When the Night Makes You Numb, Part 3 - (Day 3, Evening)
A collab between @Xandrya
"Alana!" he barked, kneeling at her side, hands at her shoulders, "Alana! Somebody call a doctor!" His wide eyes didn't break from her pained face, even as her hair lay across her cheeks. He shook her, gently, "Alana, wake up!" But she didn't stir. He looked her over now, signs of an injury, some sort of wound to treat, but there weren't no hide nor hair of blood. "Alana," his voice was raising now. His gentle shakes rocked her shoulders, but her body only quaked in limp response. That pit in his stomach swallowed him whole. He felt like he needed to retch. His shaking hand sought out the vein at her neck, but in the seconds he took to read her pulse, the tears began to come. "No," he croaked, his throat collapsing. "No..."I thought we had more time,
Time to get things right,
Some days the sun won't shine,
Some days we fuss and fight,
But still I thought of you,
Our picnic on the beach,
You watched the scenic view,
I watched you within reach,
Now I hold you, but I don't,
Come on back to me,
The kindness that you've sown,
By your love, I was free.
Heartbreaking. No other words to describe it. Imani watched as Cal poured himself over Alana, desperate to find any sign of life in her. She was gently shoved as someone's curiosity got the better of them.
"Back up, they need their space!" Imani turned to address the crowd, spreading out her arms in an attempt to keep them from suffocating the two. In response, someone slapped her hand away, and she wasn't having it. Imani's eye fell on the man as she forced her way in front of him. "I said stay back!" She placed an open palm on his chest and in a not-so-gentle way pushed him back into the crowd. When he gripped her wrist, Imani used her free hand to wind back before delivering a blow to his jaw, one that would catch him off balance, sending him into unsuspecting witnesses. She felt a tug, pulling her away from him. Imani then decided it was enough and she shook them off, barging her way to the captain's side.
"Is she gone?" she knelt down beside him, looking her over but failing to see any indicators of life.
Cal became stone in that moment, the tear streaks on his cheeks quickly wiped away. It wasn't lost on him, beside himself as he was, that Imani had made space for the trio, and pulled a punch to keep things from escalating. Now, he stood, eyes of the crowd glued to him, Alana, and Imani. Parting the bodies, they fell away as he made a b-line for his hat at the bar. Minutes before he had been trying to forget the woman lying on the floor, with some help from his companion; now, a new host of emotions ripped and pulled at him like a current. Strand returned to Imani and Alana, and knelt beside the motionless woman. "Dédào m zi," he said, looking down at Alana. With an arm gently placed beneath her neck and shoulders, the other at the fold of her knees, Cal lifted the lifeless Alana, her head lolling against his chest.
There were no words exchanged during the solemn trip to the hospital. Imani focused on the safe transport of her captain and his girlfriend. The great and almighty Buddha would ideally spare her from suffering through such misfortune in the future if she were to find an adequate man to settle down with. She'd faced plenty of death in her life, but to lose your partner had to hurt enough to crumble a soul. Whom else if not said partner to grow a family with?
Imani took a quick peek behind her to see Cal holding on to any last bit of hope that they were able to work some life into her. But if experience served her any, time was simply working against them.
Another notification chimed from the cortex, letting them they were arriving at their destination very soon. "We're almost there," she finally added, breaking the silence.
The hospital was the only place to go. Not the Doll; no doc there. He'd made sure of that. Her body was beginning to cool in his hands. His brows pulled down permanently. Somewhere deep inside, he clung to the threadbare hope that docs could work miracles. He looked down into Alana's face. This one had, afterall.
Upon their arrival, Imani hurriedly-near on desperately-exited the mule and rushed to get the nearest medical staff available, forgetting Cal was left behind with a limp body. She rushed through the entrance and flagged down who she assumed to be a nurse.
"We've got an emergency, our doctor has no pulse!" Imani could've waited for a response, but she gripped the man's arm and dragged him outside.
As Imani rushed in to find help, Cal carefully stood from the mule while holding the limp form of his medic. Her hair was disheveled from the break-neck pace they'd taken to get here, but her face fell almost restfully. She looked like she was sleeping; like he'd watch her sleep hundreds of times from their shared bunk. The pit in his stomach drew at his insides like a black hole.
The rest was a blur, from the man Imani brought out, to the hospital waiting room. Now he sat shoulder to shoulder with Imani, though he'd said very little throughout the whole ordeal. In the silence, he waged war against the phantasm army of memories: her smile and those striking brows of hers; the smell of her hair and the way her biting wit put him in his place more than a time or two. The minutes felt like hours, and what with all their fancy tech, they had all sorts of ways of imaging and scanning and processing Alana. But Cal knew that wasn't Alana any more. The black coffee clung to the paper cup in his hands, tilting its contents this way and that.
"Excuse me," the clear voice of a slight man in teal scrubs approached the pair. "For Alana Lysanger?"
Cal looked up at him without a word.
The man's brow lifted as he continued, "Ms. Lysanger suffered from a massive aneurysm caused by a tumor in her brain." He paused for a moment, gauging the reaction of both Cal and Imani, then added, "I'm sorry for your loss."
The Captain stood, put on his hat, and beat a trail through the buzzing medical staff back to the mule.
Imani followed with a defeated sigh as she watched Cal disappear. She looked down then locked eyes with the uniformed man. "I reckon that's a best-case reaction from him given the news." Against her better judgment, the young woman then made a request which quite possibly would anger the captain to no end. She was overstepping into matters not of her concern, but in that moment, Imani saw it right to do what she did.
"You have a fairly quick cremation process, right?"