The unsuspecting man jumps back, loses his balance, and rolls out of the chair. The egg roll he was snacking on plops to the floor. Grunting and gasping, the large man spins on his knees. His face is pale and frightened.
"I…I need s…s…some help," Tracy says again, backing away. She is starting to shake. Her knees feel weak. Perhaps she really is injured, she thinks, and looks down at her chest again. Looking for a wound. Looking beneath the dried, stinking blood for the wound that was just there.
The nurse gets to his feet and, not taking his eyes off the bloody corpse of a woman, grabs the phone, punching in a code without having to look.
"She’s up... The woman...! Who was shot... She's up... She's here... I DON'T KNOW... NOW! Fucking NOW!"
He drops the phone, not looking as it tumbles back into the cradle, and tries to adjust his face and comport himself. Shockers happen every day, and with experience he’s gotten used to surprising situations.
"Honey, what happened to you? Ma’am, you didn't have a pulse. Are you okay. We need to get you laying down, over here... that's right, just relax." He comes around the nurse's station, and guides Tracy to another gurney, this one with no sheet, thrown into the corner. This is obviously part of the emergency room that doesn't see a lot of business.
Tracy takes an inappropriate moment to wonder if there are people waiting for hours for help when this area could hold more than a dozen patients comfortably.
As she braces a hip and maneuvers herself onto the gurney the nurse reaches out a foot to pop the brake. Tracy notices that the nurse's large hands have been guiding her, without actually forming any contact. Perhaps Tracy had found the one nurse who didn't like blood. Or touching.
Before she's fully situated on the gurney a frantic looking, Dougie-looking doctor rushes up. He  reaches for a pen and clicks it half a dozen times before he is satisfied that the ball point is prepared to write, then realizes he has no chart.
“Mrs… Ma’am,” he begins shakily, patting his chest for his stethoscope. Because that is the only way to tell if someone has a heartbeat after you’ve attended medical school.
“Let’s see. Nurse?” he demands, popping the eartips in his ears, and placing the drum on Tracy’s chest with a tentative hand.
“I don’t know, doctor. She just appeared. Out of nowhere.”
“Where is her chart?” The young doctor straightens, and asserts his authority. He looks older for a moment.
There is a flutter of action as more nurses and other scrub clad personnel appear. She notices that everyone is talking at once, no one is listening to each other, and no one seems to be able to finish a sentence.
Very quickly she is turned with proficient hands and made to lie flat. The sides of the gurney are popped up, and the contraption jerked down a corridor, into an actual emergency room. They had pushed her off into an unused hallway, the morgue was supposed to be on their way.
After hours, tedious hours, cold, sticky, and stinky hours, Tracy is being brought back to life on paper and admitted to a hospital room.
The doctors are baffled and blame the paramedics, "Why did you bring an uninjured person to the emergency room by ambulance?"
The paramedics have no answer.
Everyone refers to their notes. It is a mystery that some are calling a miracle.
Tracy never mentions Dikko, or his machine of light. She doesn’t tell anyone what really happened. No mention of the pool, or the woods, or her life. Her borrowed life.
All her life Tracy has known that if she keeps her head down long enough, she doesn’t have to say anything at all, and eventually people take their questions to the other side of doors, and into hallways instead of directing them towards her.
The hospital is no exception.
Tracy showers in a hot steam of spray, not caring about the antiseptic, harsh soaps the hospital provides. She uses the bar to scrub her head and hair, rubbing her skin with a washcloth until the dried blood is gone, and pink baby skin is glowing. It seems impossible that it was just this morning when she rinsed off to go to work. Even when the water is clear, she thinks she can still smell the blood.
She thinks about her animals with a start, but then decides that they will be fine until she can go home in the morning. There will be a mess to clean up, but messes aren’t that big of a deal.
Tracy slides into a crisp hospital gown and crawls into bed, her skin itchy and uncomfortable from the soap and scalding water.
She will use lotion in the morning, when she gets home, she thinks, and put that thought aside with the others as she turns her head and sleeps, and wonders what dreams will bring her tonight. What dreams will come?

“Good Morning, dear!”
A cherubic nurse waddles in, greeting Tracy brightly.
Tracy rolls over. She’s been awake since the window was grey with the dawn.
After the avid nurse takes her blood pressure, temperature, and listens to her chest and her back with yet another stethoscope, she rolls the bed tray over and proudly presents breakfast.
It’s not too bad for hospital standards, but Tracy sticks to the bacon and toast. The coffee is hot, and that is refreshing. A few sips and she is ready to face the day.
It is six hours of pacing the room, in borrowed scrubs, with hospital issued socks before she is discharged. She wanted to just walk away, but fear of upsetting the system kept her in the sterile room until her release could be sorted out.
It is possibly the strangest discharge in history, since she has no sign of physical trauma, no injuries, no wounds. But each nurse, doctor, and intern implores her to call if she has any problems, any symptoms at all. They seem to beg and wish for a symptom that will explain the anomaly of a dead gunshot victim waking up with a pulse and no wound.
Tracy herself isn't baffled at all, but she does struggle to accept that her adventures with Dikko, and the things she learned, are based in reality. She's always been very pragmatic about matters of spirituality. Hands of Joy Lutheran Church hasn't ever challenged her views, and she attends each Sunday by rote.
Dikko seems to be a god or angel, she's not sure. And the more time that passes, the less detail she can remember specifically. Perhaps it really was all a dream.

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