From a good distance away she watched the building burn and collapse into further despair, sinking in on itself. The heat singed her skin.

Asphalt pooled beneath her feet. Leland burned on the ground floor, his charred blood painting the wall in which he was thrown against. In all her medical experience she didn’t understand what she saw before her: his legs fractured into thousands of splinters, bone jutting outwards from his skin. He wasn’t awake this time.

She dragged him out again, breathless from the physical exertion.

It was always the same injury. She knew his lungs were weak from inhaling the embers, she knew the blast vibrated his bones until they shattered. Burns all the way down to the nerves across his body.

Sometimes Leland was awake and screaming. Other times all she ever heard was agonal breathing. For once, he’d passed out from the pain; she was thankful for that, because she couldn’t handle hearing it again for another night.

Then her eyes fluttered open.


It had been precisely 128 days since the Beirut Hilton crashed and burned, along with her career.

She lit a cigarette between her slim fingers, watching the embers drift from the end of the stick. The city was a backdrop behind the fence she leaned against, blurring out of vision. The dying lights that broke off from the cigarette - from the Hilton - lived in her mind endlessly in a traumaloop of her own making. A notion she wished she could cast aside like she did her old job.

For weeks, the same haunting images invaded her dreams: the building, Leland, the flames. It was a memory within a memory, a distortion of her fear. Ever since the fourth night, she’d taken to ceaselessly scouring for him again— her old command didn’t know, nor did her former friends from the unit. Nothing on the internet.

It wasn’t until she’d carefully coerced a networking associate of hers, some jaded RN from the trauma center Leland had been admitted to a couple months prior that she’d find out where he was now.


Flowers in hand, she nervously pushed open the doors of the Medical ICU, looking for the room she knew he’d be in. Visiting hours were going to end soon, and she cursed herself for not building up her courage quicker. In truth, it’d taken all day for that.

Leland had physical therapy to attend almost every day for his shattered legs, and since he had no home or family to take him in, the hospital was the only place he could remain.

She looked at his figure. He was staring out the window, overlooking the city with unexplained content.


He turned. A moment of silence enveloped them.

“Oh, shit—“

“Relax. Don’t- Don’t move too much.”

“Why are you here?” He carefully shifted in his bed so as to not move his legs too much, wincing occasionally. “I mean, I’m really happy! But… holy shit… When’s the last time I saw you? Since these engines got blown out?” He pointed at his legs, grinning.

She chuckled and placed the flowers on his bedside table. “I think so. I’ve looked everywhere for you, you know.”

“I’m glad. You didn’t forget about me.”

“I could never.”

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