Get caught up before diving into chapter two:
Beep. Tap-tap. Snore? Beep. Click-Click.
My eyes flutter open. I am in a dark room, lit by a small yellow light under a door to my left, and the moon glow from the window to my right. I move my neck slowly, adjusting to my surroundings.
The last thing I remember is being shot and now I am waking up in the hospital? My head throbbed, my body ached, and my shoulder is stiff.
“You’re awake.” A statement, not a question, from a man, a younger man, dressed like a cop. He was sitting in a chair underneath the window, the moon making his dark skin darker.
I didn’t say anything. Confusion swept through me and within seconds the nightmare all came back. I started screaming. Deafening, ghastly, hideous, screams that didn’t even sound like they came from me.
“What did you do!” A nurse demands as she barrels into the room and then to me, “It’s ok, sweetie.”
My screams become louder and more treacherous then before at the sound of that word, The Man’s voice came barreling back in seconds.
“I told you not to question her until she was stable!” The nurse yells.
“I didn’t!” The officer snaps.
“Get her parents.” She says with force as she squeezes me tight, trying to comfort me but she’s only making things worse.
“Lennox!” My mom yells coming into the room. The nurse moves and my mom takes her place. I clench her shirt as I sob into her bosom. She doesn’t say anything, but massages the back of my head and strokes my hair.
Minutes tick by and eventually I cry myself back to sleep.
When I wake again, it’s daylight and my mom is spooned in the bed beside me. She feels me stir awake and sits up, moves off the bed and into the chair I saw the cop sitting in last night. Mom takes my hand in hers.
“Juliet?” I manage.
Mom shakes her head and the sobs come back.
“How?” Is all I can squeak out. I hope she understands what I am really asking. How long have I been in here? How am I alive? How, everything…
“The bullet grazed your heart, you passed out from blood loss and cold temperatures. You have been in the hospital for three days. You had to get a blood transfusion and several surgeries.” She says slowly, directly, and I nod, still confused. My left shoulder is braced, so I can only assume that the doctors took care of that too.
A minute later, I choke out, “What happened?”
“That’s what we want to know.” Mom says.
“I mean…after…how was I found? What happened…to…Juliet?” I stammer.
The officer from last night is standing in the doorway. He looks young, mid twenties maybe, has dark skin but not completely African, his eyes are clear blue with a green hue. His coarse black hair coats an even nearly-shaved layer. “Thankfully you were smart enough to turn your phone screen off but not hang up when you called the police. It took us awhile to track your location and then get to you in the storm. You where barely alive when I got to you but somehow you managed to pull through.”
I nodded absorbing his words, “And Juliet?”
The cop looked directly at me, “She bled out.”
My mom squeezed my hand tighter and I bit down on my lip, hard. “How? Before he shot me he hadn’t done anything…except…except…assault her.” I couldn’t bring myself to say rape.
“She was stabbed, several times, before she was eventually shot.” The officer says.
“Does she really need to know all of this?” Mom snaps.
“Yes.” The officer and I say at the same time.
How could I not know?
Knowing that the knife the man used to stab Juliet was probably my knife..and he likely did it because he was pissed I was trying to save us. Maybe I am wrong, I hope I am wrong. The nausea builds up in me and suddenly I am dry heaving. Minutes pass and I am calm again. As calm as I can be, anyways.
A woman walks into the room, she is wearing black slacks, a white button up shirt, and a sports jacket. She is in her late forties, has short black hair, thin lips, and large brown eyes. “I’m Detective Avery, and this is Officer Holland,” She pauses and points at the cop beside her, the man who just explained how man best friend died, “we would like to ask you a few questions. Do you mind?”
Yes, but I shake my head no.
Thankfully a white coat budges through the barricade that Officer Holland and Detective Avery are making. “I’m Dr. Cooper, how are you feeling?” He is old, maybe seventies, bald, beady-eyed, and has a warm smile. Instead of answering him, I shrug.
Dr. Cooper takes his time examining me, as if he knows he needs to stall, once he is done he says, “I’ll have Betty order you some food.”
Betty must be the nurse…
After he leaves Detective Avery asks, “Can you tell us what happened?”
“Well…” My voice is horse.
My dad bursts through the door, comes straight over to me and kisses my forehead, “Darlin’ I’m so sorry I wasn’t here earlier. I went home to shower when Officer Holland called me.”
Dad and I have always been close, he and I are one in the same and it makes mom crazy. He scoots beside me on the bed and puts his arm around me while I rest my head on his chest. Officer Holland watches us and offers me a smile. For some reason, despite everything, I smile back.
“Why don’t you tell us what happened.” Avery demands, clearly annoyed with all the interruptions.
“Juliet was getting sick so I pulled over on the side of the road. The blizzard was strong but we went outside of the car anyways. She vomited for awhile and cried…because of…well…never mind…then I laid her in my backseat so she could sleep the rest of the drive home…I…I…I…ummm…got my spare blanket out of the trunk and covered her up, she was already passed out at that point. When I walked back to my side of the car the wind picked up and somehow a tree branch smacked me in the face….” I stop cold, could it have been him? Did he hit me with that branch? It was dark enough…but I still would have saw him…right?
Avery gestures with her hand indicating I need to spit it out, but the memory causes an ache in my heart so vast that I am certain that my insides are hollow.
“Take your time.” Holland says with warm eyes and I can’t help but wonder how old he is.
Avery shoots him an impatient glare.
I finish the rest of the story as quickly as I could explaining in horrible detail what happened. I still couldn’t bring myself to say the word, rape, though. When Avery asked what I meant by ‘assault’ I couldn’t explain…couldn’t tell her that I watched as a mad man violated Juliet. Officer Holland stepped in and asked if there was penetration involved and I could only nod. For now that would have to be enough.