Detective Valance was woken up by the sound of Bad Boys blasting from his phone’s speakers. Before he took the call, the voice on the other end had already started,
“-im, we got a situation here. Shit’s hit it, man. The kids’re gone.”
His eyes immediately focused in the dark, his ears rang, and he turned to his resting Emilia, careful not to wake her in his controlled panic.
“Fish and Chicken?” He asked, giving himself a little more time to rationalize what the hell happened.
“They left sometime around 2 A.M., Jim. We got officers searching a 20 mile radius—nothing. Jim, I don’t have to tell you, but this is serious shit. We came this far without the feds up our asses on this, but looks like the 2 headed cat’s outta the bag. If we don’t find these kids soon…” The voice turned foreboding.
Jim Valance sat at the edge of his bed, his elbows propped on his knees, and hung his head.
“How the hell could they have gotten out of the hospital? Do they have anybody working the fucking night shift over there?”
“Asleep on the job, Jimbo. Turns out the late shift nurse was also the afternoon nurse the day before. Inadequate funding or some shit, so double and triple shifts ain’t uncommon. Maybe if some of these greedy assholes gave up some of their own pay…”
“…We have to find those kids.” Jim cut the voice off. “They’re…they’re just kids. They couldn’t have gotten far. What time is it?”
He motioned his phone from ears to eyes, 5:12.
“Been gone for three hours.”
“With four legs between ’em.” The voice said.
“Goddamn it all.” Jim said. “I’ll be there in 10. Call me with ANY updates.”
“Ay ay, cap’n.”
From his motel room, Jim Valance got to the hospital in 6 minutes flat.
John tried not to, but he couldn’t help himself from peeking into Sam’s dreams during his shift awake. Through Sam’s eyes, John watched Sam’s dream unfold into a nightmare.
Sam’s playing outside on the playground during lunch. He tries to get his lunchbox from a ledge before going inside.
“What do you think you’re doing, Fish?”
Sam turns around to see dickhead Mike.
“That’s not your lunchbox. That’s my friend’s.” Mike nudged Conrad, who looked nervous.
“Give him his lunchbox back. NOW.” Mike pushed Sam.
“But…this is mine.” His voice faded.
Mike reached into his pocket, “Give it to him, fucking Fish” and pulled out a switchblade. He put it to Sam’s throat, “Gimme the fucking lunchbox.”
Sam was frozen. John, looking in, wanted to take control of the situation. Shove the knife out of Mike’s hand and punch him in the face. Drop him to the ground. Conrad next. John had never been so angry when he was bullied by Mike and his shitty friends, but seeing Sam deal with it—especially like this, sent John into a temporary rage.
The bell rings and kids scatter, including Mike and Conrad. Sam stands still, eyes wide, staring past the playground and into the small hilly woods that outline the school, where the two were currently hiding.
John nudged, but he was still off getting bullied in his rest.
“Hmmph. Wha…” Sam started outloud.
What happened? And resumed thinking conversation.
Nothing. Just looked like you were having a bad dream.
Sam looked at John suspiciously.
Just a dream, John.
The sun’s coming up Sam. Where are we going?
Sam and John sat up and leaned against a tree, their tied together hospital gowns dirty and wet.
In the distance, the two could hear helicopter blades searching for them. Both hearts raced, their successful escape beginning to narrow.
“I thought about what you said last night.” John started.
They deserve…something. Mike and them.
They’ll get theirs, John. I…we’ll make sure of it. We need to make sure we’re safe first.
Sam was right—he was making more and more sense to John. Maybe letting him lead right now wasn’t such a bad thing; he’d so far gotten them out of a hospital and eluded at least one helicopter and a town of police officers.
We can stay in the woods. Sam suggested.
I think they’ll look here soon.
Sam and John thought for a while, looking to each other’s thoughts for a good idea. Finally John remembered Gladys, a friend from school who might have been his first girlfriend had the accident never happened.
Maybe Gladys can help us out?
Gladys? John you’re thinking about some girl from…from fucking SCHOOL…while we’re being hunted?
She’s really nice, Sam. Really. What if we could hide in her house or something for a day or two? Who’d think to look there?
Sam was reaching for ideas, but couldn’t come up with anything to contend with John’s. Sam’s own nightmare woke him up angry and depressed, unable to do much of anything.
We go to her house. If ANYTHING is weird, we’re taking off. We’re there for a reason, to survive.
John, for the first time, took control of both boys’ bodies and began their slow ascent to standing. Sam hung his head at his side, not trying to move at all; dead weight for John. His first few steps were drags across dirt but John soon found there wasn’t much thought to it at all without Sam working against him. The four legs took them from tree to tree, four arms chugging them along. John felt stronger than ever before, faster too. Gladys lived 2 blocks from the school, John had a few times skipped walking home with Sam to chat with Gladys all the way to her front door.
Two police cars rolled slow down Forest Ave, past the school, and never noticed John and Sam peek around the school to watch them pass by. The two ran to a backyard, hopped a fence, and did the same on Pierre St. Within 2 minutes, they were standing in front of Gladys’s window, softly knocking her awake.
Gladys rubbed her eyes, opened the window, and saw John’s face.
“John! What are you…wait why are you wearing a hospital gown?”
“Gladys. We need help.” He shifted into Gladys’s window view to reveal Sam at his side. The gown covered their predicament.
Sam was pale, eyes closed, and hung at their side.
“Is that Sam? What happened to him? We need to call 911!”
“No! Gladys please don’t. Can we stay in your shed for a day? I promise I’ll explain everything.”
“John…I have to tell my parents. I…”
“Gladys please don’t. Please help us, we have nowhere else to go. I’ll tell you everything. It won’t make sense—I don’t know what happened. But I’ll tell you if you please promise not to tell anybody. Please Gladys…”
Gladys left the window, leaving John in a panic. He messed everything up. They’d be strapped into a bed this time, they’d be experiments. Sam was right. They’d be bullied forever. He suddenly remembered Sam’s dream.
Where was I? I’m so sorry Sam.
John hadn’t even heard the backdoor open, but Gladys was soon standing next to him, throwing Sam’s arm over her shoulder to help John carry him, or so she thought.
“Follow me.” She whispered, and took John’s hand toward her family’s shed.