Plastic boxes showed off lightly browned chocolate chip cookies with two more days on the freshness stamp. Elizabeth flagged one of the ladies working in the bakery. “Excuse me. The cookies. Are they crispy or chewy?”
“Chewy,” the woman replied. “Would you like a sample?”
“That’s okay, I’ll buy the box.” She grabbed one from the stack and snapped it open—she needed a cookie now. While she headed to the checkout, Elizabeth took out a cookie, but when she tried to close the box, the plastic edge sliced her palm. She dropped the box and clutched her hand to her chest.
What else could go wrong?
Blood oozed through Elizabeth’s fingers and she blinked to fight off the cloud of gray that threatened her vision. She squeezed her eyes closed while panic took over, screams echoing in her head, blood everywhere, people running, ducking under desks.
Behind her, a man told someone to “Go get the kit.” An arm curled around her shoulder.
“Easy.” The man helped her to sit on the floor and gently pushed her head toward her knees, all while he held her bleeding hand high.
Air rushed through her ears while blood trickled down her arm. She grimaced when she smelled ammonia and grabbed the waving hand beneath her nose holding something that looked like a broken cigarette filter.
A man was attached to the hand. His coffee-colored hair touched his collar and dark, concerned eyes were hooded by a pronounced brow. Even dressed in dark blue, his skin appeared tanned and Elizabeth had the oddest desire to see where the tan ended. Broad shoulders filled out the knit shirt with a fire logo on it.