She glanced to the right, thinking surely the driver would see Theresa and slow down, but he didn't. Instead of hitting the brakes, the driver sped up. Horror flooded Lindsey as she realized Theresa was going to get hit. She cried out and slapped her hands against the glass window as if she could push Theresa to safety just by willing it. She couldn't.
With a sickening, bone-crunching thud, Theresa was struck by the car. Lindsey watched as she collapsed back onto the sidewalk and the car took off.
Dennis Greaves and Sam Holloway abandoned their checkers game and raced across the grass as fast as their geriatric bones could carry them. The women on the beach gathered their children and stared wide-eyed at the park above them.
Lindsey spun away from the window and ran from the room, yelling, "Call nine-one-one. Theresa Huston was just hit by a car."
Lindsey dashed down the hallway. She was forced to take small steps since she was in her pencil skirt and heels, which was just as well, as she had to swerve around two patrons in a tug-of-war over the latest Stephen King novel and a mom pushing a stroller with twin babies. Then she was out the main door and running down the sidewalk with Beth on her heels.
When they reached the street, they stopped to check both ways, and Beth, gasping for breath, asked, "What happened?"
No cars were coming. Lindsey cut across the road, not bothering to use the crosswalk.
"It was a hit-and-run," Lindsey said. "Theresa stepped into the road, and a car came out of nowhere and hit her and then sped off."
"Oh my God!" cried Beth.
Together, they reached Theresa. She was lying on her side, curled up into a ball and rocking ever so slightly back and forth. She was gasping and panting, and high-pitched moans were coming from her throat. Dennis and Sam were kneeling beside her, looking as if they were afraid to touch her but wanted to comfort her.
"Theresa, we've called an ambulance. What can I do for you?" Lindsey crouched down beside the woman.
"My leg," Theresa cried. "Oh, my leg. It hurts. It hurts so bad. I think I'm going to be sick."
A sheen of sweat had beaded up on her skin, which was a sickly shade of gray.
"I think she's going into shock," Dennis said. "I saw this when a buddy of mine had his arm blown off in Vietnam."
"Her leg is definitely broken," Sam said. "Look at the weird angle of it."
Lindsey glanced at Theresa's shin and felt her stomach lurch. It was bent forward. Shins weren't supposed to go that way. She felt her own stomach roil and knew the pain Theresa was feeling had to be excruciating.
"I think I'm passing out," Theresa said. Her eyes rolled back into her head, and her entire body relaxed.
"Oh, crap!" cried Beth. She hunkered down beside Lindsey. "Is it okay if she passes out? What if she also hit her head? There could be a traumatic brain injury happening, and passing out would be a definite no-no."
"You're supposed to raise a person's feet when they pass out," Sam said.
They all glanced at Theresa leg. Lindsey shook her head. No one was willing to touch it and risk causing more damage or hurting her.
"She's breathing," Dennis said. He moved closer so he could see the rise and fall of her chest. "I say we let her be, but maybe you should talk to her—you know, reassure her."
"It's going to be okay, Theresa," Lindsey said. She brushed back a hank of thick dark hair from Theresa's forehead. "We're here, and we won't leave you until help arrives."
Theresa blinked twice, and Lindsey took that to mean she could hear her. A shudder rippled through Theresa's body, and her teeth were chattering.
"Here, she might be cold from the drop in her blood pressure." Sam unbuttoned his wool cardigan and handed it to Lindsey to drape over the injured woman.
The sound of a siren was just audible, and Beth said, "I'll flag them down."
This excerpt ends on page 18 of the hardcover edition.