Before I left our room, I turned off the lights and without discretion, went
back down the stairs into the living room and then to the kitchen where I
grabbed my purse from the closet before I hurried out the back door. After
locking the door, I shoved Rick's list into my purse and headed down the driveway
to my vehicle. Parked in the driveway were two vehicles, one was Rick's
dark green Dodge 4x4 and directly beside it was my red Buick Regal Custom.
Cautiously I made my way to the Regal and popped the trunk open to insert
Rick's bag. Slowly and quietly, I closed the trunk and headed to the driver's side
door, as I unlocked it, I could faintly hear moaning coming from behind our
house. The noise startled me, it not only didn't sound like it was human, but I
knew I had checked the backyard earlier and nothing was there. Trembling, I
quickly found the hole to put my key into and unlocked the door before jumping
inside without hesitation, slamming the door behind me, locking it in the
process. A cold sweat began to overcome me as the moaning became louder
and louder, the sound penetrated the steel of the car making it seem quite
close. My hands trembling, I inserted the key into the ignition and turned the
car over, then without second guessing myself, I slammed the car into reverse
and sped out of the driveway and onto the street. Looking back at our house
and yard, the eerie moaning still coherent, I switched the car into drive and
slammed my foot down hard on the gas, speeding off down the street, not to
At the hospital, I walked through the doors that read "EMERGENCY
DEPARTMENT"; this was where the paramedics said they would be bringing
Rick. The halls were quite empty, the clock hanging on the wall directly in
front of me caught my eye, it was 12:35. Looking from left to right down the
pristine white halls of the emergency department, I scanned for a doctor, any
doctor who I could speak to. With no one in sight, I began walking down the
hallway looking in each room, trying to find my husband. Most of the rooms
were empty, doors open and lights off, however there were several doors closed
and I could tell the lights were on. I assumed at that time that there must be
people in those rooms so I peered through each window of each closed door.
In one of the rooms lay a middle aged woman, her eyes were closed and she
was laying beneath the blankets, beside her bed sat a gentleman, possibly her
husband, leaning his head down onto his hands that held hers tightly within.
In the room directly adjacent to hers was a family, two children lay on the bed
side by side, one crying and the other seemed asleep, their clothing soiled from
vomit and their faces red, beaded with sweat. Both parents looked concerned,
the mother weeping as she sat in a chair beside the bed and the father impatiently
pacing the room. Feeling like I was imposing on their privacy, I turned
and continued walking down the hall, Rick should be in one of these rooms, I
thought. As I reached the end of the hallway, I turned back around; Rick was
not in any of these rooms. Becoming distraught, I accelerated back down the
hall. In my haste, I didn't see the orderly until I bumped right into him.
"Oh.......... I'm so sorry Sir." I stammered
"No worries ma'am. You seem disconcerted, is everything alright? Is there
anything I may help you with?" The kind orderly asked. His voice was not as
masculine as I would have expected, but considering all that was going on in
my mind, I dismissed it.
"Well....yes, possibly. I'm looking for my husband, Richard Ronin; he was
brought in here close to an hour ago on a stretcher. The paramedics who
brought him here stated I could find him in this department, I have looked in
almost every room and I haven't found him." I spilled out my story, not stopping
for even one breath, emotionally drained from the events of the evening.
"Alright ma'am, everything will be alright, let's take a deep breath and we
will find your husband." The orderly stated, sounding as if he understood the
important matter at hand. "Please, just follow me."
Accompanying the orderly down the hallway, we looked for Rick; the
orderly asked me a few questions as to what he looked like, to better help him
remember if he had seen him that evening. Quickly, I answered all his questions.
The orderly then stopped dead in his tracks.
"Oh, yes, I remember seeing that man. He did come in an hour ago; he was
brought to room 14b on the second floor to await surgery on his leg, he was in
pretty bad shape." He informed me.
Concern sounding in my voice, "Please Sir, can you bring me to him?"
The orderly scanned my face before replying, "No, problem, I have to go to
that floor anyway, I have to make a short stop at the office first, just to check on
the other patients and then we can go together to the second floor. Ok?"
"Ok, thank you." I complied as we continued walking down the hallway. At
the office, the orderly stopped and disappeared into the room, only to emerge
again a few short minutes later.
"All done, now let's go." He instructed and I promptly followed him.
Once we reached the elevator, the orderly pushed the button and we
awaited the arrival of the elevator. The elevator didn't seem to care that I was in
a hurry, it took many minutes for the elevator to reach our floor. As the elevator
doors opened, the orderly and I stepped in and pushed the button that
would take us to the second floor. Inside the elevator, music sounded, it was
calming music purposely meant to distract patients and their families from the
stressful situations they were going through. Listening to the music, I closed
my eyes, thinking of Rick and how he was doing, concern for my husband's
well being enveloped me. The love I felt for him was so strong that I couldn't
stand the thought of living my life without him. Fearing the worst for him and
the sense of loss I felt over the boys took over me, my body began to shake.
"Ma'am?" The orderly inquired, his voice alarmed me, and I opened my
"Y-yes?" I asked.
"Is everything alright? You look faint." His voice filled with concern.
"Yes....I'm alright, it's just been a long night, that's all." I replied.
"Here we are," the orderly voiced, "second floor, now let's find your husband."
Relief started to fill my heart, knowing I would soon see Rick, my voice then
took on a light-hearted tone. "Good, just point me in the right direction." I
The orderly exited the elevator and made an abrupt left turn down a corridor
titled "PRE-SURGERY". From what the orderly had said earlier, Rick
would be down this corridor. Eager to see him, I picked up the pace and
scanned the room numbers over the doors looking for '14b'. Before the orderly
could even point out the room to me, I had found it and ran to the door. Peering
through the glass window, I could see Rick, he was half lying down, half sitting
up, his eyes looked bruised from the deep circles under them, his hair was
slicked down on his forehead and he was completely covered from the neck
down under the blanket. Unable to wait any longer, I threw open the door and
hollered behind me "Thank you." to the orderly before closing the door after
me. The room Rick was in was just as pristine white as every other hallway and
corridor I had seen in the hospital thus far. His bed stood directly in the middle
of the room, with a night table on his right side and a nice sized window on
his left side. Beside the window was a medium sized rocking chair for company
and a rolling tray for food. On the table was a little cup of juice and some pills.
Lying motionless in front of me, with an intravenous hooked up and a bright
green hospital bracelet clearly showing on his left arm was my husband. As I
slowly made my way to his bedside, the distance between us getting smaller, I
noticed he seemed much paler than he had earlier in the day. He was so handsome,
even as he lay there pale and dirty. Curiosity getting the best of me, I
gently pulled back the blanket that covered his injured right leg. His leg was
wrapped with a tourniquet and bandaging. As I looked at his leg, I noticed a
chart on the edge of the bed in between his legs. Picking up the chart, I quickly
looked behind me to see if any nurses or doctors were coming, convinced I
would not be caught, I looked down at the chart and began to read. On the
chart, there was a very brief explanation of the incident, Rick's name and allergies
and on the bottom of the chart there was a note.
'Injury to right leg. Surgery scheduled for 9am. Medications: Tylenol 3.
Cause of trauma to right leg: Unknown. Next of Kin: Lily Ronin.
Dr. Yen MD'
After I finished reading Rick's chart, I put it back on the bed where I took it
from. Looking back at Rick, I edged closer to him, leaning down as I whispered;
"Rick? Can you hear me? It's Lily." No response. I tried again, this time I
whispered in his ear. "Rick? Please answer me, I love you." Pulling back from
his ear, I checked his face for any change to show he had heard me, slowly I saw
him move his head and with great effort he opened his eyes.
"Hi." His voice sounded groggy from the medication he was on.
"Hi." I replied.
"When did you.....get here?" He asked as he shook his head from side to
side. "My head feels funny, must be some good meds they have me on." He
stated. A slight smile had begun to form on his lips.
"Yes...well they do have you on some medication to keep the pain away, but
aside from that, you look great." I informed him.
"Yes, I bet I look wonderful," he joked, "I actually.....don't feel that
bad.......but I did overhear a nurse......she said something about surgery."
"Well, you will be having surgery in the morning to repair your leg. The
Detectives found what you caught your leg on, I'm shocked it didn't take it
completely off." I began. "The Detectives brought it as evidence to the precinct
to have it analyzed so we can find out who did this to you."
"Well? What was it?" He asked as he began to pull himself up a bit to listen
intently to my answer. He seemed quite interested in hearing my explanation.
Hesitantly, I answered him. "Believe it or not.....someone tightly tied four
knives together with rope to make a four sided, extremely sharp weapon. The
weapon had to have been sticking out of the bushes and when you hit it with
you leg, you brought it down to the ground with you because they found it not
far away from the bushes."
"Really?" He said, lowering his head back down to the pillow. Closing his
eyes, he raised his hands to his forehead and rubbed his blackened eyes. "Why
though?What could possibly make someone do that?Was the person trying to
kill me? I just don't understand." He muttered, somewhat to himself, but loud
enough for me to hear him.
"Please don't worry about any of that right now, you need your rest for surgery
in the morning, leave the questions and answers to the Detectives. I'll
keep in touch with them to find out what they know and I'll let you know, but
for now, you need to sleep." I ordered him.
With that he lowered his arms and opened his eyes, staring intently into
mine as he studied them, then he closed his eyes and seemed to drift off into
sleep. Knowing he needed his rest, I turned away from the bed and walked over
to the rocker. I placed his bag on the ground beside the chair and then I lowered myself into the
rocker. The rocker was actually quite cozy. As I adjusted
myself to get comfortable, I watched Rick sleep and then my eyes began to
wander all over the room, taking in every detail. As I looked around, I
observed the medical equipment he was hooked up to. When I had first
entered the room, I thought he was only hooked up to an intravenous, but now
as I studied the equipment from the rocker, I noticed they also had him
hooked up to a heart monitor, more medication slowly dripping down the
intravenous tube into his arm. Within moments I felt my lids beginning to
weigh down as I fought to stay awake and then they closed shut.
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
Jolted awake from the sound, I jumped up out of the rocker and stared at
Rick's empty bed. Immediately I turned my head to the only window in the
room and found the sun was out, at that moment I realized I must have fallen
asleep in the rocker. Peering down at my left arm, I glanced at my watch,
10:10am. The comfort of the rocker and my exhaustion from the night before
combined had caused me to sleep right through the doctors coming in to take
Rick away to surgery. Shaking my head with disbelief, I turned back to the
rocker and gathered my belongings together.
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
The loud beeping noise startled me again. Turning around in place, I realized
the noise was not coming from Rick's abandoned monitors but as I looked
more closely I noticed his monitors were not even in the room any longer.
Looking around the room, the room seemed emptier and brighter than it had
seemed the night before. The room was perfectly clean, the bed made and the
little table that was beside the rocker was now placed beside the bed in its
proper spot. The pills and juice that had sat atop the tray the night before were
also gone. The room seemed as if no one had been in it except for me. Scanning
the room, I searched for Rick's bags, the bags I had brought with me last
night; there was no trace of them anywhere. Baffled, I wandered around the
room searching for Rick's bags. Peering into the closet behind the door where
jackets and belongings usually would hang, I found, however, that the closet
was empty. I then turned around and made my way towards the bed, running
my hand across the bright white cover, as I lowered myself to the ground. On
my hands and knees I looked under the bed, no bags were there either.
Total confusion began to take over me as I sat up on my knees trying to
make sense of what was happening. I knew that I had brought those bags here,
but now they were nowhere to be found. At that moment I decided it was time
to speak to a nurse and find out where my husband's bags went and how he
was doing in surgery. Ignoring the weirdness that the room exhibited at that
point, I walked back over to the rocker, picked up my jacket and purse before
heading to the door. With my left hand on the door knob, I turned back
around and glanced one last time at the hospital room, then pulling the handle
and opening the door, I left the room behind me as I sauntered down the hallway
towards the nurse's station. As I approached the nurse's station I noticed
two female nurses, their heads bowed down as they worked on their duties for
the day. Neither of the nurses noticed me as I approached the desk, so I cleared
my throat to alert them that I was there.
"Um, hello?" I said in a quieted voice.
Looking up from her work, the nurse closest to me seemed shocked to see
me standing there.
"Oh my, you startled me. Yes ma'am, is there anything I can do for you?"
She asked me.
"Why yes, there is something you could do for me. I was looking for my
husband's belongings from room 14b. I brought them in for him last night, but
this morning when I awoke, I couldn't find them." I replied.
"Room 14b?" the nurse asked as she looked at me with a puzzled look on
"Yes, my husband was brought here last night with a severe gash in his right
leg; he was in room 14b awaiting surgery for this morning." I stated as I
watched the puzzled look on her face become more intense.
"Ok, well let me check the registry for room 14b then." She stated before she
turned her chair away from me to face the filing cabinet that was directly
behind both nurses. The nurse that had not noticed me right away had been
listening to my conversation with the first nurse and she sat there staring at me.
Impatiently I waited for the nurse to finish looking through the cabinet, without
moving my head I glanced down at my watch; I found it was now 10:43am.
The nurse was still thumbing through the many files in the cabinet, when she
turned her head towards me and stated,
"You said room 14b, right?"
"Yes." I answered back; animosity began to fill my every word. 'Hello, hurry
it up lady' I thought to myself as I became irritated by her gaze, my foot tapping
on the floor beneath me.
The nurse stared at me for a brief moment as if she could read my thoughts
before she turned back around and continued her search through the cabinet.
Within a few seconds, she turned back around placing a file on her desk. From
where I was standing I could see the title of the file as "Room 14b" in almost
illegible handwriting. The nurse looked up at me and smiled, before returning
her gaze to the file. As she thumbed through the pages, she started to hum to
herself. With each page she turned, her humming began to get louder and my
impatience began to increase. After what seemed an hour, the nurse finally
looked up to me from the file, her look was that of confusion and pity.
"From what I see here...Mrs.?" She paused.
"Mrs. Ronin." I interjected.
"I apologize, Mrs. Ronin. From what I see here, there was no one registered
to room 14b last evening. Are you sure that the room was 14b?" The nurse
paused before continuing, "Room 14b hasn't had anyone registered to it for
over a month, since Mr. Wilson was registered there. Mr. Wilson passed away
one month ago while he was staying in that room." The nurse said as she gazed
into my eyes.
Not understanding or believing what I was hearing from the nurse, I began
to shake my head from side to side, then without warning I screamed at the
nurse making her jump up from her seat."What are you talking about, are you insane or something? My husband was
brought in here last night, I sat by his side until he fell asleep and then I sat in the
rocker across the room and fell asleep, only to wake up this morning to my husband
gone and all his bags missing."
The nurse then circled the desk and began to approach me, her arms
extended as if to embrace me, but I stumbled back shaking my head at her in
"Please Mrs. Ronin..." She began to say, "Let me help you....""No, you're insane, I want my husband NOW, heWAS in that room, room 14b
and I want to know where he is NOWand if you can't give me the answers I want,
then I want to speak to your supervisor." I screamed through my tears; tears of
confusion, tears of frustration and tears of exhaustion.
"Mrs. Ronin," The nurse stated as she closed in on me and placed her hands
on my shoulders, "I'm sorry, but your husband was not registered to that room
last night, no one has been registered to room 14b in well over a month." She
continued as she helped me into a nearby chair, the nurse then introduced herself
as Melinda. Melinda could see how upset I had become to hear this information,
but still she knelt down in front of me on the cold hospital floor as she
sat me down in the chair. "Please sit and let me fill you in on room 14b."
Melinda said in as calm a tone as she could muster. "Room 14b has always had
an odd aura to it, but room 14b became more widely known by Mr. Wilson.
See, Mr. Wilson was brought in here several weeks ago; he was pale and bleeding
tremendously from a head wound. Mr. Wilson was scheduled for surgery
immediately but when the nurses came in to transport him, they found he had
bled to death. Since then the hospital hasn't registered anyone to that room."
Melinda informed me.
Once she finished telling me the story of room 14b, I just stared at her,
unbelieving of what she had said.My body shaking, I put my head in my hands
and began to sob.Melinda pulled me close to her and she hugged me while she
murmured in my ear that it was all going to be ok. After a few moments I
pulled away from her and looked her straight in the eyes.
"But....but, my husband, he came in here last night...he was bleeding terribly
from a wound to his leg..." I exclaimed.
Melinda looked at me for a moment then stated, "Mrs. Ronin, maybe you're
"I'm not mistaken Melinda," I interrupted, "I saw him in that room, I
touched him, I talked to him." At that moment a thought occurred to me,
"What about the orderly who stated he saw my husband and directed me to his
room?" I asked.
"Which orderly, Mrs. Ronin?" Melinda asked.
"The orderly......I don't know his name, but it was after midnight when I
came in the Emergency Department. I accidentally bumped into him in the
hall and told him I was looking for Rick, he said he saw him come in and came
up here with me to show me where he was." I finished. I was beginning to
sound unsure of myself; my words more questioning and confused than earlier.
"I don't know who he was," I continued mumbling. "I never got his name,
but he did have a bit of a feminine voice to him." I added as I looked into
"We don't have any male nurses here." Melinda said as she scratched her
head with her right hand.
For a moment, I sat there, staring atMelinda, trying to make sense of all she
had told me, trying to understand what was going on. She looked at me as if I
were a child lost in a store, her face distorted with sympathy and understanding.
Looking at her at that moment, I felt more frail than I had earlier; more
scared than I had been the night before when my nightmare first began.
Studying her expression, I mumbled,
"If all this is true, then where is my husband?" I asked as I lowered my head
"That is a good question Mrs. Ronin, let me just check the registry for the
hospital to see if he was seen at all last night and by who, just stay right here,"
She said as she got to her feet, "I'll be right back."With that, she turned around
and walked back to the nurse's station.
"Wait," I jumped up from the chair. "I know what doctor saw him last
evening." I stated, excitement filling my heart, I had some proof Rick was here,
the note at the bottom of Rick's sheet was signed by Dr. Yen. Melinda stopped
in her tracks and turned to me.
"Who?" She asked.
"Dr. Yen. I read Rick's form at the edge of his bed and there was a note on it
about his condition and time of surgery. The doctor was Dr. Yen." I exclaimed.
The look on Melinda's face changed quickly to that of confusion. My heart
dropped just at the look on her face.
"Mrs. Ronin....we have no doctors at this hospital with that name. Are you
sure that was the name on the sheet?"
My hopes began to fall to the ground where they dissipated right in front of
"Yes, that was the name I saw." I replied, my voice trailing off with each
After a few seconds of silence, Melinda shook her head and then, "Ok, let
me have a look just to be sure. Please go ahead and have a seat, I promise not to
be too long."
I watched her turn into the nurse's station and sit at her seat, turning only
briefly to say something to the other nurse that I was unable to hear from
where I was sitting, before she turned back to her computer and began the
search. As I sat there, I looked around the hallway; it was just as white as the
rest of the hospital, and completely empty except for the odd beeping sound
from a machine down the hallway and me sitting in the chair across from the
nurse's station. As I waited for Melinda to re-emerge from behind her desk, I
leaned back in the chair and rested my head on the wall, staring at the ceiling,
before closing my eyes and trying to comprehend all that I had been told thus
far. It seemed unreal, like I was in a horrible nightmare; nothing was making
sense to me, nothing at all. My thoughts were running wild now, I felt like I
was losing my grip on reality, I wasn't sure what was real anymore and what
wasn't. Slowly, with my eyes still closed, I lowered my head and slowly opened
my eyes. Directly in front of me stood Melinda, her presence frightened me, I
had not heard her approach me, grabbing hold of my heart I took a deep
breath and with my voice cracking, I said to Melinda;
"Did you find my husband?"
Melinda then sat in the chair beside me and grabbed both my hands in hers
before she spoke.
"I looked through all the hospital records starting back at approximately
8pm last night and there was no one admitted or seen by the name of Ronin,
I'm sorry. I also checked through all our databases and couldn't find any doctor
by the name of Yen working here in this hospital."
Staring at her, dumbfounded, I was speechless. My mouth agape as if I was
going to say something, but nothing came out. I glared at Melinda, my eyes
vacant. Melinda could see the awestruck look in my eyes and broke the silence.
"Mrs. Ronin is there someone you would like me to call for you?"
Hearing those words come from her mouth was like hearing someone tell
me I was losing my mind, that maybe I had escaped from an insane asylum or
needed some serious psychiatric care. Feeling completely lost and seriously
confused, I stood up without saying a word to Melinda, turned my back to her
and walked quickly away. As I headed to the elevator, I began to feel overwhelmed
by all I had heard and all I that had happened the night before. Was
everything that happened last night a dream? Was I awake now or still sleeping?
Deciding I should check to make sure I wasn't dreaming, I pinched myself.