Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sketch in my Notebook (Part 12): Lost in New York (Part 2)

This is the second half of Chapter 9, which began last week.  To catch up on the whole story, check out the Sketch in My Notebook tab.


The Return of Dr. Necropolis
Chapter 9: Lost in New York (Part 2)

He looked around, but there was nothing close at hand.  They hadn’t tied him to the stretcher—that was a blessing—but he was still shivering, though less now than before.  The shivers were more intermittent than uncontrolled, enough to remind him that his escape had nearly cost him is life but not enough to stop him doing something when the time came.  
He hoped.

The girl said, “I’m gonna give you something to calm you down,” and Frank saw his chance—most likely his only chance.  She pulled the needle from a compartment underneath the stretcher, removed the cap, and tapped the syringe to push any bubbles out of the needle itself.  She leaned forward to stick Frank’s arm.
Frank grabbed her shoulder before she could stick him and whispered, “Wait.  What’s in the needle?”
The girl smiled.  She leaned closer.  “It’s just a little sedative—”
Frank’s free hand closed over the girl’s where she held the needle.  He got lucky, caught her by surprise, and twisted her hand at the wrist.
“Hey!” she cried.  “What’re you—?”
It took all the strength Frank could muster, but he jammed the needle back up into her abdomen and then brought his other hand around and slammed home the plunger.  Her eyes flared, but then the sedative started kicking in.  He could see her fighting it, trying to call out, but he covered her mouth with his left hand, muffling her cries.  His right hand came up and caught her head before she fell, and then he rolled off the stretcher, letting her fall forward until she was lying in the spot where he’d just lain.  His knees wobbled, and his body hurt with the effort of moving, but he was halfway to freedom.
“One down,” he muttered.
Frank looked around, again saw nothing useful, and briefly considered taking the girl’s clothes.  There was no point; her uniform wouldn’t fit him.  Her partner Jack’s probably would, though, and anyway, Frank was going to have to take care of Jack one way or another.  
He sighed, but there was nothing for it.  He was going to have to play the same trick twice, even if it lacked all style and imagination.  Dr. Necropolis wouldn’t have had to, but Frank wasn’t quite that man again.  Not yet.  The man Frank was—convict, escapee, sometime-punching bag—was older than he had been and tired and cold and sore all over.  He’d nearly died of exposure doing something simple.  Like it or not, that man needed to do whatever it took to keep his freedom.  
There was more at stake than just his ego.
Slowly Frank worked his way around to the other side of the stretcher, got the little plastic drawer open, and found the box of syringes.  They were plainly marked.  He would have to remember to take the lot of them when he ditched the ambulance.  
The thought made him shake his head.  Focus on the task at hand.
He grabbed two syringes and worked his way back towards the front of the ambulance.  Just standing was a challenge, but Frank was motivated, and he had the time to move at a measured pace.  Still, Jack must’ve heard something because he called back, “Is everything all right back there?”
Frank started to speak, but his voice was a croak.  He cleared his throat and tried again.  “I think your partner’s had an accident.  You better come back here.”
“What?”  Jack looked back, but he couldn’t see anything.  “Hang on.  We’ll be at the hospital in another minute.”
Dammit, Frank thought.  C’mon kid, don’t fuck me over.  “I don’t know,” he said aloud.  “I think she hit her head.”
There was a second’s pause.  Frank could feel the kid’s indecision.  Finally, he muttered something and the ambulance started pulling over.  Jack got up and headed towards the back, and Frank backed up, a bared syringe in each of his hands.  The siren kept screaming overhead.
Jack leaned over the girl, ignoring Frank.  “Lisa!  You okay, Lisa?  What happened?”
Lisa stirred, and then Frank lurched forward, bumping Jack hard before finally getting the syringes into position.
“Hey!  What the—?” Jack cried.  He started to turn.
Frank jammed both syringes home in Jack’s neck and pushed the plungers.  Jack’s eyes went wide, and he started to grab Frank’s arms, started to call out, but of course, nobody could hear him over the sound of the siren.  He slumped, still boiling with anger, and Frank let him fall, though he made an effort to catch the kid’s head to keep him from hurting himself.  
Frank slumped to the ground beside Jack.  Everything hurt, and he felt exhausted.
I can’t sit here, Frank thought.  But his body was wracked with shivering pain, and he couldn’t make himself move.  Whatever energy he’s had, he’d used it taking down the two paramedics.  C’mon Frank, he told himself, the siren’s still on.  The police will check on this ambulance in another minute if it’s not moving.
An image popped into Frank’s head.  Jaynie, nineteen-years-old and high on N-Doxy, laying in his bed, looking at him.  Eyes wide, mouth open in a lazy smile, pupils blown, clothes strewn across the floor.  It wasn’t the most wholesome time, Frank knew it, but he’d been happy, and he’d thought Jaynie was happy, too.  He’d given her a necklace with an opal pendant that day, and he remembered the way the stone hung between her breasts.  He remembered the look of her body as the sun came streaming through his bedroom window, the feel of her hands on his skin, the way her lips felt when they brushed across his chest.  
They’d met Draygho a week later.
Fucking Draygho.
Frank wanted to scream, but he had nothing left inside.  Ten years in prison and the wounds were still as raw as the day they’d opened.  He was finally done screaming, done with impotent rage, but he had to get up in time to get this stupid ambulance moving before the cops showed up.
Goddammit Frank, he thought.  Get. Up.
He lurched to his feet, lungs heaving, pain screaming across his quads and back.  He stumbled, nearly fell, and then stumbled again into the front compartment of the ambulance.  He tripped but got lucky and fell forward, catching himself on the ambulance’s passenger seat.  He looked around, found the switch for the siren, and flipped it off but left the overhead lights flashing.  That might buy him a few minutes.
Holy shit, he thought.  When did this get so hard?
Frank wondered if they had any adrenaline in the back of ambulance but realized that his body couldn’t take it even if they did.  Not in its current state.  He sighed but pushed himself back to his feet, forced himself to turn around, and worked his way back—slowly—towards Jack.  It felt like it took Frank hours to strip Jack out of his uniform and get that same uniform onto his own body, but it was probably more like ten minutes.  Frank felt better when he was dressed, and his shivering finally stopped, but he was still sore all over, and it was only a matter of time before he spiked a fever.  
He had to find some place to lay low.
He looked around the ambulance’s cab, found somebody’s brownbag lunch, and felt an elation so profound it was almost embarrassing.  He forced himself into the driver’s seat and studied his surroundings.  Trees, sidewalks, a smattering of skyscrapers, and a bunch of old homes with real grass yards.  The Henry Hudson Parkway lay below in a concrete trench heading south towards the heart of the City.
Riverdale.  The Bronx, though most of the residents claimed that it was a part of Manhattan for some reason.  
He’d gotten lucky again.
Frank pushed the ambulance into Drive and pulled back out into the street.  He drove for a minute and then switched off the lights.  He knew where he had to go, but he didn’t want to attract any more attention than necessary.
Not yet, anyway.