As dawn approached, Kevin’s breathing returned to normal. He closed his eyes and fell into a silent sleep.
Ambrose kept petting him until he too fell asleep.
Raven’s eyelids drifted downwards.
Missy stirred next to him.
He startled and opened his eyes.
She was still there, just moving into a more comfortable position.
He relaxed with a sigh and closed his eyes.
No sign of him.
Keeping me glued to these monitors all night and for what?
He stretched his arms high over his head and extended his claws.
“Mmm–mmm. uhhh.” He lowered his arms and his claws automatically retracted.
He slouched back in his seat.
He closed his eyes.
He fell asleep.
Missy opened her eyes and contemplated Raven’s sleeping face. She smiled.
So very pretty.
Very pretty shirtless Raven.
Hm. But he isn’t shirtless.
I wonder when he’ll take his shirt off again. I hope it will be soon.
I hope I’ll be there when it happens.
She played around with the longer strands of his hair.
I hope I can go home with you, my pretty Raven.
She released his hair and watched it fall soft against his face.
Antioch will fix me.
He’ll fix me.
She laid her head on his shoulder.
The Institute’s halls were empty.
No one stood at the nurses’ station.
No one sat in the cubicles.
No one rode the elevator or took the stairs.
No one watched the monitors.
No one else was there when Antioch arrived.
Antioch entered the sleeping building and strode through its empty corridors.
He didn’t hesitate.
He didn’t think.
He knew what he wanted to do.
And it made him smile.
Missy dreamed of Raven and her dream had absolutely no basis in reality.
Raven was a shirtless fireman come to rescue her from a burning building. The beauty of his shirtlessness was so strong the flames shrank away from him in fear of damaging his glorious bare skin. He swept her into his arms and smiled. “Don’t ya fear none, lil lady. Imma goin’ ta save you.”
“Ohhh, my hero!”
She startled awake.
Antioch stood in the doorway.
She gave Raven one last look.
Just in case.
Robin jolted awake. He raised his head and glanced around.
He scanned the monitors.
What is it?
His gaze fell on the monitor for Missy’s room.
Raven slept against the wall.
He was alone.
Where’s his weird girlfriend?
He searched the other monitors.
His heart went still.
Antioch was leading Missy into the surgical suite.
He ran out of the room.
Something is not right.
I can’t feel her in my arms.
Raven opened his eyes. “Missy?”
She was not in his arms.
He stood and glanced around the room.
She was not there.
He stumbled out into the hall. His day exhaustion and fear collaborated to make his movements extra klutzy.
She wasn’t out in the hallway.
But her scent was.
Maybe she stepped into the ladies—
Robin raced around the corner.
“He has her.”
Raven’s pupils widened.
Robin stopped in front of him and grabbed his shoulders. “Antioch. He has her. Surgical suite.”
Raven pushed his panic and wild imaginings far, far down. “All right. Where is the surgical suite?”
“You don’t know, sir.”
“Don’t you be giving me that look. You don’t know where it is either. So, SHUT UP.”
“I fail to see how a look merits a ‘shut up’, but this is neither the time nor the place for that conversation.” He ran to the nurses’ station and Robin followed. “They must have a map for visitors. Or a floor plan. Or something of that sort.”
Robin’s face brightened. “Or a brochure.” He hurried around the corner to the brochure stand facing the nurses’ station. “‘How To Stand On All Fours’. ‘Welcome To The Institute’. ‘Mark Caten’s Funorium’.” Robin snarled. “Seriously. This is the worst planned rescue attempt of all time. ‘I’m A Dingo, Now What Do I Do?’ What the serious HECK? ‘Pathology Services’ ‘Radiology Services’. Ah!”
The two men said in unison, “Found it!”