Chapter 6. Fallout
Sirens resound around us, echoing against the walls of the stores and the alley. The ambulance took Amy to the ER for shock treatment. As for me, I am sitting in the backside of the second ambulance, getting my arm tended to by the paramedics lady. I’m silent though tears are still falling down my cheeks, more slowly than before. They told me it’s normal to be shocked and scared after this. But their voices sound muffled, just like the woman and man’s who helped me after the assault. They’re telling the cops what they know for the umpteenth time.
And I’m just…
Out of here.
I’m thinking about my mom—when will she get there with me?—, my boxing. I should have reacted better, kicked his ass more than this. How I’ve got a life I love, despite its big flaws. And I wonder… I wonder why us?
Why did he attack us? I knew he wanted money. We gave it to him.
But then, his eyes turned
And he wanted more.
He wanted us—me, suddenly. I’ve never seen this-was it a trick? Perhaps my mind conjured up these nightmarish eyes out of fear. But it still doesn’t explain his sudden erratic, terrifying behavior-
My head snaps towards my mom’s voice and my breath hitches. My eyes well up again and sobs escape from my chest. My mother climbs aboard the ambulance, her small brown purse slapping her thighs and her eyes wide. She sits beside me, her hair a red disheveled halo in the darkness. She grabs my head between her hands, examining me.
“Oh dear, oh Mimi… I’m so glad you’re okay,” she repeats several times, the major concern fading from her eyes.
“Well, I’ve got a gash on my arm.”
My mother cocks her head at me, as if to say “are you serious?”! Then, she looks at the paramedics lady who nods. “It’ll be fine, ma’am. It wasn’t so deep. More fear than hurt… Well, for her because from what I heard, the boy who did this is pretty beat up.”
“Wh-what?” my mom asks, puzzled. “They told me you were hurt but nothing serious… But what’s that about that boy?”
Her inquisitive eyes bore into mine. I heave a sigh and look at the ground, huddling against her. I’m so sorry I’m wetting her coat with my tears.
“I… I tried to defend us. He had this knife and I do boxing, so I… I just-”
“She fought, Ma’am.”
All three of us turn toward the policeman. He smiles at us and nods at the paramedics. She nods back. I have a sinking feeling; this won’t be pleasant at all. Necessary, of course, but rather unpleasant.
“I’ve got a few questions to ask before we get to the station,” he informs me, gesturing with a pen and white notepad in his hands.
I gulp and shake my head to show I’m in, my hands gripping my ripped knees tightly. There’s a warmth on my own hand and I see my mother’s hand squeezing mine.
“Well, Amy and I were coming back from the movies, and that guy arrived next to me, with his knife pressed against… against my stomach. He told me to get in the alley, so we did,” I start to explain. “I guessed he wanted money, so we gave him our wallets, but then… something changed in him, he wanted… violence. He wanted… more.”
I take a deep breath and I feel my mother’s hand caressing my back.
“I knew I had to be faster. So I punched him and we fought until… until he…” my voice breaks despite the adrenaline running in my veins at the memories. Or perhaps because of it. But seeing my friend threatened like this was… unimaginable. “Until he held my friend with a knife to her throat. I stopped fighting-he left when he heard people arriving.”
I shut my mouth and stare at the floor of the ambulance, lost in dark thoughts.
I should’ve punched harder, I should’ve known he’d go for her… I should’ve protected us better.
The police officer purses his lips for a second, then clucks his tongue.
“You fought back. You know this was incredibly dangerous, right?” he asks, pointing at my bandaged arm. I should feel ashamed, but I just shrug.
“I did what I had to do, officer. He was threatening me and my friend and… I… I felt I could take him on with my boxing, I… I tried something,” I babble, not seeing the ambulance, my mother or the officer anymore but the fight scene replaying again, and again, and again… to the point where that sick guy had a knife against Amy’s throat. And I stopped fighting. He has to be sick to do this, hasn’t he?
The officer sighs and flips a page on his notepad.
“You do boxing, Miss Kane?”
“Yeah, every week, every day.”
“I see.” He scribbles a few notes then stares up at me.
“Do you, by any chance, remember what he looks like?”
Black eyes. Abysses.
I close my eyes hard, hoping to shake that image away from my mind. But it stays like a haunting nightmare.
“I could never forget him, officer.” My voice comes out as dull and even, grave to my own ears. I look up at him and bore my eyes into his.
“He was shorter than me, with dark brown hair, he had it short, eyes… brown, light, I think, I’m not sure,” I concentrate to recall details, whatever I can muster. “He wore… erm… a gray hoodie and jeans. He had a switchknife. That’s all I remember, officer.”
The officer keeps nodding as he writes in his notepad with quick flicks of his wrist. It takes a while before he looks at us again.
“Perfect. I’ve got an idea of who you might’ve run into…”
“How so?” my mother asks while fear creeps up in me.
“It’s a young man we’ve cornered a few times,” he tells us. “You okay with that?”
He’s pointing at my bandage and I nod. “Then come with me, I need your deposition to arrest him.”
I brace myself and stand up, my legs still shaking. But I put one step in front of the other, and I stand tall. He didn’t win. I hurt him badly. I stood my own… He scared the shit out of me, and despite what I know will be a hard struggle, what with the trial and jury and all, I’ll face him. Again, and again, and again, if needs be. My breath wavers and I clench my fist.
Why that violence?
Those black eyes.
Something doesn’t sit right with me. Why hadn’t anyone helped us despite our screams? Why were we on our own?
It shouldn’t happen like this.
Blood is dripping on my nails, but I don’t care. He needs to be stopped.
And deep down, I know, they all need to be stopped. A vague idea creeps into my mind, but my thoughts are too jumbled to really focus on it.
We should’ve been protected.
And hell did I try to protect us.
I sigh and climb into the police car with my mother. For a second, I have a flash of my lame father, abandoning us, as we fell to the floor crying. I shake my head and fix my gaze out the front window.
I won’t go down without a fight.
Keep your cool, Miranda, think, then hit.