This story has been set to a rating of R. Age verification is required to proceed.
The waiting room in the Flagstaff hospital wasn’t crowded, just Tina and Rita and LoriAnn sitting quietly, a little dazed, sipping coffee and staring blankly at the muted television in the corner.
They’d all been given breathing treatments for smoke inhalation by first responders, who’d arrived on site. At the hospital, each had been checked out and given water for dehydration; Martin had to be given an IV. Doctors determined Tina’s nose was bruised, but not broken. She had a few other bruises on her arms and legs, but other than that, she was in good shape. Rita was treated for some deep cuts on her hands from pulling debris off of Bette when she’d been buried under the collapsed gymnasium roof, and LoriAnn had been checked over, cleared for any physical injuries. Still, doctors had given her a mild sedative to keep her calm. At the moment Bette and Martin were still being looked at—Martin for his head injury and Bette for her head and shoulder injuries. Kit was back with them both, serving as a go-between for the hospital staff and the others who waited.
Already Coconino County sheriff deputies had been by to get names and IDs, but no one had spoken yet or given their account of what had happened. Kit had asked them all to wait until Joe Kody, captain of the Navajo Police, arrived so that he could sit in on the interviews. She’d also asked one other thing of each of them as they’d sat in the cold snow watching the remains of the Maple Canyon School for Girls burn to the ground.
“I can’t ask you to lie,” she’d begun as the seven of them had huddled together with their faces to the fire and their butts wet and cold in the snow. “But I will ask you to be evasive, at least to the point of telling some truth, but obscuring the full truth.”
She held Bette against her while Tina held Bette’s hand. Martin was supported among the other three women, but had listened intently as they all did.
“What do you need us to say?” Tina asked. She’d already anticipated this conversation in the short period of time they’d been watching the fire have its due.