TITLE: Labyrinth Rats
GENRE: YA Sci-fi adventure
If not for the hot skin of Mom’s hand, I would have thought she was dead. She was so still. I couldn’t even see the rise and fall of her chest underneath the hospital sheet.
I clung to her hand. She was alive.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the nurse glance at me. I wiped my eyes on the back of my glove.
The nurse’s protective gown scritch-scratched against her scrubs as she walked to the other occupied bed. I refused to look at my little brother, but I couldn’t escape the memory of his blank face. I swallowed hard and clenched my teeth.
The doctors were wrong. I squeezed Mom’s hand tighter. This just looked like the pyretos virus. In a few days, we’d laugh about how scared we’d been, and they’d be fine. They had to be fine. Please, God, let them be fine.
The sliding door hissed open, and the clamor that burst into the room felt like a physical slap. Three people wheeled in a shaking man on a stretcher. Everyone was shouting, but it was just noise once I saw the man’s face.
“Dad?” I breathed. I launched myself to him and grabbed his arm. His muscles were tense, his neck turned at an odd angle, and his eyes rolled back in his head. “Daddy!”
“Move back!” An arm swept me out of the way. “Keep her back.”
Different hands grabbed me. I fought, but the petite nurse was surprisingly strong.