Snow Pixie – Chapter 2
As promised each Friday leading up to the release I will be posting a chapter of Snow Pixie. No part of this post or blog may be reproduced without written consent from Author Isabelle Saint-Michael or Elven Life Productions President M. Kat Thomas. Thank you for reading.
The next time I awoke it was to the grinding pain of the worst headache I could remember ever having. The throbbing started at the back of my head and radiated down my neck, into my chest, and then out from there. Beside me there was a steady beep from some kind of machinery. I flexed all the muscles in my body, only to realize my fingers were wrapped tightly around something. It made them tingle and sent a feeling of warmth spreading through my body.
I turned my head to take a closer look and immediately regretted it. The entire room rocked and I let out a groan. “Oh good, you’re awake,” came a groggy voice beside me. I forced my eyes open to stare into the face of the officer from earlier. “How do you feel?” he asked, reaching to grip my hand with both of his.
My pulse spiked and the beeping to my left grew faster. It was then I suddenly realized the beeps matched the beat of my heart and I began looking around cautiously, trying to avoid moving my head. I shouldn’t have a pulse. Why do I have a pulse? Clearing my throat, I met his gaze. “I feel like…” I caught myself. Pain. I hurt? “My head hurts,” I told him. “Where am I?” I asked.
“You’re at Northwestern Memorial Hospital,” he explained. “When you fell you hit your head quite hard. I didn’t realize you were injured until I saw the blood on the ice.” I shivered and he cut himself off. “Are you cold? I can get you another blanket.”
I waved my free hand. “No, it’s all right, I don’t really feel the cold.”
“Ah, because you are a figure skater,” he said, brandishing the excuse as if it were the missing puzzle piece that completed an unknown picture. Humans could and would believe anything that didn’t challenge their views of the real world.
“Exactly,” I confirmed.
Just then a doctor came in the room and gave us the once-over. “Excuse me officer, I came to check on the patient.” The doctor’s eyes slid over to me. He was a middle aged man whose skin was even darker than that of the gentleman beside me. “Miss, I’m Doctor Jacobs. Officer Flynn brought you in after you sustained trauma to the back of your head. Do you remember the accident?”
I paused and thought about what Dr. Jacobs was asking. “I fell on a patch of ice at the bottom of some stone stairs.”
“When Officer Flynn found you, you weren’t wearing shoes or a coat. You fled the scene of a crime. Do you remember any of that?” he asked, politely waiting for me to process the memory.
“Yes, a man held me at gunpoint and demanded I give him my wallet and cell phone.” Out of the corner of my eye I could see Officer Flynn nodding alongside me in confirmation.
“We were unable to find any identification on you, but we were able to locate a small purse with what appeared to be a business card inside. We contacted the Justin Kringle listed on the card in hopes that he could help identify you. Do you know him personally?” the good doctor asked.
I smiled. “Yes, I’ve known Justin since he was a kid. He’s a close friend,” I explained. I was startled when Officer Flynn’s grip tightened on my hand for a split second, but I did my best to avoid showing it by averting my gaze.
“All right then, would you mind answering a few questions for us then, so we can get your information?” he asked as he leaned down, shining a light in my eyes.
“Isn’t that what we’ve been doing?” I asked.
Doctor Jacobs stopped suddenly and stared hard at me. “Well yes, I suppose it is.” Stepping away he scribbled a note on a clipboard before turning his attention back to me. “What is your full name?”
“Susan Ross,” I answered.
“And your birthday, Miss Ross?” he asked politely.
“January first,” I answered.
“The year?” he prompted.
“Doctor, it is poor form to ask a lady her age!” I said with a huff.
Dr. Jacobs looked confused and I could hear Officer Flynn chuckle beside me. The sound made my insides feel like they were glowing with warmth. “Miss Ross, I must insist that you provide us with the information we need.” I started to argue but a knock at the door halted our conversation.
A deep male voice said, “Excuse me, is this the room for Susie Ross?” We all turned our focus to the man in the doorway.
Standing at about five foot ten, with shoulders broad enough to almost fill the doorway, stood Justin Kringle. His eyes sparkled mischievously, and his long sandy colored braid tumbled down his back. Dressed in a plaid flannel shirt, jeans, a navy blue pea coat, and a pair of duck boots, it was hard to believe this was the kid that had stolen Santa’s sleigh for a joy ride. “Justin!” I chirped happily.
He shuffled into the room and shook hands with the doctor before coming over to stand beside me. Clearing his throat he handed me a gold purse. “I stopped by the rink and picked up your things. It took me a while to find them, otherwise I would have been here sooner,” he said apologetically.
I unzipped the purse and pulled out what appeared to be a wallet. I fumbled through the brightly colored plastic cards within before pulling out what I assumed was my identification. Susan Creasting Ross. DOB: January 1st, 1986. “EIGHTY-SIX,” I squawked loudly as I crunched numbers in my head. With this new information I realized I must have been gone over sixty years.
The doctor, Officer Flynn, and Justin all looked at me with confusion. Grimacing, I apologized. “Sorry, I just realized how old I was getting.” Understanding lit Dr. Jacobs’s face and he scribbled the missing information down on the clipboard. Justin nodded along with Officer Flynn as if getting the joke. Sighing heavily, I handed the identification over to Dr. Jacobs and settled my gaze on Justin. “It’s been a really long time. I’m sorry that this was the reason for us getting back in touch.”
Justin waved away the apology. “A good friend is like good wine. It doesn’t matter if you enjoy them every day or only once in a while – it is still good.” His eyes sparkled with memories. He leaned over to the doctor and waved him to follow him out into the hall to speak. Justin, like any good Kringle, had a powerful gift of suggestion when it came to Humans. That’s why children always told Santa what they wanted for Christmas and how he knew if they were naughty or nice.
Officer Flynn still sat beside me with my hand in his. When he cleared his throat, I jumped. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you. Once you’re discharged, would you mind coming down to the station so we could get your statement?”
“Do I really need to, or could I give it here?” I asked, not wanting to linger. I had a lot to get caught up on if I had been gone since the mid-fifties.
“I suppose I could take it here. We will still need you to come down to the station but I guess…” I cut him off by pulling my hand free of his and causing the beeping machine beside the bed to let out a high-pitched sound.
I looked around frantically as the doctor and several nurses came rushing back into the room. “Quick, check the patient,” said Dr. Jacobs before he saw me sitting up and blinking at him. Reaching over, he switched off the machine. “Miss Ross?”
I shrugged at him. “I’m sorry, I’m not sure what I did.”
Dr. Jacobs reached for my hand to find the clip on my finger was still in place. “Hmmmm, it must be faulty equipment. When they first brought you in, you didn’t have a pulse, but seemed to be breathing without any problems. Officer Flynn here helped us move you because we were concerned we were going to have to take action, and sure enough your heartbeat showed up.”
“Technology, what are you going to do?” I said, hoping I sounded more confident than I felt.
Dr. Jacobs chuckled and reached for his stethoscope. “I should still check, then we can start the discharge paperwork.” As he leaned in close to me I reached back and quickly grabbed Officer Flynn’s hand. I heard him gasp a little at my forwardness, but he gave it a warm squeeze.
Once again the sound of my heart pumped in my ears and I could explain neither it, nor the warmth that spread through me just touching the officer’s hand. The cold stethoscope touched my skin and I inhaled a deep breath. Normally cold sensations didn’t faze me, but they had been since I arrived back in this waking world.
“How’s she sound, Doc?” asked Justin from behind Dr. Jacobs. His eyes were intense on mine.
The good doctor laughed and lowered his device. “She sounds healthy as can be. If you’ll excuse me, I will have a nurse in here to get her on her way shortly.” With that the doctor promptly left.
I turned back to look at Officer Flynn, who now had his fingers laced between my own. “I think I would like to go get changed. Thank you for bringing me here and making sure I was taken care of.” He gave me a nod before I tossed my feet over the side of the bed. I started to stand up, but the clip on my finger slowed my process. Pulling my finger free, I began searching for the skating dress I had been brought here in.
The officer cleared his throat. “They were afraid you might have taken internal damage of some sort. I believe they cut your dress off. I can go check and see if I can find you something in the gift shop?” he offered.
Justin stepped forward, handing me a bag. “I wasn’t sure what the case would be, but I grabbed one of Grace’s outfits and brought it with me,” he explained. I made a mental note to ask who Grace was before nodding and heading towards the bathroom.
I unzipped the bag Justin had been smart enough to bring and pulled out the clothes within. I tugged on the jeans, which clung to my legs but gapped at the waist. I then pulled on a camisole and a thick grey sweater. I swam in the sweater, but it was clean and smelled like cinnamon and honey. Giving the mirror one more look, I worked my fingers through my hair and freed it from the remains of the braid and bun. The doctors must have pulled part of it down to look at my injury because it was a total mess. Sighing heavily, I turned back to the door.
As I started to push it open I could hear Officer Flynn and Justin speaking. “I’ve known Suzy forever. We met when I was still a kid.”
“She seems like she spooks easily,” Officer Flynn said with concern. “She doesn’t seem like she’s from around here, nor do you for that matter.”
Justin chuckled. “Oh, I have family that lives in the area. Suzy has been to Chicago quite a bit over the years. She skates here every winter. She’s better then Sonja Henie,” he said with a laugh.
“Better than who?” asked Officer Flynn.
Justin laughed again and apologized. “Sorry, she was a figure skater a long time ago. Suzy used to enjoy watching her old movies when we were kids.”
“Oh, gotcha. Uh, I have a question and it may not be appropriate. If it is out of line, I apologize,” Officer Flynn said, almost hesitant.
Justin didn’t give the police officer a chance to ask anything. “There is nothing between us but friendship. I’m getting married this Christmas. Suzy and I really are just friends.”
“How did you? I mean… was it that obvious?”
“I just happen to notice things others don’t.” Justin started to say something else but I pushed the door open, trying to pull on the shoes that were in the bag. Both men looked at me, a bit startled. “Do you need help with those?” Justin asked.
“No, I’m fine,” I said, quickly snapping to an upright position. The entire world swam around me and I grabbed the wall for support. Both men rushed forward but I held up a hand to stop them. “Just a bit woozy still,” I assured them.
“I should get you back to my cousin’s place so you can rest. The nurse said it’s been over twelve hours, so you should be okay to sleep,” he explained.
I turned my eyes to Officer Flynn, suddenly processing the new information. “How long was I out?”
He shrugged. “It was about four yesterday afternoon when we brought you in. It’s about nine in the morning now. You’ve been awake for about an hour or so now.” He looked at his watch and visibly had to think. “About sixteen hours give or take. Sorry, I’m a little tired, so my math skills aren’t up to par.”
“You stayed here all night?” I asked.
“Yeah, it just seemed like the right thing to do since we couldn’t find any next of kin or anything. Nobody should wake up in a hospital room alone without knowing why they are there.” He offered me a warm smile, revealing two rows of perfect white teeth.
“Thank you, that was very kind of you,” I told him.
Reaching forward, he squeezed my shoulder and I felt warmth spreading through my body again. Why his touch had such a reaction on me I wasn’t sure, but it was rather unnerving. “I’ve got all your contact info from Justin and if you wouldn’t mind, I would like to stop by this evening and take your statement.”
I looked at Justin, who gave me a slight nod, and agreed.