[This is a multi-part story. Lexi Brown is trying to escape her past and create a new life for herself in Otter Village, 500 miles from where a traumatic event occurred 6 months ago. In our last episode, we read that Kevin and Lexi were driving south in hopes of locating Dan, who had disappeared while driving toward Otter Village. Along the way, Kevin tells Lexi why he left Chicago.
Here are the posts in order so far:
It was a strange dream, with voices from faraway. He knew better than to answer them, for he was a small thing, curled up next to a tree, and did not want to end up on a dinner plate. His nose twitched like a rabbit’s. A wascally wabbit! Outsmarting Elmer Fudd once again. He smiled and went back to sleep.
But he was cold, so cold. The tree was cold. He huddled closer to it and realized it was made of metal. A metal tree? He opened his eyes, which made his head hurt. Then he realized he wasn’t next to a tree at all but a pole. He grabbed it with his paws that were not paws but human hands. Sticky hands.
“Dan! Dan!” someone kept shouting. The voice of a woman. A memory floated up. A woman in restaurant eating fries from his plate. Smiling, laughing, pretty. Then she was in his car. Oh! He had a car. That was good. He should find where he parked.
He tried to pull himself up and pain shot up his spine, and spiked through his shoulder, leaving him out of breath. His hands were throbbing. Had he been in a fistfight? What the hell? He lay back down on the lumpy cold ground, dizzy and panting. Everything hurt, he realized now. He tried to roll onto his left side as he did in the morning when getting out of bed and screamed.
“Dan!” the voice was a man’s now, closer.
They’d come back for him, to finish it. He understood now. Angela and that beast, the supposed rotten boyfriend who’d stranded her, but in fact had been tailing them until Angela pretended to be sick and made him pull off the freeway. Then the boyfriend had beaten him up, and they’d stolen his car, but now they’d decided to kill him so he couldn’t identify them.
He would die here in the dirt at the hands of criminals, and his brother was dead too, and that would be the end of the Mitchells.
“Dan? Is that you?” Lexi bent down over the dark shape next to the utility pole, shining her flashlight on the person’s face. “Oh, my God, Kevin. It’s him, but he’s all bruised… his face… and his leg is at a weird angle.” She put her fingers on his throat and felt a weak pulse.
“We can’t move him,” Kevin said. He called 911 and asked for an ambulance ASAP, telling them there might be spinal injuries. He gave their exact location from the GPS.
“Nick was pretty accurate,” Lexi said. “But what happened here? Where’s his car?”
Dan moaned and she held his hand. It was like a chunk of ice. “Shh. It’s all right. We’ve called for an ambulance. Just lie still for another couple minutes.”
“Looks like… well, I don’t know. Maybe he stopped to take a pee and someone bashed him up, stole his car?” Kevin paced around them, but stayed close, Lexi noted, and was very grateful for it. Even though they were close to the road, it was almost pitch black, and who knew what lurked in the trees behind them? More car-stealing bashers?
“Angela,” Dan whispered.
“What?” Lexi said. He repeated it and she heard him. “He’s saying ‘Angela.'”
Kevin shrugged. “Does that mean anything to you?”
“No, but I don’t know much about his life. Dan,” she said close to his ear. “It’s Lexi, Alexandra. Not Angela. I’m here with my friend Kevin and we’ve called for help. Just hang tight.”
“Maybe this Angela stole his car,” Kevin suggested as sirens faintly wailed in the distance. “Maybe it wasn’t random.”
“I think he’s just confused about my name because he’s hurt,” Lexi said. “I see lights. That was fast.”
“Hi!” Dan said, waving to the emergency personnel. “Over here. We don’t know what happened to him.”
Two male paramedics ran to them. “Please step back,” one said to Lexi.
She scrambled out of the way as they began to work on Dan, taking his blood pressure, and loading him onto a stretcher.
Next, two police officers approached them. Lexi had been so engrossed in watching the paramedics she hadn’t noticed a second vehicle pull up.
“How did you happen to find this man?” A female officer asked.
Then she realized the cop wasn’t talking to her, but to Kevin. And a second police car had pulled up. Two more officers strode toward them. It occurred to Lexi that it might appear to someone who didn’t know what was going on that she and Kevin had somehow hurt Dan, which was of course ridiculous!
“We were actually looking for him,” Kevin said. “He was coming up to visit Lexi and stopped communicating, so we began to worry about him.”
Lexi thought that this was too brief of an explanation and wanted to begin at the beginning so the cops would have a full picture of the Dan situation and why she and Kevin had received GPS info from Nick–and it would probably be a neat idea to mention that a fellow cop had helped them–
“Okay, sir,” the officer replied to Kevin. “May I see some identification please?”
As the paramedics lifted Dan into the ambulance, Lexi had one second to decide whether to jump in after them or to stay here and help Kevin explain everything…
[to be continued]
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