Impasse – Chapter Twelve [Final]
“Jess called us,” the chief explained as Farva returned to relative consciousness in the back of the ambulance, the warmth burning his digits.
“You don’t deserve that woman, Farve,” the chief muttered, shaking his head. “If I called my wife in the middle of the night, expecting her to pick up, I’d get home to a bowl of soggy cereal to eat, leftovers from the kid.”
Farva draped his hand across his face, blocking out the light from the ceiling of the boxy vehicle. “I… don’t. You wouldn’t… know…”
Schultz snuffled and sat back against the wall, his body shuffling up and down with the bumps. “When we picked you up tonight… at the motel on the edge of town… you know what goes on there, right?”
“I know very well, chief. But… it’s already too late for that.”
Schultz stroked his mustache, shaking his head slowly in thought. “You need to make things right with her. Whatever that means for the two of you. Before the ambulance here showed up, we made sure to call her back. I imagine she’ll be at the hospital to meet us.”
“I’ve… had the time to think about… what I imagine her saying. What I’ll say, too.”
Schultz sighed slowly. “I can at least tell here what you did, the good and proper part. What convinced you to head off down the tracks in the middle of the night in the freezing cold, instead of listening to my orders?”
Farva looked up at the ceiling shaking his head. “The train wasn’t the answer. It was… me.”
“You?” The chief scoffed, looking down at him.
“No, never mind. Sometimes, you just need to retrace your steps, find out what went wrong. And even if you can’t… fix it, you can make it up the best you can.”
Schultz chuckled. “Sorry, I shouldn’t laugh at a time like this. But for the records, I’ll have to repeat the stuff coming out of your mouth right about now. We’ll be at the hospital soon enough, just to make sure the cold didn’t bite you too hard.”
Farva shuffled slightly, feeling the blanket on his chest shift about. He found his hands somewhere under the covers, pulling them out before his face. His fingers were restrained under bands of gauze, leaving the sensation of circulation uncertain. He finally allowed his arms to relax and drop his hands back down by his sides. “What about… those people?”
“Well, they’re all fine thanks to you,” Schultz smirked. “The cold didn’t hit them too bad compared to you. We got them back to the train, those who were still there. The others who went off searching were found farther down the line just a little while ago, too. They’ll set off soon enough. There was a con artist, they said, onboard— pulled a fire alarm, had them evacuate, then started up the train when everyone was off. Stole a bunch of valuables, then ditched the train.”
“I told you so…” Farva mumbled.
“Did you?” The chief shook his head. “No way, Detective. Hey, we’re here.”
The chief shifted side to side as the boxy vehicle stopped roughly. The doors open soon after and the detective’s stretcher was yanked down, its wheels folding out to meet with the ground. As it was wheeled up and towards the front of the hospital and its florescent lights, Farva caught sight of the dark-haired woman by the door, hands tucked into her heavy jacket.
Jess caught up to the medics rolling him in. “I’m the wife. I’m here, Robert.”
“He’s stable, Mrs. Farva,” the EMT noted. “But we’ll need to get him in to assess his condition further.”
“I see that. Can I at least talk to him?”
“Jess—“ The detective sat up slightly.
Her hand found his shoulder as they rounded one last corner and into the observation room. “We’ll have someone in here soon enough to take your vitals, sir. Hold tight.”
Jess had her arms folded at the side of the bed as the employee exited the room. She shook her head slightly, the corners of her eyes moist.
Farva looked down at his toes poking up past the heavy blanket. “I understand if you don’t want to have anything to do with me after this.”
Jess shook her head and ran her fingers through his hair. “This is something we can get through together. You can explain everything when you’re feeling better.”
“But… but I saw… it must have been a dream… you disappearing from… my life.”
“Well, right now… I am going nowhere.”