Annie Bailey knew she was dying. She was in an ambulance, she knew that too. It was very bright. She could hear the siren, feel the motion. She had drifted in and out of consciousness several times since they had bundled her in here. She knew that someone was leaning over her, saying her name, clamping a mask to her face, telling her it was going to be all right, Annie. While someone behind him shook his head.
Yeah, she was dying all right.
She could taste blood and her face was wet with it. Couldn’t seem to get her breath. Which was what you’d expect, if you’d been shot in the chest.
‘You’re all right, Annie, you’re going to be fine,’ said the medic.
Bullshit , she thought.
But she was okay with that because at least now there was no pain. They’d given her a shot of something, a sharp sting in her arm and suddenly she was floaty and hazy, but still aware. Aware of too-bright lights and the man bending over her telling her lies, aware when that same man turned and looked at his companion and nodded, aware that the other one moved to the front and said: ‘Every red light’s a green one, Steve.’
She closed her eyes. Too bright in here. But this seemed to cause the man agitation.
‘Come on, Annie, look at me. My name’s Simon. Look at me, can you see me, I’m right here.’
It was too bright in here. She kept her eyes closed, despite what he said. Stubborn as a mule, as always, going her own way. Going, for sure.
So this is what it’s like to die , thought Annie. Actually it wasn’t too bad. No pain, anyway, not now. She gulped down a breath. It was difficult, breathing. She tasted blood again – unpleasant. But now she couldn’t feel the movement of the ambulance as it roared, tyres shrieking, siren screaming, through the night streets of London. Couldn’t feel anything much, really, and that was good.
She was sinking into a warm cocoon. The medic’s voice was fading.
‘Fuck, she’s flatlining,’ she heard him say.
She felt a little movement then, someone doing something at her chest where the bullet had ripped through, severing flesh, exploding bone, but there was no pain now, no pain at all, and that was good.
She thought of Max, Ruthie and her mother, but there were no regrets now, it was too late for regrets. It was too late for anything because she was too busy dying. Her mind felt detached, disengaged from what was happening here. She let it wander back, to find the place where it had all begun for her.
Annie Bailey lay naked in the arms of Max Carter. They were in his bed in the flat over his club, the Palermo Lounge, and she could hear the sound of the star turn coming through the ceiling, a new rising star called Billy Fury. A good singer, but such silly names they had. That Heinz for example. What a joke! Dyed blond hair and a name taken straight from a tin of baked beans.
Max had left the small bedside light on while they had sex. He said that she’d been driving him mad and he
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MICHAEL LEWIS E. Michael Lewis studied creative writing at the University of Puget Sound. He loves to write ghost stories. His story “Lost and Found” premiered as an e-book from Samhain Publications this year. Other stories can be found in Exotic Gothic 4, The Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies,...