Main Character: Chris
The sound was distant; its rhythm constant, drawing him back. Slowly becoming aware, he realized he was lying on a concrete floor. Focusing his eyes, once he was able to open them, on the florescent light above he let his sight travel across to a wall and down to the rhythm he heard. The rhythm that helped bring him back to awareness, the huge shop clock's ticking echoing in the still cold room.
Slowly pushing himself up into a sitting position, he let out a sigh of relief that nothing, other than his head, seemed to be broken or hurting. Sliding his hand across the back of his head, Chris found a good size lump. Looking at his hand as he brought it away he noted the blood on his fingers. "Well guess that explains the headache."
Looking around the room, he realized it was some kind of auto shop, but one he didn't recognize. Frowning as he tried to think, tried to remember why or how he got there. His frowned deepened when he came up blank.
Concentrating hard on the last thing he could remember, an image of Vin, driving and asking if he was sure about this informant they were going to meet, came to mind.
'Vin!' Vin had been with him.
“Vin," Chris called out. 'Vin!" He yelled again, turning his head quickly, looking for any sign of his friend. Unfortunately moving his head fast caused the headache and nausea to double. Gripping his head Chris took slow even breaths and was able to get the nausea to settle a little.
Once he was sure his head was going to stay attached as well as the contents of his stomach staying in place, Chris took care to move slowly, maneuvering himself from sitting up to on his knees. He knew he must be alone since no one had come out when he yelled. Getting one foot under himself, he started to push up to stand when something caught his eye and made his breath catch.
Two feet in front of him was a good size pool of liquid, hidden by the shadows. Reaching out with a shaky hand, Chris drew his finger through it and brought it up to see. Releasing his breath relieved when he found it was transmission fluid and not blood. Wiping his fingers on his pants leg, Chris finished what he had started and pushed his way up until he was standing.
Leaning against a steal girded pole for a few moments, Chris let his head settle with being vertical. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out his cell phone. Looking at it, once his eyes were able to focus on its face, he saw the screen was cracked and was showing no power. "Damn, must have broken when I hit the floor."
Looking out through the glass slits on the garage bay doors, Chris could tell it was early as the sun was just starting to show light in the sky through the falling snow. Letting his eyes roam around the cold room he pulled his heavy leather coat tighter. Seeing a doorway on the other side of the bays, Chris figured it went to an office. Hoping a phone was in there and praying that it still worked since he did not know if he was in a working garage or an abandoned one, he drew himself away from the support of the beam and made his way across to the door weaving as he went, his world tilting and spinning.
Reaching the doorway, Chris leaned against it as he scanned the area inside and spotted a phone on an old desk. His only thought was to call for help, not for himself but help in finding Vin. He allowed himself a moment of relief as he heard a dial tone when he picked up the receiver.
Chris called Buck's number, growling, "Come on, come on, pick up" as it rang.
“Buck, get JD and trace this call. I don't know where I am and I think Vin's missing,” Chris told him in a rush, then finally losing his battle with the nausea, held on to the desk as he lost the contents of his stomach.
Buck gripped the phone in his hands as he heard his friend being sick over the line. He yelled over his shoulder, "JD, get on your computer and trace this call. It's Chris; he's in trouble and sounds confused."
JD ran to his laptop, turned it on, and then began using his identification code and tapped into the phone company system. He back-tracked Buck's phone to the one Chris was using.
Buck hearing silence prayed that Chris's sickness was over and that he was still conscious, "Chris! Chris! Can you hear me?"
“Yea, yea, I'm still here. Woke up on the floor with a knot on my head. I can't remember how I got here," Chris mumbled catching his breath as he leaned on the desk for support and held the phone to his ear.
“What's the last thing you remember, Chris?"
“I was with Vin. He was driving and asking if I was sure about my old informant. I can't remember anything else," Chris panted, straining to stay vertical making his head pounded harder.
“That was last night, Chris. You and Vin were going to go meet Toby around 9 pm and then you were staying overnight at Vin's. You two were heading out somewhere early this morning," Buck informed him.
JD signaling that he had the address and was calling the others to let them know the situation. Buck said, “Chris, I need you to hang up and call me on my cell phone, okay?" Buck requested. "We're on our way as soon as you do. I want to keep us connected until we get there."
“I can't remember the number. We've got to find Vin!" Chris answered.
“We will buddy, we'll find him. You call me back at 555-3777, alright? Hang up now and call me right back so we can get to you," Buck explained, realizing Chris probably had a concussion.
Hanging up and hitting the numbers that Buck had requested Chris fell into the desk chair. He heard Buck answer and say they were on their way, and he heard him ask if he had tried Vin's number.
Chris tried to answer, but the moment his body was in the chair, his mind and thoughts were like a vacuum in a fog; not quite conscious and not quite passed out, just a deep daze of no reality.
He became more aware as a rhythm penetrated his haze. A rhythm of a voice, a voice getting louder as it got closer, the voice calling a name, His name he realized, which banished away the rest of the fog that had filled his mind when he recognized that voice.
His eyes cleared and he saw the person standing in the doorway, "Vin?"
“What the hell is going on? I get a phone call from Buck that don't make no sense, floor it back here spilling our breakfast biscuits and coffee, only to find you napping here in Grady's office," Vin growled.
Chris stared at him and frowned as he tried to remember.
Vin looking closer at his friend's face, realized something wasn't right. Moving closer he came around the side and saw what appeared to be dried blood on Chris's hair. He stopped and pieced together what Buck said. That along with the fluid in the garage bay that looked like someone had slid through it and the dilated pupils of Chris eyes made it all come together. Vin knelt in front of him asking, "How did you hit your head, Chris?"
“Don't know, woke up on the floor out there and figured someone hit me." Chris frowned looking at Vin
Shaking his head, Vin explained, "Chris, I dropped you off about a half an hour ago. I was running back down to that dinner to get us some coffee and breakfast. You wanted to wait here for Grady because he was coming in early to meet you and let you into the fence pen out back where your truck is. He finished reupholstering your seats and tinting your windows early because he did it here instead of his shop in town, less distractions. From the skid marks out there in that transmission fluid of the floor, I'd say you came in to get warm and slipped, whacking your head a good one when you fell."
Relief flooded Chris at the simple explanation. "Guess I over reacted. It was really just a silly accident."
Vin smiled, "You just remember you said that when Nathan gets here, Cowboy."
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