Dolores, an ICU nurse for twenty-three years, tough as her mother-in-law, said with a big smile, “She got through surgery, both of them. Dr. Lazarus worked on her for four hours, and then had to go back in for bleeding. They lost her twice but got her back. She’s going to make it, barring anything else coming down the road we’re not expecting. I’m not sure she can speak right now, they just extubated her a couple of hours ago. Ah, Dr. Lazarus, these are Special Agents Savich and Sherlock, here to see Deputy Lynd.”
Dr. Lazarus didn’t look happy. But neither did he look like he’d spent the night inside someone’s chest. He wasn’t rumpled, didn’t have any bags beneath his eyes, like he wanted to fall over and sleep for a year. Instead, he looked like he’d just waltzed in from the golf course but had shot too many bogies. “You can’t,” he said. “She’s not up for it yet. Maybe tomorrow. Call me.”
Sherlock gave him a lovely smile, walked up into his face. “Would you like to accompany us, Dr. Lazarus? We’re hopeful she’s with it enough to give us information about who shot her. What room, Nurse Stark?”
“Room Three forty-three,” said Dolores.
Savich and Sherlock walked quickly down the hall, Dr. Lazarus on their heels. “Wait! You can’t do this. I can’t allow—”
Savich waved Sherlock on and turned to say easily, “You can monitor, Dr. Lazarus, all right?”
When they walked in, it was to see Sherlock bent over Gail Lynd, her fingertips lightly stroking her forearm. “Gail, can you hear me?”
“You see, she’s not—”
“Gail? Can you hear me? I’m Special Agent Sherlock, FBI, and I really want to find the yahoo who shot you and throw him in the Mariana Trench. That deep enough for you?”
Gail Lynd moaned.
“That’s it,” Sherlock said, and continued to lightly rub her fingertips over Gail’s forearm. “You don’t have to open your eyes, but I would like to see you, if you can manage it, and you to see me.”
Deputy Gail Lynd managed to open her eyes. She looked up into blue eyes the color of the August sky. “The Mariana Trench should be fine,” she whispered.
“It’s good to meet you, Deputy Lynd. We both have blue eyes. Call me Sherlock. Do you think you can tell me what happened last night?”
“Last night? It was just a moment ago, no, it was—” Gail felt something wonderfully cold and wet rubbing lightly against her mouth, and she licked it. Sherlock turned to Dr. Lazarus, who looked like he wanted to leap on her to protect his patient. That made her smile a bit. “Water?” she asked him. “A little bit?”
At his unsmiling nod, Sherlock held Deputy Lynd’s head up a bit and put a straw between her lips. “Just a little bit, we don’t want you to get sick to your stomach.”
“Thanks,” said Gail Lynd, her voice a croak. She blinked, surprised she could actually speak.
“Are you in pain?”
Gail thought about that a moment, then shook her head. “No, fact is, I feel dead from the neck down.”
“Probably a good thing,” Sherlock said. “Now, Gail, I don’t want you to overdo. If you get tired or there’s pain, tell me and we’ll stop.”
She started slowly, but ended in a rush. “…and I heard the shot, saw Davie go down, and I went running toward the Impala, yelling at Davie, and then this young guy leans out of the driver’s side and he shoots me.” She looked at Sherlock, her eyes pooling with tears. “No one ever shot me before. I know what it’s supposed to be like, you know, we discuss it, but it wasn’t like I thought—it slammed into me like a sledgehammer, knocked me backward. I saw him coming down over me. I heard the girl yelling at him to shoot me between the eyes because if I didn’t die right away, I could live long enough to tell someone. Her mother told her that.” She broke off, held very still for a couple of moments, raised her eyes to Sherlock’s face. “Her mother,” she whispered. “This is what her mother told her to do.”
“Thankfully for the world, her mother is dead,” Sherlock said matter-of-factly. “Did she say anything that might help us find them?”
“She was crazy, Agent Sherlock. I don’t know about him, but that girl was crazy. I couldn’t do anything except lie there, helpless. It was…horrible. To wait, knowing you’re going to die. Just waiting, and you hurt so bad you can’t really accept it, not really, and you wait.”