"Somebody up there must be looking out for you," Dr Lukes added.
The memory of the bright light and the angelic-looking woman replayed in her mind and she felt the warmth embrace her again, just briefly. "A second chance at life," Gabriella murmured thoughtfully, more to herself than to anyone in particular.
"That's one way of looking at it, Ma'am." The Doctor peered down at the burnt-out wreck. "A close call. I guess something like this must really make you take stock of your life."
Gabriella blinked away the raindrops that threatened to catch in her lashes and then looked up at him. He was tall, and his face was illuminated by the glow of torches and moonlight. "Yes, you're absolutely right. An eye-opener to say the least..."
Had she imagined the woman? A hallucination perhaps. But it had felt so real, appeared so clearly. And the silent message still swirled in her mind, evading her.
There's something I'm supposed to do. A reason why I was saved... My God.
She suddenly remembered how she had crashed. Why she had swerved off the road. The shadow. Jesus, she had driven straight though it - through him. The last thing she had seen clearly had been his face. Another wave of nausea hit her and she threw a hand to her head, swaying dizzily. Fortunately, Dr Lukes was quick-witted enough to catch her wilting body in his arms.
"Whoa. Ma'am, you shouldn't be standing. Let's get you into the ambulance. I'm recommending that you be admitted to the hospital for the night. You could have a concusion. What's your name?" he asked as he began to lead her away from the edge.
"Gabriella Jones." She allowed him to guide her to the ambulance but her attention was fixed to the spot on the road where the shadow had been.
"Miss or Mrs?" he asked as he pulled a blanket from the ambulance and wrapped it around her wet shoulders.
"Oh, Miss," she replied, eyes still locked on the road. A chill crept up her spine.
A second man's voice interupted them and Gabriella glanced around to see the African-American man approaching.
"Dr Lukes," he called out, seriously. "We need to question the young woman."
"I'm afraid any questions will have to wait until tomorrow, Detective Anderson. My patient needs to be in a hospital, I'm sure you understand that."
Gabriella's attention wandered away from the two men and back to the road. A sudden glinting on the asphalt caught her eye and she squinted through the rainy darkness. What was that?
Breaking away from Dr Lukes, she walked over to the shiny object and bent down to pick it up. Her eyes widened.
The shadow had been real. And he'd left something behind.