As the two officers and Gabrielle hurried down the driveway to their squad cars Davies said to Brad Looney, “We can compile our reports later. You go ahead and go, I’ll get MS Gibeon to the hospital.”
“Right,” was Looney’s terse reply. “I’ll meet the lab crew over where Mr. Diaz indicated the assault occurred.”
He faced Gabrielle and held out a business card, “Here’s my card. Call me or Officer Davies if you think of anything that you think is relevant. I know we have a lot of territory that we haven’t covered yet. If I don’t hear from you in the next day or two Davies or I will call you, just to follow up.
“You did real well getting away from those guys; it’s pretty obvious you have plenty of fight in you. Good luck with your husband ma’am; he’s in good hands. We’ll do what we can to track down your assailants,” he added as he closed his car door, started the engine and drove away.
Davies opened the rear door of his car. “Gotta sit in back,” he said, “regulations. Duvan? No speeding. Do not try to stay with us or there will be consequences. Do you know where you’re going?”
“Yes, pretty sure,” Duvan responded.
“I know where we’re going,” Bill interjected. “You get Gabrielle to the hospital.” Bill unlocked his car doors with his key fob and got into the front passenger seat. “Ready, Duvan?”
“Yes, I am ready. I will pray for you as I drive, Gabrielle.”
“Thank you, Duvan. Thank you both. You’re good friends.”
She got into the back while Davies got into the driver seat. “Seat belt,” he said. “It’s the law.”
The car was swiftly in motion and Davies radioed in that he was escorting the wailing ambulance to Holy Cross. Once he was through with the radio he said, “I’m real sorry for the way things have gone tonight. I’m glad you weren’t hurt, that you saved yourself, really. They’ll have your husband to the hospital as quickly as possible. He’s in good hands.”
“I hope you’re right. I’m sorry for how things got started, too. You seem like a decent guy.”
“I try.” This exchange was followed by long minutes of silence and Davies kept one eye on the road and the other on his rear-view mirror. Based on her deliberate breathing, occasional eye scrunches and strong exhalations he was certain that Adriel’s collapse was affecting her more than her previous attack had. Not sure whether to let her be alone with her thoughts or reach out to her he chose the latter.
“Do you mind if I ask what, well, what’s got Mr. Gibeon in the wheelchair? Has he had this sort of collapse happen before?”
“He has ALS. Lou Gehrig’s? And no, the attack is new. I think it’s his heart. Congestive failure. He’s been deteriorating for the last two years or so but his disease has really started taking hold since the first of the year. We were hopeful he was getting better but the treatment didn’t work.
“It’s funny, I have a real chance of getting in a treatment program that could help with my blindness. I really want Adriel around to see if that happens. How far to the hospital?”
“Less than twenty minutes from your house. They’ll get him there. So what’s up with your eyes? I mean, do you want to talk or should I just shut up and drive? I’m just trying to help you cope.”
“Yeah. I figured. Thanks. Something called Stargardt’s disease. Supposedly mine is the worst case in the country, which makes me pretty special, huh? Macular degeneration to the point where I really don’t see anything anymore.”
“So you weren’t born like this?”
“Nope. Perfectly normal through high school. My eyes started failing over fifteen years ago right after I’d turned twenty,” she answered soberly. “How much longer?”
“Over half way there. Less than ten minutes. The ambulance is right behind us.”
“Yes, I know. I can hear, I just can’t see.”
Davies smiled and shook his head but chose not to respond to the barb. “Whole lot of sirens in the middle of the night.”