Rufus was sat outside the hotel on the path staring out into the night wondering how everybody was doing where ever they may be.
Luke had joined him and was flipping his pipe around in his mouth as he usually did when deep in thought.
The pair had not yet changed out of their 'party clothes', as they were far too worried.
"Waddya think they are doing? Do you think they are all ok", quizzed Rufus shuffling around nervously.
Luke raised his head and blinked. He didn't know, no one knew, and he wasn't sure exactly how to answer.
"I'm sure, whutever they're doing they're fine."
Rufus nodded and went back to staring into the night.
Taking another puff from his pipe, Luke cleared his throat.
"That Professor sure had some big 'you know whuts' fer sayin whut he did."
"I know, he's such a jerk at times. Me n Saw Tooth should really give him what for!"
Luke laughed and shook his head trying to calm him down.
"Won't do him any good. You'd have to ge him a brainectomy to get through to him, by betsy."
"Gyahahaha! Yeah. Thats too true!"
It fell silent once more, the sound of distant traffic filling the icy air and a faint wind that whistled in between the snowflakes.
"I really hope Penny is ok. I don't believe she deserved that to happen to her", continued Rufus scratching at his cold nose, "She was in a bad way when I saw her leave."
"I know. But, since we caynt do nuthin now, I suggest we git sum kip. Big race t'morrow an' we are gunna be as tired as heck!"
Rufus nodded in agreement. Even though they were worried, it wouldn't do them much good, so the pair walked off into the hotel.
"ROUF! RO-ROUF!", hollered Muttley as Rufus and Luke walked by.
"Don't worry about them Muttley", said Ryan sipping at the last few drops of his drink, "They are just as confused as you, I bet."
Julie nodded and stroked Muttley's fur. He was sat just to her left enjoying every minute of the rare attention.
"I believe its far too late to go chasing after answers now. The race tomorrow is going to need all our concentration and we won't get far on a couple of hours", she said yawning.
They were the only ones left in the bar and the bar tender was busy cleaning the glasses for the next day and was just about to start clearing the tables. It was about this time he usually went to bed and was secretly relieved when they got up and left.
Up the stairs, Ryan had bid them both goodnight and had shut himself in his room, but Julie and Muttley were still in the hallway.
"Are you going to be ok on your own?"
Muttley wagged his tail over the fact that someone was actually bothered about him, nodded and smiled.
"I hope so", she replied, craning her neck to see if Dick was back in his room, as the door was slightly open.
Waving, Julie entered her room and shut the door behind her.
Muttley had made a new friend and was very happy with himself, regardless of the strange and worrying events that were unfolding. He trotted his way carefully into his masters room and nuzzled the door shut. He then leaped onto the soft and springy bed and snickered to himself.
The clock in the corner was chiming which made him feel very sleepy. After having a good chew at his itchy plaster cast he curled up. He really wanted to stay awake til Dick came back, but he had no idea when that would be and was far too tired to find out.
Max was back in his room, a mournful look on his face as if he'd lost something very important. But, in all honesty, he really had. He had fallen head over heels for Rachel and now it seemed he would never, ever be with her. He felt as if someone was stabbing him through the heart, twisting and ripping it out sideways. He ran a finger down a piece of paper that he had sat on the bed in front of him and sighed. It was a poem that he had been working on and it seemed to have lost all of its original meaning.
"Where did I go wrong."
His thick german accent became more prominent as he began to feel choked by sadness. A few tears fell making parts of the inky words trail downwards. It was written in german, but there was a rough translation on the back of the piece of paper which read:
The Web of my Heartache.
My love for you burns like the sun above.
You warm my heart and fill my days with much happiness.
I long to see you when you are not here, my arms ache to hold you.
Yet I dare not even utter one single word of love to you, for fear of rejection clouds my eyes with tears.
You are my moon and my stars; you are the face that I see when I'm sad.
Yours are the hands that dry my tears, yet my mouth dare not even tell you how much you are loved.
Curse my selfish heart...
For you are the only thing that matters...
By Manfred von Richthofen
Throwing aside the scrap of paper, he hid his face into his arms and cried himself to sleep.
Back at the hospital, Dick and Rachel been in A&E for a good half an hour. The place was so overcrowded with people that it was hard to breathe, let alone move.
"Nurse, NURSE", called Rachel, attempting to call one of the speeding staff members over to help them... No answer.
"Hey, Dr", shouted Dick trying to flag a Dr down, "We are here to see..." No such luck. Everyone was far too busy to even notice them.
Rachel turned her head to face Dick and they both gave each other worried frown and a shrug. It seemed they would be there for quite some time unless they didn't do something.
They looked around once more to see if there was at least one doctor who may be stood still, but all they could see were patients sitting, crouching and standing, groaning and wailing as if an entire building had fallen on their heads. (And in some cases they even looked as if one had!) Some were just arriving puking their guts out and a hospital cleaner was hastilly tailing them, mopping up as they went.
"Shall I do the honors", sighed Dick admitting defeat.
Rachel smiled and nodded her head, sighing in return.
With that Dick ran up to the nearest doctor, grabbed him by the arms and literally dragged him to where they had been previously standing.
"I say", complained the doctor, "How rude! I was seeing to that patient! He had some serious looking mild bruising."
Dick looked at the ceiling and frowned.
"EXACTLY! MILD BRUISING! There are FAR more important issues at hand... Like, showing us the way to where Penelope Pitstop is, for example."
The doctor adjusted his glasses, grunted nervously and brushed a hand through his comb-over hair-do.
"Oh. Right. OK", he mumbled as he decided his tie needed some major adjustment, "But, you have to promise to leave me alone if I show you!"
"Whatever", moaned Rachel, obviously getting more irritated by the minute of the strange doctors nervous shufflings.
With that, the doctor led them down a corridor, around a bend and into an elevator.
"Ooohh, dammit", exaclaimed Rachel crossly, a worried frown replacing the angry one.
Dick placed an arm around her shoulder and gave her a little squeeze. He knew she hated lifts and, to be honest, he didn't care for them either. Give him an escalator any day!
The doctor pushed the button and the doors rattled closed, causing Rachel to cling onto Dick's coat tightly. SHUDDER - BUMP - GRRRSHHKT - RUMBLE. "AIIEE"
"Oh great", moaned Dick looking towards the control panel, "What now?"
"Why has the elevator stopped", asked the Doctor nervously.
"How the heck am I supposed to know?!"
"I was just asking!"
Through all their shouting, neither of them had noticed Rachels state of mild panic. She was stood frozen to the spot, white as a sheet and was mumbling something incoherently. Dick, who was just about to lunge for the Doctor noticed at the last minute and rushed to her side and caught her in his arms just as she fell down.
"Oh my GOD! We're TRAPPED!"
"Hey, shh. Rach, its ok. Don't worry."
He turned and glowered at the Doctor with a ferocious frown.
"Well, are you going to call someone or what!?
"OH! R-right. Y-yes..."
Adjusting his tie again, the Doctor reached for the emergency telephone.
"H-hello? Yes? We are stuck in the lift. Can you help us, please?" He turned his head slightly to see if Dick and Rachel were listening before whispering. "And hurry up about it! I'm trapped in here with some psycho!"
Rachel, by this point, was shaking like a leaf and Dick was trying his best to calm her down. They were both on the floor, since she had collapsed and were both getting very dusty. It was obvious the cleaner thought that no one would notice if he or she missed out the elevators on their rounds. Dick didn't care though. His coat could get dirty a million times over if it wanted to. There were more important issues at hand. He held onto Rachel tigher and leaned his head on hers, gently swaying back and forth, hoping that it would be some comfort to her.
"Don't worry. Don't worry... Someone will be here to fix this very soon, you'll see!"
After about an hours wait, which was simply excruciating for Rachel, they heard noises on top of the lift.
"Hello! Ah at last! We are safe", gasped the Doctor, clasping his hands together in a flamboyant manner.
"Hey, yeah. Sure whatever. You all ok in there? I mean, no one is hurt or having a baby or something in there are there?"
"No. We are all fine!"
"How many is in there?"
"Me, a woman and that psycho guy I told you about."
"You what", shouted Dick getting ready to lunge at him again.
"Righty-o. Well. Won't be too long, just gotta make some repairs."
"More like have a coffee break", muttered Rachel under her breath.
"Oh, your feeling better now?"
"Kinda... As long as he hurries up, I'll be fine!"
"Y'HEAR THAT, BUB?!"
"Yeah, whatever", exclaimed the repair man, "I'll do my best. Oop, shit..."
There was a loud clang noise.
"What was that 'Oop shit?'", asked Dick giving the ceiling of the elevator the evil eye in the hopes the evil-death-stare would somehow reach the man on the other side, "I don't like the sound of that 'Oop shit'."
"Oh, er. Gee, I, er... I kinda dropped my wrench down the shaft."
Rachel curled up into a ball and started mumbling again, while Dick stood up in a furious rage.
"And can you fix it WITHOUT said wrench?!"
There was a pause.
"ARGH! I DON'T BELIEVE IT!"
Dick stomped round in circles trying to vent, but decided it wasn't doing anything for him, so punched the wall.
"I'll go get my other one! I won't be long! Honest!"
"Ooh. When I get out of here... I'm going to wring is scrawny neck..."
So, off went the repair man, leaving the three desperate individuals in the elevator.
Suddenly, the Doctor lit a cigarette.
"Hey", exclaimed Dick sniffing the air and turning hastilly towards him, "You know you aren't allowed to light up in an elevator!"
"Yeah? Well, at the moment I don't care! I need one..."
"You need one... You fucking need one!? C'mere!"
Dick ran towards him, grabbed the offending article from out his mouth and threw it to the floor. He then proceeded to stomp on it repeatedly.
"Need it now, huh? Jeeze... Bloody Doctor... should know better..."
Dick trailed off as he kneeled down at Rachel's side.
A few more minutes passed as they waited for the reapir man to return. It seemed like an eternity and the remainder of the smoke from the Doctor's cig was still lingering and was beginning to burn Dick and Rachel's eyes. Finally, the repair man arrived with a new wrench and fiddled with whatever it was up there that needed fixing. Rachel didn't want to think about what he was doing. As long as he didn't send them plummeting and got them out in one piece, she didn't really care much. The thought of machinery in dark places and elevator shafts gave her the creeps anyway. Much to her joy, after a few more squeaks from the wrench, the elevator juddered and the man shouted down the the trio.
"'Kay. That should do it. Now, press the button of the floor you are going to. But, wait till I'm clear, ok?"
The man climbed off the elevator and crawled his way back into the hatch he came from.
"OK! PRESS IT!"
The Doctor pressed it and to his relief, it started moving again.
"Thank the gods for that", sighed Rachel clinging onto Dick's coat again.