39: Franny

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39. Franny

 When I wake up, I feel the air has been knocked out of me.

There's a splitting pain in my head as I suck oxygen through my nose in one hard go. My hands clench and a sting goes through the top of my hand. I look down and see an IV stuck under my skin. I shiver and look away towards the ceiling, the harsh glow of the light burning my eyes.

I wait for what feels like a couple of minutes before the door opens and a woman walks in. She gives me a short, quick smile when she reaches the side of my bed and looks over a few things.

"Hello, Francesca," she says. "I'm Doctor Han, I've been overseeing your recovery for the last twenty-four hours."

"I've been out a day?" I ask, shifting on the bed, wanting to be upright.

"Yes, you lost a substantial amount of blood from the bullet wound."

My hand immediately goes to the side of my stomach, resting lightly on top of the covers. I go back to the night, the darkened room, the tight grip on my arm from behind and then the spray of blood—red, everywhere.

"Francesca," Doctor Han says softly and I look up at her, startled. "Is everything okay?"

I blink at her for a moment because no, everything is not okay. I can't stop seeing red. I can't stop hearing the thump of bodies hitting the floor. I look down at my lap and nod my head.

"Everything's fine," I murmur.

My mind screams liar.

"The police will be here in a few minutes. After talking to them you need to continue resting so that wound heals up nicely," Doctor Han says and pats the top of my hand. "Hang in there, you'll be out before you know it."

"Thanks," I croak, my voice rough.

I want to ask if my dad's waiting outside, if Tyler got out okay, if Carl is locked away. But I can't, so instead I close my mouth and settle further into the pillow, wishing for the beeping to stop.

It only takes a minute after Doctor Han is gone for Detective Franks to come walking through the door. He stops at the foot of my bed and crosses his arms over his chest.

"Is Tyler getting charged with anything?" I ask.

Detective Franks shakes his head. "We're dismissing any charges against Tyler in exchange for the evidence he provided against Carl. He'll be fine."

"You're not a very honest cop, are you?" I ask.

"Never said I was." Franks smiles. "But if you had an honest cop, Tyler would probably be locked up and Carl would still be out there, running his mess of a fighting ring. You needed me."

"And you needed Tyler," I say.

"Yes," he admits. "I did. Now we have all the evidence we need. Carl will be behind bars for a long time, don't worry."

"Thank you," I say after a moment of silence.

Franks puts his hands in his pockets and tilts his head forward. "Hope you recover well."

He turns around and the door clicks shut behind him.

Everything should be fine now. There's nothing to worry about anymore. Things are where we wanted them to be.

Tyler is free.

But I feel caged.


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