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Officer Davies braked hard, circled the clover leaf off ramp that took him from Interstate 270 to Georgia Avenue and then turned right on Forest Glen Road. “Getting off the highway now,” he commentated unnecessarily. “Practically there. They’ll be waiting for the ambulance at the hospital.”

“Thank you,” came Gabrielle’s whispered reply. She raised her volume slightly and repeated, “Thank you.”

The sirens were replaced with comparative silence as she was thrown hard to the left as the car turned right. A split second later she was thrust forward and the silence that had momentarily filled the air was replaced with tire chirp as Davies decelerated in a way that mirrored Bill Finger’s earlier escapade back on Mistic View Court.

‘Nice stop,’ she thought as her seat belt held her safely, if not comfortably, in place.

“Adriel’s right in front of us,” Davies said as the car rocked to a stop and he exited and then quickly opened the back door for Gabrielle. “Come on. I’ll take you to the ER entrance but we’ve got to stay out of the way. For Adriel’s sake.”

The fighting spirit that had sustained Gabrielle throughout most of her life had begun to blossom with the battle field death of her brother and her father’s subsequent abandonment of her and her mother a quarter century earlier. She had learned early in life that if she wanted something then it was up to her to get it. This lesson had only been strengthened by her loss of eyesight. She’d been sincere when she’d told Officer Davies that he seemed like a decent man. That sincerity did nothing to keep her from doing her damndest to get to her goal and her goal was her husband.

The clanking of the stretcher being moved from the truck to the ground told her precisely which direction to go. Pushing forward she bumped into Davies who held out an arm in an attempt to stop her advancement; she merely slid under it.

Out of the babble of voices she heard a familiar voice say, “Looks like congestive heart failure. Who’s manning the ER?”

“Doc Cater,” replied a voice she hadn’t heard before. “He’s got the cardiac room prepped.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” continued the third voice in response to Gabrielle’s fast and furious approach. “Officer!? We need some control here.”

“Yeah, got it!” Davies responded, adding a huge sigh to his reply.

Gabrielle could not see her husband but she feared that he might already have left her. The last thing they had spoken of was how weary he was and how ready to throw in the towel. ‘Not yet!’ she pleaded silently, ‘just a little while longer? A month? A week?’

“Adriel! Adriel! Don’t you die!” she screamed at him from the side of the truck. Then she whispered plaintively, “Not yet.”

The voice that had admonished Officer Davies now spoke directly to her, “Ma’am? Please. You’ll have to get out of the way. You need to let us do our job.”

A hand reached out and firmly grasped her elbow, thumb and middle finger fitting perfectly into the pressure point area that could cause searing pain if force were applied. “Gabrielle,” Officer Davies said to her, “you need to let these folks do their job. Come with me, I’ll take you to the ER reception area.”

She hesitated indecisively for the briefest of moments and then her taut muscles relaxed and she succumbed to the will of those that she hoped could save her husband.