Dirk washed out the back of the bus, hose alive and cold in his hand. He watched as the water pouring out of the bus and onto the ground slowly--so damned slowly, there was so much blood lost today, too much, too many--ran clear. Then he used the hose to chase all the water down the drain, the cement floor shining wetly under the florescent lights.
He turned the water off and wound the hose back up, ready for the next bus, and then he restocked. He checked the supplies missing against those used according to his report, re-filled the shelves and bags, signed his paperwork and left it in Pritchard's inbox.
He clocked out.
God, he was tired. He was tired and he hurt somewhere deep inside. Twenty-eight patients today. Twenty-eight treated and only twelve were still alive. Fourteen DOAs and two who didn't make it much past the hospital doors.
Some days he hated his job. Some days the crushing deaths, the people he couldn't save overshadowed everything, overshadowed the lives he did save, the ones who went home to families and loved ones.
Dirk sat behind the wheel of his car in the parking lot and stared out the windshield, the pain slowly morphing into a numbness. Eventually he turned the engine over and headed home.
He stopped at the drive-through, not because he was hungry--because he wasn't, not even a little bit, even though he hadn't had a chance to eat all day--but because he was late and Gerry'd no doubt cooked and was going to light into him for ruining yet another supper. He figured if he brought food home with him, he could forestall some of the yelling. The food filled his car with the smell of grease, making him feel vaguely nauseous.
The apartment was dark when he got home.
"Gerry?" He called out, dumping his keys on the table by the door, and flipped on the hall light.
There was no answer. And the place felt closed up, empty.
He headed toward the living room and flipped on the light in there, needing the place lit up, needing it to not be dark. Where was Gerry? Not in the living room, there was no sign of him at all.
The dining table at the far end of the room was set, so Dirk headed for it, frowning as he realized supper was set out: a roast that was cold and dry, a scary looking bowl of mashed potatoes, glazed carrots that had gone limp and oily, and the saddest salad he'd ever seen.
There was a note on his plate.