Blocks from the hospital, he saw the police lights. He manages to get to the ward, which was in constant motion and turmoil. There was a group of nurses clustered together, comforting each other. He approached one with milky skin and cheeks that were radish red from emotion. Her wide blue eyes were tinged with grief and she held a balled up tissue to her small irritated nose. She looked at him sorrowfully.
“What happened?” he asked.
“A nurse was killed and a patient is missing” she whispered as her eyes started to fill up again. Another nurse put her arm around the now weeping girl.
Police pushed him out into the lobby, where he picked an empty chair to sit down and collect his thoughts. He forced his concern and fears to stand down, while he tried to remember everything she told him about Peter. He worked for a real estate agency, but she didn’t say which. He knew where he lived and it took some web searching, but he was able to track down the website.
Among thee other agents, there was the familiar guy he saw arguing with Valentina in the hospital. He was looking for personal information, but on a hunch he looked through his listings instead. He flipped through the properties for sale until he felt an alarm go off in his head when he saw an older home on what looked like a dead end street in Yonkers. He didn’t want to give himself time to second guess, he quickly wrote down the address.
Peter drove up the winding hill and then down a quiet street. At the very end, there was just overgrowth of weeds and it was littered with empty vials of vice. Valentina sat shivering in coat as looked at the house. The last light post stood a bit father than the rest of the homes and provided a spotlight on the road, but the house sat in the shadows.
The windows were boarded up with aging planks of wood and the neighborhood kids took complete advantage.
It faced a metal railing an a deep incline from which thick trees provided a privacy from the unattractive and noisy streets. The night was beginning to turn into dawn when he pulled her out of car roughly. A sharp pain made her gasp and pause, but he pulled her along and into the gloomy house.
He closed the door behind them and made her wait there until he turned on a few lanterns. He led her to an old sofa that sat on the dirty floor. The dusty cushions were covered with a quilt and she was secretly relieved to stop moving.
“See? You can never say that I don’t care about you. After all the trouble you caused, I’m still here taking care of you.” he told her proudly. He reached into his pocket and took out an amber bottle of pills. He gave her two small tablets with a glass of water.
“This will take care of the pain.”
He watched her swallow them as she prayed that she wouldn’t die.
Marcus reached the hill near the street as the sky was sjust starting to yawn in pastel colors. He walked down the short block and past the five small homes until he got to the last.
He stayed in the shade of the trees until he was at the side of the house. He cursed himself for not bringing a weapon, but his only thought was to find her. He wouldn’t have minded if a nosy neighbor called the police.
He peeked through a grimy window and saw her curled up on a sofa. Her dark hair caught the rising sun in a fiery copper as particles of dust floated everywhere. He didn’t see Peter and his heart pulsed in his throat as he crept closer to the back door. In one moment, there was the sound of cracking twigs and crunching leaves from behind. He turned and Peter’s fist connected with his cheek hard enough for Marcus to see the blinding lights of pain. Surprised, he backs away to give himself time to bite down on it and recover. Peter strode over to him, barely out of breath and quickly threw another blow. This one, Marcus quickly blocked and delivered his own to Peter’s stomach and chin. They fought with loud grunts, like animals in the height of battle or mating. Haring this, Valentina made her way across the living room slowly toward them. Through the dirty window, she saw Peter and Marcus fighting and looked around for something to use as weapon. She remembered seeing a gun in Peter’s duffle bag and through the fog of her mind, she went in search of it.
Valentina held it firmly in her hand and opened the back door slowly. She could see Marcus lying on the floor and spitting out blood. He struggled to get up as Peter reached for a thick branch to lay him down with once and for all.
Marcus couldn’t focus through the blood in his eye, but he could see a fuzzy image hulking over him with arms raised and ready.
Then the ear splitting shot and Peter’s body went rigid. His mouth agape in surprise and horror, the branch slipping out of his hands and falling heavily. Marcus rolled away before Peter fell to his face. The bullet hole was blowing out streamers of smoke and through them, Valentina clutching the gun in her grip. She was shivering and colorless in a thin hospital gown and slippers. He managed to stand and she came to him, breaking into sobs. She threw her cold arms around him and he exhaled as if her had been holding his breath the entire time they were apart. They embraced and he warmed his lips with hers deeply, cutting off the chill and the fear.
As the sun climbed high in the sky, so began the healing and the living.