The next day they let Simon visit me. He answered my questions even before I could start asking. I was very grateful to him.
"I had a minor concussion, but I'm sure I owe you my life." He smiled, patted my hand, and continued to eat the hospital pudding. "He roughed you up a bit, huh?" He sighed sympathetically and licked the spoon. “Well, the neighbors called an ambulance and the police because they heard gunshots and shouting and screaming. They found me unconscious with a bite on my hand and you… well like that,” he said. “I guess the wolf got scared by the police sirens and all the people. They didn’t find it.” He licked the cup clean.
"What about the woman?" I asked, although I already knew the answer.
“Amelia Kaska. She was dead even before the ambulance arrived.” He stared out of the window with a sad expression. She died, I didn’t save her... All the pain was in vain.
Suddenly Simon frowned and cursed under his breath. “Stupid journalists. We've become celebrities, you know?” He looked at me, obviously annoyed, and shook his head. “They’re trying to get permission to talk to you. Fortunately, the doctors sympathize with us and keep telling them that you are too out of it to talk.” He grinned at me and looked away from the window. “We are the only people that survived the wolf’s attack.”
"Where is my family?" I asked. I saw neither my sister nor my father today.
“Ashley had to go back to New Orleans for work. She was quite pissed. You were almost killed and she couldn’t even stay with you for a moment. I’m surprised that her boss didn’t fire her immediately after the things she yelled at him.” He smiled mischievously. I could imagine that. "I promised her you'll be okay, so don't you dare die on me." He laughed, playing with the bandage on his hand absently. "Your father is arranging some things with the insurance company and the doctors. He rented a hotel room, I think he's going to stay here for a while."
I sighed and closed my eyes. I loved my father, but only when we were separated by a good few hundred miles. He could be… very bossy. He used to be an army sergeant. He was just used to being obeyed by everyone.
The rest of the day I slept or lay staring at the ceiling drugged up into a good mood. The doctor came to explain to me how I was doing, but he told me mostly what I already knew. Extensive wounds all over the body, scratches, bites, blah, blah, blah… I was lucky I didn't bleed out, and my body didn't shut down. It looked like I was healing fast, but I would have a lot of scars left. I nodded silently and laughed at the monster that couldn't kill me...
Four days after the attack, no one could protect me from the curious journalists anymore. Fortunately, I had time to think it through and repeated the story as I had practiced. I went home from the bar, heard a scream, and foolishly ran into the forest. I found the woman and the wolf… Yes, he was huge white, and his eyes were red. I shot him, but he managed to attack me. And so over and over again… I decided not to give them too many details. It almost didn’t feel real anymore. How could such an animal exist? It was probably just my adrenalin-filled and shock-overwhelmed mind exaggerating. Eventually, my father intervened and like I said everyone had a tendency to listen to him so they left.
In the meantime, I was taking as many pills as I could. Even so, I felt restless and there was a dull ache all over my body. Caroline, the town deputy, came to visit me, with almost everyone from the police station right behind her. She brought me biscuits and, with the hospital's hard-won permission, brought in a black German Shepherd puppy that was supposed to become a K9 in the future. It was adorable and playing with it brought up my spirits immensely.
Ashley called me to make sure Simon wasn't lying about my well-being and apologized for not being there.
My body was miraculously recovering - my doctor's words. I didn’t care, I just wanted to go home… No amount of painkillers could rid me of the dull pain in my joints, and especially in my teeth and fingertips. I found the bed uncomfortable, but the doctors told me to stay calm. They started giving me shots against rabies and other transmissible diseases. I was simply irritated, sick, everything hurt and I was incredibly bored. I just couldn't stand it anymore.
With a frustrated sigh, I sat up and lowered my feet to the cold floor. My stiff muscles groaned in protest, and I had to cling to the IV on wheels. Despite the pain, I purposefully headed for the door of the room. I limped and walked a little hunched since my belly was tight with all the stitches. Considering that the wolf had half-eaten me, I was doing quite well. I walked all through the second floor where my room was, just because I could. The nurses and doctors tried to persuade me to go back to my room, but I dismissed them. I needed to move.
The hospital smelled of disinfection and... illness. All around were voices, coughing, painful moans, and all kinds of beeps. It just irritated me even more. Right now I wanted nothing more than to go home. Finally, in the pleading of the doctors, I returned to my room. I headed for the bathroom and stopped nervously. Throughout my hospital stay, I avoided looking into the mirror too afraid of what I would see there. I felt like a child though. I had to face reality. I took a deep breath and flipped the switch.
For the first time, I saw what the wolf had done to me… Four stitched cuts stretched across my cheeks from my jaw on the left to the right corner of my forehead. The doctors were doing their best to reduce the scars as much as possible, but they would still stay there forever. I glanced at my shoulder in dismay, peeling off the bandages, and gasped in surprise. Except for the impression of the teeth, there was no damage. But I was sure the wolf tore off a piece of flesh. I looked at my stomach and thighs and my hip and calves, but nothing... Except for the teeth marks and a few deep scratches, I didn't see anything...
I asked the doctor about it in a shaky confused voice. He looked puzzled and explained that the wolf hadn't eaten me, just bitten me. Then he gave me something to calm down and sent me back to sleep despite my protests.