By Joseph Logsdon

She screamed, troubled by the thought of death. Where was her assassin hiding? Her eyes stared at the ceiling, nervous and afraid. She had been shot once, so what was to prevent her from being shot again? The bed was damp, cold, and uninviting. She continued to scream, paralyzed by fear and anxiety. She tried to stop herself, to no avail. The nurse dashed into the room, worried and concerned about her patient. Rhoda kicked and shouted, terrified of everything and everyone. The nurse grabbed her shoulder, gently trying to provide comfort and relief.

Rhoda was more than afraid, she was nearly out of her mind. She could still hear the gunshot, the sound of the bullet penetrating her body. Everywhere she turned, the gun was always there. Tired and out of patience, the nurse injected Rhoda with a needle, in the hope that she would finally calm down.

"Are you feeling better?"

"He's coming for me, I know he is," she stuttered.

"Who's coming for you?"

"That man, the one who shot me," she cried.

"Now, why would you think that? Most likely, he's probably already skipped town. No one's going to bother you tonight, not on my watch. I'm just outside the door, so if you need anything, don't hesitate to ask," she stated.

"You don't understand, he's going to kill me. I was there, saw everything that happened. He killed that girl, now he's going to kill me. You must do something, before it's too late," she exclaimed.

"The police are taking care of things, just let them handle it. The minute you're in any danger, I'm sure they'll get you to safety. I'll say this, they can definitely be a handful," she laughed.

"What do you mean?"

"Earlier today, a detective came to see me. He questioned me, wanted to know more about you. I wouldn't worry about it, he seemed harmless enough. I'll bet you, he's probably drunk somewhere, gambling his money away. That's what they do, these police types. Most of them are criminals, criminals with a badge," she hissed.

"You aren't very fond of the police, are you?"

"They're only after one thing, your money. How many tickets can one person get? I've been to court so many times, it's almost like I live there. Watch yourself, because in my experience, they're the real bad guys," she confessed.

Rhoda stared at the nurse, confused and puzzled. The nurse was very friendly, almost too friendly. Somewhere behind that smile, existed something dark and sinister. There was a tense, somber silence in the room, filled with depressing thoughts and memories. The gun appeared inside her mind once again, resurrecting a painful thought, the thought of being shot and killed. Regardless of how hard she tried, she was still going to die.

The door started to open, sending her heart into overdrive. Whoever was on the other side of that door, couldn't possibly be her friend. They were there to shoot her, possibly kill her. Rhoda repeated that thought to herself, confident that she was going to die. The man walked into the room, smiling as he took off his stuffy jacket. He walked towards the bed, eager to talk to the victim of that horrible crime.

"Who are you?"

"I'm Tony Blake, the lead detective on this case," he answered.

"You mean, you're not here to kill me?"

"Kill you?"

"She has this idea that someone is going to kill her," the nurse added.

"Excuse me, who are you?"

"Amy," she answered.

"Well, if it's all the same to you, I would like to have a moment alone with Rhoda," Tony requested, taking off his hat.

"Oh, certainly," Amy stated, walking towards the door.

"Wait a minute, you can't just leave me. For all I know, he could've been hired to kill me," Rhoda screamed.

"It will be fine, as long as you answer his questions," Amy replied, leaving the room.

Tony stared at Rhoda, admiring her delicate beauty. Rhoda turned her head away from him, trying her very best to ignore him. Tony grabbed Rhoda, his arm squeezing her shoulder with force.

"Don't be afraid, I'm not going to hurt you," Tony stated.

"What do you call this, then? I've told the police everything I know, along with everything I don't know. What do you want me to say, that I shot myself?"

"The man you saw, John Reed, has killed many girls over the years. Why did he leave you alive, when he could've finished you off? Think long and hard, you might just find the answer," Tony stated.

"He's crazy, that's all I need to know," she cried.

"Oh, come now, you can do better than that. Going by what we already know, it's no secret that he wants you alive. He'll come for you, just when you least expect it," Tony warned.

"What are you trying to do, scare me? If I'm in so much danger, why don't you try to protect me? I'll do anything, say anything, to get your protection," she cried.

"At this current time, that just isn't possible. We're understaffed, underpaid, and overworked. We couldn't protect you, not even if we wanted to," Tony confessed.

"What am I supposed to do, let him kill me? Out of all the silly things I've heard, nothing can compare to this," she huffed.

"Well, now that you've been properly warned, I guess my work is done," Tony stated, heading towards the door.

"Are you just going to leave me?"

"Chances are, he won't even come here. With luck on our side, he should be caught very soon," Tony promised, leaving the room.

With no one left to help her, Rhoda tried to fall asleep. She tossed and turned, patiently waiting for sleep to overtake her troublesome thoughts. When sleep finally did come, it was anything but peaceful. She stood in an empty room, afraid and alone. The bullet penetrated her, awakening the greatest pain imaginable. She screamed, pleading for someone to hear her, to rescue her and take her away. No matter how much blood she lost, she just wouldn't die.

She ran into the street, shouting and screaming. She went from person to person, asking each of them to help her. Every time she approached someone, they refused to acknowledge her. It was as if she didn't exist, like she didn't even matter. No one cared about her, so why should she care about herself?

Rhoda opened her eyes, traumatized by her recent dream. Amy stared at her, lightly stroking the bed. There was a man standing above her, his face unseen. He smiled at her, before grabbing a knife from the table. Rhoda rose out of the bed, bewildered by what was happening.

"What's going on?"

"You're going into surgery," Amy answered.

"What are you talking about?"

"Heart surgery, to be exact. Oh, and just as a reminder, you'll probably be awake through most of it," Amy laughed.

"Has everyone gone insane?"

"Remain calm, it will be over before you know it. John Reed is a good surgeon, the best in the entire country," Amy laughed.

Rhoda looked up, nervously staring into the face of John Reed. He came at her with the knife, missing by just a few inches. Rhoda screamed, fear overtaking her greater judgment.

"I told you before, it will be over very soon. Relax, sit back, enjoy the ride," John laughed, cutting into her skin.

The End