Ouch! It feels like I have a massive hangover. Not that a 16-year-old would know what a hangover feels like…
I woke, eagle-spread on the floor of the hotel lobby, cold and alone. Cold, because the marble below me felt like an ice-block, and alone, because, although the electrics were on (lights, computers etc), nobody was sitting waiting or reading or working behind the desk.
Oh, and wet.
“Damn!” I cried as I noticed the large pool of blood slowly spreading round my torso.
Suddenly I heard footsteps…someone must have heard the shot. Which meant I was going to be in big trouble soon.
A girl (younger than me…I dunno, 12 or 13?) hurried into the lobby, just as I squeezed my eyes tightly shut. I heard the girl gasp, and then enter into a conversation with the telephone 999 operator. In that minute I learnt three valuable things.
1) She was too calm in a crisis,
2) She was 13 and,
3) Her name was Erica Celestine.
It also took the full minute to make me realise how stupid I was being at that moment. Just as the call ended, I snapped open my eyes and leant forward to grab hold of Erica’s wrist. She screamed.
“Wait, no! Don’t scream. Don’t call for an ambulance. I’m not dead!”
“Sure, you are. I mean, I would know.”
Then she gasped.
“You were on the news!”
Sigh. I studied her face before reply cautiously. I might be wrong, but so much had happened recently, the only option was to take a chance.
“So were you.”
Erica pulled her wrist out of my grasp and extended its hand.
“Yeah, I know. I’m-”
“Meggan.” Erica smiled, “Your reputation precedes you as well.”
“It’s Meggie,” I grinned at her, and jumped up, “Come on, I’ve got things to do. You didn’t, by any chance, see a man with gorgeous brown hair and full curvy lips leaving the building, did you?”
Erica frowned a little, “No…I don’t think so, sorry.”
“Well then, we’ve got no time to lose!” I grabbed Erica’s wrist again, this time softly, and pulled her behind me as I sprinted to the hotel entrance.
“Now, which way…?”
As I looked from right to left and back again, a wailing alarm rang out in the distance. Erica turned to me, shocked.
“I called for an ambulance, remember…”