Suzanna took another gulp of wine. She swirled the ruby red liquid in her glass then sat back in the big leather chair. Sitting alone in the attic, she was drunk.
Coming to this cabin in the woods was her idea. She was worried. Everything was falling apart.
The first night here, they left the cooler of food sitting outside all night. A bear helped himself to their food. Greg left four hours ago to buy more food. Sam went after the bear. It bit her in the stomach. Danny raised that Shepard from a pup now she was bleeding out on the table. He's a mess and won't leave her side.
She filled her glass again. What if Danny figures out her real identity? Surprised he didn't recognize her when Greg introduced his best friend to his new girlfriend, she's been holding her breath waiting for Danny to realize she is his ex-girlfriend, the girlfriend that stole money causing his family to lose their restaurant and home. Danny held the key to her identity. Despite cutting and bleaching her hair, inserting colored contact lenses, losing thirty pounds and changing her name, sooner or later, she will say or do something, and he will make the connection to the woman who ruined him.
Excited to pick up her custom Harley, she called the dealership. When the voice on the other end told her she would always be noticed on her new ride, she knew she would never pick it up. She didn't want attention. She buried the money at this cabin.
Guilt from destroying the family didn't occur until she was dating Greg, a good and kind man. Coming here was strictly so Danny could find the money. Why continue with the original plan? If he finds the money, Danny is going to know her real name.
This weekend is going to hell!
What a Night!
This was supposed to be an fun evening with my friends. But, alas! everything is going wrong. First of all, half the people I invited didn't make it. Only five people showed up at 4:00 like they were supposed to. I was looking forward to talking with my friend Suzanna, but she just sat on the couch with a queer smile on her face. When I asked her what was up, she said in a strange, soft voice, "I have a secret..."
Then, when I asked what it was, she just smiled more queerly!
Everyone seemed bored, so I suggested that we look for a game to play. But, nobody could agree on one, so then I had to think up something new. So I thought that we'd go up to the attic and have a 'treasure hunt'. That seemed like a good idea...until the next thing happened. Turns out that the attic door locks behind you when you close it. And Danny has the only key! Why is this a problem? Because Danny is hanging out with a friend tonight, and probably won't get back until near 1:00 in the morning. Our only hope is for Greg to get back soon and somehow pry the door open, or go and get the key from Danny. But Greg left about 4 hours ago for food and still hasn't returned!!! And top this all off, Sam cut himself on a old, rusty hunk of metal up here, and is now bleeding all over the old dining room table.
Ugh. What a night this is gonna be!
Suzanna checked her watch. Sam had been in surgery for thirty-five minutes. Greg had been gone four hours. He had not answered her calls or texts, typical. Her husband was never around when she needed him. In four hours, everything had fallen apart.
Alone in the waiting room, Suzanna wiped tears from her cheeks.
A pair of doctors, surrounded by a trio of nurses, leaned over the diminutive prone figure on the table. Orders were barked. Vital stats were returned. The operating room was a flurry of contained excitement, of urgency . . . until it wasn’t. Until the only meaningful sound to be heard, other than the rasping breath of the patient was the gentle drip, drip, drip, of blood pooling on the floor.
Danny stepped cautiously towards the waiting room. He wanted to run but he knew he needed to be a rock in this time of terror. If Greg wasn’t there, he had to be.
Suzanna made no notice of his approach. She was hunched over, covering her face with her hands.
At his muted greeting, she stood up and collapsed sobbing into his open arms.
Greg paced the sidewalk. He knew he had to decide once and for all. There was no point in dragging things out any longer. If it was time for him to go, he should go. Suzanna would understand. Well, maybe not understand exactly, but she knew he was disconnecting, pushing away. He knew it was time to give up. It was time to say what he should have said years ago.
Greg took a deep breath and pushed send.
Danny’s phone pinged breaking the silence of the waiting room and startling them both. He did not want to release Suzanna to check the message. No one could be more in need of him in that moment than her.
It was Suzanna who pushed him away, after a few seconds.
“You better check that,” she said, her voice as devoid of emotion as it had been full before, “it might be Greg.”
Greg leaned back against the hood of his car. He wondered how long it would take to get a response. Having made his decision he did not want to wait around any longer. He wanted to make the break and get out of there before either of them tried to change his mind.
“He wants the key to the office,” Danny said as he puzzled over the message.
“Why?” Suzanna asked, “What for? Did he get my voicemail? Does he know what is going on?”
“Hold on, hold on.” Danny could feel her body begin to tremble. “I don’t know. I haven’t a clue. That was all he said. Let me call him. Sit back down.”
She sat. Danny took a step back and turned around to make the call. As if he could shield her from what was happening. Nothing was ever going to be safe again.
An eternity passed while Danny waited for Greg to pick up.
“Listen, man,” Greg answered.
“No, you listen,” Danny bellowed back. “I don’t care what is going on. I don’t care what you are up to or where you have been. You need to get to St. Mary’s right now.”
“Yes, Sam is in the operating room.” Danny paused. His indignation giving way to the grim reality before them. “There was an accident. She might not make it. You need to be here.”
He walked across the waiting room and lowered his voice. “It’s bad, Greg. She might not make it.” He glanced back at Suzanna. He didn’t want to say it, but he needed to be blunt so Greg would understand the gravity of the situation. “Your daughter is dying.”
He hung up the phone to Greg’s feeble pledge to be right there.
He took a seat beside Suzanna as she silently wept. He placed his arm across her shoulders. She looked up at him, deep sorrow in her red eyes.
“You’re wrong,” she whispered.
“I know,” Danny replied, “Sam is going to make. She is a tough little thing. I was just trying to get through to Greg.”
“No, that’s not it. I mean . . . yes, she will pull through, but that’s not what I meant.” Suzanna wiped her face with the back of her hand. “She’s not his daughter.”
“Oh,” Danny replied, “I didn’t know.”
“Neither does he.”
The pair waited silently as the doctors removed their blood soaked surgical gowns setting their minds to the next grim task.
Suzanna trembled as she held the wet cloth to Sam's neck. It wasn't helping. The blood was leaking through. She tried to make her breath steady but it wasn't working. Why wasn't Greg back? Was he okay? What was happening? And where was Danny?
She knew it was her fault, and she felt horrible! Sam was dying because of her!
All of a sudden the kitchen door opened and Danny rushed into the room. he had short blond hair and
"How did this even happen?" He asked.
"I- I don't know," Suzanna tried to respond. "I mean you were there! You saw what I saw!"
"I saw it," Danny said "But unlike popular opinion seeing does not mean believing."
Danny started unpacking the first aid kit he had gotten from the bathroom. Luckily he had gone to medical school and knew what he was doing.
Suzanna stepped back. Why was he doing this? She refused to be like him! But this was too far! Sam was close to dead and Greg might have been dead. She was done.
"Danny, I need to tell you something..."
"On a scale of one to ten how important is it?" He asked not even looking at her.
"Like an immediate one hundred." She replied.
"Can you tell me while I do this?" He asked
"Hopefully," Suzanna responded.
Suzanna told him everything that had happened that day. He kept stopping what he was doing for mere seconds before realizing that he should keep going. After Suzanna was done he was silent for a little while.
"That doesn't make sense," He finally said.
"Do you think it makes any more sense to me?" Suzanna asked.
"Ok, it's fine, we will get through this together," Danny said, "Look I found something when I was getting the first aid, I didn't think much of it at the time, but after what you said, I think it's the key to unlocking this mystery."