I was going to do Panic! at the Disco’s version but it felt a lot like sacrilege.
There’s an oxygen mask over my face as I come slowly to consciousness. I slap at it, not realizing that it’s something that’s supposed to be helping me. My eyes sting from the effects of the acrid smoke. I see Linc about fifteen feet away, he’s facing me, his eyes are on me, while he talks on his cell. I cough. My lungs burn, my chest feels like it has absorbed the fire. My head feels like someone has set fireworks off inside of it.
“Breathe in,” a voice says in my ear. I narrow my eyes to focus on the person holding the oxygen mask and see it’s Sara who I went to school with 100 years ago.
“We’re going to take you to the hospital,” she says.
“You’re going. Your pupils look a little big to me, which means you probably have a concussion. This is nothing to fool with. We’re taking you. You can argue with the Sheriff if you want to,” Sara says.
Sara and Thomas, a volunteer fireman, help me stand and move to the stretcher. As I settle, I feel strangely calm. I could sleep now.
“We’re going to keep you awake, Annie. I’m sorry about this,” Sara says.
It figures that when I finally have a chance to sleep, I can’t.
“You’re transporting her to County?” It’s Linc’s voice. He doesn’t touch me or act familiar.
“Linc?” I say and then stop, not knowing what I want to say.
He looks at me. There’s nothing there, just professional Sheriff. I want the man, not the Sheriff, but the Sheriff is the only one here.
When no words move through my lips, Sara pats my hand. “Are you ready?” she asks.
“Yes,” I say. My eyes never leave Linc’s face.
Part of me thinks “temporary.” When he’s not being Sheriff, he’ll be there. The other part, knocked down by the day from hell, thinks anyway the wind blows, nothing really matters to me.