The first shot was loud enough that the following shots seemed quieter. It could have been his ears being damaged or just the sensory overload. Erkan felt like he had been punched in the chest. He reached down, and almost didn’t believe it when his hand came away bloody.
He found himself sliding down to his knees and then to the ground on his back. Everything was blurry and the passage of time was unclear. All he knew is that Savina’s face appeared. She rested her hand on his chest. Maybe she was trying to say something, but he couldn’t hear it or make it out from her mouth movements.
He only barely recognized when he was moved because her face was replaced with someone else’s, and there were suddenly more lights. There was a lot of uncomfortable shaking, then the scene above him moved once again. Then everything went blank.
“You two are…?” the hospital receptionist asked.
“Vardan and Siran Kasabian. We’re Erkan’s parents…”
“One moment please.” The receptionist typed into the computer in front of him, “How do you spell that?”
“I see. It seems he is still in surgery.”
“How is he?”
“The last report indicates the condition was serious, but life signs are stable.”
“Can you tell us what happened?”
The receptionist nodded, “The report says the patient was shot multiple times in the chest, and found on the scene by his girlfriend who was nearby. She made the call and stayed with him until the ambulance arrived.”
Siran turned to Vardan, “He has a girlfriend?”
Vardan patted his wife on the shoulder, “I don’t think that’s the important thing at the moment.” He turned to the receptionist, “Do you know when we’ll be able to see him?”
The receptionist shook his head, “Surgery is ongoing. It could be finished soon or take a few hours depending on the damage to tissues.”
Vardan nodded, “Alright. We’ll wait for any updates.” He held his wife by the arm, “Let’s go sit down.”
Doctor Sherry Cuevas looked down at the patient. Every sort of surgery was bloody and red. That was why they took special precautions to help their vision stay able to focus after seeing some much of one color. However, this one was particularly bloody. The patient had haemophilia and seven bullet wounds, and he was bleeding profusely. They had blood ready for a transfusion the moment his vital signs dropped. However, they were holding steady… as much as could be expected in the current situation anyway.
Each bullet had to be removed. Normally they might have been left behind, but in this particular case every bit needed to be stitched up to prevent bleeding. It was fortunate that no major arteries or veins had been damaged, but there were still similar amounts of blood. Or at least, it looked like it. It wasn’t going to be a short surgery.
When Erkan woke up, everything was bright. He also found he couldn’t move or see very well. That… made sense, because of the anesthetic he must have been given. As it started to fade out his hearing came into focus, as well as the image of his parents above him. He smiled at them slightly.
“Erkan!” His mother reached out toward him but didn’t touch him. “We were so worried.”
He nodded slightly. It made him a bit nauseous to do so. Perhaps he would avoid moving much, so he tried to maintain a pleasant smile. It was hard. Partly because he didn’t feel good, and partly because his body just wanted to do nothing at all.
Erkan could see that the brightness didn’t come from artificial lights but instead from the actual sun outside. It had been some time since he’d seen noon. He often saw sunrise and/or sunset, but the noon sun was right during his normal sleep schedule. Actually, he still felt tired. Now that the anesthesia was wearing off perhaps he would fall back into natural sleep.
Erkan’s parents stayed around for most of the day, but he finally convinced them to go home around dinner time. It wouldn’t do him any good for his parents to stay longer. They needed to go get real food and sleep themselves. Besides, they could come visit the next day. Then maybe he would be awake for some of it.
Shortly after his parents left, Savina showed up. “Hello!” She smiled, “How are you doing? I would have come sooner but they wouldn’t let me ride in the ambulance… and I couldn’t really get much information since I’m not family.”
Erkan smiled. At least his face worked better now. “That’s okay, I was asleep most of the time anyway. It’s nice to have you come.”
“Of course! I couldn’t just not come.” She sighed, “I have no idea how this could happen… Do you know why…?”
“Why anyone would want to shoot me?” Erkan shook his head. “No idea. It wasn’t even a robbery or anything.”
“Yeah…” Savina scratched the side of her cheek, “I can’t imagine you have any enemies or anything. Maybe things have just gotten that bad around here. Ah, I probably shouldn’t make you talk much.”
Erkan nodded, “Yeah… it’s not great.” He held up his phone, “I can text though.”
“I can help keep you busy, if you’re still awake at your normal times. They’re going to kick me out of here soon though. There’s no love for night shift people.”
Erkan nodded again. “That’s pretty normal.”
Akio visited before he went off to work, and Savina texted with Erkan throughout the night. In the morning, Erkan’s parents visited again… and so it went for a few days. Then Erkan received an unexpected visit. A grizzled man walked into the room. “I’m Detective Simmons. Mind if I ask you a few questions?”
“Umm… sure. I guess. I don’t really have much to say.”
“We’ll see about that. I’ll try to keep the questions simple. Yes or no, so you don’t have to talk much. Let’s start with this… do you recognize this man?” Simmons pulled out a photo, instead of pulling it up on his phone like a normal person.
Erkan looked at it. “Well… maybe. It was dark, but it looks like the man who shot me.”
“Did you know him before that?”
Erkan shook his head. “No, I’d never seen him. Why?”
“He’s dead. In a manner reminiscent of several other deaths in the area recently…”