. She looked around the room again; she didn’t like it very much. She desperately wanted Zehnder to come and get her out.
Then she remembered that Max was still at her apartment, all alone. She hoped he would be alright; he’d been alone for a couple of days now.
With nothing else to do, Esther decided to sleep again.
* * *
When Esther woke up, it seemed to be late. The window was covered by blinds, but sunshine was not coming through it. Her room itself was pretty dark, the only light coming from a small lamp by the hospital bed; probably so she could sleep, but also see when she woke up. She heard footsteps in the hallway, probably just nurses and doctors.
She heard some footsteps get louder and closer, and then stop at her door. She held her breath in anticipation, hoping that it would be Zehnder. She didn’t care if her side hurt, she would gladly jump out of bed and go hug him.
The door did open, but to Esther’s disappointment, Zehnder did not enter. Instead, two policemen entered the room. Esther recognized them as the only survivors from the other night.
“Miss we need to ask you a few questions concerning the uhh . . . ‘incident.’” One of them stated, Esther didn’t reply.
“Do you know who, or what, attacked you?”
Esther didn’t quite know how to reply; she had to think up a lie, and fast.
“No he umm, he just showed up out of nowhere . . .”
“Do you know why?”
“No . . He just stood in front of me and . . . and then you guys showed up and . . . and then it hurt so much and there was a lot of blood and-” Esther put her hands up to her face, pretending to cry at the memory of those horrid events.
The policemen looked at each other, not quite sure how to respond.
“We understand this might be a bit traumatizing for you, miss, and-” The first policeman started.
“It was certainly traumatizing for me . . .” The other policeman said quietly.
“ . . . Well, yes.” The first one continued, “But the important thing is if you’re alright or not.”
“I’m fine.” Esther replied shortly.
“Also we’d like to know, we found this hammer in the alley, and it- . . .” The policeman stopped talking and looked at Esther, he sniffed the air.
“Say, do you smoke?”
“No.” Esther smiled and pointed behind them. “But he does.”
Black smoke had appeared behind the two policemen as they were talking, and they were startled by a low growl rising behind, or more accurately, above them. They both slowly looked up to see a tall man towering over them, the bottom part of his bandanna rolled up to reveal his crimson teeth; which held a lit cigarette.
They reached for their guns; but Zehnder was faster. He grabbed the sides of their heads and slammed them together before they could even shout, shattering their skulls against each other.
Zehnder let go of the bodies, and they collapsed onto the floor. He looked up at Esther.
“Yeah; it only hurts a little bit.” Esther looked up at the ceiling. “Umm, Zehndy, there are cameras . . .”
“Don’t worry about those; I made them static right as I crushed those guys’ skulls.”
“Hey it’s pretty late, do you think you should stay here a bit longer ‘til you heal better?”
“No. I don’t like it here; I want to go home. Besides, Max is waiting for me. He’s probably really hungry . . . or worse . . .”
“The dog? Don’t worry, I went to feed him. Scared the fuck out of him, but I knew you’d be sad if you found him dead.”
“Thanks Zehndy!” Esther smiled and sat up, she took the things hooked up to her arms off and removed the breathing mask. The wound didn’t hurt as much as it used to, so she managed to slowly get off the bed and stand.
“Oh, but I need my normal clothes . . .” Esther looked down at the hospital gown she was dressed in.
“Wait a bit then.” Zehnder walked off into the shadows and disappeared into a cloud of black smoke.
In a few minutes, Zehnder returned through the shadows; holding her normal clothes in his hands.
Esther thanked him again and took her clothes, then walked off to the restroom to change. She returned in her normal attire.
“Okay, let’s go!” She walked over to Zehnder, and he put his arm around her. They walked into the shadows, and when they emerged from them they were standing in the night behind the hospital.
“Oh, wait . . .” Esther started, forlornly. “With this hospital bill, I don’t think I’d be able to afford my apartment anymore . . .”
She started thinking deeply about what she should do, or what other jobs she could take. Zehnder started thinking as well; he stared at the bright moon surrounded by an army of twinkling stars. He sighed, and then looked down at Esther.
“Hey, remember that time when you first followed me around?”
“When I told you to go home, you said that you hoped that-”
“You mean-?” Joy and excitement rose in Esther’s voice.
“Yeah, you can stay with me.”