She couldn’t remember why she was on the bus, but she was. And it was hot. She could feel the backs of her arms sticking to the gray vinyl. There was a tear just above where her elbow hit, and it kept scratching her.
This is what she was thinking about when the bus stopped.
It seemed routine. The doors on the bus go open and shut, right? The doors did open, letting a tall, thin, sallow faced man aboard. His eyes were deep and black and wild. His front teeth were missing, along with his left arm. His white shirt was starting to yellow around the neck and armpits.
As she surveyed him, she noticed everything odd about him with the exception of an important detail: the gun.
This was a robbery.
Everything her father told her about armed robberies flooded her mind. Give him the backpack. He can have the passport. Cooperate. Cooperate.
It wasn’t enough. He let a bullet fly into her left lung, then took off. She ran after him, trying to create suction with her hand over the gunshot wound, telling herself that this action would prevent her lung from collapsing.
She could not chase the man. She needed to find a hospital, but first, she needed to orient herself. Looking around, she quickly recognized the Venetian Hotel and knew she was in Las Vegas.
Without knowing how she got there, she came to propped up against a pillar in the hospital waiting room, nurses buzzing around her. Could she feel that? Did she know where she was? Could she identify the person who did this to her?
He was watching from the revolving door. The entire front of the hospital was glass and sun was pouring in; a sliver of light was resting on her ankle. It was blinding. She shouted that there he was but it was too late.
She refused medical treatment. She was not going to let him finish what he started. She would end him, and come right back. It made sense at the time.
She found him crouched behind a dumpster. He hadn’t hidden himself very well. She demanded the gun. She demanded to know why he did it. Apparently it was a cartel thing. She didn’t care. She snatched her backpack back and stomped on his shin so hard a bone broke the skin.
She made her way back into the hospital. After all, responsible people don’t let their lungs collapse.