Secrets and Sins:Raphael

By: Naima Simone

She turned the knob and pushed the door open.

And skidded to a halt.

What the hell?

Gavin? She took a faltering step forward. The blond hair. The sharp line of his jaw.

She squinted, unwilling to believe what her eyes were telling her. Gavin. On her floor. Red splattered his body like a Rorschach test. His back. The floor. Oh, dear God. Who—?

The blue-and-white pin-striped shirt she’d given him last year for his birthday. A shirt now stained with blood. His blood.

A whisper of sound crept through the room like a lethal intruder. She jerked her head up. Fear slammed into her, swallowing her…

Light. Blinding. Hot.

It tried to pierce her closed eyelids and stab into her brain.

Greer gasped, turned her head to the side to avoid the relentless assault, but it followed her. Please…

“Ms. Addison.” A cool hand touched her forehead, accompanying the gentle, patient voice. “Ms. Addison. Can you open your eyes?”

Yes, but it was going to hurt like hell with that light piercing them like an ice pick. Still, she fought past the glue that seemed to have sealed her lids shut, prying them open. Instantly, pain punched into her head. Loosing a whimper, she slid back into the welcoming blackness.

Minutes, hours, days later, the same feminine voice called her name again. She moaned, cracked her eyes open, and waited, breath suspended in her lungs for the sharp, cutting pain. But it didn’t come this time. A dull, insistent ache throbbed at the back of her skull, but compared to the previous agony… Well, it just didn’t compare.

A young, pretty woman in a white physician’s coat smiled down at her.

“Ms. Addison,” she said. “I don’t want you to panic. You’re in the hospital.”

Terror coursed through her in spite of the doctor’s calm assurance. The hospital. Why? How? Her heart thudded in her chest like a wild beast. Fear clawed at her throat, and she dimly realized the keen, high-pitched whines she heard were coming from her.

“Shh.” The doctor patted her hand before clasping it, offering her a raft to grasp in the turmoil her announcement and the resulting confusion had cast her into. “Ms. Addison, calm. You’re okay. I promise. But I need to ask you a couple of questions. Okay?”

Unable to squeeze the word past her constricted throat, Greer nodded.

“Can you tell me your full name?”

Of course. What a silly question. Her name was… It was… Panic spiked as she scrambled for the information she should’ve easily known. Her name, damn it! Why couldn’t she…? Wait, wait. “Greer.” Relief poured through her like a river breaking through a dam. “Greer Caroline Addison.”

“What city do you live in?” The doctor—she glanced at the badge clipped to the other woman’s coat—Dr. Davidson asked, clicking on a penlight and lifting one of Greer’s eyelids, then the other. Her smile didn’t falter as she waited for Greer’s response.

Yes. Greer clenched the sheet beneath her. The answer came quicker than the first. “B-Boston. Back Bay.”

“Good. Can you tell me who is the president of the United States?”

“Barack Obama.” This information even faster.

“Very good.” Dr. Davidson tucked her hands in the pockets of her coat. “Greer, you suffered a pretty significant head injury. You’ve been unconscious the last twenty-four hours. We’ve run several tests, including a CAT scan, but didn’t find brain trauma or bleeding. Now that you’re awake, we’ll run some more. You have a concussion, and we’ll want to keep you for observation just a little longer. How’s your head? Does it hurt? Do you feel nauseous?”

Greer started to nod, but when the throb threatened to upgrade to a hammering, she whispered. “Yes, my head hurts. Not as bad as before, though. And I’m just a little nauseous.”

“Both to be expected. Can you remember anything about the head injury?”

“Excuse me, doctor,” a low, male voice interrupted. “We’ll take it from here.”

For the first time, displeasure crossed the physician’s expression. Her mouth tightened as her eyes narrowed. “Fine. But she’s still my patient. Please keep that in mind.”

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