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Chapter Fifteen

Haywood Regional Medical Center
Emergency Room
Clyde, North Carolina

The rugged beauty of Haywood County was lost on Sophia who was speeding to keep up with the ambulance. A telephone call to the Carnes’ family would have to wait until they reached the hospital. No way was she going to chance the need for another emergency vehicle. Lily had fallen asleep almost as soon as they had pulled onto Interstate 40. Trucks and cars moved to the shoulder as the ambulance sped by with the Buick tethered to it by invisible chain. Good thing Lily was asleep, Sophia thought, otherwise she’d be screaming her head off. Sophia scanned the trucks that had moved off the roadway to let the emergency vehicle pass, but she wasn’t sure if she’d know what to do providing she even recognized the one Amanda got in. That and the phone call would have to wait until they reached the hospital.

*

“Dave, Sugar, call me Dave. What’s a pretty little lady like you doing hitching rides? Could be dangerous!” The husky truck driver winked and grinned at her, his yellow teeth broadcasting a life of too much coffee and tobacco. The cab of his truck reminded Amanda of an overfull trash dumpster outside a fast food restaurant. The pine tree air freshener hanging from his mirror added just enough pine scent to the fetid smell of fried foods, cigarettes and body odor to stimulate Amanda’s gag reflex. Wadded sacks from a variety of food chains were mixed with emptied coffee containers; used creamers and other remnants of a life lived on the move filled the floor and portions of the seat. She wondered when he’d last shoveled it out. With a wariness learned from her previous experiences with truckers who offered her rides, Amanda scrunched against the far door in the cab and kept her hand near the handle.

The decision to escape transpired when she had rounded the Welcome Center and heard her name. Recognizing Sophia’s voice talking animatedly, she’d paused, easing backwards; she hid in the shadows around the corner and listened. She couldn’t decide who Sophia was talking to, but within seconds she’d heard enough of one side of the conversation to know they were delivering her to someone in Greenville and they knew her name and where she come from. What an idiot she’d been! Amanda had watched as Sophia slapped the cell phone closed and headed down the hill to the car.

Rage propelling her she headed in the opposite direction toward the dozen or so trucking rigs parked at the rest stop. Dave—she glanced to see if he were still watching her—had spotted her before she saw him as she flew toward the trucks. Without a doubt she would have to lose him the first chance she got. The eager truckers, the ones on the look out for female passengers proved to be the most vulgar—at least measured by her limited experience. If the interior of his truck was any indication of his mind, Dave might just be the most disgusting of them all.

As he started the rig, he glanced back at something, causing Amanda to look too. A crowd had gathered down in the picnic area, but she couldn’t see what was happening. Dave shrugged after a second or two and flashed his tarnished smile her way.

“You didn’t say, Sugar. Where are you headed?”

Amanda sputtered, “Uh, uh, Asheville, that’s right, Asheville. I have family there.”

“That right? Asheville, huh? Let’s get some music in here. You like music?” He flipped on the radio without giving her a chance to protest. The cab filled with country and western sounds, something about runway lights in the backyard. The volume jolted her and covered completely the sound of sirens turning into the rest stop. Amanda saw the flashing lights, but only in passing as the rig pulled out onto the interstate. First chance, she thought, and I am out of here.

The mountain climb taxed the tractor trailer rig, so Dave’s hands were busy shifting gears and occasionally talking on his CB which crackled and popped continuously in total disharmonious accompaniment to the Country and Western station.

Although Amanda did not relax she did settle down in the seat trying to decide what on earth she was going to do. Her jaw tightened as her resolve grew. It was good she’d found out now. For some reason her mind drifted back to Greta’s story. The man she loved left her alone; he failed her. So be it! There was no Joel Levin on the horizon for Amanda.

How far could the Atlantic Ocean be from here? A short swim and Amanda Carmichael would dissolve in the salty water. How fitting an end! The pamphlets at the Women’s Health Center in Oklahoma City and the websites she had searched after reading the journal explained that abortion in the first trimester often involved introducing a saline solution into the uterus, which destroyed the embryo prior to dilating and suctioning the offending passenger from the womb. So in the end salt water would be the means of death just as it had been intended before she was born.

The time with Max and Lily—yes, even bossy old Sophia—raised doubts, but now she knew or did she? She was so deep in thought and surrounded by the tightly packed sound in the cab that the sound of the siren coming up fast startled her. It seemed to jar Dave, too. She heard him mutter “whoa!” as he wrestled the rig to the shoulder of the road.

Rising up in the seat for a better view, Amanda saw the ambulance scream past with the all too familiar Buick on its tail. For the first time since she planned her own ending, a shudder of real concern for someone else ran through her.

“Lily,” she whispered.

“Huh?”

“Do you know where that ambulance is going?”

“Huh? No? Why?”

“Never mind,” Amanda shouted over the music and the squawking box, “She pulled on the handle and rammed the door open.

“Hey, get back in here. Where do you think you’re going?” He had released the clutch and the truck lurched forward

“Thanks but no thanks,” Amanda shouted, preparing to dismount, “And, Dave, clean out your garbage pit.”

“Shit! Dave, looks like you’ve captured a little tiger here.”

Amanda startled and hesitated. Though her vacillation was brief, it cost her freedom. A hand from behind took hold of her pony tail and heaved her back into the cab. Pain shot through her head, neck and shoulders as the realization dawned, Dave had a partner and judging from his grip, a strong, mean one. Twisting and kicking she struggled to free herself, but fighting served only to boost the sting that traveled from her scalp down. She was flailing against herself. Commanding calm, Amanda closed her eyes and went limp. The truck stopped and she could hear Dave sputtering and cussing. The monster clasped her hair tighter, laughed and shook her like a rag doll. The door remained open.

“What the hell are you doing, Ray? She’s jail bait for sure.”

“Shut up and shut the damn door!” The monster named Ray ordered.

Ray yanked Amanda out of the open portal as Dave reached to do as he was instructed. The additional pain caused an involuntary shudder, but Amanda bit her tongue to keep from crying out. The ooze of blood tasted salty in her mouth
.
There are some who would say that primal survival instincts have their roots in evolution, that the only creatures that exist today are those who have changed to secure their place in the current mix. Others contend those same instincts are the gift of the Creator and the foundation of life. No rational person would however deny its power. The force that drives a drowning man to surface for air, struggling for one last breath or gives rise to the flight or fight response, impelled Amanda to react. The monster loosened his grip on her hair running his hand down over her neck and shoulder to her breasts. Dave brushed over her thighs reaching to pull the door closed, snickering nervously.

While Dave tugged on the door, Ray continued his exploration. Amanda opened her eyes then with as much strength as she could muster she bit down on the tender under skin of Ray’s wrist and kicked Dave off balance into the filthy floor board. With energy supplied by adrenaline and sources unseen, Amanda flung herself feet first from the truck not turning loose of Ray’s wrist until she cleared the door. The asphalt collided with her bottom and her right leg folded painfully beneath her. Her whole body lurched forward and she tumbled over an incline crashing across rocks and through brush. Briefly, she thought as she fell that she might die from the fall, but mercifully the plunge ceased and she was still alive and conscious. Above her she heard Dave and Ray talking as they peered down the hill. Rats! She hadn’t considered they might come after her.

The slightest movement might betray her position, so in spite of the awkward painful posture in which she had landed, Amanda continued to lie still.

“There she is!” The monster yelled to Dave who had moved a few feet away.

“Where? Oh yeah, I see her. Gahdamit! Ray, she looks dead.”

“Naw! She didn’t fall far enough to be dead. Probably faking!”

“She could be dead.” Dave contradicted cautiously.

“So what do you propose we do? The bitch took a piece of hide out of my arm.”

“We got to get out of here.”

“Tell you what, Davey boy; we’re just a couple of honest truckers with bladders too full of coffee, stopped to take a leak. . .”

Amanda heard Ray unzip his jeans and a moment later Dave followed suit. Burying her face deeper into the prickly foliage, she realized she had something between her teeth. Revulsion sent shivers through her as she spit Ray’s flesh into the dirt and a man-made spray of yellow rain splattered over her.
Unable to bear the thought of what might happen next, her face pressed into the ground, she muttered, “Oh, God, I don’t want to die.” The impact of the truth stunned her. She didn’t want to die. Like the drowning man gasping for breath, she cried silently, “I want to live. Save me.” Exhaustion, pain and shock kicked in and Amanda lapsed into unconsciousness.

*

The Haywood Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Room presented a veneer of composure designed to calm the most turbulent of souls to enter. Max had already been transported to an assessment and treatment area reserved for patients who needed the quickest intervention, when Sophia managed to pull an increasingly befuzzled Lily through the doors. Sophia was no stranger to chaos, but the current multiple situations had her scrambling to prioritize. A pleasant young woman smiled at her from behind a desk rendering Sophia speechless for a moment
.
“May I help you?”

Calm down, Sophie. She could hear Elliot’s voice in her head. Think! Max, Amanda, call Millie and the rest of the Carnes tribe. First, answer this young woman who waited patiently and expectantly for Sophia’s response, evidently well trained for her job and familiar with the confusion of family and friends. Sophia swallowed and tried not to rush her words.

“Yes, my name is Sophia Winchester and this is Lily Carnes.” She drew the trembling Lily closer to her. “We were traveling and Max, Max Carnes, Lily’s husband had a seizure. He arrived by ambulance a few minutes ago.”

The young woman nodded, looking at her computer screen and started to speak when Sophia rushed on
.
“And, a young girl Amanda Carmichael who was traveling with us may have been abducted at the rest stop.” Abducted or running away, she’s a child, Sophia thought. “She’s only 14 and I saw her being lifted into a truck by a man. I am very concerned about her. She’s rather . . .uh, uh . . .unstable.”

With only the briefest hint of confusion the attendant picked up the phone checked a number and dialed. She met Sophia’s eyes.

“I’ll get the State Police here so you can give them the information. Do you have a picture of her?”

“Yes. There are some snapshots in the suitcases.”

“Where is this place? I don’t like it here. I want to go home.” Lily moaned and wrestled against Sophia’s hold. The attendant, MARCY, according to her identification badge, shifted her eyes sympathetically between Sophia and Lily while speaking to the dispatcher. Hanging up, she looked back to the computer screen.

“A trooper will be here shortly, so you may want to go get the photo. Mr. Carnes is in ER room 1B. I’ll call back there and let the staff know you’re here. Someone will be out shortly to talk to you.”

“Thank you, Marcy.” She turned to head for the car then remembered, “Marcy, I need to call Mr. Carnes family. May I use my cell phone in here?”

“Here in the lobby, but not back in the ER rooms.”

“Thanks, you’ve been very helpful.”

“Sure, no problem,” Marcy said, then, “Would you like for me to get Mrs. Carnes settled, while you go to the car? We aren’t very busy right at the moment. I’ll just call back there and check and then I can sit with her for a few minutes.”

Sophia calmed down at the offer. She would write a note to Marcy’s supervisor praising her. The Lord never promised there wouldn’t be turbulence in this life, but he had promised peace in the storm. Right then for Sophia the Lord’s peace had a name and it was Marcy. The girl deserved a gold medal, but a letter to her supervisor would have to do.

“Thank you, Marcy that would be very helpful. You’re a blessing.”

Marcy flashed a smile and took Lily’s arm guiding her gently to a couch in the waiting area.
*

The piercing bleep, bleep, bleep of the emergency broadcast signal blasted through Tim McGraw’s voice from the radio setting off a chain reaction in the cab of Dave’s truck. Dave, who had been balancing a container of coffee in one hand while smoking a cigarette with the other, spilled coffee on one leg. Scrambling to set the cup on the dash and tend to his burning leg, he dropped the cigarette in his lap and screamed obscenities so loud that he nearly failed to negotiate a curve on the mountainous interstate. “What the . . .?” Ray bellowed from the sleeper unit as Dave overcompensated and the large rig rocked violently on the road. In the confusion the emergency announcement passed, but the bleeping started again almost instantly and both men heard it the second time.

“An AMBER ALERT has been issued. At approximately 11:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time today, a fourteen year old female was seen entering a tractor trailer cab at the 1st East bound Rest Stop on Interstate 40 in North Carolina. The name of the victim is Amanda Carmichael. Her potential abductor is described as a white male wearing blue jeans and a white T-shirt driving a white tractor-trailer rig traveling east on Interstate 40. The victim is described as 5’2’’ tall, approximately 110 pounds with sandy brown hair pulled back in a ponytail. She has blue eyes. At the time of the incident she was wearing blue jeans and blue long sleeved T-shirt top. Please be on the look out for . . .”

Dave snapped off the radio. Sweat beaded on his face. Ray muttered. The crackling of the CB radio momentarily was the only sound inside the confines of the truck. Dave broke the silence first.

“So now what are we going to do?”

“Nothing, Davey, boy, we are going to do nothing except keep on driving.”

“She knows our names, Ray.”

“So, they may not even find her and if they do we’ll be long gone.”

“The cops might pull us over.”

“Do we have a girl in here, Davey?”

“No, but . . .”

“But, what?”

“Like I said before, we are just a couple of honest truckers trying to do a day’s work.”

“I ain’t so sure; we . . .”

“Trust me Davey there’s nothing to connect us to that kid. Like you said, she could be dead.”

“Don’t say that, Ray.”

“Come on, pull over. I’ll take over driving. If we get stopped, just keep your mouth shut.”
*
There was no denying the concern on Millie Carnes’s face when she closed her cell phone and turned to speak to the gathered clan. Motivated by concern for Lily and Max, the brothers, their sister and spouses decided that a reunion had been long overdue. Sophia became a willing accomplice keeping track of the action so that timing would be perfect. With Sharon and Barry opening their home, the whole group had converged on Greenville in the last two days.

Millie had been at the forefront of the idea, but even Ryan, who had rarely attended any family functions since his divorce, had willingly agreed to join them. Sharon had rented a beach house on Ocean Isle Beach for the lot of them. The plan was to surprise Max and Lily and join them for a family vacation. Sophia’s phone call with the grim details about Max and Amanda had hijacked that agenda. The traveling Carnes family was being diverted to Asheville’s St. Joseph’s Hospital. Millie surveyed the faces before she spoke, hoping she could keep her voice from breaking.

“It’s Pops. He had a seizure at a Rest Stop in North Carolina. He’s at Haywood Medical Center, but he’s going to be transported to Asheville. He has a sub dural hematoma, like a bruise on his brain, from the bump he got in Tennessee. He’s stable but he has to have surgery.” Millie finished but the others erupted asking questions to which she could only shake her head and mutter, “I don’t know, but we need to get there. Sophia’s bringing Momma Lily.”

Sharon burst in to the fray waving them back and commanding silence. Millie silently blessed her.

“Ok, everyone, get some stuff together and take our van. I’ll stay here and pick up Amanda’s folks at the airport tonight and bring them to Asheville.”

Millie paled and gasped. In unison every head turned her way. Once again there was silence as they waited. This time her voice broke as she repeated the news about Amanda.

*

“Polly, girl, calm down, sit,” Dean Bell ordered. His wife, Shannon, laughed as the black lab licked Dean’s ears and tried to crawl over the seat into his lap. Polly obeyed temporarily before rooting around in the floorboard and retrieving her leash. With determination she crashed into the front seat and dropped the leash into Dean’s lap. Dean joined his wife in laughter as he held up his hands in defeat.

“Ok, Polly, girl, I get it. We should have stopped at the rest stop and taken you for a walk.” Then to Shannon, “Can you pull over somewhere along here? I’ll walk her up the road so she can take care of business.”

“Looks like there is a place up here; I just want to be able to get completely off the road.”

Dean snapped the leash onto the ring on Polly’s collar. Shannon pulled the Volvo to the side, taking great care to get as far to the right of the roadway as possible without sliding down the mountain. Dean sprung the door open letting an over eager Polly leap from the car, pulling him along with her.

“Hey, slow down.” He struggled to hold on as she stretched and pulled against the leash, looking back over her shoulder as if to say “Hurry up.” He grinned at Shannon while trying to get the door closed and remain on his feet.

“All that money for obedience lessons down the tubes.”

Shannon waved them off, settling back in the driver’s seat watching Dean wrestle the restless Lab along the side of the embankment off the asphalt shoulder. She rolled down her window, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath of air laced with the fragrance of the forest. Opening her lids Shannon saw Polly sniffing every possible blade of grass deciding which ones to squat and pee on. Suddenly, Polly lurched off the path, knocking Dean to his bottom. She heard him yelp with surprise and pain. Grabbing the keys from the ignition, Shannon closed the window, opened the door and headed to where Dean had fallen.

She whistled to Polly as she set out to help. Surely, he hadn’t been hurt, but Polly was still a puppy even at 85 pounds and prone to over exuberance. She might have tangled Dean’s legs in the leash and up ended him. As Shannon approached, she could hear Polly barking. Dean rose up over the edge of the road with Polly in tow. Physically he was ok, but even shaded by the bill of his cap, Shannon saw his eyes were wide. Something was wrong.

“Shannon,” he called, “Come get Polly and get on your cell phone. Call 911. There’s someone down the hill. I’m going to climb down and check on her.”

“Her?” Shannon queried, taking the bouncing Lab’s lease and hauling Polly toward her, “Dean, could it be that kid we heard about on the radio. You know the Amber Alert.”

“Don’t know,” his voice faded as he descended the hill, “Call 911!”
*
I think we’re at a hospital or a doctor’s office, but I don’t feel sick. That girl there she was really nice to me. I wish she had told me her name. I came in a car. Yes, I am pretty sure it was a car. It was really fast. I’m sure glad it wasn’t my yellow roadster; the wind would have blown me plumb out of the seat. I don’t remember holding onto the steering wheel so I don’t think I was driving. Who are all these people? I don’t think I know them, but what if I’m supposed to? How embarrassing! I’ll just sit here and hope no one notices that I . . . Oh, my, there’s a policeman talking to that nice girl over there. What is her name? Maybe this isn’t a hospital. I think it’s a jail.

What on earth have I done? There was a flashing light. I was strapped in my seat. Were there handcuffs? Oh, mercy me, I’ve been arrested. What have I done? I don’t see any blood on my hands. This woman next to me, she was there—in the car. She must have arrested me, but what did I do. I just cannot remember. I need to call Max. Where is this place? What is the phone number? Oh, my, oh my here come more policemen. They are coming over here. The policewoman she’s getting up. Help me, help me, oh, Lord, they’ve come to take me to a cell. No-o-o-o!

Sophia stood when she saw the troopers arrive. Her heart quickened. The security guard who had been talking to Marcy at the desk straightened up and motioned toward her. Her concentration had slivered in so many directions during the last 2 hours that her mental state resembled a shattered glass; consequently, Sophia did not notice Lily’s thumbs rubbing across her fingers in growing agitation nor her trembling even though they had been sitting shoulder to shoulder. For that reason, Lily’s plaintive howling, “NO,” caught her and it seemed everyone in the room off guard. Her whole body jerked in reaction to the cry.

The State Troopers halted in their tracks, allowing Sophia room and some measure of privacy to care for the obviously distraught old woman. Sophia turned to Lily and put an arm around her shoulders, but Lily’s crying did not stop, at least not exactly. The level of her voice dropped significantly and she began pacing in place, like a child who needs to go to the bathroom. Under her breath Sophia could hear Lily talking, so she leaned over and put her ear near Lily’s mouth.

“What is it, Lily? What’s the matter?”

“Phone call, one phone call, can I call? Oh, what’s the number? Oh, mercy me.”

“You want to call someone?

Lily’s head bobbed, but she kept her eyes on her feet, “Max. I need to call Max.”

“Max is here, Lily.”

“Here? Oh, my, has he been arrested too?” It was coming back to Lily now. They’d taken Max in the Paddy Wagon. So that was the truth, they’d both been arrested, but she simply could not remember why.
“Arrested?” Sophia gasped and the two troopers echoed her. “Lily, honey, Max hasn’t been arrested. This is a hospital. He’s, he’s—sick.” Sophia gathered Lily into her embrace and held her until her shaking subsided some.

Lily felt better even though she had some trouble breathing with her face buried in the fabric and flesh of Sophia’s breasts. The hug lasted a few minutes with Sophia silently asking the troopers to give her just a little time for Lily to settle down. Still gripping her shoulders Sophia released Lily and looked her over.

“I need to tinkle.” Lily whispered, looking all around her as if amazed. Sophia waved to Marcy at the desk, who came instantly to walk Lily to the bathroom.

“What’s your name,” Lily asked.

“Marcy.”

“You are very nice. Can you tell me what the name of this place is?”

Sophia sighed and with a mixture of dread and anticipation turned to the two troopers. The older one smiled at her and her heart jumped.

“A couple from Ohio, walking their dog, found Amanda. They are getting her ready to transport but she should be here in the next 30 minutes or so. Looks like she’s going to be okay. We are going to stay around here so we can talk to her as soon as they get her checked out and will let us.”

One of the broken slivers had been recovered. Sophia’s eyes filled with tears and she thanked her Lord and Savior.

*

Lily entered the Ladies room alone, patting Marcy’s hand, but waving her off. The lights came on instantly when the door closed, but Lily could not remember if she pulled a cord. She must have, because the lights came on and they were very bright. The room looked both familiar and foreign. The toilet stood between a large pipe secured to the wall and a smaller one extending out of the back wall forward before dropping off to finally disappear into the tiled floor. Lily checked the one closest to her with the back of her hand.

Max had taught her that so that she would know if a pipe or hose was hot without burning herself. It was cool. She checked the other one finding it cool as well. Oh, my, what had that girl told her? This was a hospital. Lily was sure that was what she had said.

Had she asked her where it was? No, she didn’t think so, but it certainly didn’t look like any hospitals she’d seen, but she’d only visited a couple—the sanatorium where Momma had stayed and the hospital in Savannah where Greta had worked.
It took Lily several minutes to locate the toilet paper. Finally she spotted a piece hanging from a large metal cylinder next to the commode. How odd? Standing at the sink, she kept her eyes down as she washed her hands suddenly realizing this bathroom wasn’t private and an elderly lady was waiting behind her to use the facilities. The appearance of her hands bothered her; obviously she had not taken good care of them since her wedding last year or was it two years now? All this worry about Greta took more of her brain than she had realized.

Lily shook her hands to dry them unable to see a towel nearby. Glancing up into the mirror the old woman’s face appeared; she looked down again quickly and murmured quietly, “I’m through; I’ll just get out of your way now.” She pushed down on the handle and pushed the door open into the hall. The light went out. Had she pulled the cord or had the old woman? Maybe when she got that old she’d want the bathroom dark, too.

The hall offered her few clues and everybody seemed to be in a hurry. A tall blonde man paused next to a door a few feet from where she stood. He was reading something on a clipboard—a stethoscope hung over his shoulders and he was wearing a white lab coat. He glanced up and saw Lily looking at him. Seeing her confusion, he approached her.

“May I help you? Are you looking for someone?”

Lily furrowed her brow, trying to remember. Was she looking for someone? Perhaps this young man could help her if she could only figure out where this was and how she had gotten here. She thought someone had told her it was a hospital.

“Ma’m, are you okay?”

“This doesn’t look like any hospital I’ve ever seen.”

“Well, it has undergone some changes the last few years, so it’s pretty ‘state of the art’.” His eyes roamed the facility and there was a touch of pride in his voice.

“State of the art’? What art?” Lily scanned the walls for any sign of art.

Distantly, Lily distinguished sirens approaching. The young man glanced away from her toward the sound. Moments later a loud pop followed by a whoosh of air and the clatter of feet and wheels invaded the air space. The young man looked between Lily and the noise choosing to move toward the noise. Lily stood fixed between two realities, the merging of the sights, sounds and smells physically surrounding her and a distant time with all its unraveled pieces.

The landscape of Lily’s brain resembled a battle zone; clumps of plaque blocked the main highways while the trunk lines and ancillary circuits lay in tangled webs. Signals reached the end of those nests of wires only to find the receptor tracks dismantled. Given the crumbling ruins of her mind, Lily’s conclusion seemed obvious. Somehow, someway she had gotten to London, to the hospital where Greta worked. God bless Max, he had relented and let her come.

The noises, the blasting sound, the sirens—of course, Greta had written about the awful air raids. She had wanted to come get her and take her home, but Max—he was so against it? But that was the only explanation; he must have seen her despair and let her come. How else would she have gotten to London to this odd hospital where Greta and Dr. Levin worked, unless Max had bought her ticket?

Her confusion well she’d just had too much on her mind lately. The last few days are a blur. Oh, thank you, Lord. Thank you, Max. He let me come get Greta and Olivia so I could bring them home. I was afraid to ask him, but here I am. Now I just have to locate them. Lily’s eyes looked up to find the young man no longer there. She reached out and grabbed the arm of a woman dressed in green with a fine green hair net covering her hair.

“My sister, Greta Stanton, I mean Greta Levin she works here. She’s a nurse. Her husband is Dr. Joel Levin. I must find her. I need to take her home to the United States.”

“To the United States?” The woman tilted her head and looked at her curiously, then with sudden insight gently took her arm. “Why don’t we go down here to the Emergency Room Lobby and check with Marcy?” Lily resisted her prompting at first sure they were losing time, but relaxed and let herself be guided.

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