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Doll Face(7)

By:C.M. Stunich

Turner groans like he's been punched in the stomach, stumbling over to the bed and sitting down hard, curling his torso over his knees as he struggles to breathe through the rush of emotion.

“You'll have to stay here for a while while I sort things out. If you want to leave, you're free to do so, but I can promise you that the police will be waiting. If you want me to sort this out, give me some time.” I open my mouth to ask one of the hundred questions I have crouching inside my chest when Brayden shakes his head, just so, and turns away, leaving the room and letting us drown in the silence of our own confusion.

I wake up with a start, tubes hooked into my arms, latched onto me like the sea creature that was plaguing my dreams. Fucking octopus, all bright orange and leering, with penises instead of tentacles. Fuck a Goddamn duck, that shit was bloody terrifying.

I reach up to start ripping needles from my skin when a woman's hand clamps over my wrist and draws my attention up to her face. I recognize this chick as one of Brayden's people, some Amazonian lady with too much muscle mass and small little titties. I jerk my arm from her hand and press it against my chest. I'm still alive. The emotion overwhelms me, crashing down on my head and making me dizzy. Or maybe that's the bullet wound that stupid scrag of a sister gave me.

“Glad to see you're awake,” the woman says, her hair like shadow in the darkness of my hospital room. I look around, but there's nobody else here. No Ronnie McGuire. My stomach clenches with pain and sends a tightness to my throat that I have trouble breathing around. I reach a hand down to touch the area where the bullet hit me, but it's buried under the blankets and the hospital gown, under bandages, probably stitches. I have no idea because as of right now, I can't really feel the damn thing. Must be all the morphine, huh? I get shot and wake up fried. Can't say I'm complaining about the second part of the equation. “Do you remember what happened, Miss Saints?”

“Uh,” I drone as I scope out the room. It's so empty and sterile, no fuckin' flowers or nothing. I must not have been out for all that long. Eh. And after all those sappy, end of the world thoughts? Fuck me runnin'. “I shot Joel,” I begin and the woman hisses under her breath, drawing my gaze back to her strange ass eyes. Pale as the fucking vodka I spend half my days slamming. I wrinkle my nose.

“No. That is not what happened. When the police come in to question you, you'll tell them the truth.” I raise a brow at the weird chick with the butch cut hair and the creepy eyes.

“Listen up there, twat-waffles, I know what happened there. I can see it in my mind clear as day. I don't know what you're smoking, but I really did shoot Joel. And then Poppet shot me, and … ” I swallow back the fear. If I let it, it'll overwhelm and consume me. “Ronnie,” I venture, but the woman's already rising from her chair.

“No, Lola. You're confused. A lot happened back there, so it's easy to see why you might not remember the exact sequence of events. Poppet shot you, yes, but you didn't shoot anybody. You were lying on the floor bleeding. Do you understand that?”

My heart is beating like a drum, like one of Ronnie's songs. What if he's dead? Nah. Nah. I was awake until … well, my last few memories there are hazy ones, but I know I remember Ronnie's face looking down at me, his words filling my head and promising that everything was going to be okay. Guess the crazy bloke was right, wasn't he?

“I … ” I think I get what this chick's trying to do. This here's my story and I better stick to it, kind of a thing? “I guess,” I hazard a weak affirmative to her intense stare and she curls her lip at me. I lift my hands up in a placating gesture. “Okay, okay, calm ya tits, lady. I didn't shoot anybody. Now can you please tell me what happened to Ronnie McGuire, the drummer for Indecency?”

“I know who Ronnie McGuire is,” the woman tells me in a deadpan. Um, 'kay. That's great. Now how about the whole 'alive' part of the conversation? I swallow hard and stare into the wide spots of darkness that make up her pupils, pleading, one woman to another. “He's fine.” I let out a sigh of relief, and then cringe. Okay. I lied. Even with the morphine, I can still feel the spot where that little fucker pierced through my stomach. “What about my sister? Did she get arrested?” I ask, thinking of the kid clutched in her hand, the crazy gleam in her eyes. That wasn't at all like the Poppet Saints I knew. Wonder what dad would have to say about that one?

The woman turns away like she's not going to answer me and then pauses with her hand on the door, glancing over her shoulder with sympathy. I know before she even says a word that it's going to be bad.