The sleek black car pulling up caught my attention. It was the same one. I leaned a little bit forward. He took a while getting out of there in the vision, and he did this time. View from the back wasn’t disappointing either. He was in faded, blue-gray jeans, so they were a nice complement
to his physical attributes. And I was a sucker for that mix of formal and casual. Never really understood why, never really cared: a well-put-together top and just some jeans on the bottom. Hot damn, sign me up.
He got out of the car and went to the wall… Still a fat lot of nothing. Not that I could tell that well looking at it from across the street. But this guy was certainly staring intently. He was leaning against the wall, twisting his head from side to side… Collapsing.
I jumped to my feet and ran across the road, waving to the drivers who let me through in the brief second it took me. He hadn’t hit the pavement or anything, but he wasn’t stable at all, bracing himself against the wall.
“Mister… Professor… Smith Meyers?”
He nodded and looked up at me. His face was red. “Allergic…”
I turned around and shouted into the square. “Help! He’s having an allergic reaction! Someone!”
It took a few seconds of me yelling my head off, but a cop car pulled off. An officer I didn’t recognize got out. “He’s having a reaction? To what?”
“I don’t know. He just kind of collapsed.” And his breathing was labored. The red wasn’t leaving his face either. Was I supposed to have noticed something about him in the vision? Should I have been able to stop this, somehow? “Please, you have to do something.”
He nodded and dug into his pocket. “You’re damn lucky I’m allergic to bees.” Out came a little cylinder. “Just get him lying down.”
I got Smith on his back, and the cop knelt down. He popped a cap off the tube, revealing a long, silver needle, and then jabbed it right into Smith’s thigh. “Once his breathing calms down, you need to get to a doctor.”
“Thank you. Thank you.” I looked down at him. It was definitely why I was there. No one else would have been watching him so intently, and the cop might have wasted precious minutes assuming he was a drunk and questioning him. How long did anaphylaxis take to kill you? He probably knows.
His breaths were easier, and some of the red had disappeared from his face. “Can you get up and get into the cop car? Are you good?”
He nodded and I helped him to his feet, into the back of the cruiser. But he stopped me from shutting the door, got into his back pocket, and handed me a little black, plastic thing. “Bring my car. Please.”
Right. I didn’t have my license on me or anything but sure. Why not? I took the key and hopped in. It was definitely an expensive new car. The key even had a little display that showed his gas tank.
I stuck the key into the slot and turned it. Those electronic keys were also notoriously unsafe. People could hack the crap out of all these new computerized cars, turn off your brakes, turn off your entire engine, or lock the doors permanently. Scary stuff. But I had big doubts anyone in Pryor, Washington had the skills for that.
I waited for the cop to pull out and followed him. Hopefully, we’d get where we were going in time. We had to be going to the local doctor. Nearest hospital was half an hour away in Moses Lake.
Next time, I had to pay more attention to my visions. Even if they made no sense.
* * * *
They didn’t let me in with Smith, of course. He couldn’t even tell them my name. So I just waited in Dr. Dunham’s little sitting room and called the house. Dad picked up.
“Hey, yeah, it’s me. I figured out why I got that vision. Meyers had an allergic reaction.”
“My God. Is he okay?”
“Yeah, he’s in with Dr. Dunham. Just wanted to let you know. I followed him with his car, so I don’t know for sure when I’ll be home.”
“That’s fine. Just make sure he’s okay.”
“Of course. Tell Mom not to worry.”
“Right. I’ll tell the sun not to set too.”
He said that instead of good-bye, apparently, because the line went dead. I pulled up some stupid match-three game. Better than reading the same magazines that had been sitting in the waiting room since… good Lord, 1989? That was the date on the top magazine, and the fashion looked about right.
“No, thank you. Thank you. I’m just lucky.”
I looked up to see the source of that voice. It was gruff on the edges but refined, and it got me right down at the core.
Shouldn’t have been any surprise when I saw Smith walk out with Dr. Dunham. She was looking…tired. Down-in-the-bones kind of tired. How long had she been the town doctor? Obviously long enough to go gray, since I remembered her as a blonde.
Smith was looking a lot better though. Like he was in my vision, except smiling. I didn’t notice quite how severe
his face was. A little hawkish but not quite there. Very sharp and very angular and very…very much making me have inappropriate thoughts about a man who couldn’t breathe half an hour ago.
He smoothed his hair back—not that it did anything to neaten it up—and nodded to Dr. Dunham. “I’ll leave a mailing address with your receptionist, yeah?”
Dunham nodded and went back through the door and out of sight, leaving Meyers to go up to the counter. I stood and strode over in time to catch the end of his address.
“That’s on Hillside Drive here in town. Got that?”
The receptionist nodded; he turned around, and looked a little shocked to see me for a couple of seconds. And then his face bloomed into recognition. “And you, good sir, are my savior of the day. If I’d been able to… well, function, I would have been pleased as shit to see you hauling ass across the street.” He cringed, and even that didn’t mar his looks. Not enough for me to notice. “Sorry. Me and my potty mouth.” He extended a hand. “Smith Meyers, although you apparently already knew that.”
I shook. “Garrett Bridge.”
“Bridge. Tony Bridge’s… son?”
“Yeah. You work at the college, right?”
He nodded. “And much to the chagrin of my students, I’ll still be alive to grade their papers. So I’ll make certain they know to send their flaming bags of dog crap to your door.”
“That’s going to be quite a long trip for them up to Montana. Make sure they take their homework with them before they leave.”
Raven de Hart