Jan took a deep breath and levitated in lotus position, just the barest amount, and in her joy in success sank down again. She sighed. Thus it always was. She had to get past the idea that she was doing this and things were what they were, and that was all that was.
She ignored the voice, barely heard it, and concentrated on nothing again. She felt lighter. There was a tiny sensation, a pinprick, and the tropical island began to fade.
“Can you hear me, ma’am? Jesus Christ we’re losing her, dammit! Her blood pressure is bottoming out.”
“Jan, you checking out?” Jan opened her eyes and saw Stevie standing there, floating just an inch or so above the water. “It’s okay, I just need to know.”
Jan turned her head and spat out blood. Damn, another tooth. She felt her body becoming heavy; ribs again, and maybe a fractured wrist, too. “Is there any reason for me to stay, Stevie?”
“You know I love you, if that isn’t enough, then find something else.” Stevie said. “But you need to decide soon.”
“This one is going to hurt bad, isn’t it?”
“We gotta pulse!”
“Get a trach, she can’t breathe!”
“Holy shit what a mess.”
“She’s going to lose that eye.”
“Get her in, move it!”
“It’s bad this time, Stevie.” Jan said. “Can’t I stay here with you?”
“You can’t if you’re dead, Jan.” Stevie said. “If you die then I die too.”
“What happens if we die?” Jan asked, and she nothingness several times before she felt Stevie again. “Stevie?”
“I do not know.”
“Stevie, I can’t do this again.”
“Hit her again, dammit! Charging! Move it! Dammit! Clear!”
“Yeah, it’s okay, I hope, somehow, we will meet again.”
“I don’t want to lose you, Stevie.”
“I got a pulse!”
“Guess it’s a bad thing I’m on a first name basis with an Assistant District Attorney. “ Jan tried to smile but her face hurt. She looked out of her one eye and picked up her right arm and its cast. They might be able to save her eye, but they wouldn’t let her have a mirror yet. Stevie hadn’t returned since she woke up. She tried to meditate but the pain meds blocked the sensations she needed to follow. She felt weighed down on the hospital bed, strapped down, even though she wasn’t. “I should have left when I had the chance.”
“You can still leave.”
“That wasn’t what I meant.”
“Jan, your husband is going to kill you.” Assistant DA Barbara Prickle said. “This is the third time he’s beaten you like this and he’s hit you a dozen or so more times. This is by far the worst. Do you realize your neighbors called only because of the noise he was making slamming your head against the wall? He is going to kill you, Jan. There is no other way to say this.”
“Can you keep him away from me?” Jan wished for the chance again, just one more chance, either to live, or to die, she didn’t care.
Jan went through surgery to repair her shattered jaw. The wrist needed some more work, and they wanted to put a pin in. Jan’s vision was still blurry from the concussion and her right eardrum had been punctured. Worst, the meds kept Stevie away. She wasn’t there at all, not even the slightest trace of her presence. The meds blocked her meditation, blocked Stevie, and gave the day a flat hum where one television show blended into the next seamlessly. Jan hoped he would come and kill her. Barbara had come to see her and all the paperwork had been filed, but it had been before. The cops tended to give up on a woman who went back and so many women did. She did. Jan knew the first time she went back it was wrong but she did. She knew it was wrong the second time, and the third time, but each time it seemed like it was just a matter of time. Only Stevie did not judge her. Only Stevie did not tell her she was wrong. Stevie simply was, and now she was gone too. Jan wished he would come, and kill her, as he had promised. The irony of that last promise being broke made her want to laugh, but that hurt, too.
“Jan?” Jan was dreaming, and in the dream she was running down a hallway that was impossibly long and he was right behind her and she would not make it to the door and he would have her before she could reach the door and as soon as she reached for the knob he would have her and it would begin and nothing she said or did would do anything but make it worse and saying nothing made it worse and screaming made it worse and she would not make it to the door…
“Jan?” She woke up and Barbara was there. “Jan?”
“Yeth.” Jan couldn’t speak. The tube was back in her mouth again. Yes, the tube. Her mouth kept drying out. They had stabilized her head and she couldn’t move it. She felt the straps and realized she would be easy prey if he came now. He would come now, and he would kill Barbara in front of her, and she would die this day and…
“Baby?” It was Stevie’s voice. “Baby it will be okay.”
“Jan?” Barbara said. “Are you able to understand me? I want you to nod your head twice if you understand what I am saying.”
Jan nodded twice.
“Jan, we lost him.” Barbara’s voice cracked and Jan could tell the woman was terrified. “He got away from us. He injured a cop and now he’s on the run. We’ve got people at the door, twenty-four seven, I swear to you, he cannot reach you, Jan, I swear it.” But the meds had already pulled Jan under.