The streets were no longer looking familiar to her, nor were the people along them looking friendly. The sky was beginning to show off its spectrum of colors from red to purple to deep blue as the sun set lower to her left. Her pace slowed considerably, Gwendolyn was now able to assess the damage to her leg. She already knew the skin had been cut due to the appearance of blood, but had he gotten to much underneath the skin? The tight-fitting khaki shorts she'd been dressed in had somehow stayed immaculately clean. Hobbling over to a stoop, she sat down to examine the cut. It had felt like he'd more than grazed her leg as she ran past him. Now she could see that the cut was, in fact, several inches long and bleeding profusely. She needed to find Thuy; he would know what to do. Gwendolyn heaved herself off the stoop and continued her labored limping.
A few minutes later, the sky had darkened considerably and Gwendolyn was hopelessly lost. Barely any of the street lights were working on the street she traversed. Those that were working only revealed hookers turning a trick or waiting for their next customer. The cars that passed her blared loud music so only the bass could be heard. Some of them honked at her and the men inside leered at her but Gwendolyn kept her focus off the road and on the sidewalk before her. She was walking into what appeared to be a factory district; large warehouses with hundreds of broken windows, empty parking lots save for a few trashed junkers. The hookers and cars had disappeared, the only humans around being the homeless and destitute. Maybe she could ask one of them for help? They might be able to.. no, what could they do? Whip out their cell phones from under their layers of rags and telephone Thuy? Doubtful. Gwendolyn limped on, continuing past the piles of rags lying on the sidewalk. Some of the rags moved slowly, revealing their occupants hiding beneath. Some of them reached out to her.
"Got a dollar ma'am?" one pile asked her.
"Hey honey, c'mere for a minute, will ya?" another crawled towards her saying.
"No, I haven't got any money, I'm sorry." Gwendolyn backed away from the advancing figures, holding up her slightly bloody hands in defense.
"I just wanna talk to you for a bit, come over." the figure's request faltered as they saw the blood on her hands.
"You okay sweetie?" Gwendolyn almost backed into the man behind her. He wasn't dressed in rags like the others but his clothing wasn't far off from it.
"I'm fine, just leave me alone." Gwendolyn limped around him quickly, trying to ignore the stabbing pain radiating up her leg.
"You're leg's bleeding. Let me help you." He followed her, grabbing her arm to slow her.
"Please, I don't need your help." Gwendolyn shook off his grasp and continued limping away.
"You need medical attention. Why won't you let me help you?" He matched her pace.
"I'm doing perfectly fine by myself, thank you." Gwendolyn replied, gritting her teeth as she stumbled. The man grabbed her arm to steady her. She stopped for a moment and turned to face him.
"Thank you." She said curtly before continuing her labored limp.
"You should stop and rest for a few minutes. You don't want to cause any more damage to the muscle." He suggested.
"So, what, you're a doctor now?" Gwendolyn asked sarcastically.
"Actually, I'm pre-med." He replied matter-of-factly.
Gwendolyn stopped short and turned to look at him again. He appeared to be somewhere in his twenties, it was hard to tell without much light. His clothes, as she'd noticed before, were almost rags, a mixture of thrift store purchases and Salvation Army donations. He was wearing a tie though. And he carried a small duffle bag.
"You're pre-med?" She asked incredulously.
"Then what are you doing around here?"
"Visiting some patients."
"Sure, why not? It's easier to find everyone when they're at home, right?"
"Can I please look at your leg now?"
"I guess so. Will you be able to see it in the dark?" "The bag holds the answer. Have a seat." He pulled off his overcoat and spread it on the ground for her to sit on. Gwendolyn gingerly lowered herself onto it, extending her leg to him. From his bag, the pre-med student produced a lantern. Not the old oil lantern, he wasn't that poor, but a modern camping lantern. When he turned it on, it created a bright circle of light around them.
"That's rather convenient." Gwendolyn blinked in the light.
"You have to think of these things when practicing at night." He smiled with his perfectly straight teeth, and then continued in a very business- like manner. "When did you receive this gash?"
"I guess about half an hour ago. I'm not quite sure how long I've been walking. What time is it now?" He looked at his watch.
"What time did the sun set?"
"I suppose about an hour or so ago."
"Well, I started walking just before it started setting." He'd removed some disposable latex gloves from his bag and was stretching them on.
"You haven't used those on someone else, have you?" Gwendolyn asked warily.
"No, of course not. I have a whole box of them."
"Sorry, I was just wondering."
"I'm not that poor, if that's what you mean."
"No, that's not what I meant at all. It's just." She couldn't finish the sentence. She wasn't sure what she thought.