Everything feels wrong. Kalenia Wallace can’t believe she shot an unarmed woman who had surrendered. She had to do it though, didn’t she? She couldn’t make a deal with a woman like Lily. How could she ever trust her? She couldn’t let her keep pumping drugs onto the street, even if they weren’t the streets here in town. She threatened to burn her life to the ground. To have her family hurt or even killed. It was self defense. The VMUS Act gives her the power to protect the public and stopping someone from murdering everyone she loves has to qualify. It doesn’t feel that way though. It feels wrong.
Wiping the blood that splattered on her face away, she knows she needs to get out. She’s still shaking but she can’t stay here any longer. There’s still people who might need help in the warehouse and she needs to call for help. At first she planned to stick around to help the police but she doesn’t want credit for this. Instead she can drive until she’s clear of the building and then call it in. They’ll probably match the bullets here to the ones from the warehouse but she doesn’t have to make it easy on them.
Tearing herself from the sight of Lily slumped dead on the floor, Kalenia heads back down the hallway. Finding her way to the stairs she heads up until she’s back in the employee only area of the casino. There’s no sign of anybody around. It’s getting late and the casino’s likely to be nearly empty at this point. She tries to remember the path she took through these halls to get here but nothing’s clear.
Winding through hallway after hallway, it isn’t long before she’s completely lost. Several times she opens a door expecting to see the kitchen or something near it which would tell her she’s nearing a way out. Instead she finds herself staring into an office or a conference room. The kitchen’s one of the only locations that stood out on her way in. She sniffs the air once to try and search for any sign of food but the only smell in her nostrils is the metallic scent of blood. She won’t make the mistake of focusing on it again.
After more than ten minutes of trying to find her way out she starts to worry. She’s covered in blood and even this late the casino’s still open. Eventually she’s going to stumble upon somebody and when she does they’re going to be very surprised. She pulls her trench coat tighter. At least all of her clothes are black which hides how much blood she’s covered in.
Opening another door, Kalenia’s shocked to find herself staring onto the casino floor. She snuck into the employee area through a back door and if she’s right about where she is, then the back entrances are a long way off. She’s had no luck finding her way to them through the back hallways and she needs to escape. Looking out, she only sees a couple gamblers left and the type of gambler to still be playing slots after midnight on a weeknight isn’t likely to pay much attention to her.
Without knowing how long it will take to find her way out the back, Kalenia decides to chance sneaking past the gamblers. Seeing a bathroom ahead of her to the right she sees an opportunity to clean herself up to the point where she won’t look like she stepped out of a horror movie. Darting to the bathroom, she doesn’t think anyone noticed her. She breathes a sigh of relief when there’s nobody else in the bathroom.
There’s no lock on the door so she can’t keep others from making their way in but it’s late and she doesn’t need long. The sink runs red with blood as she works to scrub as much as she can off of her body. She focuses on her hands, her hair and her face. She wipes the most obvious parts off her coat but there’s too much to get it clean. She just has to hope it’s good enough to get her out of here without drawing attention.
The lack of paper towels is an issue. She would have known this place was evil just from checking the bathroom and finding nothing but hand dryers. Without other options, she rushes into a stall and pulls a roll of toilet paper loose. She starts wiping herself down the best she can. The red toilet paper piles up in the next sink over as she goes through it. She uses two rolls before she looks close to presentable. At a glance someone might not realize she just shot a person at close range. Anybody who takes a close look at her isn’t going to be fooled.
Flushing the toilet paper takes three tries and after each one she fears the toilet will clog but she’s finally able to get rid of it. Making her way out of the bathroom, Kalenia starts walking towards the entrance of the casino. Her coat’s pulled tight and as she walks past a few gamblers nobody seems to pay attention to her. She considers taking her mask off to seem less conspicuous but for now she keeps it on. She can’t risk being recognized, especially now.
Rounding the corner by the casino’s buffet, the front doors come into focus. She passes a couple of men coming out of the restaurant which closed a half hour ago, making sure to keep her eyes on the ground to try and stay inconspicuous. They don’t take any notice of her. A few seconds after she passes them one of the men lets out a scream. Turning around, she sees James stumbling after her with a gun pointed her way. He starts firing.
The two men try to get out of the way but one of them’s hit by a bullet and goes flying to the ground. The other ducks behind a corner only a few feet away. He’s crying and reaching for his friend who took the bullet in the gut. The injured man tries to crawl to his friend but he’s clearly in enormous pain. He lets out a loud moan.
Kalenia tries to throw herself behind a corner but she doesn’t make it. A bullet goes right through her stomach. She screams and drops her gun which goes skidding across the floor. The pain’s overwhelming. She presses one hand to the wound, trying to slow the bleeding. Blood’s still flowing out fast. With her other hand she reaches for her second gun but it’s inside the coat and she can’t get at it. James is getting closer.
When he’s about to fire again two security guards round the corner. They both reach for tasers and aim them forward. A woman and a man, they’re both young and the wide eyed look on their faces shows their terror. They do their job though and fire. They miss but James turns and runs back the way he came. He’s slow but the male guard chasing him doesn’t have much enthusiasm and quickly loses him.
The female guard rushes between Kalenia and the other man who was shot. “It’s going to be okay. Just hang on.” She grabs for her radio. “I need someone to call an ambulance now. There’s two people down. A guy shot them.”
She holds Kalenia’s hand as the man who was shot’s friend stays with him. The other guard comes back after a minute. “I lost him, went into the employee area and I wasn’t chasing him through those halls. Did you recognize that guy? He’s been around here a lot.”
Shooting her partner a look that could kill, the woman shakes her head. The pain’s enormous but Kalenia knows she has to keep her eyes open and try to stay awake. She tries to focus on breathing. She keeps thinking about her boyfriend Marco. After only a couple of minutes she can hear sirens in the background.
A crowd has gathered by the time the paramedics rush inside. The first paramedics move toward her but Kalenia waves them toward the injured man. “Help him. They were after me, he just got caught in the crossfire. Help him first.”
They do as they’re told but another paramedic crew is right behind and this time Kalenia doesn’t refuse their help. She tries to look brave but can’t avoid a cry as she’s lifted off the ground onto a gurney. She thanks the security guard who stayed with her as she’s wheeled out of the casino. The woman tries to smile but she can only manage with her lips. Her eyes tell another story.
The paramedics work to get her hooked to blood and to take her vitals. One of them squeezes her hand. “Don’t worry, we’re gonna make sure you’re alright. I know you’re scared but we’ve got you. We’ll be to the hospital soon.”
Kalenia’s starting to fade at this point. She’s fighting with everything she has to stay awake but the battle seems to be going south. She can feel that she’s lost a lot of blood. and everything’s spinning. Her hands and arms are drenched in blood. Nobody asks about the blood all over her clothes from before. They must assume it’s all from the gunshot.
By the time they’re speeding down the highway toward the nearest hospital, Kalenia starts to feel numb. “Something’s wrong.” Even saying so is a struggle.
Grabbing her hand, the paramedic in the back of the ambulance with her tries to look confident. “Don’t worry, that’s just from the medicine we gave you. You’re going to be alright. The doctors will get you right into surgery as soon as we get to the hospital. Is there anything I can do for you? Anyone you want me to call?”
She points to her coat wadded up on the floor. “My left inside pocket, in the coat.”
The paramedic reaches inside and pulls her cell phone out. “How do I unlock this?”
Her hand goes out. “Hand me the phone.”
He hesitates, seeing the blood coating her hands. “Why don’t you just give me your password and I’ll get in for you.”
More words. Every one a struggle but she has to explain. “I can’t. That’d be a big problem with my job. I can do it.” He hands her the phone and she tries to punch her pin in. She fails the first time but on a second attempt she manages to enter it correctly. She opens her contacts and pulls Marco’s name up. “Please take his number down so I can lock my phone. That’s my boyfriend. I need you to call him and tell him to meet me at the hospital. Don’t let them tell him everything, I’ll handle that. Just tell him I’m hurt and he needs to get there.”
Nodding, the paramedic jots the number down on a pad of paper he produces from somewhere and Kalenia closes her phone. She can’t focus at this point and drops the device. It bounces off the floor just as they go flying around a corner. Gravity takes over and the phone goes flying across the back of the ambulance. The paramedic tries to recover it before it breaks something and finally manages to get ahold of it. As he shoves it back into her coat, Kalenia can see the screen cracked.
They start to slow down and she hopes desperately that means they’re almost to the hospital. She can’t feel anything in her stomach anymore. She really hopes that’s from the medicine they’ve given her but she has a bad feeling it’s not. She can hear the driver up front shouting into a radio. “We’re coming in fast, I need a crash cart there right away. She’s bleeding bad.”
Abruptly the ambulance comes to a stop and she can hear the driver jumping out. The doors are thrown open and the lights from the hospital loading bay shine in. They’re blinding. She knows it’s silly but everything seems white for a minute and she has a terrible thought that she shouldn’t go into the light. She pushes it aside.
A few people climb into the ambulance and quickly pull her out. As she’s lowered to the ground, a kind looking dark skinned female doctor comes up to her and smiles. “I’m Dr. Batra. Don’t worry, we’re going to take great care of you. I’ll be with you the whole way and I’m going to make sure you’re alright.”