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It was one of those nights.

It started out quiet enough. Dinner with Camryn in the cafeteria. It wasn’t bad, since they added vegetarian options. I was getting tired of salad all the time, and I didn’t have much time at home these days to prepare a meal to take with me.

I was working in the E.R. that night. For every patient like this

There were ten of these

Then I read the chart of my next patient.

Malone, Samuel.

My heart leapt into my throat. Sam was Sophie’s husband. What could have happened to him, and did Sophie know? She was off duty tonight, and had been excited about a night off, looking forward to an evening with Sam after he got off work.

I peeked past the curtain at him.

He was sitting on the edge of a bed, calmly enough, almost oblivious to the large wound on his neck.
Judging by the glazed look in his eyes, he’d been given some pretty good pain killers.

Putting on a slightly more cheerful face than my current look of horror, I entered his cubicle.
“That’s a nasty wound, Sam. How did this happen?” I said as I bent to examine his neck. While nasty looking and still oozing slightly, it appeared to be almost superficial. The skin around the wound was strangely cool.

‘I…uh…” Sam murmered, blinking.”I was leaving work, and…I…I was walking to the subway. I don’t know what happened. My mind went blank, or something, and I woke up on the ground and my neck hurt, really bad. Someone found me and phoned an ambulance.”

I frowned. Could Sam have fainted and hurt himself as he fell?

“Can you tell me anything else?” I asked as I checked him over. He was pale and weak, but wasn’t so much as bruised.

“No, not really,” he said slowly.”Wait…okay, this is going to sound really stupid, but before I blacked out, I could have sworn I was being followed. You know, not just a creepy feeling, but actually seeing someone from the corner of my eye. And if I turned around, they were gone. But when I turned back and kept walking, they would appear again.”

“Hmm,” I muttered, staring at the wound, perplexed. It didn’t look like any kind of wound I’d ever seen before, except…

Cleaning the wound a little more, I could hardly believe it. Those…those were teeth marks!

It looked almost like a canine bite. Except, somehow different. How could a dog have bitten him so high on the neck, unless it was done after he’d been on the ground. But that still left unanswered questions.

Why had he fallen. Why had a received only this one wound. Why did he appear to have lost so much blood from a wound that didn’t seem very deep at all, and speaking of the wound, why did it seem to be showing signs of sealing itself when it was so fresh? Why would a dog bite him on the neck, once, and not anywhere else, and where was the dog, and was it dangerous/diseased?

“What you noticed behind you, Sam, could it have been a dog?” I asked, hesitantly.

“No, ” Sam began to shiver.”Too big. Too tall. Why?”

“Because, if I didn’t know any better, this is a dog bite.”

Sam stared, almost uncomprehending.

“We’re going to admit you overnight for observations. You’ve lost a lot of blood, and if this is a canine bite, we’d like to make sure you don’t pick up anything nasty from it. If you’re showing signs of improvement, we can release you sometime tomorrow. For now, I’d like you to get some rest,” I explained as I finished treating his wound.”Has anyone called Sophie?”

Sam opened his mouth just as Sophie ran in, sliding slightly on the tiles. She was wearing what she liked to call her “slops”, clothes she wore only around the house, and for once, her hair was down and disheveled. It was strange to see sophisticated and tidy Sophie so unkempt.

“Sam!” she cried, grabbing one of his hands.”Oh, Sam! Your hands are like ice! What’s happened?”

I explained everything to her, as calmly as I could. Her eyes were big and frightened, and she was clearly worried about Sam, but she nodded, agreeing with my assessment. After all, she was a doctor too.

“I’m really tired,” Sam piped up softly. He closed his eyes.

_____

After seeing Sam comfortable, I left him with Sophie at his side. My shift was over, and while I was loathe to leave now, I still needed to sleep.

I was laying in bed, staring at the ceiling. Something was bothering me. Something didn’t seem right.

There was just something…something about Sam’s wound that was not quite right. I felt like I should know it, like there was something I should remember. But I couldn’t.

I glanced to my desk, and my gaze fell on the picture there.

Sarah. My sister, Sarah. She’d been gone for so many years now.

I bolted out of bed.

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