Horacio stood stock still as he watched his world crumble around him. Adam dove from his right to block the bullet that was heading straight for his heart. Not the one that beat within his own chest, pumping life throughout his body, but toward the woman that dove from his left to save his miserable soul. A soul he wasn’t sure he had. Destiny, she was his destiny. The bullet struck her as Horacio and Adam struck the ground where he lay pinned beneath Adam’s mass. He needed to get to her to heal her, to save her as she had saved him.
Destiny’s eyes reach out to Horacio as he screamed to her. He screamed at Adam to let him up, to let him go. To let him save the woman who held his hope for happiness in her soft and gentle hands. But Adam’s job was defined the day he was created. Protect Horacio with all that you are. And that is what he did. He covered Horacio completely blocking any and all attempts of people trying to get to him. Adam held on as Horacio fought back. Protect Horacio with all that you are.
Horacio fought Adam. He pushed, struggled, and begged to be released, to be let up. When all his attempts had been ignored he did the one thing he knew would stop Adam. Horacio wrapped his fingers around the braided chain that hung from Adam’s neck and pulled, snapping the weakest link and the connection between his protector and him.
Adam remained steadfast. He did not move. He did not surrender. He did not stop protecting his Master. Horacio stopped all movement as his eyes moved between the charm clutched in his hand and the golem that should be no more than a pile of dried crumbling clay.
“Adam!” he screamed and thrust the charm in the golems face, “Let me up.”
Adam huffed as he shifted away from Horacio allowing him to stagger across the stage to where Destiny lay surrounded by a rapidly expanding pool of her own blood.
“She’s gone,” whispered a woman who knelt next to Destiny’s still form.
“No, she’s not. She’s not dead. I won’t let that happen to her,” Horacio mumbled as he reached for her still warm hand. He leaned over her placing a trembling kiss upon her forehead as a tear fell to accent his true feelings for the woman who protected him with her own life.
Horacio closed his eyes, placed his forehead to hers and whispered in her ear, “Come back, Destiny. Come back to me.” His grip on her hand warmed as he pushed time and vitality into her, as he willed her heart beat to strengthen and her wound to heal enough to either allow the doctors to save her or for her to choose the outcome. “I don’t want you to go. Stay with me, Destiny. Choose me.”
A paramedic placed a firm hand on Horacio’s shoulder, “Sir, we need you to step aside while we help your friend here.” For once in his life he was relieved that he was forced to have emergency staff at his events. He always saw it as theft by local officials, but now, now it was a blessing.
Horacio looked into the eyes of the haggard woman whose hand began to push him to the side. “Her name is Destiny and I love her.” He shocked himself with his declaration. He had never said those three words in connection to any one being. He loved actions or characteristics, but never one person entirely. But he knew this to be true. He felt in a way he had never felt before. His body reacted to her pain, to her example of selflessness, to her show of love for him. “I love her,” he whispered hoping the paramedic understood the enormity of his statement.
“I understand, sir. We will do all we can to help her,” the warn woman mumbled as she assessed Destiny’s wound. Destiny was rolled from her side onto a backboard. A collar was placed around her neck. The bullet had struck her on her left side at the base of her ribs with no exit wound in sight. Horacio kept his hand on Destiny to try to ensure her recovery, but would be required to relinquish contact when they ushered her into the back of the ambulance. He only had minutes to provide her with as much vitality as he could without offering so much that she hopped off the gurney and danced across the stage. He wanted to do just that. He wanted to see her climb off the board and twirl around, but he knew the repercussions would be catastrophic to him and his entire crew, not to mention the freak-show that would surround Destiny.
“I want to go with her to the hospital.”
“Are you family?”
Horacio hesitated. Deciding not to lie he hissed, “No.”
The EMT draped a pristine white blanket over Destiny’s still body as Horacio held fast to her, pushing more of himself into her, willing her to hang on to life. “I’m sorry, sir, only family can ride with her in the ambulance, but you are welcome to follow us to Norton County Hospital.”
Horacio walked with them to the ambulance, holding her hand the entire way. As the EMT’s prepped to load the gurney into the bus, Horacio leaned in and kissed her gently on the temple, “Hang on, Destiny. Stay with me. Choose me. I will be right behind you,” he begged.
“Sir, you will have to let go so we can get her into the ambulance.” Horacio release his hold and watched as they took her away.
What seemed like hours had only taken minutes. Horacio felt weaken by the events and the amount of energy he passed to Destiny. He stood shaking watching the flashing lights as they left the field and him behind.
A thick hand took him by the elbow and forced him toward an open car door. Horacio looked into the pleading eyes of Adam. Adam moved with purpose and haste. He tugged and pulled until Horacio gave up the fight and climbed into the SUV. Adam ran around the front of the vehicle and jumped into the driver’s seat slamming his foot on the gas leaving a cloud of dust in their wake. Horacio swayed with the movement of the car as it caught up with the ambulance. Adam stayed close to the screaming vehicle as it raced to get Destiny the help she needed.
Less than five minutes later they rounded a corner and were greeted by a team of rainbow colored hospital scrubs. They swarmed the ambulance as the doors flew open. Horacio leap from the car and ran after them as they babbled about BP’s and blood loss, consciousness, amps of injections, and bullet wounds. He didn’t follow the words. He followed her. He was stopped by a woman covered in Minion scrubs, yellow, smiling, hopeful faces stared at him.
“Sir, are you family? Sir?”
“No…no, I’m, I’m…a friend. Can I see her?”
Nurse Minion’s lips thinned as she slowly shook her head, “No, I’m sorry. The team needs to get her stabilized. Do you know how to reach her family? A phone number?”
Horacio looked down at the nurse and for a moment had no idea what to do. “No…wait, what hospital is this?” he asked as he looked around for a name. His eyes fell on the words Norton County as he gasped, “She works here. She’s a nurse. She’s been a hospice nurse for Arthur Jones. Her name is Destiny Landin.”
Recognition flared in the nurse’s eyes. “Thank you, sir. You can wait down the hall in the waiting room. I will do my best to keep you informed.”
Horacio stood staring at the curtain that hid Destiny’s damaged body. He was lost. Once again a firm hand took him by the arm and led him to the cold stark room down the hall. It was lined with uncomfortable plastic chairs and nervous people pacing back and forth awaiting word of the condition of their loved ones. Horacio was now a member of the “sit down and wait” group that was now in session.
Adam stepped into the path Horacio had been forming in the worn out linoleum floor. He urged Horacio to sit and with a weak hand gesture depicting drinking, offered to get him coffee. Horacio sat with an air of defeat and shook away the offer for anything that wasn’t Destiny. Horacio’s eyes moved around the room to the others who waited for word of life or death. He would trade them all in to hear that Destiny would survive. He would trade his own hoard of time to ensure she had a chance to live out all of hers. He braced his elbows on his knees and cradled his throbbing head in his hands. His fingers dug at his scalp as he rocked in his seat. This was the first time Horacio had even been on this side of life. He saved whomever he chose or whoever paid the price. He sucked the life out of more than he could ever count, but this was the first time he had to leave a life in the hands of the Fates. Those evil, fucking crones hated Horacio and would take Destiny to spite him, but it was against their own rules to interfere in the timeline of a mortal. Each person had their own thread to twist, to fray, and weaken. The Fates were not allowed to cut on a whim yet Horacio had made their predictions for many obsolete by altering their time lines. They had their gifts and Horacio had his.
Adam stood sentinel next to his Master. He would do as he was told. He would follow any order Horacio gave. He would make right his wrong or remove his own flesh to fix what he had done. Horacio had not reacted to Adam’s betrayal and Adam feared what was to come.
Doctor’s stepped in calling names and speaking with groups of people who either smiled and thank them or broke down in tears and begged them to fix the broken bodies of their loved ones. Horacio stared at the cracked linoleum waiting for her name.
Horacio jumped from his seat nearly knocking Adam over to get to the man in the doorway. “Destiny? Is she alright?”
“My name is Doctor Baxter. I was called down to assist when Ms. Landin was brought in. We have been able to stabilize her enough that we will be able to perform the surgery necessary. It appears that the bullet perforated her stomach, but I will not know the extent of the damage until we get her into surgery.”
Nurse Minion stepped into the waiting room as Dr. Baxter continued to talk instead of help Destiny. “Okay, so you are going to fix this. You are going to remove the bullet and fix her.”
“We will do our best, sir. Nurse Jessup will keep you informed as we move forward,” Dr. Baxter gave one final nod to Nurse Minion and stepped from the room.
“Sir, may I have your name for our records?”
“Mr. Rucker, I contacted out HR department about Ms. Landin and found that she has no one listed as her next of kin or emergency contact.”
“Her mother died when she was a child and her father only recently, I believe,” he mumbled as he watched the doctor board the elevator to take him to his patient.
Nurse Jessup nodded as she took notes on her chart, “I called the Jones’. Mrs. Jones confirmed that she was not aware of any family. You are her friend then?”
“Good, she needs a friend right now. If you will follow me I will take you to the waiting area in the surgical wing. I will keep you informed throughout her procedure…”
“Can I see her before she goes under? Before you take her in?”
Nurse Jessup looked unsure as she closed the chart, “Um, come this way and I will see what I can do about you seeing her before they take her back.”
Horacio and Adam followed her out into the hall where Horacio stopped. He turned to Adam and pointed at his neck where the chain no longer hung, “This is not over. I do not want you here. I will call if and when I need the car. Go.” He turned away from his own creation and hurried to catch up with Nurse Jessup as she held the elevator for him.
Muahahaha- you’re lovin’ it. I know you are.