Unexpected Turn

Yes this is late, I am sorry, but to be fair I started at work earlier (like 7:00 p.m.) but between customers, trying to listen to the Huskers game, and then grabbing a bite to eat after it got delayed. So bear with me please and know it is not guaranteed to be anything great. Not that I am saying all of my other stuff is but this one might suffer from major distraction more. I really should have, and totally could have, tried to write earlier while the store was dead but I decided to get a little reading in instead. Anyways I went back to Write World and grabbed a sentence block from them  for today’s prompt. This one just seemed like it could provide so many paths to go down which was something I think my brain needed to entertain it after being stuck in the same building since 8:45 a.m. :)

-x-

I  didn’t expect to wake up to a different ceiling. In fact I wasn’t really expecting to wake up at all, I had gone into that particular fight expecting to lose much more than just pride or dignity. So when I can hear the noises around me slowly get louder and louder as I come back to consciousness I assume maybe there is some sort of after life and it is filled with far off music playing from a radio and the low murmur of hushed voices. But then I make the effort to lift my heavy and exhausted eyelids and I am faced with a mint green ceiling above me with light from outside giving the whole room a pleasant aura of relaxation. My body definitely feels stiff, I can feel the awareness of that roll through me from head to toes as I become more and more aware of the fact this is no afterlife but I am alive and staring at a pastel ceiling that on one hand is comforting but also absolutely terrifying.

When I’ve given myself a few moments to take a breath and let my immediate fear calm into a confused state I let my head slowly twist to take in what’s at my right side. Which so happens to be a table filled with a clock that reads 3:17, a glass of water, and a heaping pile of newspapers and scratched out notes. The hand writing looks mostly decent but quickly scribbled, I’d guess a female author, but I can’t seem to put any of it together to make much sense my eyes still having trouble focusing on anything not large and blatant like the red numbers on the clock. Even the newspaper closes to the top is troublesome but I manage to squint and see the date on it is the 25th, which if it is today’s paper means I’ve been out for three days. That alone is a scary thought and I am not all that certain I want to start asking questions about how I got to this point and what’s happened in those last three days.

However I don’t get much of a choice to fade back into nearly silent room with no attention on me because my alertness has been spotted and there is a loud gasp and whooshing of air as someone darts to my side. I feel the grip on my left arm at the same time I turn to have blanket of red hair brush my cheek and I recognize Alice, my best friend who was also very much alive thankfully.

“Ginny!” she practically shouts in my year and I can see her mother over her shoulder jump back in a similar shock, but her joyful tone only lasts long enough for her to say it. Next I can feel her fingers tighten their grip and one hand lifts to connect with my collar bone as she smacks me and spits out, “Don’t you EVER do anything so stupid again!”

The force behind her hand was nowhere near full strength but it was enough on my sore body to make me wince and size up. I can hear Alice’s mom shout at her, “Alice! You don’t hit someone that took a bullet for you.”

A bullet? So I had been shot, thought so. But considering all of me was in some sort of pain level I still couldn’t make out where I’d been hit. Over me Alice glares at her mom for one second before she turns back to me and looks down before speaking, “I sure as hell will if it was completely unnecessary and it made me worry sick for three days if I’d lose my best friend.” The tone says she is livid but the lingering smirk on her lips tells me her gratitude outweighs anything else. “Plus she’s alive isn’t she? She’s got a lot more of me to deal with, she might wish the bullet had done her in.”

“Alice!”

But her mother’s outburst is lost in the attempt I make to laugh, which is really a dry heave since my mouth and throat is so dry and my body doesn’t want to make the effort to take in enough air to really force it out. Once both Alice and I have calmed down I lift my free hand and point towards my neck as I croak out, “Water?”

I’ve barely finished the word before Mrs. Willan is on my right side and picking up the glass I had seen earlier, from where I have no idea but she pulls out a straw and brings it towards me. Alice helps me scoot up just a little and while it’s painful I’ll take feeling the pain over feeling nothing. Then I am swallowing large pulls of cool ice water and it feels like some sort of Utopia. If I didn’t need to get some oxygen I think I could have emptied the glass no problem but after a few swallows I stop and sit back with my eyes closed against the plush pillows I had not fully appreciated the few moments before.

Some more silence passes until I open my eyes and I can see Mrs. Wilan in the far corner of what I can now clearly see is a hospital room, which makes sense if I was shot and then unconscious for three days, and Alice still watching me while leaning her hip against the side of my small bed. When I caught her eye she pointed over her shoulder at her mom and said, “She’s calling your parents. We sent them home this morning to shower and get a little bit of rest since they’ve been here since they brought you in.”

Understanding I nodded. Maybe I was supposed to be more shocked my parents weren’t here when I woke up but truth be told I was just shocked to be awaking at all so I don’t ponder it too hard. Clearing my throat I turn a small amount into Alice’s space and point blank ask, “So what exactly happened?”

Her head cocks to the side and she eyes me up and down a few times before offering her own question, “What’s the last thing you remember?”

Supplying a question with a question was always her specialty, but usually it’s with her parents as she tries to deflect or stall not with me. However I figure trying to piece things together myself is good for me so I take a minute to race through my mind and just speak as things come to me, “Well we were out for a girls day. We had seen an afternoon movie, that ridiculous sci-fi movie you made me go to.” She rolls her eyes at me and sticks her tongue while nodding to make me continue. “Then we were going to go to the mall but you needed to stop at the bank for cash…the outside ATM was in use so we went in and just as we were leaving a handful of guys in masks came in.”

I need to pause as the memories are coming at me fast and quick in cut paces that feel much more like a movie than my own life but when I look up at Alice she is still nodding, so then I look back down to focus and speak again, “We were near the door so you grabbed my hand and we began to inch towards a fire alarm near them but one of the guys saw your hand as it lifted up and pointed a gun. I didn’t even think but I jumped in front of you.”

Looking up again I find Alice’s eyes are glossy and ready to spill over as she holds my gaze and her nodding is a bit more slow now. “I remember hearing the bang of the shot, of a slight shove in my hip,” my hand moves over to my right hip and now I feel the extra bandaging and the specific soreness from just where the bullet did hit me, “And then I briefly remember the cold of the stone floor on my cheek before it all just goes black.”

Blowing out a long breath I realize just how crazy it all is now. I got shot. And I lived. Some small sniffles from Alice bring me back and she has allowed some of her tears to fall down her face without any shame in the matter. I reach out and wrap my free hand around the one of hers that is still clinging to my forearm and squeeze. She nods and we don’t have to say anything else to know where we stand in terms of how thankful we are to both be mostly okay and alive.

Mrs. Wilan says something about my parents being on their way and that she was going to grab a nurse to let them know I had woke up. We both hear her but we don’t acknowledge much, once she is out of the room I ask, “So what happened after? Did the guys get away with money? Did anyone else get hurt?”

Alice shakes her head while clearing her own throat and then when her thoughts are gathered she responds, “No. When you dived in front of me you shoved me back enough that you put me right next to the fire alarm and since everyone, including the robbers, was distracted by the shot going off I yanked it down. Once it started wailing a teller got to the panic button too and one of the office managers brought out a gun he kept in his desk. The guys weren’t prepared for any of that so they bolted, but were caught just a few blocks from the bank.” She paused and pushed back some hair that had fallen in her face as she rambled off everything.

It’s a big relief to hear all of that and after she finishes I notice I had begun to hold my breathe and release it. “Good.” I say as I reach out for the glass of water on the table again and take a few sips. I am suddenly aware I am starving and also somehow exhausted despite the three days of nonstop sleep, about to say something about food I am interrupted by Alice’s mom and a young nurse hot on her trails.

“Welcome back to the land of the awake Molli, how are you feeling?” He asks as he grabs a chart from the end of my bed and walks up close on my right side.

His ID badge says his name is Trent and knowing his name makes me already more comfortable with him. I try to shrug my shoulders but it is a little stilted and I wince slightly at the reminder of my injury. “I’ve been better, but mostly I want a giant burger and then a nap as strange as that sounds.”

Everyone in the room laughs and Trent goes about checking a few things on the machines around me I am now realizing I am attached to. “I hear ya, but if you could just wait while the doctor makes her way down and checks on you personally and your parents get here that’d be great. I’ll go ask to get you some food though, hang tight okay?” His hand reached out to let his fingers graze my shoulder and through the thin gown I could feel his body heat and it reminded me how cold I was too. I just nodded at him and he turned to leave the room again.

In his wake Mrs. Wilan started filling the silence immediately talking about the last few days and how worried she and my parents where and that they cops would likely be around soon to get my statement and a thousand different things I couldn’t comprehend because it was just too much for now. Alice stayed by my side sitting and holding my hand and squeezing periodically to reassure her I was actually awake and talking again. It was a little thing she thought helped her but it was also helping me stay present and grounded and aware I wasn’t alone, that I wouldn’t have to be alone for any of the aftermath.

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