A to Z 2017: YESTERYEAR

There was something about hospitals that made her cringe inside. She imagined that it was a common emotion shared among those who were forced to frequent one for any prolonged period of time. Molly didn't even qualify to fall under that demograph. She had visited many hospitals, spoken to a plethora of nurses and doctors, but never had a prolonged stay. Something about having good genes. Or a superhuman ability to miraculously regenerate. One of the two.

Regardless, she knew what silently — or sometimes not so silently — roamed the corridors within. Agony, fear, and sorrow. Crushed dreams and shredded taut tethers, on the verge of snapping, threatening to flail the meager hope attached on the other end into the abyss. So much disease and death. You knew it was present, even if the only thing offered was the sickening stench of sterility. An invisible mask of cleanliness, a veil obscuring the horrors that lay in wait.

There was no hiding the horrors surrounding her now, though. They sprawled at her feet, both exposed and revealing. She could detect the blood trailing down her arm, some of it soaking into her shirt. At the same time, she felt the leaking wound beginning to eject the lodged foreign object and self-repair. The line of blood descended and pooled around a knuckle, before beginning to drip, her hand tightly gripped around a gun. A small, soft pattering rang out with each droplet, until stopping completely as the thin, red river dried up.

Two men laid motionless on the white marble floor in front of her, pools of red slowly forming around their bodies. Past them, crouched behind a hospital bed, hid one of the doctors of the facility. A woman named Deborah Schultz. Someone who had taken an extensive interest in her background after she had arrived at the hospital a few days prior. Someone able to see through Molly's bullshit. In exchange for some answers and testing, the doctor had bought her some time, avoiding confrontation with authorities even more eager to question her.

She suspected the dead men weren't working for any government agency. They may have shown up dressed to the nines, but they reeked of lackeys. Mere henchmen paid to carry out their employer's bidding. That was at least a faded, barely distinguishable, silver lining. But even that brief reprieve was short-lived as the bigger picture started to come into frame. There was no denying it.

Her past had found her.

Deborah slowly came out from behind her makeshift shelter, eyes glancing over the two bodies littering the room. Molly trusted that the doctor had been forced into the earlier ruse, at the stake of her own life, but that didn't stop her from contemplating putting her down just the same. At this point, every bone in her body was demanding she leave no one behind able to identify her. Whatever it took to survive. To find her son, who she knew was still out there somewhere, and run.

Tears were streaming down Dr. Schultz's plump cheeks. "I'm sorry. They..."

"Stop." Molly kept her voice low, realizing the inevitable. "How many more?" She checked the clip of the silenced hand gun. She noted a second was just out of the doctor's reach, still gripped by one of her slain attackers.

"Your wound. That's... That's amazing." The doctor's eyes were wide in bewilderment.

Frustrated, she snapped. "Yeah, we've already been over this, Deb." Apparently they were on first name terms now, in her mind. "How many more are there?"

Deborah took a moment. "At least a half-a-dozen. Who are they?"

"You tell me. Your guess is as good as mine. These aren't the agents who came asking about me?" The doctor shook her head. Molly thought she heard bustling from the other side of the closed door to the unit. She turned to face it, arms extending the gun in front of her.

If there was one thing she was certain about, it was that she would be escaping this death-infested shithole alive. How many people she would have to drop that got between her and the exit, however, wasn't so clear.

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