Jasper

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Chapter Three

It’s been two days since the bar incident and Poppy just keeps on getting worse.

She had stopped crying around yesterday afternoon. We had only left the motel room to get food, but it was always just the boys. Poppy hasn’t let me go since the night from the bar, basically clinging to me as much as she possibly could. So for the past two days, all we have done is watch movies or play games. Mason and Jamie had gone to Walmart and grabbed all of Poppy’s favorite movies, even going so far as to buy a PS4 cause they weren’t willing to drive the 3-hour trip back to Edmonton to grab theirs.

My family has dropped by numerous times over the past couple of days, usually bringing homemade food because mom didn’t want us to drown ourselves in fast food. Mason had texted everyone before they had come over letting them know what happened...well as much as we know what happened. Poppy hasn’t actually told us any details. The first time Nora came over and saw her sister had almost brought me to tears, seeing the heartbroken look on Nora’s usually happy face was like a swift slap of reality as my brain really started to process the situation.

The reality is that my friend was almost...

I can’t even think about it.

My family had taken on a pattern quickly, for whoever wasn’t working the food truck would come by and visit. Nora has been having an extremely hard time with her responsibilities as a mother verses her responsibilities as Poppy’s older sister because while she may not want to leave Poppy, Nora was also dealing with a very sick one-year-old.

Beau has come down with a bad cold, so bad that Nora and Edson had to take her to the hospital. Shivers, fever, vomiting and severe coughing had poor baby Beau crib-ridden and from the looks of it Poppy was coming down with the same thing. Her sickness paired with the trama was making Poppy almost zombie-like, pale and barely moving.

I’m scared, not for myself but for Poppy. She’s always been the light-hearted, hopeful girl who’s always looking on the bright side of things, the girl who helps me get out of my head when it decides to venture into dangerous territory. Now though...she just looks dead to the world. Her once bright brown eyes are now lifeless, her skin sickly pale and bouncy brown hair now stringy and dull. Poppy refuses to eat, barely sleeps and is constantly vomiting yet no matter how hard I beg she won’t go to the hospital, she just clings to me and watches the tv screen with dead eyes. I haven’t heard her say a word since the bar.

“Hey, you hungry? We got chicken nuggets” Mason’s bright smile lights up the room as he and Jamie step through the door, waving two full bags of Mickey D’s in his hands. The smell alone almost makes me drool as I sit up in bed, Poppy’s arms tightening around my waist as she curls into my side.

“Poppy, they have junk food, your favorite” I cooed softly at her, running my fingers through her hair as Mason starts placing the food on the bed. She doesn’t say anything, doesn’t even look at the food as Mason hands over my nuggets.

“Come on Poppy! Say something honey, please!” Jamie begs as a look of pure sorrow crosses his face, brown eyes wet with unshed tears. I look down at her, facial features unmoving as Jamie’s pleas fall on deaf ears. Running a shaking hand through his dyed silver hair, Jamie looks away from us and runs out the door, a strong wind enters the room and carries the scent of rain with it. A huge storm has been plaguing Calgary since yesterday evening with non-stop rain and cracking thunder.

“Shit! Mason go get him, he shouldn’t wonder in the storm” the sound of the door slamming against the wall as the wind hits it, makes Poppy jump, her arms tightening even more as she nuzzles in her face into my waist. Mason quickly follows Jamie, closing the door behind him.

“It’s okay, it’s just the wind” I shush her, petting her head as I try to comfort her. A fit of harsh coughing makes her small body quake, fingers digging into my skin weakly as she starts gagging.

“Shit!” I curse as Poppy vomits, stomach bile and snot covering my shirt. She suddenly lets go of me, trying to turn onto her back but I stop her, keeping her on her side. She weakly fights me, arms flailing out trying to push my hands away.

“Honey, you can’t turn that way! You’ll choke!”

She ignores me and keeps fighting, but her strength is minimal but her flailing makes it difficult. I hear the door bang open and Jamie instantly comes into view, his hands grabbing Poppy’s arms to keep her from flailing. She gives up the fight and finishes puking, her body now still and her arms go slake.

“Jesus! What happened? Is she okay?” Jamie screams in worry, eyes wide in panic as he watches me check her pulse, with flutters lightly behind my fingers.

“She’s fine, it...it must be this flu that’s going around, but we need to talk to someone cause this amount of puking isn’t normal”

“Hospitals a no go, Nora phoned while I was looking for Jamie, apparently Edson’s caught it too, they tried all the hospitals and walk-in clinics they could find but they were all filled to the brim with people” Mason answered, who had stood near the door unnoticed during Poppy’s fit.

“Shit” I cursed as I slipped away from a now sleeping Poppy, getting off the bed that is covered in vomit. The blue and white sheets will have to be changed, meaning we are gonna have to move Poppy.

“You and Poppy should probably go clean up, I’ll try to go find a doctor or someone who can help prescribe her something cause the flu meds we have ain’t working” Mason waits for us to agree before grabbing the keys and heading back out into the storm, the door slamming shut and the sound of the diesel firing up follows a crack of thunder, light flooding in through the closed curtains.

“Alright, can you help me carry her into the bathroom?”

Jamie nods. Going over to the bed I quickly removed Poppy’s puke-covered hoodie, leaving her in a tank top before Jamie carefully lifts her up. Looking over her pale skin something dark catches my eye under her tank top.

“Hold up”

Reaching over I lift her shirt up until her stomach is exposed, and there along her waist is an ugly circular bruise spanning as big as my hand, dried blood crusted over a wound. Dark veins spread out from the bruise, skin yellowing on the outside of the large purple spot.

“What the hell, when did this happen?” I ask no one in general but my question causes Jamie to give me a look of concern.

“What? What is it?”

“I’m not sure it’s too dirty to make out”

“Shit...you think that creep did something to her?”

Jamie suspected the same thing I did, yet we would never know until Poppy starts telling us what happened. Gingerly carrying her to the bathroom, Jamie placed her on the top seat, her body slumped over and eyes barely open. Grabbing a cloth I quickly wiped away any puke from her face and hair before I venture down to the wound. After gently wiping away the dried blood my eyes widen in horror as I see what the wound really is.

It’s a bite mark.

“Poppy what the hell happened!” I snap, my worry for her fueling a fire I’ve been trying to extinguish since the bar. Standing before her, t-shirt covered in vomit, dark bags underneath my eyes and cheeks hot with anger, I am ready for answers. Yet she doesn’t even spare me a glance let alone take her dead eyes off the floor. I know everyone reacts to traumatic events differently but her complete shut down just didn’t feel like the Poppy thing to do, and I’ve tried to be supportive, going as far as to help her bath cause she can’t even stand on her own to feet and she’s constantly vomiting. The only time she did anything was when we tried to take her to see a doctor.

“POPPY!” I scream. Her eyes suddenly pop up and look at me, brown eyes so wide they looked like they would pop out. She starts to shiver and tears spring to her eyes. Shit! I didn’t want her to start crying again, I’ve just so frustrated these past couple days and as much as I didn’t want to take it out on her, I also needed answers.

“Poppy, enough of the crying and just tell me what happened...I can’t...I can’t help you probably if you continue to not tell me what happened”

“I CAN’T TELL YOU WHEN I DON’T EVEN KNOW MYSELF!” her sudden outburst surprised me. Tears stream down her pale cheeks, her eyes narrowing into a glare and she starts to play with her hair when Jamie comes into the bathroom.

“Holy shit, did she talk?”

“More like screamed...but I did snap at her so I kinda deserve it” I replied sheepishly.

“Why did you snap at her?” Angry undertones paired with a soft tone had me stiffen. Jamie wasn’t one to get angry very often, so when he did you knew you did something you shouldn’t have.

“I...got angry...”

“And? Is that the only reason? Are you stupid? You don’t get angry at a traumatized person Jasper!”

“I didn’t mean too...” Guilt churned my stomach as I cast my gaze down to the floor, unable to meet the two pairs of eyes glaring at me.

“You and your goddamn temper Jay” Jamie sighs before turning away from me and kneeling down by Poppy, a soft smile on his face as she watches him with unease.

“Poppy, what do you mean you don’t know what happened? Can you please tell us exactly what happened?” Jamie pleads and Poppy just looks at him like a deer caught in the headlights. Then she lowers are gaze and nods.

“I...” she sighs then continues, “I had just entered the bathroom when...when I saw a woman leaning against the wall...she looked...wrong somehow, not drunk or high just wrong..” a sob breaks her story as she wipes away tears and snot with her bare forearm, her recalling the story clearly having a bad effect on her.

“I was just going into a stall when I was suddenly yanked backward and fell onto the ground... she...she tackled me and bit into my side...I couldn’t...I didn’t know what to do so I kicked her and then she...she...” another sob, more violent than before.

“She fell back against the corner of the sink...hard...and...and stopped moving” she finished and all I could do was look at my best friend since kindergarten with such pity and confusion I didn’t know what to do or say. Here we thought she had been taken advantage of, but the reality was so much worse. She had been attacked, violently, but sweet, innocent Poppy had fought back and had come out the victory...but at what cost?

She thinks she killed someone...and there was nothing I could say to reassure her.

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Hello :)

Chapter 3 up and running. This is unedited so if there are mistakes please forgive and if you want to point them out (politely please) then that would be appreciated.

Thank you and have a nice day.

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