Did you miss Chapter One?
From A Deathly Rattle
The following morning, I woke up feeling exceptionally groggy. It took several blinks before the memories of the night came rushing back to me. Vicente Domingo—shot three times. Close to bleeding out. My finger shoved in his artery while Deb did her best to keep him alive.
I’d been up late waiting by the phone, and last I heard he was still in surgery with things looking dire. I had only gone home because of Laurie. Otherwise I would have waited at the hospital for better news.
Still half asleep, I heard my cell phone ring. “Hello?” I groaned before even answering the phone. Clearly, I was delirious. I grabbed for the phone and answered it, clearing my throat first. “Hello?” I asked, feeling a bit more awake already as I rubbed my eyes.
“Kate, it’s Galigani. How soon can you get to the hospital?” he asked, cutting straight to the chase in his typical Galigani fashion.
Albert Galigani was not only my friend, boss, and mentor, but he also happened to be my mom’s boyfriend. He hadn’t been at the strike party yesterday because he’d claimed an evening dentist appointment. Personally, I figured he was trying to avoid manual labor. Anyway, Mom and I had called him from the hospital.
He also knew Vicente Domingo well.
“Um . . . give me twenty minutes,” I said, pulling myself out of bed.
My kitten, Whiskers, momentarily complained about my jostling her, but she soon found the warm spot I’d just vacated and snuggled herself into it.
“Don’t rub it in,” I said to her, rushing to dress. “Twenty minutes?” I asked myself.
What was I thinking?
No new mother should ever promise to be somewhere in the morning in twenty minutes.
I’d been hoping to dress quickly, scoop Laurie into the car seat, and drop her off at my mom’s. But she was hungry and made a mess with cereal, and then I had to bathe and dress her. I topped her outfit with a cute little hair bow that she hated but Mom loved.
As I pulled up outside Mom’s house with Laurie in the back seat of the smelly rental van, Laurie yanked the bow out of her baby-fine hair and threw it on the floor. She cooed happily that she’d won our bow-or-no-bow dispute.
I glanced in the rearview and spied her proud little defiant face.
“Oh, you’re already pretty strong-willed, eh?”
She kicked her feet and gurgled happy-baby noises.
All at once, Mom loomed at my driver’s side window, and I shrieked.
“You scared me!” I said, my hand flying to my chest to cover my pounding heart.
She opened the rear door. “Albert called me. I knew you were coming.” She took Laurie from her car seat and hoisted her onto her hip. “Don’t worry about us, just go on and get over there.”
I thanked her for taking Laurie, then drove to the hospital. I parked and followed the signs through the parking garage to reception. After asking a security guard for directions to ICU, I took the elevator to the fifth floor and found Vicente’s room.
When I entered, the first thing that struck me was how awfully vulnerable Vicente looked. He was hooked up to all sorts of whirling machines. His eyes were closed, and he was deathly pale. There was a tube in his throat, and bandages covered his neck and chest.
Utter despair filled me as I gazed down at him.
An awful shuttering nose came from one the machines and I sighed.
A deathly rattle if ever I’d heard one.
“He’s sleeping,” Galigani’s voice boomed, and I spun around to see him and Barramendi, my former client and Vicente Domingo’s cousin.
“Barramendi!” I said in surprise. Despite his having given me the boot when Domingo wanted to come on board with his firm, I liked and respected him. He was a very successful San Francisco attorney with an incredible track record. Today, he looked sad and grim, undoubtedly from worry over his cousin.
“Kate, good to see you. Thank you for coming,” he said, nodding half-heartedly in my direction.
I shouldn’t have been at all surprised to see Barramendi there. He was the only family Vicente had in the area, so of course he would have come straight to the hospital when word reached him.
I turned back to Galigani. “How is he? I see he made it through the surgery.”
“Still a little touch and go, but his vitals have been steady all morning,” Galigani said, wringing his hands.
“You needed me here ASAP? What can I do to help?” I asked.
“Evidently everything,” Barramendi said, scowling. I didn’t like seeing Barramendi like that. He had always been quite pleasant toward me.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
Share the love!