I stood in the middle of my room, heart pounding. Two injuries, little more than two decades apart, so similar.
I groped in my desk and puled out an old file. Inside was all the information I’d collected over the years about Sarah’s death. As I poured over the paperwork, there was no doubt in my mind that whatever had happened to Sam, whatever had caused that wound, it had something in common with Sarah.
At that moment, my cellphone rang.
“Dr.Cobain speaking,” I said, still scanning the file.
“Sophie?” I frowned.
“Layla, it’s Sam!” Sophie sobbed.”He’s-!”
“Calm down, I can barely understand you,” I said urgently.”What’s happened?”
“Sam is dead!”
My long night became longer.
I rushed to the hospital, and before I changed, I was demanding answers. I was frustrated and angry, and very sad. Sam had been a good friend, and the love of Sophie’s life. I had honestly believed that he’d been going to make a full recovery.
I had left Sam asleep. His blood pressure had been quite low, but with a transfusion, it was at a manageable level and he’d been sleeping soundly. And definitely alive.
And what was worse, oh yes, worse, was the manner in which he died.
The nurses on duty informed me that when changing the dressings, the wound had all but sealed and looked weeks old.
Sophie had gone home to change and find coffee, leaving Sam alone in his room, sleeping quietly.
Five minutes later, a nurse entered the room to a scene from a horror movie.
Sam was sprawled in bed, his neck torn open once again, clearly dead. Barely a drop of blood was on the sheets or floor, yet his body was almost completely drained.
There was no evidence that anyone but the nursing staff or Sophie had been in the room, and the police were completely baffled.
My theory of canine attack no longer applied. It seemed now to be the work of some kind of serial killer. I shared the information Sam had given me about being followed with the police, and they agreed. On a whim, I gave them a copy of my file on Sarah. Nodding thoughtfully, they took it as they left to file their report.
The hospital was now quiet, more quiet than it had ever been. Sam had been well liked in the community, and the hospital staff were used to seeing him pick Sophie up after work. He’d always stopped to chat and joke, and had many friends at Sacred Spleen.
Sophie was in shock. I stayed with her all night in the chapel, praying with her, or just holding her.
Some time around dawn, Camryn crept in. Unable to leave her patients til that moment, she’d rushed to find her best friend and attempt to comfort and console the woman she’d known since elementary school.
Once again, I found myself at a funeral. Camryn and I stayed by Sophie’s side the whole time. We held her often, giving her the strength she didn’t have herself.
Her brokenhearted cries of pain and grief tore at my heart. I wish there had been more I could have done for her, but I didn’t know what else I could do.
After the funeral, Camryn and I brought Sophie back to my apartment where I could keep an eye on her. She hadn’t wanted to go back to her empty home, and we couldn’t leave her alone.
After making her eat something filling, we gave her some Sim-E Sleep-Eez and put her to bed. Then we sat down to watch the news.
Sam’s death was all over the news that week. So far, no suspects, no break in the case. The file I’d given the police had been helpful, to a certain point. Both cases were nearly identical. But without a suspect, a motive, and evidence, Sam’s case was likely to go as cold as Sarah’s had.
I had told Camryn about my sister, but not Sophie. We both agreed it would likely cause Sophie more pain to hear. Until she was more calm, we would keep quiet.
Work at Sacred Spleen continued on much as it had before, except much more subdued. Sophie was on leave, and the replacement pediatrician wasn’t as friendly or engaging. I missed my sweet friend and her gentle good humour.
After work one day, I met Camryn as she came off duty.
“I have tomorrow off,” she said.”After everything that’s been happening lately, I think I need to unwind. I was thinking about going out for a drink. Want to join me?”
“Sure, I’m not on duty tomorrow either, ” I said.
I should have said no.