Sirens blared around the capital city of Shang Tu. Streets were cleared to make way for the ambulance carrying its top priority patient off to the city’s best hospital. Tailing behind was the motorcycle of Carol’s, which carried her and Milla just in the vehicle’s wake. Milla had her face buried in Carol’s back, wetting her shirt. Carol blinked her own tears away from her eyes, laser focused on the road ahead of her.
Upon arrival at the Shang Tu Hospital, Lilac was immediately removed from the ambulance and hurried inside on a stretcher. Carol looked on vacantly from the sidelines, patting Milla gently when she hugged her arm.
They weren’t allowed in the room while the doctors worked, much to Carol’s outrage. Milla was able to convince her that it wasn’t worth arguing, however, and they were sat in the hallway outside. Tension filled the air, the two taking turns glancing up at the glowing red sign over the door. Doctors and nurses passed in and out on various occasions. None were especially in a hurry. Milla kept breaking into periodic fits of sniffling and sobbing into her hands. Carol was too lightheaded to remember how comfort worked.
Hours passed (or at least what might as well have been hours; the clock was ticking unnecessarily slow) and Milla cried herself to sleep in Carol’s lap. Carol fended off her own exhaustion with pointed persistence, though she realized that she probably wasn’t helping herself by running her fingers through Milla’s hair. She stared up at the red sign over the door, glowing just as bright as ever. However, barely a moment later, it flicked off. Suddenly, Carol was wide awake.
The door opened, and all of the doctors and nurses who had been inside filed out. A couple glanced down at Carol and Milla, but each continued on with their own business. Except for the last one, that is. He was a tall, aging bird man with gray-blue feathers, dressed in a clean white coat. He looked to Milla, fast asleep, then turned his attention to Carol and smiled gently.
“Carol Tea, I presume?” he said quietly, and Carol nodded. “My name is Doctor Romedius Quack. I’ve been placed in charge of your friend’s care.” He reached down to shake Carol’s hand. “You made a good choice bringing her here. The treatment she received before she arrived may have saved her life, but her condition would have worsened had she not been left in our hands.”
“So she’s going to be okay?” Carol asked.
Quack’s smile weakened. “She’s going to live.”
Despite the two keeping their volume to a minimum, Milla stirred from her slumber. Her ears lifted somewhat as she gazed sleepily up at the doctor before her. “Can we see her?” she squeaked.
The doctor frowned.
Continue reading “Memories of a Freedom Lost – Chapter 2: Sirens”