NIGHT OF THE WOLF
Striding down the all too familiar white halls, Jim Ellison's nose crinkled from the assault of hyper clean antiseptic, the metallic tingle of spilt blood and the cloying scent of approaching death. And somewhere in the bowels of all this his partner waited. His guide. Once more the victim of that dark twist of fate that seemed to have zeroed in on him for way to long. No wonder he hated hospital's.
Jim stopped his head-long dash and scanned the area for the source of dark reassurance. "Simon," he said, heading for his captain and friend. "Blair...?"
Simon shook his head. "Don't know yet." He tipped his chin down the hall. "The doctor's in there with him."
Jim took a step in the direction Simon had gestured. Simon halted him with a hand on his arm. "They're not letting anyone in with him. Said we were under foot."
"You saw him when he came in?"
A curt nod.
"Simon I have to know."
"I don't know, Jim. I only saw him when they brought him in. He looked....bad," Simon said softly. "Blood everywhere. Blair was conscious...babbling about..." He shrugged, pinching his nose. "It didn't make any sense. Doc put it down to shock."
"I want to see him." Jim said, his head swinging around as if the younger man would suddenly appear. "Where is he, Simon?"
"You can't go in there, Jim. They don't want anyone in the room this time. Something about last time being hell having to work around a growling bear of a detective. They have a special notation on the charts, Jim. It was embarrassing."
Jim glared daggers at his captain and friend, his body one massive coil waiting to spring, then his nostrils flared and the tension seemed to ease a bit. Raking trembling fingers through short hair, he asked, "What do we know, Simon? Who did this to him?"
"Not who, Jim. What."
Jim's eyes narrowed to slits. "What?"
"It was an animal attack," Simon said. "In the park near Rainier."
"An.....animal attack.?" Jim scrubbed his face with his hands. "I don't believe this. We don't have dangerous animals in the city. "
"Jim, calm down..."
"He could have been killed," Jim raged, stomping from one end of the waiting room to the other. "He could have died, because of an.... animal?
"Jim, listen to me..."
"What animal?" Jim whirled on his captain. "A dog? God, was it rabid? You said bad...?"
"Jim, sit down, dammit." Simon steered the unsteady detective toward a chair.
"Blair," Jim mumbled. "Blair needs me...." He broke loose, heading deeper into the mysterious corridors what separated him from his guide.
"Whoa up...." Simon grabbed Jim's arm and dragged him back, thumping him down into the chair he so suddenly bolted.
"Simon, I have to..."
"Jim, you calm down. Do you understand? Let the staff do their jobs. You've done this before...."
"Yeah, way too often. What's with this guy. Is he some sort of gigantic human magnet for trouble? Does he go looking for accidents to step in front of? A dog attack, for God's sake..."
"I didn't say dog, Jim..." Simon said softly.
"What?" Jim asked, his natural cop instinct kicking in. "It wasn't a dog...?"
"Doctor doesn't think so."
"We don't know. I told you Blair was talking crazy when he was brought in."
"What..."Jim snarled, his lip curling . "Did he say attacked him?"
"Wolves," Simon said, "He said wolves attacked him. Giant wolves."
"We're checking the zoos and such for escaped animals, but...." Simon shrugged.
"I can't believe this," Jim muttered. "Wouldn't happen to anyone but Blair. He..." his hands fluttered in the air at a complete loss.
"He'll be fine, Jim." Simon mouthed words that had no real meaning for either of them.
An hour passed in a twilight zone of ignorance. Minutes ticked out the second half hour with Jim growing more and more silence and withdrawn with each tick.
A steaming white Styrofoam cup waved under his nose. His fingers curled automatically around the warm foam. "I don't want any." He grumbled, glaring into the dark brew.
"Sure." Simon pressed the cup to Jim's lips with a firm finger under it.
Jim sipped and swallowed, his eyes glued to the empty hallway. He was halfway through a cold coffee when the doctor finally appeared at the end of the hall. Jim rose to his feet as the tall man approached.
"How is he?"
The doctor sighed, examining his charts. "Yes, Mr Sandburg lists you as his contact person.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Jim's hands waved frantically. "How is he, dammit?"
A crooked brow followed by more stretched silence fell over the trio, until, "Mr Sandburg suffered some nasty tearing wounds to his arms and legs. A deep gash in his shoulder. Nothing fatal. Just unpleasant."
"Scars?" Simon wanted to know.
"The shoulder wound definitely. the other bites and scratches should heal fairly well. We've cleaned him up. Given him the necessary inoculations." The doctor shrugged. "Mentally, he's pretty shaken up. Animal attacks are traumatic, to say the least, and Mr Sandburg has an incredibly...active imagination."
"What are you implying, doctor?" Jim demanded.
"Implying? Why, nothing at all."
Jim eyed him suspiciously. "When can I take him home?
"Now...."Blair said softly. "I would really like to go home now."
Jim spun on his heel. His worried gaze inventoried each new cut, bump and bruise on his friend's pale skin. "How are you felling, Sandburg? Better?"
"Oh sure," Blair groused. "Want to go under some big predatory beast at least once a week now I know what it's like. Its a trip."
Jim's glance meshed with Simon's and they shared the fear in each other's heart for one brief moment before Jim heaved a heavy sigh and took proprietary possession of the wheelchair and the man inside it. "Your coach awaits, Sandburg."
"Not soon enough for me," Blair grumbled.
"You're tired," Jim said, patting Blair's shoulder.
Jim shot another look to Simon. The Captain shrugged at a complete loss.
"Let me get you home, Blair." Jim gave the chair a motivating shove. His long stride ate up the long corridors with a flustered nurse trailing after.
"Hey, wait..." The doctor shouted, "We've got some paper...."
Simon silenced the man with a hand on his forearm. "You don't want to do that, Doc. Jim's in full Blessed Protector Mode."
The doctor raised a questioning brow.
Simon grinned, shaking his head. "You do not want to know."