The blow came from behind.
Aurora groaned and slumped over the beds railings. She gripped them tightly as her vision slid in and out of focus and she vaguely heard Molly barking in the distance, even though she sat right at her feet. Her breathing came hard and fast, and she had to force herself through the onslaught of what was another seizure. Turning on her feet, Aurora looked up into the enraged face of Matthew Jacobs, her young charge, Jenni's father.
"What are you doing in here?" Matthew sneered.
"What does it look like?" Aurora asked, trying to focus all of her concentration on her breathing. If she could do that then maybe the seizure would ease off, just enough for her to keep Matthew away from Jenni and to draw someone to the room. It was a surprise to her though that no one had heard Molly barking just yet.
"It looks like you're interfering in a family matter," Matthew sneered. His hands were balled into fists at his side, and Aurora could only guess that he had punched her in the back of the head. She had learned growing up that any hit, be it big or small, to the head was enough to start her seizures off. She had been accidentally kicked in the head once, and had ended up convulsing.
"Is that what they call beating a child of five these days?" Aurora asked.
"She asked for it."
"SHE'S FIVE!" Aurora yelled. "How can she possibly 'ask for it'?"
"Like I said, it's got nothing to do with you or social services," Matthew said. "She's my daughter, and I'll do whatever I damn well please to her."
"Like hell you will," Aurora said.
Matthew growled. "What did you just say?" he asked.
"I said -"
Aurora groaned and stumbled sideways. Her cheek stung from where she had been hit, but it didn't deter her. She wasn't much of a fighter, preferring to protect than to actually confront, but knowing what Matthew and his wife did to Jenni on a daily basis really upset her. She loved and cared about Jenni, and what was best for the little girl, it was partly the reason she was at the hospital right now. She had received a call from her coordinator Joanna a few hours ago, explaining that Jenni had been rushed to the hospital from a suspected falling down the stairs. Aurora didn't know the extent of Jenni's injuries, but she knew that Matthew was to blame, and by damned was she going to let him hurt Jenni again.
"If you didn't want her, why have her?" Aurora asked. "Huh? There are parents out there than would love to have a bundle of joy like Jenni, why don't you do the right thing by her and give her up? Let her and someone else be happy. You won't have to provide for her at all then. You wouldn't be tied down."
"Is that what you think I feel?" Matthew asked. "I don't feel tied down. I want JJ. I'm just teaching her the way of life, the way my father taught me."
"Hurting her is not the way of life," Aurora said. "You're her father. You're supposed to love her."
"Funny way of showing it," Aurora said.
Matthew raised his fist again, and this time Aurora ducked. She straightened up and stepped to the right, reaching for the emergency buzzer beside Jenni's bed. Matthew growled and lunged for her, he wrapped one hand around her wrist and pulled her into him, while the other wrapped around her throat.
Aurora struggled to breathe and Matthew lifted her into the air and then threw her over the bed, causing her to groan as she smashed into the wall. She was thankful that she was in a hospital, because when she did finally pass out from whether it be injuries or seizures, there'd be someone on call to help her. But first she had to help Jenni.
Forcing herself to stand, Aurora braced herself against the wall and glared at Matthew. He stood with his back to her and looking down at Jenni as she slept. The only sound in the room was Aurora's heavy breathing and the beeping of Jenni's machines. Closing her eyes for a brief second, Aurora seized her chance to lunge at Matthew when he raised his hand. She landed on his back, taking him by surprise.
"GET OFF ME!" Matthew yelled, stumbling backwards from the bed. His yell woke Jenni and she sat up with a scream, her blueish-green eyes scanned the room and she spotted her father and Aurora against the far wall. Aurora cried out as Matthew run backwards into the wall, crushing her between him and the structure. The back of her head cracked against the window pane, causing it to smash and a smear of red blood to trickle down the screen.
Aurora's grip slackened on Matthew's shoulders and she slipped from his back. Unfortunately, unlike her, Matthew had sustained very little injuries from the collision, and instantly whipped around. He grabbed her shoulders and lifted her up, ramming her hard against the wall. A cry of pain escaped Aurora's lips and her head fell back, tears of pain and fear reflected in her eyes.
Matthew simply laughed at her.
"You're pathetic," Matthew said. "You really thought you could stop me? All you've done is extended the inevitable; at least after today you won't be around to protect JJ from me."
"Don't... be... so... sure..." Aurora said between gasps of air. Her fingers dug into Matthew's hands, trying her hardest to pry them from her throat. Her vision was starting to cloud and she could feel her lungs aching for air inside her chest.
Then she felt it.
A surge of energy.
She managed to raise her knee, hitting him in the groin and then the feeling of suffocating was gone.
Aurora gasped and coughed as air rushed into her mouth and flooded her lungs. She could barely hear Matthew yelling, followed by scuffling footsteps and then she felt a hand on her shoulder. She opened her eyes and looked up into the tired face of her doctor, Joseph Shaw. The elder man was saying something, but Aurora couldn't hear him over the rush of blood in her ears.
Her vision clouded again and rushing noise in her ears disappeared. Spencer was barking again, there was shouting from outside of the room, Matthew was yelling, calling her all sorts of names, but Aurora didn't care, she had stopped him from hurting Jenni any more than he already had. Doctor Shaw was shouting for assistance, whilst over on the bed, tears streaming down her face, was Jenni.
Just as her vision clouded for the final time, Aurora muttered "Jenni" and then she collapsed into Shaw's arms; her body convulsing uncontrollably.
Alexis Turner looked up as her best friend and house-mate Aurora Randall groaned and opened her eyes. The two women were at the local hospital where Aurora had been admitted just after being attacked by Jenni Jacob's father, Matthew. Aurora had sustained some cuts and bruises to her face and neck, but they were nothing compared to the epileptic seizure she had endured after the attack had occurred.
"Hey," Alexis said, smiling as she met Aurora's gaze. "Welcome back."
"What happened?" Aurora asked, groggily.
"What do you remember?"
Alexis smiled sympathetically. That was all she needed to know that Aurora had suffered a tonic-clonic seizure. "You've been unconscious for about an hour, max," she said. "Those seizures are getting worse."
"I had another one?" Aurora asked, looking confused. She tried to sit up, but the room spun and she felt groggy again. Leaning back against her pillows, Aurora finally got a good look at the room she was in. It was too basic, white and bright to be her bedroom. It was then she realised she was in a hospital room. She turned to Alexis expectantly.
"Jenni's here," Alexis said. "You got the call to say she had been admitted earlier. She's fine," she added quickly as Aurora looked worried. "She's in the ICU."
"What happened?" Aurora asked.
"They can't say for sure," Alexis said. "But they suspect that she'd been pushed down a flight of stairs, and if the X-rays are anything to go by, I'd be entitled to agree. Fractured rib, broken wrist, and she's got a concussion."
Aurora curled her hands into a fist and the machine to her left started to beep faster.
Alexis jumped to her feet and seized Aurora's hands. "Aurora, listen to me, she's OK. Jenni is OK, she's safe at the hospital," she said. "You have to calm down."
"She's not safe there anymore, Lex," Aurora said. "That house is too dangerous for her anymore, and what makes you think she is safe here? They're her parents, they can easily get to her in the ICU, and no one would question their authority."
"The doctors are under strict orders from the police to not let anyone, other than you and me, to check on Jenni," Alexis promised.
Aurora frowned, confused. "What do you mean?" she asked.
"This is why I was hoping you hadn't have had a tonic-clonic seizure," Alexis said. "After they had admitted you, the doctors called me to let me know what had happened, I asked them to give me a full detailed report so that I could write up our reports back at the office, and they told me that Jenni's father had attacked you after he saw you in the ICU."
Aurora blinked and stared at her best friend. "He attacked me?" she asked.
"The doctors seem to think that he rammed you against the wall, it's what brought on your seizure," Alexis explained. "The sudden collision interrupted the electrical activity in your brain, and it brought on a seizure."
"How many did I have?"
Alexis shook her head. "They're not sure," she answered.
"Did I convulse?"
"They didn't say," Alexis said. "But I am assuming so."
Aurora sighed and sank into her pillows. She hated knowing that she had relapsed. For years she had got her epilepsy under control, and now, all of a sudden, she was having one every other day. "Molly, where is she?" she asked.
"She's OK," Alexis said, pointing to something in the corner of the room.
Aurora looked over to see Molly curled up, her head resting on his front paws, and she was breathing lightly. "Why am I not surprised to find her snoozing?" she chuckled.
"And Jenni?" Aurora asked.
"Last I checked she was sleeping," Alexis said.
"I want to see her," Aurora said.
Alexis nodded and let go of her friend's hands. "I'll go and get Doctor Shaw," she said. "He'll be happy to know that you're awake, and I'll ask about Jenni while I am at it."
"Thanks, Lex, you're a true gem," Aurora said.
"Yeah, don't you forget it," Alexis teased, walking out of the room.
Aurora smiled and looked back at Molly again. She was glad to see her, feeling much safer already, just knowing that she was in close proximity to her, and would start barking if she sensed another seizure coming on, made her feel surer about her situation. Someone was bound to hear Molly barking and come to investigate what the problem was.
As she looked away, something glittery caught Aurora's attention.
There, sitting delicately on her bedside unit, sparkling brightly in the artificial light of the hospital room was the crimson crystal she had found over a month ago. It was brighter than usual, and Aurora seemed drawn to it. She lightly squeezed it between her fore finger and thumb as she lifted it into the air, careful to not drop it. Something was different about them gem, something more than usual.
Dropping it into her palm, Aurora gasped as a holographic image appeared, hovering inches above the gem itself.
Aurora wasn't a paleontologist, but she knew her dinosaurs well enough. Hell, she had a younger brother that had been obsessed with Dinosaurs once upon a time, if she hadn't have sat with Chase for hours on end playing with different types of dinosaur figures years ago, she wouldn't have been able to identify the reptile in her hand.
It was a Giganotosaurus, more commonly known as a G-Rex.
Pinching the bridge of her nose, Aurora stared hard at the glittering gem in her hand and sighed. What the hell had happened to cause the gem to becoming brighter? And was it somehow connected to her latest seizure, like she suspected it was connected to her usual night seizure? She still wasn't sure, but she was starting to feel that it was. The pattern fit, every time she had a seizure the gem seemed close at hand.
"What the hell are you?" Aurora whispered, turning the gem over between her fingers.