Daniel jabbed at the button for the first floor, then leaned back against the wall of the elevator. Tired-looking employees shuffled in after him, scrubs creased and dirtied, dark circles ringing their eyes. He rested his head against the dull metal wall, his eyelids drooping as he waited for everyone to get situated. Normally, he liked night shifts at the hospital, but this one had really taken it out of him. Scientists swore the full moon had no effect on people, but Daniel had years of experience that told him otherwise. He’d be lucky if he had the energy to strip out of his scrubs before he collapsed in bed.
“Hey, how’s it going, Daniel?”
Blinking, Daniel focused on the man starting at him with an expectant expression. His gaze swept over him, taking in the handsome face, snug white T-shirt, and jeans that molded to his lower half. Damn. Gorgeous, but he had no idea who he was.
“Jacob McGowan?” The man let out a tight, awkward sounding laugh. “I’m a respiratory therapist. I come up to your floor occasionally.”
The name, face, and occupation finally came together and Daniel shook his head. “Oh, yeah, of course. Sorry. Long night.” He let out a self-deprecating laugh. “Plus, I’m not used to see you in your clothes.”
Jacob’s face went oddly blank and Daniel backpedaled immediately. “Oh, God, sorry. I didn’t mean it like that.” Someone behind him snickered. “ I’m used to seeing you in scrubs is all.”
Jacob’s full lips twisted up at the corner. “Yeah, I knew what you meant. I have errands to run after work, so I figured I’d change before I leave.”
“Makes sense.” The elevator reached the first floor “I’m ready to crash.”
“You look pretty wiped out.” Jacob frowned. “Err, that didn’t come out quite right.”
“Now we’re even,” Daniel said lightly, smiling at him. He’d noticed the respiratory therapist a few times around the hospital, but he was pretty sure he normally worked days. Or at least he had before. People changed shifts all the time. They hadn’t interacted much, but Daniel was starting to regret it. “So, you working nights now?”
“Yeah, although it’s not a permanent thing. Just filling in.” The elevator dinged and the doors slid open. They fell into step as they walked through the lobby, making small talk about their jobs. Daniel kept sneaking glances at the veins in Jacob’s forearms.
“You in the parking deck?”
Daniel shook his head. “Nah, all the nurses got kicked out to the shuttle lot. There wasn’t enough parking, so I’m heading back to the shuttle pick up.”
“Oh. Well, I’m here in the deck. I could drive you to your car, if you don’t feel like waiting for the next shuttle run.”
Daniel weighed his options. The shuttle ran every fifteen minutes so it wasn’t much of a wait, but as tired as he was, he was interested in getting to know Jacob a bit better. “Sure.”
“Great. Follow me.” The intensity of Jacob’s gaze sent a little shudder through Daniel.
Another set of elevators led out into the parking deck, and they rode it to the top floor as they discussed how their nights had gone. When they arrived, Jacob held the door to the glass vestibule open for him, and Daniel shivered as the cool wind whipped across the parking deck. The cloud cover was heavy, but there was a white intensity to the light that made Daniel squint and wish his sunglasses weren’t in his car.
The entire floor was nearly empty, just a few dozen cars parked here and there, and he wondered why Jacob had parked there when moving the employee parking had clearly opened up more spots. It had been tight before, but the new system had drastically helped, even if Daniel did hate having to be shuttled in every day.
“How’d you manage to get a spot in the deck anyway?” Daniel asked as Jacob walked toward a small, silver car. Newish, but nothing remarkable.
“Oh, I know someone in security. He hooked me up.”
“Nice.” Daniel shivered again as the wind whipped his scrubs against his body and he wished he had a sweatshirt or a jacket with him.
“Shit.” A few feet from the car, Jacob came to a stop, frowning at it.
“Look, flat tire.” He pointed at the driver’s side rear tire, which was no longer inflated.
“Damn, that sucks.” Daniel tried to hide his annoyance. He just wanted to go home and now he was going to have to wait for Jacob to change the tire before they could go anywhere. He should have just taken the damn shuttle.
With his key fob, Jacob popped the trunk. “Could you grab the jack and the tire iron for me while I take a look?”
“Sure.” Anything to get out of there faster. The trunk was clean and otherwise empty. He folded back the cover and reached down for the tire iron and jack. He handed them to Jacob who squatted down beside the flat, scowling at it.
“And the spare?” he asked.
“Yep.” Daniel leaned forward, frowning when he realized there was no spare. “Hey, I think your spare is miss—“ Pain exploded through the back of his skull, making the world go white at the edges. He heard a gasp and realized he was the one making the sound, but the agony battered at his brain as he fought to stay upright. Groggy and disoriented, he reached up, feeling the sticky wet spot on the back of his head. “What the …”
The world went dark.
Daniel awoke slowly, squinting at the sight of the handsome respiratory therapist silhouetted against the sky.
“Whaa …? He muttered, confused by the sight as he tried to put together the pieces of what had happened. His head throbbed and his stomach felt like it was about to turn inside out.
An odd, blank look crossed Jacob’s face before he spoke. “Good, you’re still alive. I hoped you would be. I didn’t want to kill you.” For a few heartbeats, hope took up space in Daniel’s chest. “Yet.”
The words registered at the same time the trunk lid slammed closed and Daniel’s scream echoed in the tiny space.
This is a very late entry, but I hope you enjoyed it. I definitely went over the word count but it was difficult to go this direction without a little more buildup.
Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics for this week! We have lots of new people joining us!
I look forward to seeing you next Monday!