She had already resumed the fetal position with her hands on the back of her head. John knelt down beside her and gently rubbed her back. “They’ve already sounded the all clear. It’s safe to come out.”
Dotty raised her head and shouted, “No they haven’t!” She gasped and her eyes widened, “Who are you? Where’s my husband? Don’t touch me!” She pummeled John with her fists. “Go away!”
He stood up. She doesn’t recognize me again, he thought. “I’ll go get your husband Mrs. Tillerson.” Dotty stopped swinging and resumed the fetal position. He exited the closet and gently shut the door. Sighing and covering his eyes, he leaned against the wall just outside the closet. He allowed himself to cry. She’s safe. But how long can I keep doing this?
After a few minutes, John took a deep breath and wiped his tears. He glanced at his watch. It was almost two thirty in the morning. Four more hours to daylight. That usually calmed her down. Just hang on for four more hours, he thought.
John said through the closet door. “Dotty, are you okay? That nice old man told me you were in there. It’s all clear.”
Still on her hands and knees, Dotty cracked the closet door open and peered up at John. Recognition and relief washed over her face, then anger. “Where have you been?”