Vicki walked a few meters down the road, gave Jack a sly smile, and to his surprise, rolled in the warm dirt like a cat until her sexy black and red leather dress was considerably soiled. Then, she slowly stood up while messing her hair and said, "Well? How do I look?"
He laughed, nodded his head, and replied, "Like you had a close call out on the road from some accident. One more thing must be done though."
"What, you animal? Hey!"
Jack dropped her glasses on the ground and stepped on them. As he handed them to her, he said, "It has to look . . . very convincing. Besides, you look better without such things."
"I suppose, but that's more than what can be said of Mr. Beck now. Isn't it?"
"Yes. The dead get the blame for everything. I'll go to the city and monitor police communications on my radio to see how well this is cleaned up, before you inform the junction patrol of it. Simple enough?"
"Of coarse," she retorted and pursed her succulent lips at him. "See you at my place tomorrow night."
Vicki was going to embrace him, but he put his hands up defensively and peered at her dusty bosom while raising his eyebrows and just nodded. The clever young brunette understood and allowed him to drive onward first before doing her duty later. Things had to be perfect for their best advantage, but both deep inside did not feel all was so, for they could not go back and cover their tracks or those of others.
By following the activity about the event carefully on his advanced CB scanner, Jack was able to learn where the bodies of its victims were taken. When he came to the nurse's station of the corresponding hospital, he identified himself as one of their close boyfriends and was very surprised one of them survived the crash -- barely. They would not allow him to see her yet, but he obtained the information of where in the building she was first from the personnel and eventually found her by apparently leaving and taking different routes as a deception.
When Veronica opened her eyes, she saw the morning sunlight softly illuminating the room and instruments that monitored her vitals nearby. Her clearing vision soon found Jack smiling down at his prey from the other side of the bed too, and she tried to react instinctively. However, her burned and battered body would not move. It was covered with various bandages, tinted plastic film, and had no feeling below the neck. Tubes led into and out of her form also, performing basic functions that she could not, but he expressed no concern or remorse for what was done.
"It seems I just can't get rid of you whenever I want, sweetheart, but that will come. Look," he quietly said.
Veronica's eyes widened when he gazed at the enclosed moving bellows of the ventilator and grasped the plug of the machine. She was still very groggy from the sedation and pain suppressors, and his intimidating voice sounded distorted, somewhat muffled through the thin gauzy fabric wrapped about her head -- devoid of any beautiful dark hair now. Air was forced into her lungs, and she tried to plea for her meager, more fragile and vulnerable life but could only utter a short grunt through the ventilation tube. However, he took his hand away from it again and said, "Too easy. I could smother you in that bag or give a lethal injection in one of many places now, but there would just be no challenge. So, I'll patiently await your complete recovery for that instead."
After he bid her "good luck," and kissed her softly on the cheek, two doctors entered the room wearing masks and white gloves. One of them glared at him and in a German accent said, "Vat are you doing in here? Don't you know? This is a sterile environment."
"Idiot! She's very susceptible to infection. Who are you anyway?" the other stressed.
"Oh, I'm so . . . sorry," he replied, doing fine acting. "I'm her fiance. We recently announced our engagement, and now, this . . . terrible thing happened. You must forgive me. Please?"
"Well, only this time, but you must leave now. You are doing more harm than good the longer you remain here."
"I . . . I understand, doctor," he said. Before leaving the place, he turned his head and delivered a sly wink at her. She showed fear after hearing the dreadful news and managed to utter a louder grunt into the breathing tube while trying in vain to speak, but they merely ignored her efforts and carried out their assessment of her as two nurses also entered the room with protective garb and accessories. One secured a thick rubber mask to her face as she continued to move her mouth to shape silent words, and the other enclosed her, with help, in a clear vinyl tent after delivering an antibiotic injection. Then, she became greatly more subdued.
The nurses departed, and the doctors renewed her hopes with their prognosis. One noticed tears streaming out of her eyes and said, "The mask is to block the passage of germs into your airway. Be glad you are still alive and can be fully restored. Your companion was not near as fortunate. She was not thrown clear of the crash and burned to a crisp."
"Ja, miss . . . Veronica. We haff lasers and neuro-transplant microsurgery to repair your spine. Scars from the skin grafts will be removed too in time."
"Doctor Kleiner's right. With our cosmetic and restructuring team, followed by effective rehabilitation, you will look and feel like a new woman upon recovery."
"Nothing to worry about otherwise, except staphylococcus, fungal, and pneumonia infection. Not?"
"Right, for now. That's why we have to keep you under wraps until you heal on the outside. So, you know we're not being kinky," the younger one said while maintaining a positive smile. "Are you stubborn enough NOT to die now?"
Veronica's chest expanded, and she grunted again only to be barely heard.
"There IS a way we can get you talking again too. Do not despair. Your condition is just temporary, and the best is yet to come."
The foreign doctor watched him give her a thumbs-up sign and provided further motivation. "You vill not spoil in there, miss Veronica. This is as bad as it gets. Get good rest now. Yes?"
The other doctor patted the top of the delicate plastic confinement and said, "Oh, she sure will, or I'll get my other two angelic assistants in here again to put her in seventh heaven. So, let's go finish our rounds before it gets too late."
They quickly departed, and after the door to her room closed, Veronica closed her eyes and felt paradoxical emotions induced by similar thoughts. She wanted to rest in peace, like her best friend, but was also relieved to be alive and in a gradually repairable condition. Her injuries were extensive and would heal one painful step at a time, without outside enemy interference, and when she finally relaxed even a little, her brain lapsed into a deep state of prolonged unconsciousness. The last thought her fading mind had was of somehow getting ample revenge for all the harm violently done. If not, Teresa's death, and quite possibly her own, would be for naught.
"Making the Grade" concludes with "Passing Scores."