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Interlude: Prequel, Part 2

Inside Priya’s hospital room, hours later, the moonlight makes its final stand, Amal stands over his wife, cradling their new daughter. They gaze at the baby, madly in love.

Dr. Nash knocks on the open door frame and the parents look up. He fixes his gaze on the scene and his affable demeanor returns, if just momentarily. He doesn’t want to break up the beautiful scene, but he must.

“Mr. Reddy?” he says quietly, gesturing toward the hallway.

Amal kisses Priya on the head before following Dr. Nash out the door. Dr. Nash glances quickly down the hallway to check for others. He speaks quietly. Slowly. Clearly. Something is troubling him.

“Let me just get straight to the point,” he begins.

Amal furrows his forehead, confused.

“You and your family need to leave this hospital as soon as possible,” says Dr. Nash.

“What do you -”

A door nearby swings open and Nurse Terry, lanky and stern, walks determinedly toward them carrying an IV bag. Dr. Nash gives a brief look of “just a moment” to Amal, and then turns his attention to the nurse, stopping her.

“Terry, let me help you with that,” he says, taking a step toward her.

Terry is dumbfounded. “With Mrs. Reddy’s medication?”

Dr. Nash nods and holds his hand out. Terry opens her mouth to protest. “I’ve got it,” he says, before she can object.

Terry slowly gives the IV bag to Dr. Nash. He nods again and Terry reluctantly turns and walks away, her shoes squishing on the tile floor. Dr. Nash turns back to Amal after placing the medication on nearby cart. He motions to the other end of the hallway, toward an exit.

“Pull your car up to that door there and I’ll help -”

Amal is seething with anger. “First, you watch me like a hawk while my child is being born. Like you think I’m going to steal something…and now you’re kicking us out?! I’m going to sue you and this entire hospital, you racist, old -”

Dr. Nash hastily places his hands on Amal’s shoulders. “I wasn’t watching you, Mr. Reddy. I was watching your wife, to make sure she was never alone. To make sure she was safe. This drug…” he says, pointing to the IV bag on the cart. “In the dose that the nurse would’ve administered, would have likely killed her.”

Amal’s breath goes shallow.

“Without me watching like a hawk,” Dr. Nash begins again, “I’m not sure your wife and daughter would be alive right now.”

He pauses, making sure Amal understands.

“You. Need. To. Leave.”

Amal goes pale. “But why -“

“There’s no time for why. I’ve gathered everything you might need. Even a car seat.”

Amal swallows. Nods. “I’ll get the car.” Amal races down the hallway as Dr. Nash turns toward Priya’s hospital room.


Outside. Still dark. A worried Priya sits in the back seat of their car next to the baby, swaddled in a car seat. Dr. Nash leans into the open passenger side window.

“They’re both healthy. Everything will be fine.” Dr. Nash glances nervously back toward the hospital. “You need to go. Now.”

Amal nods at Dr. Nash, who steps back as the car window rolls up. The car turns onto the street, toward the highway, and disappears. Dr. Nash closes his eyes and takes a big breath of relief.


Dr. Nash enters his tidy, comfortably office, removing his coat. He places it on a hook near the door and walks toward his desk. The office is lived in, a bookshelf laden with textbooks and manuals, a small coffee pot, records.

As Dr. Nash approaches the desk, he spies a piece of white paper in the center of it. Words, in black marker, make his heart thump.

Did you really think we could let them leave?

On top of the paper are several tire lug nuts.

Dr. Nash brushes his fingers over the lug nuts and reads the note over and over again. He slumps into his chair and puts his head in his hands.

Dr. Nash wilts, despondent at his desk.


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