Getting into the hospital in the dead of night was easy. I was a doctor there and everyone knew I belonged there. They all just simply assumed I’d been called in for an emergency. After all, babies were born at all hours of the day and night and I delivered babies for a living. It wasn’t all that strange for me to be there at weird hours. The key was to act like nothing was unusual so as not to arouse suspicion. I smiled at colleagues and stopped to chat with anyone who wanted a quick word with me like I would on any other day and so no one thought that I was planning on breaking a patient out of the hospital illegally. I slipped into the basement with virtually no trouble, but once I was walking down those abandoned hallways beneath the main hospital, my nerves started to build.
Getting into the hospital was easy for me but getting back out of the hospital unnoticed with a stolen patient was going to be a completely different story. I knew the patterns of the regular security officers there and where all the surveillance cameras were so that helped but this was still a big hospital with a lot of eyes and ears everywhere. I tried not to think about what would happen if I got caught. I didn’t want to think about my son losing his dad again because I was spending life in prison. Hopefully he’d be proud of me even if I did get arrested for this. I was proud of him for making me realise what was most important.
Just do this as quickly as you can. The longer you spend here, the greater your chances of getting caught are, I coached myself as I slinked through the old abandoned halls of the basement, avoiding all the security cameras and dodging the security staff. The closer I got to Hope’s room, the darker it got. I looked through the window and saw that all the lights were off. I hoped she hadn’t been moved somewhere else. Maybe Ruby suspected that I was going to try to remove her from the hospital somehow and decided to move Hope somewhere else to throw me off?
“… Hope?” I whispered, slowly opening her door and peeking inside. I breathed a sigh of relief. She was still there, just sleeping. The poor thing looked like she was drained and her breath was shaky and uneven. These experiments they were doing on her were slowly killing her but if I had anything to say about it, no one would ever experiment on her again. She was coming home with me where she’d be safe and well hidden from anyone who might want to take her and hurt her again.
I walked over to her bed and checked her vitals. I wanted to make sure she could be safely transported before I actually moved her. If I had to keep her hooked up to her equipment and transport that with her, I didn’t think I stood much of a chance of getting her out without being caught.
I whirled around, my heart hammering. Ruby was standing behind me with a blank expression! Dammit, I hadn’t even tried to remove Hope yet and I’d already been caught… but I wasn’t going to give in without a fight. I didn’t get this far for nothing. My eyes narrowed.
“Ruby, I don’t want to hurt you. Despite every logical reason I have to hate you, I still care about you but I’m not leaving here without Hope so you can walk away and turn a blind eye or you can try to stop me but I’m going to do whatever I have to to get her out of here.”
Ruby brushed past me and began hurriedly unhooking Hope from her monitors and IV drip. I moved to stop her until I realised… she was helping me. “She’ll be able to survive without the IV drip for up to six hours but no more than that. Don’t worry about stealing blood for her too, I’ll find a way to get that to you before she needs another transfusion. She has a microchip in her neck that will set off the alarm on her door the second she passes through it. I can shut it off but she’s not scheduled to be moved until tomorrow morning so they’ll know immediately that something is wrong and investigate. You’ll need to hurry. The back doors on the other side of the hall won’t have security but stay away from the cameras,” she explained hurriedly in a hushed voice.
I had so many questions but no time to ask any of them, so I picked up Hope, planning to take her advice and make a mad run for the back doors. She could very well have just been leading me into a trap but the back doors were the closest and easiest way to exit the building with Hope without having to go upstairs where there were more people and everything was brightly lit. I had to trust that Ruby really was trying to help me, even if I didn’t know why.
“Why are you–” I tried to ask her as I gathered Hope into my arms and turned around to take her through her door but Ruby placed a finger to her lips and shook her head, mouthing ‘Not now.’
Hope yawned and slowly opened her eyes. “…. You’re the blue man who was nice to me,” she mumbled, looking up at me. I smiled down at her and nodded.
“Yeah that’s me,” I whispered. “You have to be very quiet, okay? I’m going to take you home with me so no one can hurt you anymore but it’s a secret.” That was all she had to hear to nod and put a hand over her mouth to show me she wouldn’t make a sound.
Just like Ruby forewarned me, sirens began blaring the second I passed through Hope’s door with her in my arms. Within seconds, there were shouts echoing down the stairs through the double doors behind us. Ruby glanced towards the voices and I think that was the first time I’d ever seen her look frightened or panicked. “They’re coming! I’m sorry, I didn’t think they would respond that fast, they must have had security stationed closer than I thought. Run. I’ll hold them off.”
“… Thank you,” I told her. She just scowled and shoved me in the back.
“Just go!” she hissed. I didn’t need to be told another time. I knew I wouldn’t be fast enough carrying Hope so I set her on the ground.
“Hope, you’re going to have to be brave and run with me, can you do that?” I asked her.
“Promise you won’t leave me behind?” she asked tearfully. I squeezed her shoulder.
She nodded and grabbed my hand and we made a mad dash for the back doors together. Behind me, just as we turned the corner and disappeared from sight, I could hear Ruby talking to the people who were after Hope. “I didn’t see who took her, but they went upstairs towards the ER doors. Well? What are you standing here like idiots for? Go after them!”
I smiled to myself. She sent them in the complete opposite direction of where she had told us to go. She hadn’t been leading us into a trap. She really had helped us.
There was no security at the back doors leading out of the basement and into the rear parking lot of the hospital but there were security cameras like Ruby had warned me. I was familiar enough with the cameras to stay away from them and once I had Hope next to my car, I picked her up and placed her in the back seat, giving her a blanket I used for park and beach outings with Leander and Calista. “Put your seat belt on, but lie down and keep this over you until I say it’s safe to take it off, okay?” I instructed her. Hope nodded and I made sure she was buckled in properly before I shut the door and got in the driver’s seat. I made sure I drove the speed limit and obeyed all the traffic laws like I normally would. Driving erratically and speeding would only draw attention to myself and as far as I knew, no one suspected me of anything yet thanks to Ruby.
Leander trudged downstairs rubbing the sleep out of his eyes when I got home, carrying Hope in my arms. “Dad? It’s like… four in the morning, what’s going on?” he grumbled. When he saw Hope, his eyes widened. “Is that…?”
“Yes,” I answered. “Here, take her and put her to bed in one of the guest rooms, I’ll be up to look after her in a minute but I need to make sure we weren’t followed. You were right. She needed help and damn legal procedure, but I still don’t want the police knocking on our door,” I told him hurriedly. Hope had fallen asleep again but Leander took her, looking down at her with a sympathetic expression for a moment before looking back up at me. Was that admiration on his face? No, probably not. This was Leander. He hated me.
“Yeah, okay cool,” he said, taking her back upstairs with him.