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Part Three

The going was slow with Dean trying his very best not to stumble or slip on any broken remains littering the ground that might jostle Sam.

 Everything hurt – his head throbbed, throat burned, and his chest was tightly constricting with each breath, but he had no intention of stopping, not while his little brother was making those terrible moans of agony as he came and went out of consciousness.

Dad was a steady presence behind him and that gave Dean strength to push through pain, the dizziness, and his growing weariness. His arms were numb from overuse with his hands locked around the carrying handles so tight that he had lost all sensation in them.

When they finally reached the car, they had to gently lay Sam down on the ground again to get the back doors open. Sam made a gut-turning noise in the back of his throat as he touched the ground that was far more painful to Dean than any injury on his body could have ever caused and he was quick to get on his knees beside Sam. While Dad opened the car doors, Dean stroked Sam's pale face, clasping his hand and promising that everything would be alright.

Sam clenched his eyes and teeth, but nodded, squeezing Dean’s hand back in a grip that was almost bruising.

His chest clenched tight when they had to move Sam again and maneuver him into the back seat and nothing – nothing was worse than hearing Sammy in such pain and Dean almost wished guiltily that his brother would pass out again just so he wouldn’t make those noises, but mostly so that he wouldn’t have to be awake for such torture.

After they finally had Sam lying across the back seat, Dean squeezed in, wedging himself between the back of the front seat bench and the footwell so that he could stay near Sam and keep his body from moving as much as possible during the drive.

Dad rushed to close the door then jumped into the driver’s seat, “Hold On!” he warned as he started the engine, threw the car into gear and took off like the devil himself was after them.

The ride to the hospital was thankfully only about 10 minutes long as Dad pushed the Impala’s engine to its limits, but it was still far too long in Dean’s mind as he held onto Sam and fought to keep him immobile and held his hand, letting Sam squeeze so hard as they went over bumps and made turns that it felt like his bones might snap.

At last, the blessed lights of the hospital came into view and after Dad pulled directly up to the ER doors and ran inside for help. Dean only had a moment with Sam before they were surrounded by people and hands were prying Sam’s fingers from his, dragging him out of the car.

Dean was ushered off to the side and soon couldn’t see anything that was being done to Sam. A gurney was pushed up against the car while a jumble of voices barked orders at each other. Numbly, he could only watch and though he wanted push everyone out of the way and claim his rightful spot next to Sam’s side, his feet were frozen to the ground and refused to move.

A roaring noise started up in his ears, rushing in time to his pounding heart as his throat closed in on itself, burning with the need for air, but unable to open fully to let any in. Thoughts escaped him, it was too much effort to think and all he could focus on was the huddled mass of people surrounding the car.

It must have been years before Sam was finally pulled out of the car on a backboard and laid on the gurney. A red-orange head and neck stabilizer obscured his face and all Dean could see of Sam was a few clumps of his dark hair blowing around in the wind.

Again, Dean tried to move, but his body betrayed him, his legs suddenly too weak to keep holding his weight for much longer. Dad was suddenly in front of him, saying something to him as his big hands clasped tight onto Dean’s shoulders, but he couldn’t make out what he was saying or why it was important when Sammy was being rushed away from them and into the building. The noise in his ears was getting louder and louder, drowning everything out.

His head ached, thumping along to the noise while the lights surrounding him sparkled and started to swirl like pinwheels. The hands on his shoulder clamped down tighter and shook, but there wasn’t anything those hands could do to keep the darkness enclosing him from taking him under.

OoOoOoOoOoOo

Pain was all there was – inside, outside, in his head, in his legs, deep down in his core. He tried to be strong like Dad said he was – but this was too much – he couldn’t do it – he was too weak – too tired.

It was dark, but there were disembodied voices all around him, drifting in and out of his ears together like a choir where each member sang their own song in a different key – none of it made any sense and for a while he just let them float on until they became nothing but white, background noise.

Hands were all over him as his clothing was stripped away bit by bit until the cold competed with the pain for supremacy and his extremities shook and shivered.

The voices continued to jumble with each other and suddenly there were two voices he wanted to hear the most, but he couldn’t find them no matter how hard to he strained.

No Dean … no Dad.

Just strangers.

He was alone in a room full of people and even when he reached out a hand, hoping that he’d either feel the calluses of his father’s palms or the small sliver of silver that Dean wore on his finger, all he felt instead was a hand, fat and smooth and all too wrong, grab it and turn it over before jabbing something into the back of it.

Heat and ice traveled up his arm at the same time and the voices and noise started to fade and become muted. His body was becoming increasingly numb and he could no longer move anything, not even his fingers, but he wasn’t scared anymore and pretty soon he welcomed his freedom from the pain went willing into the shadows.

oOoOoOoOoOo

John ran a hand through his hair, touching the back of his head where the wound on his head had clotted and matted his hair

He sighed and dropped his hand – he had come out of the storm unscathed compared to his sons and while pain had a firm hold on his head, it was nothing compared to the rumbling, gut-turning anxiety that clutched at him as he waited for any news on his boys.

 The only word he had on Sam so far came from another harried doctor that hurriedly made John sign off on emergency orthopedic and exploratory surgery. John had wanted throttle the man for his lack of information, but the doctor hadn’t been the one treating Sam and didn’t know much beyond the fact that Sam was bleeding internally and his pelvis was crushed and needed to be pieced back together.

It was not long after that when yet another doctor came and told him that Dean most likely passed out from a mild concussion, but he was worried about the swelling and bruises around his throat. John honestly couldn’t tell him what happened – he hadn’t been there and that truth hurt more than his head ever could.

Dean would be okay, he was assured, he just needed some rest, fluids and anti-inflammatories to bring down the swelling in his throat. When they had him settled in a room, they’d take John to see him.

That was hours ago.

 But the small-town ER was probably as busy as it had ever been with emergency services taxed to their fullest extent thanks to the tornado. John wasn’t at all surprised that he might have been forgotten. People were coming in left in right with injuries and the waiting room was so crowded that there were no empty chairs to be found.

But as more time slowly pressed on, he grew sick of waiting and he needed answers.So, John stood up, staying as close to the door where the doctors and nurses bustled in and out and hatched a plan to sneak through.

With so many people coming back and forth, concentrating on various tasks to distract them, it wasn’t at all difficult to slip through the double doors and into the overcrowded treatment area without causing anyone to look twice at him.

John had earlier heard a pair of paramedics talking to a nurse about how the storm had ravaged the town.  The local trailer park was essentially gone – the high school destroyed, and many other homes and business had been reduced to nothing more than piles of rubble.

People had lost their lives too and while their little family had suffered some serious injuries, John was still eternally grateful that they were all still alive.

People sat about on beds lining the hall outside of the treatment rooms, filling every square inch of available space, many of them looking about in a daze with ripped, dirty, and wet clothes. One little girl who had to be no older than five or six, sat all by herself clutching a filthy, sodden carebear, just staring off into the distance with a blank expression. He shivered a little inside as he passed her by with a lingering gaze; he’d seen that look before – first in Vietnam in the eyes of soldiers that had seen far too much death and destruction and then again in the eyes of his oldest son after the fire that had taken his mother from him.

His heart clenched at the memory, but he had to keep pressing on – he had to find his sons – he had to know for certain that they were all coming out of this and that he wasn’t going to lose any more pieces of his heart.

He searched every bed, hoping to find Dean on one of them when at last at the end of a long row of gurneys he found him, eyes closed in sleep with a clear IV bag hanging from a pole attached to the bed snaking its way into his son’s arm.

John pushed through the crowd made his way to Dean’s side. He looked pale as the sheets he lay on, but he had been cleaned up some; the dirt and grime and blood had been scrubbed away from his face and replaced by fresh bandages over his various cuts and he had been dressed in a thin hospital gown, but when John took his hand and held it in his own, he found it still caked with dirt under broken and torn nails – a visual testimony to the desperate act of digging that Dean had performed to find and save his little brother.

Dean stirred at the touch and opened groggy eyes that were glazed over with heavy medications. Yet still, even with the effects of the meds coursing through him, he looked up at John with utter relief, “Dad.” He slurred sleepily.

“I’m here, Dean. How’re you feeling?”

“Okay.” Dean mumbled, “Sammy?”

“I’m trying to find out right now, but this place is a madhouse.”

Dean blinked tired eyes and looked around at all of the people and gurney’s surrounding him, “Yeah … kinda looks like the last Ozzy concert I went to.”

“When did you go to an Ozzy concert?” John asked feigning anger.

“Uh … did I say that? … uh, ya know … never.” Dean rubbed the back of his neck and looked away sheepishly. Dean’s ability to lie was usually unparalleled, but with the drugs coursing through his system, he was an open book.

John let the fact that his son must have snuck out to see a concert behind his back go for the moment, he had to find out about Sam first, “Stay here … I’m going to see what’s going on with your brother.”

Dean shook his head and was already pulling at the IV taped to his hand, “M’coming with.”

“Dammit, Dean … you need to stay here and rest up.”

“Dad …” Dean looked up at John with pleading eyes, “Please, I can’t just sit here without knowing what’s going on with him.”  Normally Sam had the wounded puppy look that made anyone near him cave to his wishes down to a finely honed science, but Dean’s pleading eyes as they were then, were just as effective.

John sighed heavily, “Alright, but you leave that IV in, you hear me?” He glared as Dean again pulled at the needle his hand, but at John’s order he immediately stopped.

“Yessir.” Dean readily agreed.

John looked around and found a portable IV stand on wheels and rolled it over to Dean before grabbing the clear fluid bag and transferring it over. Dean in the meantime forced himself up, wobbling a little as he stood. John caught him under his elbow to steady him, “You sure you okay?”

“Yeah … just need to find my sea legs.” Dean then looked down at the gown he was wearing and the fuzzy, blue socks on his feet, “Oh dammit … they took my clothes.  Is my ass showing?”

“A little, just be glad they left your underwear on.” John remarked, “Hold on … I’ll find something to protect your modesty. John took off and came back a minute later with a thin robe which he handed off to his son.

Dean put it on over his shoulders, slipping his IV free arm into one sleeve, but didn’t bother to even try putting the other sleeve on with his IV still in place. John sighed and grabbed the IV bag, “Here,” He said helping Dean send the bag and his arm into the sleeve until both were through. He then hung the bag back up and placed a hand on Dean’s shoulder.

“You gonna be okay to do this?”

With determination, Dean straightened, “I’m fine, let’s just go find Sam.”

John nodded, but kept a hand on Dean’s elbow as he led the way down the corridor.

OoOoOoOoOoOo

Sam was still in surgery when they found their way to the surgical floor and finally found someone who knew what was going on, and even then, there wasn’t much the nurse at the desk could tell them other than the surgeon would come and speak with them when he was finished with the operation.

All he and Dad could do was wait.

Dean’s head ached miserably as he picked at the IV line running into the back of his hand and was tempted to pull it out more than once, but with his father in the same room and shooting reproving looks at him whenever he so much as looked at the thing, he had to force himself not to mess with it. On top of that, he felt almost naked without his regular clothes on, but dad was too busy pacing for him to ask him to go to the car and get him a change of clothes.

But really, all of that was just a distraction – something to keep his mind off of how long it was taking to learn anything about Sam and the longer they waited, the more tense and fidgety Dean got.

Another two frustrating and slowly passing hours ticked by before a doctor finally appeared from a set of double doors, looking tired and worn. He stopped by the desk where the nurse sat at a computer and asked her something. She looked up and pointed directly at them.

Dad was already on his way over and Dean was quick to get up from his chair and this time, he did manage to take out his IV on the way up. Ignoring the pain in his hand that yanking the IV out had caused, he joined his father and the doctor by the nurse’s desk.

The doctor introduced himself as his brother’s surgeon and briskly detailed Sam’s injuries and what had been done for him – a broken pelvis which the surgeon himself had immobilized with a device meant to hold his bones in place, but he expected to him  heal completely in time with some additional surgery and  physical therapy. He also had a lacerated bladder and perforated bowel that had caused some extensive internal bleeding, but those too had been repaired and Sam should recover fully as long as they kept a careful watch out for infection – a couple of broken ribs and some gashes that had been stitched, but  all in all, the doctor emphasized, Sam had been pretty lucky and had gotten to the hospital just in time – any longer and the internal bleeding might have killed him and as it was they had to give him almost 4 units of blood while on the table.

Dean really didn’t see anything lucky about the situation at all, but relief flooded through him anyway – Sam was going to be alright and that was all that really mattered.

“Can we see him?” Dad asked.

“He’s in recovery right now. I would expect him to be moved to a room within the next hour or so, but things are pretty hectic tonight so I can’t tell you exactly how long it will be …” The surgeon explained, running a weary hand over the surgical cap he still wore, “but, Ms. Rogers over there –“ the doctor pointed to the nurse at the desk, “can tell you what room he’ll be going to and you can wait in there for him.”

The surgeon was quick to beat a hasty retreat after that, saying that he had surgeries piling up and he needed to scrub back in for the next one. Dean could hear the exhaustion in the man’s voice and he just hoped that the doctor hadn’t already been that tired before he started Sam’s surgery or he’d put the man in a sleep so deep, he’d never wake up. However, another little voice in his head reminded him that the relatively small county had come through a disaster of biblical proportions and the doctor was probably just trying to keep up the best he could.

Dad turned on Dean when he looked behind and saw the ditched IV pole, but only gave him a little glare before going to the nurse and demanding to know what room Sam would be brought to.

After that, it was another waiting game and Dean was about to go out of his mind after just ten minutes in the little room. He just wanted to see Sam and confirm with his own eyes that his little brother was going to be alright – was that too much to ask?

Dad was a little calmer about it all, but the bouncing up and down of his leg as he sat in a chair gave away his anxiousness and Dean knew he was in just as much need as himself to see Sam with his own eyes. Looking about the room, Dean smirked at all of the colorful, Sesame Street cartoon characters decorating the walls – when Sam was finally installed in the room he was gonna have a field day teasing him about being placed in the pediatric ward and being surrounded by Elmo and Cookie Monster. But at least it wasn’t clowns – Dean wouldn’t have the heart to tease Sam about his clown phobia while his brother was recovering and while he didn’t understand why his brother hated clowns so much, he just couldn’t think about causing Sam any more distress than he already had to be in.

Finally, Dean found himself coming to his feet as a bed was rolled into the room, but immediately felt his heart sink the moment he realized it wasn’t Sam, but some other kid about his brother’s age. About thirty other family members followed the bed into the room – okay, maybe it wasn’t quite that many, but it certainly felt like it when the room wasn’t that big to begin with. It made sense that Sam would have a roommate given how packed the hospital was, but Dean still found himself irritated that they wouldn’t have any privacy once Sam came in.

A curtain slid across the room and divided the space, but it only served to remind Dean of how empty their side of the room was without his brother.

Dean was almost to his breaking point and tired of listening to the party of family members swarming in and coming out of the room for the other kid (he only had broken leg, but one would think he was on his death bed the way his mother fussed over him) Even the nurses were growing tired of the crowd and had to tell the group that only immediate family would be allowed. Dean had only really known two other people in his life that would ever show up in a hospital for him – his dad and his brother. Sometimes he wondered what it would be like to have such a large family – to have cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents … but really, all he had ever needed were those two people and he would do just about anything to make sure that they stayed with him.

It was after the initial furor of the other’s kid’s family died down that Sam was finally pushed into the room. In a way, it was almost anti-climactic, like Dean had been waiting so long to see his brother that when it actually happened, he was almost numb and didn’t know what to do.

At least Dad’s feet didn’t seem to be made of cement and he was by Sam’s side as soon as the head of his bed was across the threshold.

Sam was still and pale and didn’t do much more than flutter his eyelids as Dad took his hand and a couple of nurses bustled around him like worker bees as they connected him to leads, oxygen, and machines that monitored his every bodily function. But one thing that Dean couldn’t tear his eyes away from was the contraption grotesquely attached to his little brother’s pelvis and the thing looks like something the Spanish Inquisition used to torture people.

A nurse must have noticed him eying the device as she began to explain its purpose without him having to ask, “It’s an external fixator. It will help keep the bones in Sam’s pelvis immobilized.”

“Is it painful?” Dean asked warily – it certainly looked painful with pins screwed into his little brother’s flesh down to the bones underneath.

“Right now, he’s not feeling much of anything. And he’s going to be on some pretty powerful pain medication for some time.”

“How long?” Dad looked up, asking the nurse.

“I can’t say for certain, the doctor will let you know exactly, but usually people with this injury need to stay in the hospital for at least three weeks – then, if things go well, and after some physical therapy, he might be able to bear some weight on his legs in about 6 to 8 weeks.”

Dean stared at his little brother, frozen in place, but when Sam let out a little moan that sounded a little like “D’n”, his legs were instantly in motion and he was by Sam’s side the next second.

Sam’s eyes cracked open and hazel irises slid toward Dean, “Hey, Sammy,” he started, “How ya doing, kiddo?”

“It’s Sssam.” His brother protested weakly, slurring his words while his eyes closed sleepily.

“Whatever, dude … ” Dean ran a hand through Sam’s hair, “Just get better, okay?”

OoOoOoOo

Time passed slowly over the next couple of weeks.

The first few days had gone by in a haze of pain and drugs for Sam, so he didn’t really remember much of them, but he was aware that he had another surgery a few days after his first to remove the external fixator so the doctors could put even more screws and plates in his body which they hadn’t been able to do initially because of the injuries to his internal organs and bleeding.

After that, Sam wasn’t allowed to move much more than his head and spent the majority of his days either sleeping or watching television. The drugs helped with the pain, but they did nothing to alleviate the tension growing in the room around him.

Sam knew his father and he wasn’t one for sitting around on his hands. He had already spent much more time in this town than was planned thanks to the storm and Sam’s injury. And as the days dragged on, Sam could almost feel his father’s desire for Sam to hurry up and get better so they could leave. His father didn’t have to say it, but Sam knew he was holding him back from what he’d rather be doing. Hunting was what his dad lived and breathed, it was what he thought about from the time he woke up until the time he finally went to sleep at night and sitting around in a hospital room was making his father restless.

He understood his father’s need to get away from him too – Sam wasn’t much of a hunter before and never measured up to his dad’s standards, so what kind use was he to him now? Especially when all he did was just lay in bed.

Sam knew the man would sooner or later stumble across some kind hunt that demanded his immediate attention and on day 12 of his hospital imprisonment, a hunt did indeed come. Resigned, Sam didn’t even bother to ask that his family stay with him, after all, he was just a broken spoke in the Winchester wheel and he knew that sooner or later he’d be left behind.

Dean on the other hand was of the opinion that they both needed to stay and watch over Sam like he was some kind of helpless, pitiful creature that needed constant looking after by his father and brother twenty-four hours a day.  He was getting rather sick of it – all of it, really – everything from the sheer boredom to the pain – especially the pain. 

Though he was mostly asleep, Sam could hear his brother and father arguing quietly over the hunt Dad had found. He kept his eyes shut, but he listened to their words, unsurprised by the arguments both of them delivered to the other.

“It’s only for a day or two and it’s just a couple hours away in Oklahoma City. Sam will be fine here.”

“But Dad, we can’t just leave him here –“

“Sam isn’t due to be released for at least another week and something is killing people, Dean …”

“I know, but –“

“No ‘buts’. You can stay here if you want, but I could really use your help.”

Sam heard Dean sigh, “I guess I’m staying then.”

Opening his eyes, Sam decided to join in on the conversation. Dean had been just as cooped up in this hospital room as much as Sam had been and he knew that each day spent trying banter with Sam and keep an upbeat mood in the room was slowly wearing him down. Sam had to admit that he wasn’t good company – he was miserable and in pain most of the time, so really, why would his brother want to hang around him?

 While he didn’t like the thought of Dean going anywhere dangerous, he also knew his brother could handle himself and even liked hunting -- he needed something to keep Sam from dragging him down.

“Just go, Dean.” Sam muttered. Dad and Dean both turned his way, “S’not like I’m going to fall down a well while your gone. Hell ... I can’t even get up to pee.”

“Sam –“

“Dean … really, I’ll be fine watching TV and doing nothing on my own.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah.” Honestly, Sam wouldn’t have minded some time to himself as well. It was tiring trying to down play the piercing pain throbbing across his body with his stoic father and bad-ass brother around all of the time. Sometimes he just wanted to give in and cry himself to sleep, but with them around, he just couldn’t – a Winchester wasn’t supposed to cry in front of others.

He could tell that Dean was torn, but eventually he left with Dad, but not before he demanded that Sam listen to the doctors, eat everything he was told to eat, and when he came back, he better be ready to leave that freakin’ hospital.

Dad ruffled his hair and pretty much reiterated Dean’s demands and then they were gone.

Sam had the room to himself; his former roommate had been released almost a week ago, so there was just him – alone.

Nurses came and went, changed his catheters and bandages, brought him food, and pumped him full of drugs, but other than that, he had plenty of time to look out the window and just think. While Sam never really wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, he still couldn’t help the sense of loss coming over him as he contemplated his invalidity – how he might never be fit enough to hunt again. It wasn’t the thrill of tracking down creatures and killing things that Sam would miss – it was having his family’s back that he worried about. Even now – they were out hunting and he was just lying there unable to help – he couldn’t even research for them. What good was he going to be to them when they got back?

Sam let a tear fall from his eye and didn’t bother to stop the others filling his vision from spilling as well.

OoOoOoOoOoOo

Sam was starting to really worry.

“Honestly – they were only supposed to be gone a day or two.” Sam spoke over the phone, “The doctor’s won’t release me until Dad gets back, but it’s been over three days and I can’t get anything more than their  voicemail. What should I do, Bobby? ”

“Awwww crap, kid.” Sam could almost imagine Bobby taking off his trucker’s cap and rubbing a hand through his hair as he tried to think, “You know where they were goin’?”

“Oklahoma City. He thought something was there, but I don’t know much more than that.”

“Okay … listen, I’m packing up my bags right now and I should be there in about twelve hours, just hang tight till then …”

“Bobby – I don’t –“

“I know. We’ll get your daddy and brother back.”

“Thanks.”

Sam heard the other end go silent as Bobby hung up. Swallowing hard, he placed the receiver back on the phone, wincing at how even reaching over to the little table next to his bed sent a shockwave of pain racing from his hips down to his toes.

But the pain was secondary to the roiling waves of anxiety churning in his gut. Something had to have gone terribly wrong on the hunt. Sam’s doctor’s wanted to release him, but being a minor, Sam couldn’t sign his own release papers and he couldn’t check himself out AMA. But he needed to do something – he just couldn’t sit there.

What he needed was a computer so he could find out where exactly his brother and father could have gone, but even though the hospital was well stocked with the machines, none of them were within his reach – unless he could somehow get himself out of bed …

Sam’s nurses had left a wheelchair in his room to take him to his PT sessions, but each time, he had been helped into the chair and sitting upright had been excruciating. To make matters worse – the chair was on the other side of the room.

It was maybe only ten feet away, but it might as well have been miles. Sam took a couple of steadying breaths like he was getting ready to dive into freezing water then closed his eyes, pulled the sheet off his legs and sat up. The pain of putting weight on his pelvis, even just sitting up was enough to steal his breath and make sweat pop out on his forehead, but he pushed through it, gritting his teeth determinedly.

His legs came next and he carefully braced himself with his hands gripping the rails of the bed as he slowly brought them over the edge. So far in his PT sessions, he had only done a few leg lifts, but even those had been taxing and painful, but putting any kind of weight on his feet was strictly forbidden, but what choice did he have – he couldn’t just sit in bed when Dean and Dad were missing.

His feet finally touched the cold floor and he took a moment to catch his breath and shore up his resolve, looking at the wheelchair only a few steps away; he could do this, he told himself – he had to do this.

Carefully, he placed his feet flat on the floor and pushed himself off of the bed, holding onto edge with hands clenched into the sheet so tight, his knuckles became translucent.  The pain was immediate and so intense that he had to bite his lip to keep from crying out and alerting any nurses nearby to his escape attempt. His teeth dug into the flesh of his bottom lip until it bled, while he forced his right foot forward and then his left all while holding onto the bed for support. The real challenge came when Sam finally made it to the end of the bed.

His heart beat frantically in his chest. There were only about two unsupported steps he would have to take to reach the chair, but he really hoped those two measly steps wouldn’t kill him with agony or cause him to collapse to the floor. Because if he did fall, he wouldn’t be able to stifle the scream already building in his throat.

Sweat dripped from his bangs and into his face. He wiped at it absently and took another deep breath before letting go of the bed, taking his full weight on his feet. Sam almost went down as his shattered insides protested the pressure he was placing on them, but wrapping one arm around his middle and bending over slightly, he took a step forward … and then another.

His free hand stretched out and after one last agonizing step, he finally had the handles of the chair in his grip and he was able to pull it towards him and he nearly collapsed into the seat.

Dark spots floated in and out of his vision. He was dizzy with exhaustion, and though he had accomplished only a trip across his room, he was breathing like an Olympic sprinter, but he had made it and he had little time to waste getting out of the room and to the nearest computer without getting noticed which was something he didn’t have much hope in doing, but he had to try at the very least.

Now that he was in the chair, he unlocked the brakes and rolled himself to the door. Carefully and as quietly as possible, he pulled the door until it was open enough for both him and the chair to pass through. He checked both ways down the hall – two nurses sat at their station, chatting and laughing with each other and not paying much attention to anything except their conversation– which was perfect for Sam. He wheeled out of the room, and then took great care to make sure the door closed without a sound.

He was off after that, trying to control the grunts of pain that forced themselves up from the bottom of his throat as he pushed the wheels.

Rolling to the nearest elevator, he needed to get off the floor before someone came looking for him. He pressed the up button, and waited anxiously for it to arrive, checking over his shoulder frequently to make sure that he was still unnoticed.

Finally, the elevator arrived and to his great relief, it was empty. He pushed the wheelchair inside and breathed a sigh of relief when the doors closed and took him up to the next floor.

When the doors opened again, Sam found his way was still clear and he pushed himself forward.

By this time, Sam was covered in sweat, it rolled from his face and soaked the front of his gown and he was panting for breath – anyone that might have passed him would have stopped him immediately and asked him if he was okay, but thankfully, the hall was mostly empty since he had arrived in what appeared to be a floor reserved for family practice and being a Sunday, it was deserted. All of this was good for Sam as he hunted for a computer.

The first door he tried was locked and he hadn’t thought to bring anything with him to pick any locks, but one of the spokes from the wheelchair made a surprisingly good pick and he was able to breach the entrance easily and was soon inside the reception/waiting area of an office. He kept the lights off as he pushed the chair towards the desk where a computer monitor beckoned to him.

He booted up the machine and got to work, doing his best to ignore the growing pain in his hips and the buzzing noise in his ears that was making him light-headed.

He made it about an hour before everything went hazy and the words on the screen blurred together into a nauseating swirl before everything went black.


Part Four

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November 2012

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