Chapter 32: Head Injury
People kept asking Edie what had hit Corrie on the head, and she had to keep saying she didn’t know. As far as she had seen, nothing had hit Corrie on the head. But whatever was wrong with her, it must seem like a head injury, because that was how they were treating her. After they dried Corrie off and put her in a dry hospital gown, a pair of nurses shaved Corrie’s head—Edie hated to see it done—and inspected every inch of her scalp, face, and jaw, but apparently found nothing.
They sent her to another room for a scan, and wouldn’t let Edie in with her, but when she kept arguing, the doctor decided that speed was more important than privacy and allowed Edie to watch. There wasn’t much to see, though. They just moved Corrie in and out of a big, humming machine, while she lay there, completely still. Edie kept checking that her chest was still rising and falling with her breathing. The computers in the observation room lit up with brain images, but Edie couldn’t read them, except that from all the different colors, it looked like Corrie’s brain was pretty active.
Finally, they wheeled Corrie’s stretcher to a different room, Edie hurrying after them the whole time, and transferred her to a bed. Nurses brushed past Edie while they hooked Corrie up to an IV and a heart monitor and put an oxygen tank in close reach. “What’s going on?” Edie asked, bewildered and scared.
“We don’t know,” answered one of the nurses, a burly but kind-eyed man. “The brain scans look like they belong to a healthy, conscious young woman. There’s nothing wrong with her, but she won’t wake up.”
Edie’s heart leapt into her throat when she saw the nurse tie straps around Corrie’s wrists, attaching her to the bed. “What are those for? She’s not violent!”
“It’s just so she doesn’t hurt herself when she wakes up,” the nurse said, but Edie thought he didn’t sound quite sure of himself. “She might think she’s still running or something like that. This will stop her from sitting up too far and falling out of the bed or anything like that.”
Edie didn’t think it was likely that Corrie would fall out of the bed, but she decided not to argue. After all, they had medical training and probably knew what they were doing better than her. Then again, he’d said they didn’t know what was wrong with her… “What about the IV?” she asked, sitting down in the chair next to Corrie as the room cleared out. “What’s that for?”
“It’s just to keep her hydrated,” said the nurse. “In case she doesn’t wake up for a while. If there hasn’t been any change for an hour, we’ll start a morphine drip in case it’s pain that’s keeping her under. You’re going to stay here with her?”
“Yes.” Edie grabbed Corrie’s limp hand and stared at the nurse, hoping he wasn’t going to tell her she had to leave Corrie alone.
Instead, he smiled. “Good. She should have a friend here if she wakes up. And if there are any changes at all—even if she just moves a little or makes a noise—call us, okay?” He pointed toward the call button on the wall near Edie.
She nodded and squeezed Corrie’s hand, then turned back to the nurse. “Wait. What happened to Paul? The guy who was brought in at the same time as her?”
“I’m not sure. They were checking him for hypothermia, and if there’s nothing wrong with him, they’ll release him into police custody. Either way, it looks like the cops are going to stay with him.”
Edie sighed with relief. “Good.”
The nurse left, and the room fell into silence except for the soft, soothing beeping of the heart monitor. The bright fluorescent lights of the hospital room were a strange contrast to how dark Edie knew it was outside—there was a window, but all it showed was blackness, so it could have been pointing at a dark area or just covered in a black curtain for all she knew.
“Come on,” Edie whispered. “Corrie, what did he do to you?” She couldn’t think of what it could be. Did magic do this? It had to be magic. But Paul didn’t take magic classes, did he? So how had he hurt Corrie? It didn’t make any sense to her. She was so confused. And if Paul knew magic, had he used it to hurt Dawn, too? Her stomach churned with anxiety. She wished she could be in two places at once. She had no idea if either of her friends would be okay.
She had never before wished so strongly that, six months ago when she’d been choosing classes for the fall semester, she had believed in magic. Maybe if she’d been taking the class she would have a better idea of what was going on. But she hadn’t.