The Beginning of The End
“Zoey! Pay attention.” Marco whispered harshly. Zoey Vance was shaking like a leaf, the plan they came up with seemed like a good one at the time but now she wasn’t so sure.
“I can’t do this Marco. I can’t let you do this. If we go through with this you won’t make it out alive. There are too many of Diablos men here.”
It was midnight, her Marco and the rest of the crew were at a park in the middle of Chicago waiting for Diablos meeting with a big time local drug dealer. She looked out over the scene in front of her and couldn’t help thinking that she was a long way from Atlanta. Her life had taken a turn for the worst and she had no idea how or why it happened. She felt Marco gently grab her face, turning it towards him so she was looking him in the eye.
She backed away from him, “You know if he sees you touching me he will be upset.”
Marco looked over his shoulder, eight men separated him from Diablo. Zoey and him were towards the back of the group going over the escape plan one last time.
“We have to do this. It’s our only chance. I’ve done a lot of evil things in my life once I became a part of this organization. If this is the one good thing I can do before I die then I’m fine with that. What other choice do we have? Do you want to go back to Atlanta and be the personal toy for the most ruthless drug lord in the city?”
She didn’t answer him, he knew she didn’t want this. She’d never wanted this. What she wanted was her old life back but after everything that happened she knew deep down that wasn’t going to be an option.
They were distracted when a noise came from across the park, 6 men emerged from the darkness and approached their group. Zoey shivered. Everything about this felt wrong. Diablo never had her travel with him and certainly never let her be involved in any meetings. She wondered what made this different. Part of her was grateful though, being in a strange city away from the watchful eye of Diablos spies was the reason she was even going to have an ounce of a chance at escaping. There was no one on the streets of Chicago who knew her and could stand to gain anything from sending her back to him.
Diablo and the stranger spoke in hushed tones for a few minutes before she heard him call her over. “Get over here, princess!” She hated that nickname and he knew it, which is why he never referred to her by her real name.
Her and Marco exchanged a nervous glance as they approached the center of the group. Zoey was sure everyone could hear the sound of her heart pounding away in her chest. When they got closer Zoey was overtaken by a feeling of dread. She recognized the guy Diablo was meeting with. He’d been in Atlanta a few weeks ago. He made her skin crawl every time he looked at her.
“You brought her.” The man said.
“She’s part of the deal. I told you I would.”
I’m part of the deal? She thought confused.
The man grabbed her by her collar and yanked her towards him. “We are going to have fun together.” he said. She pulled away forcefully breaking the Z charm necklace she wore around her neck. “Diablo, please...” She didn’t want to go with that man. Diablo was no prince but at least she knew how he operated. Once he sold her away who knows where she would end up.
“I can do whatever the fuck I want with my property. He was never coming back for you. One of my dealers just called me today. He was looking for more drugs.”
She laid on the ground sobbing uncontrollably until she felt a pair of strong arms lift her from the ground. “Pull yourself together, we have to act now before it’s too late.” Marco whispered in her ear.
She looked at Marco, she could see the wheels in his head turning. This wasn’t going to plan, he was about to do something rash.
“Wait a minute boss.” Marco said subtly taking a step forward effectively getting in between Zoey and the two men. “That guy back there.” he randomly pointed at one of the men from opposite side, “I’ve seen him around. A couple of weeks ago he tried to get information about what he would need to do to be able to work for you. He must have been a spy for Ray.”
“That’s not true.” the leader, who Zoey figured must have been Ray said.
Diablo pulled his gun, causing a ripple effect and before she knew it everyone had a gun out pointed at someone else. “Marco is my best man. He wouldn’t lie.”
“Come on D, you know I wouldn’t do that…” Zoeys attention was drawn away when Marco started backing her away from the argument. No one seemed to take notice and anyone who did probably figured he was doing his job and protecting the bosses toy. “I’m going to fire this shot and when I do, run.” Marco whispered when they were at the back of the group.
This was no time to have a breakdown but Zoey couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. “Hey, none of that, ok?” Marco said. He quickly brushed her tears away and kissed her on her forehead. “Run.”
Zoey turned and sprinted to her left, she only made it about 10 feet when she heard the first shot go off behind her. “Shit shit shit shit shit.” She chanted as she ran half expecting one of the men to pop out and grab her. There were so many shots going off at this point it reminded her of fireworks.
She ran straight through a line of trees and bushes scratching up her arms and legs in the process. Bursting through the other side she noticed a slightly busy street and a police station directly in front of her. ’Just a few lanes of traffic stand between me and freedom.’ She thought to herself. Tears coming to her eyes at the thought of safety after her last year of hell.
She quickly glanced left then right before deciding to dash out into the street against the light. It wasn’t until she was already in the lane that she realized she must have misjudged the speed of an oncoming car. She couldn’t will her feet to move, even if she could have she wouldn’t have been fast enough to avoid the oncoming car. She was a deer in headlights as the car came barreling towards her. She barely registered being hit.
Brian Preston and his fiance Macy Dent were on their way home from a friends party. She was catching him up on all the latest gossip she had recently learned about earlier that evening. He wasn’t remotely interested, but managed to give the appropriate “Mmms” and “Oh really’s” as responses every now and then. He glanced at Macy as she droned on and on about how someone at the party had on a dress from last season and he wondered if marrying her was a good idea. He was restless in his relationship, they were actively planning a wedding and planning on building a life together and he was having doubts. The past few weeks he’d been alternating between being excited about his wedding and dreading the very thought. He was hoping that whatever he was feeling was just cold feet.
Macy was beautiful, which is what attracted him to her in the first place her long blonde hair and blue eyes drew him in. And since she was a model she had an amazing body. He loved that she had a strong her passion for her work and he thought she had plans on actually becoming a photographer and a fashion designer but talks of those plans have become few and far between and he couldn’t pinpoint why she would abandon those ideas.
“You aren’t even listening to me are you Brian?” Macy’s question snapped him back to the present.
“Of Course I am.”
“What was the last thing I just said?” She asked crossing her arms across her chest.
He paused, he had no idea what the hell she had just said.
Macy signed, “Brian you have been acting strange lately and I am not going to stand for it. You need to work on that.”
“Macy….” The rest of his sentence died on his lips as he noticed a woman running directly into the street. He slammed on his breaks but wasn’t able to stop in time. He watched in horror as his Jaguar slammed into the person, who flew into the air before crashing down on the windshield and rolling onto the street in front of the car.
“Fuck!” He said, throwing the car in park and turning to his fiance. “Macy are you ok?”
She nodded, “I’m fine.”
“Call 911.” He said opening his door and walking around to the front of his car. An African American woman laid in an awkward position at the front of his car. He leaned over her and felt her wrist for a pulse. He breathed a sigh of relief, her pulse was faint but at least it was there. She had a gash on her head that was bleeding He took of his suit jacket and wrapped it around his head hoping that would stop the steady flow of blood.
He was startled when the woman groaned and her eyes fluttered opened. “Hey. You’re going to be ok. Help is coming...just...please hold on for me, alright?” He pulled her closer to him cradling her head in his lap, trying to apply pressure to her wound. He was hoping that talking to her would help but after her eyes had been opened for only a moment they slowly closed again. “Hey….don’t do that...please open your eyes. Macy!”
He was starting to panic, he couldn’t let the woman die in his arms. He heard the car door open and the sound of Macy’s heels as she walked up behind him. “How far away is the ambulance?” He asked her.
“They...they didn’t give me an ETA, just said that they were on the way.”
“Crap.” He said looking back down at the woman, there was a soft rise a fall to her chest so he was still optimistic.
After what felt like an eternity they finally heard sirens in the distance. Once it finally arrived, two EMTs exited the vehicle and rushed over to them with a gurney asking questions about what happened. THe ambulance was closely followed by a couple of police cruisers. The emergency workers moved him away from the woman and began to work on her. He watched as they put a neck brace around her neck, strap her to the gurney and head towards the ambulance.
As this was happening Brian was approached by a couple of the officers that arrived on the scene. “Where are they taking her?” Brian asked as he watched the ambulance take off. “I think they are going to Northwestern Memorial. Do you know that woman?” The female cop asked.
“No. We were driving home from a party and she just ran out into the street.”
“Have you been drinking tonight sir?”
“What? No, I haven’t.”
“Get your license and registration.” One of the officers said.
He walked around to the passenger side of the car. He made a move to open the car door when he noticed his hands were shaking...and covered in blood. He went to wipe them on his shirt and noticed that had blood stains on it too from when he pulled the woman’s head into his lap. He took a deep breath to calm his nerves.
“Let’s hurry up with that license.” The male officer yelled. He rolled his eyes and yanked the car door opened to retrieve his items. After grabbing the requested items he noticed his laundry bag full of work shirts that he forget to take to the cleaners. He handed his paperwork to Macy to pass to the officers and quickly grabbed a shirt to change into.
Brian thought he was never going to be able to leave the scene. The officers had him to a sobriety test to make sure he was sober. They asked a million and one questions then informed him that he would still have to go by the station to make a formal statement.
After that he still had to call the tow company to grab his Jag and a car service to get him and Macy home. The whole process took about 3 hours and he wanted nothing more than to climb into bed but something was nagging him.
“Paul.” he called out to the driver of their car once they were finally on their way.
“Take us to Northwestern Memorial, please.”
Macy frowned, “Why would you want to go there?”
“To check on the woman I almost killed, why else?”
“Can we just go home? I’m sure she’s fine.”
Brian started at his fiance for a moment in disbelief. He was too tired to argue, “Paul, drop me at the hospital and then take my fiancee home please.”
“No problem.” The driver said changing course to head to the hospital.
Once they arrived Brian hopped out of the car after quickly giving Macy a peck on the lips. He was surprised by her attitude but was too tired to address it at the moment. He could understand her being tired, he was too, but how about a little compassion?
He walked into the emergency room, his nerves were starting to get to him. ’Please let her be alive.’ He thought to himself.
“How can I help you?” the woman at the front desk asked.
“I’m looking for a woman that was brought in here around 3 hours ago. She was hit by a car...African American woman probably in her late 20s early 30s.”
The nurse clicked around on the computer a minute before telling him she had been moved to the ICU. He thanked her and made his way through the confusing maze of hallways and finally found himself at the nurses station.
There was a single nurse working, a dark skinned woman with short curly hair and teddy bear scrubs on. “Hi,” he said approaching the desk. He described the woman her was looking for to the nurse.
“Are you family?” she said looking him up and down.
“No..no,” he cleared his throat, “I’m the one who accidentally hit her with my car.”
“Visiting hours are over.”
He sighed, “Is there any information you can give me her name or her families contact information?”
“No. I can’t do that. Why are you here anyway? Trying to make sure she isn’t gonna sue your rich white ass?”
Brian was taken aback by the woman’s rudeness but quickly recovered. “No, I...I’m guessing you’ve never accidentally hit and almost killed someone and sat on the street holding their bloody body in your lap. It’s not a pleasant experience. I’m not worried about being sued. I’m concerned she might die I wanted to offer her and her family my apologies and offer to cover her medical expenses. And to find out how she was doing.”
The nurse gave him another once over before getting up from her desk. She sighed, “I’m sorry. rough night I had no reason to speak to you like that. I might get in trouble for this. Don’t tell anyone I allowed you back here. You seem sincere and that’s the only reason I’m allowing this. Follow me.”
They walked down a circular hall until the came to room 301. The nurse opened the door and turned on the lights. The woman from earlier was laying in the bed, tubes coming from multiple places on her body including one large one in her throat. Her head was bandaged and she had a cast on her left leg. He walked over to the edge of the bed and stopped, he turned around and gave the nurse a questioning look.
“She’s in a coma.”
“What! She was awake last I saw her…I mean she woke up and looked at me while we were at the scene of the accident. What happened?”
The nurse shook her head, “She had some internal bleeding that the paramedics couldn’t stop in the ambulance and her conditioned worsened.”
“Oh God.” he said covering his mouth with his hand. Brian couldn’t remember the last time he cried but tears were flowing freely for this stranger. The nurse rushed over and wrapped an arm around him. “Don’t worry it looks a little worse than it actually is. I’ve seen patients with her diagnosis pull through hundreds of times.
“But look what I did to her. She looks so...broken.”
The nurse started leading him out of the room and back to the front desk. She sat him down in one of the chairs at her station and offered him a tissue. She placed a hand on his knee, “Please try not to beat yourself up over this. You said it was an accident. You seem like a nice guy and I’m sure if there was any way to avoid this you would have.”
Brian sighed, the nurse was right but it was going to take a while for him to shake the feelings of guilt he had. He pulled himself together and grabbed a pen and sticky note from the desk and wrote down his information.
“Here,” he said handing her the paper he had just scribbled on. “This is my cell and office number please call me when she wakes up or when her family gets here. And I’m sorry but I didn’t catch your name.”
“If you have to call my office give my personal assistant your name. I’ll let her know to patch you through ASAP no matter what I’m doing. Nine times out of ten though I’m usually accessible by cell.”
Danica eyed the paper in her hand before turning back to him, “Okay. I’ll let her and her family know and give you a call.
“Thank you for letting me see her.” He said standing and heading towards the door.