Sticking his head out first to judge the drop, he was glad to see he’d been fortunate enough to come out above, but to one side of the drinking fountain. There were really two of them next to each other, at slightly different heights, but wide enough to stand on easily. Turning his body, he pushed himself out feet first. Feeling the wall with his toes, he was grateful to find the drinking fountain also held his weight, although it groaned loudly when he stood on it.
Taking a deep breath, he prepared to hop off the fountain, but slipped on the shiny metal. Hitting the floor harder than he intended, his sore leg gave out as he landed. He felt something pop, a sharp pain, followed by a dull, receding ache as if part of his mind had simply stopped functioning on that level.
Kacy screamed hysterically, pounding the door and calling his name. Now that his escape was complete, he called to her.
“It’s all right, baby, I’m coming!”
He gasped sharply as he dragged himself upright, holding onto the wall. Stumbling forward, he lost his balance, falling on the tile floor, gasping and gritting his teeth. His bad leg refused to hold his weight, so he dropped to his knees, crawling along the hallway. Groping his way to the office, he followed the sound of her voice. Keys out, he unlocked the door and Kacy fell into his arms. She was hyperventilating, although, he noticed absently, her face and eyes showed no sign of tears.
Kacy helped him up, supporting his weight on her shoulder as he propped himself against the wall. Limping, gritting his teeth, he hobbled to the door a few feet away. Together, they stumbled out into the fresh air. The door was unlocked and Deacon knew he had locked it behind them when they came in.
Kacy locked the door behind them and helped him to the car. He fell into the passenger seat, handing her the keys so she could drive home. He reclined the seat, pushing back as far as it would go, his leg screaming at him for all the abuse it had taken.
“You’re bleeding, Deacon,” her voice was tight, panicked.
He looked down and saw he’d been ripped up by the staples in the wall board, but there was something more to it that he couldn’t quite understand.
“I hurt,” he sighed, his eyes falling shut of their own accord. “God, I hurt.”
“I’m taking you to hospital.”
“No, I’m all right. Just take me home, baby. I’m fine.”
“You’re not! You aren’t in any position to argue.” She tied her bandanna tightly around his upper calf before starting the car.
She drove rapidly over the causeway and to the hospital at the base of the bridge. The emergency staff took one look at him and got a gurney. Deacon had enough energy to hand Kacy his wallet with his insurance card and driver’s license before he passed out. He only partially heard the thump of the doors as they swung shut behind him.
Deacon became aware of hushed voices, the smell of clean sheets and antiseptic. Wrinkling his nose, he tried to sit up, only to have a sharp pain stab through his lower right leg. He realized his leg was suspended at an odd angle, held in place by something he couldn’t see. The room was minimally lit, the voices seemed to be outside.
A hospital. Damn, she’d told him she was taking him there. He tried to speak, but his throat was too dry. It came out as a croak, but someone heard him and the voices outside stopped. Kacy stuck her head in the door, expectant expression on her face. She looked worried, as if she had been crying.
“He’s awake! Hey, handsome! Don’t scare me like that again, okay?”
Deacon smiled weakly, motioning for a drink. She poured him some water from the obligatory insulated pitcher and handed him a plastic cup. He drank it greedily, his throat rasping with each swallow. As if it had drained his strength, he handed the cup back, nearly spilling it on the bed. She took it carefully, set it aside and grasped his hand gently in both her own. He became cognizant of the fact that his other arm was full of needles and tubes and something was clipped to his index finger. It pinched uncomfortably, but was nothing to the throbbing pain in his leg.
He saw his leg suspended at about a thirty degree angle and tried to wiggle his toes. A surge of burning misery followed the attempt, causing him to swoon again. Kacy patted his hand, trying to rouse him. A kiss on his lips did what no amount of hand slapping could, and he raised his beneedled arm, clasping her head gently.
“He’s not so badly hurt as we thought then,” he heard Dino’s voice a few feet away.
“You’d have to kill me for me not to respond to her kiss,” Deacon rasped, his throat still dry and tender. “What happened?” he repeated.
Kacy drew a chair up to the side of the bed and sat down, her head just above the railing. “Well, somewhere in your great escape, you broke your tibia clean in two and the bone decided to pop out of the skin. It was rather horrid really and you bled all over Dino’s pretty car.”
She tried to keep the concern out of her voice, to make it light hearted, but she couldn’t quite pull it off. Deacon touched her cheek gently, brushing away a stray hair.
“No worries, I’m fine. My leg hurts like a mother, what are they giving me for pain?”
“I don’t know, Deacon. I’ll ask the nurse,” she stood to go, but Dino put a restraining hand on her shoulder.
©2021 Dellani Oakes