Carlton pulled his truck alongside the ambulance and jumped from the driver’s seat. He pushed past several officers before reaching Carter, who sat on the curb, his hands still drenched in blood. “Is she okay?” he asked, not bothering to catch his breath.

     Carter looked up, his face showing clear signs of shock. He said nothing, but looked over toward the ambulance, where Dr. Heston was being treated for his impromptu surgery. One paramedic held a bandage to the old man’s throat, while two others worked to stabilize his airway; Fiona was nowhere in sight.

     “Dr. Carter, is she okay?”

     Carter regained his sense. “Fiona’s fine,” he said. “Some minor damage to the blood vessels behind her eyes due to a blood pressure spike; they’re assessing whether or not she should be hospitalized.”

     Carter’s nonchalant tone struck Carlton as odd, but he didn’t comment on it. Instead, he focused on that word–the last word Carter had said, which he knew full well implied that they were considering adjudication. “They’re going to lock her up,” he said aloud.

     Carter shook his head. “Doubtful,” he said. “She wasn’t conscious when she attacked him, and hypnosis isn’t practiced much for a reason. The patient can be open to suggestion….” Carter trailed off, realizing that what he was saying was a poor excuse. The way his daughter–whatever had taken over his daughter–had moved was unnatural. It was also too strong, stronger than a hybrid had any right to be–the police couldn’t remove the pen without damaging it, forcing them to cut it out of the door. I doubt the police will want to admit that, he thought.

     “Dr. Carter? Are you all right?” Carlton reached down to lift up Carter’s chin and looked into his eyes. The glint of the sun shined off the back of Carter’s retina, giving his pupils an odd glow behind his pince-nez glasses.

     “I’m fine, Carlton. I’m just a little shocked.” That’s one hell of an understatement you just made.

     “Are you sure?”

     Carter glared. “I’m positive.” As Carlton pulled his hand away, Carter’s phone began to ring. Keeping his eyes on Carlton, Carter reached into his pocket to answer it. “Yes?”

     Carlton could hear someone on the phone speaking–it sounded like Fiona, but he couldn’t be sure. Before he had the chance to ask, Carter stood up and headed toward the north side of the parking lot, removing his keys. Carlton rushed alongside him, doing his best to keep up with the old hybrid, but even with the pain in Carter’s joints he had difficulty staying by his side.

     “I’m glad. And they’re releasing you already?” Carter glanced in Carlton’s direction, with a look that said in no uncertain terms, they’re letting her go, so stop following me. Carlton immediately stopped in his tracks and let out a sigh of relief.

     Carlton ran his fingers through his hair, looking back at his truck. I should probably get back to work before they tow it, he thought. As he headed back, he considered dropping Roderigo a call, but decided against it. Nah, Dr. Carter’s already mad enough. Let him tell Rod on his own time.

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