Holding On: Chapter 22
Catch up on Chapter 21 of willwriteforhearts' fiction project right here!
We’re both on the floor, staring at each other after our collision. She recuperates first, bouncing off the ground and yanking me up with her.
“We have to go!”
I don’t move. “What’s happening? How did you find me?”
She sighs, exasperated, and starts pulling me to the door. Her hands are sweaty and cold. “That doesn’t matter! We have to get you out of here!” She looks at me in confusion, scowling. “What’s wrong with you? The cops are gonna be here any minute, okay?”
I shake my head, looking back at the kitchen. “We have to get Sam.”
Someone shouts from a room somewhere else in the house, no words, just a noise. I glance at Annie nervously, eyes wide.
Her face falls. “Tim.”
She lets go of my hand and runs through the kitchen to go to wherever Tim is, pausing when she sees Sam. “Get her. I’ll get Tim.”
“Annie, you can’t—”
I stand there for a second before I remember what my feet should be doing, walking, running to Sam, and thenI try to pick her up. I grab her arms and drag her for a couple feet before letting go. My arms are as thick as toothpicks and with just about the same amount of strength.
Adrenaline-induced courage says to go help them. I look at Sam, wanting to, for some crazy reason, but I realize that Sam is still bleeding and she probably needs me just as badly.
I’m shaking all over and I grab her again, trying to pull her with me. She keeps bleeding. I don’t know how to make it stop and I feel hopeless, pain in my side increasing with each tug.
And then, arms support mine and suddenly Sam is being carried.
“I’m here, Alice.”
Dad is behind me, arms under mine, and I have strength. I nod, speechless, because of the growing block in my throat and the fact that everything is happening way too fast for me to comprehend.
My hands slip a little but Dad helps steady me, helping me carry her to the door.
“Hold on, Alice. I’ve got you.”
I nod again.
Sirens blare through the door even before I open it and when I do, the flashing lights blind me. Nick is talking to someone I don’t know and Eric is next to him, his expression suggesting that he’s about to throw up.
“Nick.” The word chokes me and I can’t say anything else.
He looks at me immediately.
A policeman comes up to me quickly, face contorted in worry. “It’ll be alright—”
“There’s someone else in the house.” The words come out again, somehow, and I look behind me instinctively. “They’re in trouble.”
The policeman nods and goes inside. I don’t know how many people follow him but I think a couple do. It’s kind of hard to tell. The lights and noises confuse me and I can’t see anything right.
The pain in my side reminds me of its presence after another pang and I realize Dad is gone. I drop Sam quicker then I should and hold it, wincing.
“Are you okay?” Nick is at the foot of the porch stairs. He looks at Sam and comes closer. “Is she okay?”
“I’m fine...” I look at Sam as well and I shake my head. “She’s hurt.” I get up, stumbling with a sudden dose of dizziness. “We have to find someone to help her.”
Nick nods. “Wait here.”
I feel pretty numb. Actually, I don’t feel much anymore.
I sit down again and hold my arms close to myself, looking around. I see Eric talking to a guy in his pajamas and Nick moving towards someone standing by an ambulance, pointing towards us. An ambulance. I’ve never had an ambulance coming for me before.
And you know, that’s pretty lucky. Not ever having to have an ambulance come for me before, only watching it go somewhere fast and vaguely wondering where that somewhere is. And I really, really wish that that somewhere was not here, that this girl next to me wasn’t probably bleeding herself half to death and the guy who just saved me wasn’t getting the crap beaten out of him.
But you know what? This stuff happens. I can’t wish forever.
“Honey, you’re gonna be okay.”
My eyes focus slowly on the woman in front of me. Her head is lit up like a neon sign from the back by all the lights from the cars and she’s holding my hand, trying to get my attention.
She sees how I hold my side with one hand. “Are you hurt?”
“I don’t know.” Sam isn’t next to me anymore and I panic, trying to stand up but getting dizzy again and almost tripping down the porch steps. The woman catches me, nodding and walking me towards the ambulance. I feel incredibly tired, suddenly, and I fight to keep my eyes open.
“We’ll just check on you once we get to the hospital, okay?”
“Okay.” I slow down, catching my breath, drooping. Hospital?
I see Nick somewhere to the side and I stand up straighter, shaky. “I will be.”
Sam was put on a stretcher a couple minutes ago and Alice is led into an ambulance, leaning on someone as she gets in. She looks half dead and I hope Thomas didn’t have the chance to do anything to her. The thought makes me sick.
“She’s my daughter!”
I shudder when I recognize the voice and am not surprised when I see Thomas himself being led out of the house by a policeman, hands chained with handcuffs and face red from the flickering ambulance lights and whatever anger he’s got boiling up inside him.
He looks around like he’s lost, suddenly losing that scary look he’d had a second ago. “Where’s Sam?”
The policeman doesn’t answer, shouting at the guy behind him.
“Tell me where she is!”
The neighbor girl and Tim are being escorted out of the house. It’s too dark to see if they got hurt. I try to get their attention but it’s hard to hear anything with all the shouting that’s going on.
Thomas says something I can’t hear and the policeman finally turns around, hand poised carefully above his holster. “She’s fine.”
He calms down considerably and it’s easier for the police to get him into their car after that. He catches my eye for a second and I freeze, too scared to look away.
I hate you, I think. Look what you’ve done to us.
He gives me this look that’s so hopeless and dead it’s scary. He has nothing. Not even his daughter’s complete love, and that’s kind of hard to lose.
Maybe someday I’ll even feel sorry for him.
But right now, with Sam like this, with Alice like this, with Tim who’s probably the most innocent guy I know like this, I can’t.
I look away and move towards Tim and the neighbor girl, only to watch them being herded into the ambulance as well. I really, really hope they didn’t get hurt too.
“Hey, uh, sir?” I catch the attention of one of the policemen, eyes still following Tim as he’s led into the ambulance and the neighbor girl, as she swats the nurses away. “Are they okay?”
He glances at the ambulance quickly. “I don’t know. You can go with them, if you’d like.” This is followed by a wave to someone behind me and he jogs away.
Along with the guy in pajamas, a lot of Sam’s neighbors have started to collect around the driveway, whispering what’s probably gossip since they probably knew this was coming. They knew this was coming and none of them did anything. Now they want to show up and act like they care? Right.
You don’t know for sure. Maybe they tried telling somebody, Nick.
You again, huh?
Missed me, didn’t you? Wheelchair squeaks when I move forward towards the ambulance. You better hurry or they’ll leave.
Yeah, got it...
After more convincing then I would think is necessary, the nurses reopen the backdoors and help me in; they aren’t too awkward around Wheelchair, which is nice, but I guess they’re trained for this sort of thing.
The neighbor girl looks up at me and tries to smile. It looks more painful than happy and I nod at her, awkwardly grimacing back, before hoisting myself onto one of the benches on the side of the ambulance. Tim looks down at his lap quickly and waves.
I stare at Alice for a second, seated opposite me and fast asleep, leaning on Tim. She shudders every few seconds and holds her side.
“You okay?” My voice shakes.
Tim shrugs and laughs nervously. “Yeah, I’m good.”
The neighbor girl rolls her eyes. “Dude, you have a black eye.” Her voice is shaking too. She realizes this too late and stops talking, staring at her knees in a way that suggests she’ll strangle anyone who says anything about it to her, not that she really has to worry about that.
He laughs again and fake sneezes into his hand. “Oh, whoops, looks like I need a tissue—”
He wipes his nose and looks up nervously, still smiling. “Yeah...” His eye is swelling to the size of a golf ball and is bright, hard-not-to-notice red. He covers it with one hand and shrugs again. “It’s, uh, worse than it looks.”
“Geez, Tim, you’re gonna get that treated, right? It kind of look—”
I shoot a glare at the neighbor girl who goes back to sulking. I think she does that because she’s nervous, though, and I’m not really that mad at her. It’s been a rough night.
I look at Alice again. “She’s okay?”
Tim glances at her and nods, patting her head in an awkward attempt at friendliness. “I think so. She refused to lie down, for some reason.”
I smile dimly and nod. “Do you know where Sam is?”
“I think they took her in a separate ambulance.”
“Okay.” I think for a few seconds, head in hands. “Hey, Tim?”
“You haven’t stuttered for a while now.”
His face reddens and he tries to smile, wincing when it reaches his swollen eye. “I g-guess you’re right.”
I almost smile too, looking up at him. “Don’t start on me now.”
Catch up on all of Holding On right here!