“What's wrong with her?"
I froze in the hallway, holding Kimberly with her head resting on my shoulder. D.K. was sitting in his normal spot in the living room, a bottle of beer in his hand.
“It's nothing," I blurted out. “She… she fell down and hit her head on the wall. I'm just taking her outside for some fresh air."
D.K. shook his head. “Stupid brat. Whatever."
My face burned, and I wanted to snap at him to shut up, but I held back. Kimberly was hurt. I didn't have time to fight with the alpha snot. Giving him one more scathing glance, which he didn't even see since he was staring so intently at the television, I gently adjusted Kimberly in my arms and headed for the door.
The cold was back today, and I was glad I'd thought to wrap Kimberly up in a coat before leaving. Not just because of the temperature, but because I could raise the hood and keep anybody I walked past from seeing her face. So much had happened since that night at the funeral that I could hardly believe it had only been a couple of weeks ago. Even if Kimberly's parents still thought she was dead, nobody would have forgotten the five year old girl's body that had been stolen. Better to keep her out of sight, just to be safe.
It only took me ten minutes to get to Walnut Street, and I followed Victor's directions from there. Walnut Street was in one of the older parts of town, and most of the shops were worn down, family run places. The building on the corner, according to the sign, had once been a shoe repair shop, but the dust on the windows made it clear it hadn't been open in a long, long time.
He said it was an abandoned building, I thought, looking the place over. It could have been a trick. I mean, we're talking about Victor here. Sending a hurt little girl to an empty building in hopes of finding a doctor sounded exactly like something he would get a kick out of. I couldn't give up now, though. Telling myself the worst that could happen was that we wouldn't find a doctor inside, I shifted Kimberly to one arm and grabbed the doorknob. It turned without any resistance, and I glanced both ways to make sure nobody was watching before darting inside, closing the door behind me.
The inside of the shop looked exactly as it had from the outside. No furniture, cracked and warped floorboards, and a layer of dust an inch thick on everything. I had hoped that the windows outside were just an illusion, and I'd find a bustling waiting room full of sick magical things inside. Obviously that wasn't the case, but I walked the inside of the building anyway just to make sure. It wasn't like I had anywhere else to turn, so I needed to make darn sure that Victor was lying before walking away.
There wasn't much to see, though. Just a closed door on the far side of the room, a few graffiti tags on the walls, and some mouse droppings I was careful to avoid stepping on. Absolutely nothing that could give me any kind of clue as to where to find a weredoctor. With a groan, I leaned against the wall, being careful not to jostle Kimberly. Great. Just great. Now what was I going to…
A door on the far side of the room opened, and a homeless man dressed in a filthy coat stepped out of it. I looked up at him and blinked in surprise— there was a door there? For how long, exactly? I thought back, and remembered, vaguely, my eyes passing right over it a few minutes before. It hadn't seemed at all important, but now that it was open it was glaringly obvious.
The man and I stared at each other for a full minute. He looked almost as surprised to see me as I was to see him. Finally, he glanced back through the door he'd just come from and then back at me.
“You here to see the doc?" he asked in a gruff voice.
“He's in there," he jerked his head back through the open door. “Don't let the door close before you go in."
“Dr. Munse is in there?" I asked, my head still spinning. I had been so determined to find him. How had I managed to overlook the door? I stopped leaning on the wall and faced him. “Why can't I let it close?"
“Magic," he replied, and let the door swing shut.
“What magic?" I asked, shaking my head. “And… sorry, but where did you come from?"
The man opened the door again, and I suddenly remembered. He had never taken his hand off the knob.
“Magic," he said again. “Makes you forget about it if you're not touching it. Keeps people out."
He raised a gloved fist, and coughed into it. Then, taking his attention off of me, he reached into his coat and pulled out a small bottle of pills, which he dug around in and popped two into his mouth.
“Get going, then," he said, pushing the door open and walking away from it. I ran for it, catching it before it could slam closed again.
“Thank you," I said over my shoulder, but the homeless man didn't even turn to look. I did, however, catch a glimpse of the tip of a furry tail poking out from underneath his coat. Oh yeah, we were definitely in the right place, then. I turned to look through the doorway, and stepped inside.
Suddenly, everything was different. The floor underneath me was made of clean, polished tiles. The walls were painted a very sterile shade of white, and I could smell alcohol in the air. I was in a large room full of chairs. Some of them were occupied, but I tried not to look too closely at them. We were finally here, and the last thing I wanted now was to get thrown out for staring at an overly sensitive monster.
I stopped in front of a sliding window, behind which sat some kind of… pink thing. It had gigantic lips, which were painted red with lipstick, and three eyes which poked out of the top of its body on stalks. It looked up from its computer, its twin tentacles somehow still typing with pinpoint accuracy.
“How can I help you?"
“Oh, I, um," I stuttered, realizing I'd already broken my “don't stare" rule. I pointed to Kimberly. “She got hit on the head and she won't wake up. Could Dr. Munse, um…"
“Sure, he can take a look at her," the pink thing said, wobbling its squash shaped body in what I assumed was a nod. “What're your names?"
“Amber and Kimberly," I said.
“All right, he's got a lot of appointments already, so you'll just have to take a seat and wait."
“Okay," I said, pulling my eyes off of the monstrous secretary with some difficulty. “Thank you."
I picked a corner of the waiting room where I wouldn't have to look directly at any of the other patients and sat down. And then, just like the name implied, I waited.
NEXT TIME: Amber waits! I mean, this is a doctor's office, so what do you expect? It would take more than a little magic to make a doctor move quicker. But hopefully he'll get to see them before Kimberly DIES… I'm kidding! Or am I?