17 - Day Nineteen (Continued)

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It was just after 9pm when the helicopter arrived at the hospital. Melanie shifted uncomfortably in her seat as the helicopter landed on the helipad on the roof of the hospital. She could see a few doctors and nurses rushing outside to meet the helicopter and she immediately began to panic. Officer Shaw could see the change in Melanie's body language and motioned for her to stay sitting as he exited the helicopter and asked the hospital staff to give them space.

The doctors and nurses headed back into the building, allowing Devon, Chad, and Officer Shaw to coax Melanie out of the helicopter and into the building. She shrugged away from the three men as they attempted to help guide her through the hospital and led her to a small observation room to wait to be seen by a doctor. Officer Shaw had Devon and Chad leave the room in hopes of making Melanie more comfortable and he looked at her with sympathy as she sat on a chair in the corner, trembling and refusing to look up at him.

There was a soft tapping on the door and two women slowly entered the room, calmly greeting Melanie and Officer Shaw. Seeing Melanie covered in bloody markings, both women looked at her with pity and moved to approach her, but Officer Shaw quickly stopped them, pulling them aside to let them know he hadn't been able to get Melanie to talk with him.

"Hi, sweetheart," said the doctor softly. "My name is Dr. Mitchell. You can call me Sandra, though. I'm the doctor that's going to be working with you and this is Nurse Davies."

"Penny," said the other woman, smiling at Melanie.

"Melanie, honey," said Officer Shaw. He slowly approached Melanie and knelt in front of her. "Penny and Sandra are going to have a look at you and get you cleaned up, all right? They're going to take some pictures that we'll use as evidence to catch the person that did this to you. Are you going to be ok with that?" He waited in vain for Melanie to answer and gently patted her knee as he stood back up and shrugged at the two other women in the room.

He walked back over to Penny and Sandra and quietly let them know that Melanie hadn't spoken a word since she'd been found. He wasn't sure how much Melanie could remember, but she had seemed so confused when he had spoken with her that he was fairly certain she couldn't remember much. Once he'd spoken with the two women, he slipped quietly out of the room to let them work with Melanie.

Melanie stared up at the door. Her heart was racing and she felt confined and uneasy. She looked at the observation table and watched as Penny moved to retrieve the camera and Sandra handed Melanie a hospital gown to change into. As Sandra turned her back to gather a few things, Melanie shot off the chair, tore the door open, and raced into the hall.

Not wanting to frighten Melanie any more than she already was, Sandra had a nurse make an announcement to all hospital staff to avoid running after the girl and had all of the doors to the staircases and exits locked. Officer Shaw had stopped to speak with Devon and hadn't left the building yet. He quickly approached Sandra to find out what had happened.

"What are we going to do?" Penny asked, watching Melanie disappear around a corner. Sandra watched the security monitors and kept an eye on Melanie as she raced through the halls, attempting to escape. She reached a stairwell and pulled at the door, but it was locked tight.

"We'll keep her confined to this floor and hopefully she'll find somewhere she feels safe. Then we'll let her settle and approach her slowly," Sandra replied. "We'll just wait until she's feeling comfortable and work on building her trust. I don't want to force her into anything. I think that will just make everything worse."

Penny nodded and watched the monitor with Officer Shaw as Melanie continued running through the hall, desperately searching for a way out or a place to hide. Nurses and security guards calmly walked the halls, closing doors to keep other patients from filling the halls and witnessing Melanie in her current state.

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