During one conversation in the book, there’s a reference to a scene that didn’t make the final cut of Desolation Point. It’s one of those references where you can use your imagination to fill in the blanks, but I had the deleted scene sitting around on my hard drive doing nowt to earn its keep, so I thought I’d put it up as a bonus on here. It’s also a nice little scene for Agent Castillo (whom I always had a soft spot for, and who gets to see a lot more action in Tumbledown.)
I’ve put in a cut, because here be spoilers for those who’ve not read Desolation Point.
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This scene takes place just before the one where Alex wakes up in the hospital.
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The constant tapping was driving Sarah crazy. It had insinuated itself into her dreams, setting her teeth on edge and compelling her to open her eyes. She stifled a groan; the anesthetic from her surgery had left her groggy and nauseated. Drawing on past experience, she took a moment to lie still and wait for the room to stop spinning. Objects slowly came into focus: the monitor recording her vitals, a half-empty IV bag, a glass of water with beads of condensation forming on its exterior. She licked her lips, suddenly aware of how thirsty she was. When she raised her head, intending to reach for the glass, she realized where the tapping was coming from. An FBI agent sat a short distance from her bed, hunching his knees to accommodate the low chair. He had thrown his jacket over the back of the chair, and the leather holster holding his gun stood out starkly against his crumpled pale blue shirt. With his brow creased in concentration, he was using one finger on each hand to type onto a laptop.
Sarah snaked her hand out toward the water, and the tapping ceased.
“Here, let me.”
For someone so tall, he moved with surprising grace. He dropped a straw into the water to enable her to drink without sitting up. She studied his face in the soft light, trying to remember where she had seen him before.
“Agent Castillo,” he said, evidently noticing her puzzled look. “I was at the camp with you just before you were evacuated, but we were never formally introduced.” He gave her an easy smile. “You were mostly unconscious, I think.”
She nodded cautiously and allowed him to take the water away.
“Where’s Alex?” Her throat was sore, but the question came out with sufficient force that she didn’t need to repeat it.
“I should get your doctor.” Castillo looked over his shoulder toward a crack in the drapes surrounding the bed. “She wanted to speak to you as soon as you woke.”
“Why?” This time Sarah barely managed a croak. “Why would?” The dawning understanding on Castillo’s face was lost in a blur of tears. “Did Alex…Is she…?”
Castillo shook his head, his eyes wide. “Fuck. No, it’s…” He took hold of the drape and dragged it open, cursing when the hooks snared on the rail and impeded its progress. “Sarah, she’s right here.”
He pushed the monitor aside and stepped back, giving Sarah a clear view across the room. She wiped her eyes on her bandaged wrist and stared with disbelief at the figure in the adjacent bed. Alex was sitting up against a set of pillows. She appeared to be deeply asleep, but the ventilator was nowhere to be seen, and she was breathing for herself.
“We thought it might be easier to keep an eye on you both if you were in the same room,” Castillo said.
“Mmhm.” Sarah was busy trying to work out exactly what she was attached to and how much of it was mobile. “Do you know how to get these down?” she asked, patting the side rail.
“Hey, wait, now.” Castillo ran a hand through his close-cropped hair. “You just got out of surgery. You have that tube in your side.”
Sarah followed his eye-line to the surgical drain she hadn’t previously noticed. “Oh, for fuck’s sake,” she said, exasperated. The plastic bottle lifted easily enough, but she grunted at the discomfort as the tube shifted. “You sorted that rail out yet?”
“Your doc’s gonna have my ass for this,” Castillo muttered. He lowered the rail regardless, obviously having figured out that Sarah would climb over it if he failed to help her.
“I’ll take all the blame, I promise.” She grasped the hand he offered her and sat up, swinging her legs to the floor. “Shit.” Staring at her muck-coated feet, she wondered how quick Castillo would be to say “I told you so” if she fainted. When the light-headedness faded, she saw that he had dragged a La-Z-Boy chair close to Alex’s bedside and placed blankets on the chair in readiness.
He shrugged. “You seem pretty damn determined to me.”
Collecting her IV and the drain in one hand, Sarah used her other to cling to the arm he held out. The floor was cool, and as she took her first tentative step she could feel the sting and prickle of the myriad cuts on the soles of her feet.
“Doin’ okay?” Castillo asked.
“Yep.” She was shuffling with all the agility of an arthritic ninety-year-old, but the chair and Alex’s bed were getting closer. She could see Alex in more detail now. There was a thin oxygen tube resting beneath her nose, and a jagged line of sutures had been used to close the gash at her temple. A dressing covered the wound Deakin had made when he pressed his knife into her throat. She still looked pale and very sick, but Sarah found herself concentrating on the breaths Alex was taking, breaths that seemed easier and came with only the slightest hint of a wheeze.
Sarah’s own breath left her in a rush as she lowered herself into the chair. She dimly sensed Castillo hanging her IV and setting the drain on the floor. He draped a blanket around her shoulders and laid another one over her knee.
“I’ll go get that ass-kicking out the way,” he told her, once he seemed certain she was comfortable and unlikely to end up on the floor.
“Make sure you tell her it was all my idea,” Sarah said. He had pushed the chair right up to the bed-rail, and she was able to take hold of Alex’s hand without difficulty. She cradled it in both of hers as tears blinded her. “Thank you,” she whispered, just before the door shut behind him with a quiet click.
She knew that he would be back soon, probably with her doctor and her surgeon in tow, and most likely a psychiatrist too. She didn’t care. They could yell at her to their heart’s content; there was no way she was leaving Alex to wake up alone.
If you enjoyed that and would like a bit more bonus stuff, there’s another deleted scene hidden in this blog post!