Sheppard open one eye, then the other, letting light return slowly as he adjusted his vision to his surroundings. His head thumped from the pounding beat of the dance club in his skull. He was on his back; a cushioned seat below him. He was in a vehicle traveling at a good clip from the way the trees whipped past the windows and the sun stabbed at him from openings in the foliage. The sun. What a glorious sight. A breeze blew over his face from a rush of wind whistling in from an open window. It smelled fresh and invigorating.
The figure of a female looked down on him. The light of the day danced behind her head sometimes in a brilliant, angelic aura, shrouding her features in shadow until Sheppard's eyes became more accustom to the strobe-like effect. The smiling face of Amber, with a nasty welt across her forehead, came into focus. She'd been caressing his brow.
"Amber? Where are we? How long was I out?-"
-"Shush don’t try to talk. We’re safe. That's all that matters."
Sheppard let his head sink to the right. In the front seat behind the wheel Malcolm Buck drove, occasionally glancing back to check on his friend.
"I'm so glad to see you again," Buck said. "I thought you were dead."
Sheppard responded sluggishly and with a weak smile said, "I thought you were asleep?"
"Fortunately for you, so did those soldiers who found us. Beware the sleeping giant."
Buck returned his eyes to the road.
"Where are we?"
"On our way to Canada. We'll have to ditch the jeep soon though. This ride sticks out like a sore thumb."
"Rabbit? What about Rabbit?"
"Sorry Shep, I don't know. When I came to, there was just you and Amber and two soldiers getting ready to take us in. So I took them out. You can thank them for the wheels."
"You killed them?"
"Knocked them out. Boy, just because you have to shoot a couple of people, suddenly you have a reputation." Buck turned and gave Sheppard a quick smile.
"Rabbit! We have to go back for him Malcolm!"
"Rabbit's OK Mr. Sheppard," Amber said. Her hand felt cold, yet comforting on his cheek. "I feel it. I don't know where he is, but he's not dead. I know he'd want us to be safe first."
"But if they find him-"
-"I have to agree with Amber," Malcolm Buck said. "We’re not going to be of much help charging in to rescue the boy in a stolen army vehicle. We have to find another way. We’re about half an hour from the border. We need to get across. We’ll be in a better position to get him help there."
Sheppard's head felt like it was ready to explode as the rumba continued to rattle his brain.
"Stop and let me out Malcolm, or give me the jeep while you get Amber to safety. I'll go back for him. We can't leave the boy. He's too important."
"Shep, think about what you're saying." Buck gave him a concerned glance. "You are in no condition to go after him. We need to get you to a doctor. Amber said there was a hell of an explosion that caused our accident. You might have a concussion, or something wrong internally. We have to do this my way now my friend. I'm sorry."
Sheppard lifted his head as if to pull himself upright and show he was able to argue the point further. He felt a searing white blaze of pain surge through his head and upper body. His breathing became laboured as if the very air had been sucked from his lungs. He lay back down to the seat.
Amber noticed his wince an urged him to relax. She whispered to him. "It's OK Mr. Sheppard. Rabbit did what he set out to do. The danger has passed."
Graham Sheppard could feel himself losing consciousness again. He could hear Malcolm Buck telling Amber to, "keep him awake. Don't let him sleep."
The world swirled around him in a fog soup of shape erased. The words of the girl echoed in his head, the danger has passed. Sheppard mumbled, "but for how long?" Then he passed out.