All three of them rushed outside to see if they could help. Their dash across the parking lot was made in tiny, self-conscious strides as they tried not to slip on the ice which had caused the accident. By the time that they’d gotten to the scene, the driver was already out of his vehicle looking down at the body of the old man.
“Can you hear me?” He said, loudly.
Myrah pushed past him, kneeling. “He’s unconscious.” She said, lifting his head to reveal a gaping, bloody wound in the back of the skull.
“I couldn’t stop.” The man stammered.
“Get me ice.” Myrah barked. “We need it to stop the bleeding.”
They all looked around. There was snow everywhere. More than an inch of it had accumulated on the curbs and esplanades.
Jill bent down for a better look. “I don’t think he’s breathing.” She said sounding unsure.
Myrah turned to the cashier. “Get those pills!” She shouted.
The girl just stood there nervously fidgeting with the tie strings on her apron. “I don’t think that they’ll do any good.” She muttered. “They’re for high-blood pressure. My mom takes the same thing.”
“We need bandages!” The builder’s wife said urgently.
All of them looked down at her. Myrah was breathing heavily and holding the man’s shattered head. Snow spiraled through the air clinging to her coat and hair.
In a rushing, jerking movement she tore off her scarf and wrapped it around the old mans head using it to shove his grey matter back into his cranium. By now a large pool of blood had gathered underneath the spot where he lay staining the freshly fallen powder a bright red. There was silence.
“He’s dead.” Jill said.
There was a tone of sadness in the girl’s voice that reminded Myrah of the way that she used to speak about her husband in the months right before the Tower Shooter was revealed. It was a resigned way of speaking that seemed to say that all hope was lost more in the inflection than with the actual words. The builder’s wife looked down at the old man face waiting to see him breath.
“He came out of no where.” The driver went on. “I was just wanting to buy some toilet paper.”
“It’s not your fault.” The cashier assured him. “The guy was old.”
The old man gave out a low gurgling cough. The suddenness of it surprised them all. Myrah twisted the ends of the scarf tighter. “Get his pills and some bandages.” She snarled.
The cashier ran inside, coming out moments later with the bag of prescription medicine and a roll of gauze. “I called the ambulance.” She said as she handed them to the builder’s wife.
By now the old man was muttering. “Virus.” He wheezed. “They put them in there.”
They builder’s wife unraveled the reel of cotton and began to tie it over the scarf. Her dressing of the wound was clumsy and roughshod but to the three onlookers it was nothing short of miraculous. To them, what had only moments ago been a corpse was now being resurrected and healed right before their very eyes.
“Is there anything I can do?” Jill asked.
Myrah glanced up at her. “If you can stomach it, get me as much clean ice as you can.”
She turned, the cashier following close behind her, and began to scoop as much snow as she could from an untouched corner of the curb. The man who’d been driving the car simply stood there looking on in fear and wonder.
“Don’t I know you?” He asked.
“Maybe.” Myrah said, grunting as she cinched up another knot in the length of gauze. “I was the one at the mall.”
“From when it blew up?” The man asked.
She nodded. “That was me.”
He stood there, thinking about it for a little while. “You’re that builder’s wife aren’t you?” He said at last.
The old man made a sickening noise. Myrah put her hands around his head. “There, there.” She said.
“You’re that guy from the news’s neighbor.” The driver continued. “I was the one who bailed him out of jail.”
The builder’s wife looked up. It was indeed the bondsman that had been driving the car. He looked older standing there in the cold and shrunken in his thick jacket and wool cap.
“I remember you from when you were in my office.” He went on. “You talked to me at some event. It took me forever to recoup the money I spent on that guy.”
“It took us a while too.” She grunted.
The bondsman scratched at a spot on his chin. “How is he?” He asked. “Your neighbor.”
There were over a hundred reasons why Myrah had never wanted to see the bail bondsman ever again yet here he was asking her about the very person that she least wanted to talk about. “Can you give me your coat?” She said purposely avoiding the question.
The man began to strip it off. “I thought that I was going to lose on that one.” He sighed. “I mean, they don’t normally give you back your money until everything’s settled in court and no one knew anything about what was going on. No one even knew where he was.”
“I found him.” She muttered, taking the jacket from him. “He was in the mall.”
“That was the weirdest thing.” He mused. “When the stuff came out about that cop, I just figured that he was dead.”
Myrah shook her head. “Nope.” She said lifting the old mans head and wadding the thick coat into a makeshift pillow for him. “He’s not dead.”
“These conspiracies don’t normally end like that.” He continued. “Someone almost always has to die. Your car being stolen and used in that thing. That’s the way that this stuff usually ends.”
Myrah looked at him. She hated the bondsman. She found the work that he did seedy and she didn’t like the way that he handled the disappearance of Kinkaid. There had been people who’d searched the fields with genuine concern. All that this man had done was to make a few phone calls and worry about his money.
The man squatted down pointing towards the old man. “This guy going to be okay?” he asked.
“Probably.” She answered. “I think I’ve saved him.”
The bondsman smiled. “You’re pretty good about bringing people back from the brink.” He said nodding. “You’ve got that thing that you did when the terrorist blew up your car and you got your neighbor back.”
“This is what I do.”
Jill and the cashier returned each carrying lightly packed balls of snow in their hands. Myrah took them from them and began piling it around the old man’s head. Somewhere in the distance a siren could be heard.
Jill reached into her pocket and took out a phone. “I found this.” She said.
“I think it’s his.” The cashier added.
Feeling the cold of the ice the old man’s eyes fluttered. “I need something I can hold.” He wheezed.
Myrah took the phone. “Here.” She said placing it in the palm of his hand.