Ben sat at Melody’s bedside and watched the steady flow of her heart rate. The worst injury the doctors found was the severe dehydration. The first responders and hospital staff never saw Melody wake up. How much will she remember? Ben’s leg bounced, and he didn’t notice until his heel caught on the chair. Yet, when his leg stopped, the nervousness transferred up to Ben’s chest. A nurse entered and checked the fluids while she spoke to Ben.
“I don’t think she’ll be waking up tonight, and you look like you need rest. Go home, sleep in a bed and not our lumpy chairs.”
Ben shook his head.
“I can’t do that.”
Officer Lyle walked into the room that moment with a bag of burgers and fries. Right outside the doors, the two officers on guard dug into their own meals. Ben raised an eyebrow at Officer Lyle, who winked.
“It may not be universal to cops, but most people keep their mouths shut if you feed them.”
The nurse scowled at Officer Lyle before she left the room. Grease already stained splotches on the bag. A thick scent of griddle cooked beef and fries filled the room. Ben noticed another set of burger and fries.
“You didn’t need to get me two. I know I said I was starving.”
“Not for you, it’s for her.”
Officer Lyle nodded to Melody, who stirred a little. Then a memory sparked in Ben’s mind. A year ago, when he woke up in a hospital bed, it was to the smell of greasy food. Melody looked around, dazed at first, but then focused on the food in their hands.
“Can I?” Melody asked.
Melody’s voice sounded rough, like she’d screamed her lungs dry. Ben handed her the bag, and she held back for no manners. Officer Lyle leaned away from Melody as she tore into the fries. When Melody got hungry, she got hungry.
“How did you know that would work?” Ben asked.
“I don’t know. I guess experience. After that night when Cass killed my sister, I couldn’t speak. Might as well been in a coma. But one officer brought in a bag of food from the local burger joint and I latched on.”
The trio ate in silence until all of them settled further back into their positions. Officer Lyle set his food down and then looked between Ben and Melody a few times.
“The memories of tonight will never leave you. I can’t tell you how many nightmares I’ve had since that night twenty years ago. But you both made it through, and Ben, you made it through again. The Artist will always remember you, both of you. Don’t let tonight hamper your decisions. Ben, I’m proud of you for daring to go out tonight, but I wouldn’t tie any of it together. Live your lives. Melody, ask Ben about the advice I gave him last year.”
With that, Officer Lyle stood and walked toward the door. Ben remembered something before the door closed.
The door stopped closing.
“How do I become an officer?”
Officer Lyle laughed.
“Come see me in a few weeks. I have a mandatory vacation to enjoy, then we can talk.”
One thought on “The Exhibit 31: Survivor’s Club”
Pingback: The Exhibit 30: Only Here for You – Myers Fiction