Life Blood: Cora's Choice Book 1 (Chapter Two, page 1 of 4)

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Okay. Weird.

I thought about redialing, but I didn't really see the point, except maybe to complain about him hanging up on me-which, on reflection, seemed like a pretty stupid thing to do.

Well, then. The emergent care entrance, he'd said.

I pushed to my feet and looked around. The medical center I'd just left squatted in the center of the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus, a flat expanse of frost-browned lawn stretching around it to the distant street. There were other buildings scattered across the vast campus, but I figured the emergency department had to be somewhere in the main center. Where, though, I couldn't guess.

I could go back inside. There would be signs and directories there. But there were also too many people, too many bustling nurses and bewildered visitors. I'd just escaped the hospital. I couldn't make myself go back.

I zipped up my jacket and flipped up the hood. I hadn't bothered to take it off inside the offices. I was always cold now, even inside. I picked a direction and began walking around the brick and glass monstrosity of the main hospital building.

A car will meet me? How strange was that?

I don't have to go, I told myself. But I needed to do something. Something other than just wait to die.

The wind grew suddenly sharper as I got farther from the building along the main sidewalk that circled it. I shoved my hands in my pockets. Fatigue dragged at me with every step. I would pay tomorrow for this walk-never mind the blind flight down the stairs.

I turned the first corner of the building. There was no sign of a drive or a big entrance, only the long blank façade continuing uninterrupted for hundreds of feet.

Crap. With my luck today, the emergency department would be all the way on the third side, and I'd chosen the long way around.

Would I make it? And if I didn't, how long would it take for someone to find me?

I shoved those thoughts down.

By the time I rounded the second corner of the medical center, I was winded and my legs were shaking. My heart clenched with relief at the sight of the circular drive and the wide canopy jutting out from the building over it.

Emergency, the sign spelled out above it. I trudged on, shutting out pain and exhaustion as I fixed my eyes on that word.

I stumbled under the protection of the canopy at the hospital entrance and leaned against one of the big square columns, taking some of my weight off my trembling legs and struggling to catch my breath.

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