Chapter 12- Mourning
Unable to sit around any longer, Gwen gets to her feet.
“I’m going to check on Brooklyn and Emily. Anyone want to come with?”
Audrey gets to her feet, along with Lilly coming out from the other room.
“I want to go, momma. I want to see them.” She says in her innocent tone to get her way. Gwen denies her request politely.
“Not yet, my sweetness; they probably won’t want you to see them all beaten up. I’ll tell them that you send your love and hugs.”
Audrey gets her purse then waits by the door.
“James, you should’ve gone with the boys to say goodbye to the others. I’m having Josh cremated, so there isn’t going to be a funeral for him.” Gwen surprises everyone when she locks eyes with James.
“I’ll stay here with the kids. I have more important things to handle, sorry.” He informs her like the wrath he wishes to unleash on the world continues to swell.
Sara gets to her feet, heading out the door without so much as a single word. Distraught over what Bryan told her when he had her hostage replays in her mind.
“Come on out and play Sara. I know you’re circling to stall me.” She recalls Bryan on top of her desk and finds her looking up at him with terror in her eyes.
“I love you!”
“I was told to find you, win you over and make you the lynchpin to all of this. If it weren’t for you so eager to get married, this wouldn’t be happening right now!”
It ricochets in her mind and sends her into a state of depression. She proceeds to the hospital morgue, where she bumps into Lucas and Kyle, waiting for the chance to identify the bodies.
“Sara, what are you doing here?” Kyle wonders when she squeezes between them.
After she wipes her eyes, followed by blowing her nose, Sara has a mental breakdown.
“It’s my fault. It’s all my fault. Bryan used me to bring the entire family together, and like an idiot, I caused all this to happen.”
Lucas scoots on his feet to take Sara by the shoulders.
“You can’t allow that bloody bastard to control you. This doesn’t fall solely on you. You tried to save them, and our fathers realized the risk.” He expresses with tears in his eyes.
There’s a knock at the door, and a morgue technician leans in the doorway.
“They’re ready for you now. Please follow me.” The thin nerd-like man instructs, wearing coke bottle glasses, as he waves them in his direction.
The echoes of their footsteps are the only sounds in the hallway. Sara’s occasional sob breaks the sounds of the echoes. They pause by the door leading to the morgue; they’re prewarned of what they’re about to identify.
“I should warn you, and this is not for the faint at heart. The wounds they suffered are pretty severe.” The technician comments, ready to open the door.
There on the autopsy tables lay three bodies. First up is Owen. Lucas covers his mouth, waiting for his nerves to settle.
“That’s my father, thank you…” He’s barely able to muster from his mouth, trying not to gag.
“I’m terribly sorry, sir. You all have my sincerest condolences.” The technician says, at the edge of the table.
“I’ll escort him home for his funeral,” Lucas mentions searching for the courage to say anything to his father.
“Dad, you always took risks for other’s safety. I’ll miss you, and so will your grandkids. Thank you for bringing my Emily home.” That’s all Lucas can say as he stands there at his father’s side.
The next table has Josh on the icy cold stainless-steel surface.
“Can either of you identify this man?”
Sara takes the chance to speak up before Kyle.
“It’s my Uncle Josh.” She stands there, stroking his hair as she peeks at his ribs that are slightly exposed.
“Oh my God, is that what killed him?” She gasps at the sight of the through and through bullet wound.
“I can’t say, miss, I am sorry…” They listen as they aren’t granted to be told any of the details.
“Come on, Sara, let him rest,” Kyle advises with a hand on each shoulder, to pull her away.
“No! It’s my fault, and I’m sorry!” She yells down on her knees, taking her wedding band off, and tosses it across the floor.
“Lovey, they died to protect us, don’t dishonor their memory.” Lucas intervenes beside her on the floor.
Kyle takes his place, waiting patiently at the final table.
“Mind if I go ahead?” The Morgue tech speaks up with a firm grip on the cover.
“Just uncover the head and upper chest region.”
“Yeah, that’s Justin, my lord in heaven. I can’t imagine how badly he suffered.” Kyle says, with his eyes shut as his head shakes back and forth.
The morgue technician gives them his final statement before he escorts them from the room.
“I am truly am sorry about everyone you loved and lost. It’s a pain I can’t even visualize in my wildest dreams. At least they had people who loved them.”
As the trio travel back up to the hospital’s ground level, they’re greeted by a hostile scene at the receptionist desk.
“Hot damn it you, I said I am her son!” A tall thin man in his early 20’s with dark hair shouts.
“Sir, I am sorry, but until authorities arrive to clear everything, no one from the massacre can be seen.” The nurse pleads with the angry stranger.
He smacks his fists off the desk, which forces Sara and Kyle to approach the situation.
“Hey buddy, how about you relax and explain what’s going on. Maybe we could help you.”
They flash their badges at the same time. Kyle and Sara hope they can distract the stranger long enough.
“Oh, Mr. Parker, Ms. Trout, could you explain the safety of so many patients is at risk.”
“Who you trying to see, sir?” Sara begins with her amateur questioning.
“My mother, Nikole Katua, is a patient here. I received a call that she was shot.” He reveals, hoping to see his mother.
Caught off guard, Sara pops off faster than her mind can mouth can process together.
“I never knew she had a son. Hell, as long as I have known her, I’ve never even seen her date.”
“I am Nathan, her son, I swear on her life. I just want to make sure my mother is okay. How difficult is that to understand?” He asks, looking around at everyone.
“Have any I.D.?” Kyle questions, taking control of the conversation.
Nathan huffs, reaching back for his wallet. The nurses watch and stand back, prepared for an all-out warzone ready to explode.
“Here, and to prove that she is my mother, take my wallet and scroll through the photos of us. She came out to visit not long ago. I just graduated from college two years ago and moved to Denver as a Civil Engineer.” He says, ready to become violent, feeling his attempts have slammed into a brick wall.
“Just relax. I can get you to see her. I’m only taking precautions. I am going with you.”
Sara interrupts, “you mean we are going. Nikki is one of mom’s best friends.”
Nathan pauses to take his belongings back when he’s caught off guard himself.
“Your mother is Audrey Cline? I’ve spoken to her a few times over the years when moms talked to her on the phone. It’s great to meet you, Sara.”
When they hear her name said without a proper introduction, it startles them for a moment.
“Yeah, let’s get you up there and see how she’s doing,” Kyle mentions and twists his head to motion for Lucas to follow.
“She’s in room 0215.” The nurse relays out the information and gulps as the tension dwindles.
Nathan is put out in front to ensure no more surprises happen on their way up to Nikki’s room.
By the time they arrive, he turns, walking backward.
“Thank you for helping me. I know I was an asshole back there, but hey, where’s everyone else?”
They all stop a couple of feet from the door where the truth comes out.
“We lost good people today. All three, great father’s in different ways. One of them is the man that took me in when I had nowhere left to go.” Kyle sniffles to hold back his anguish.
“Wait, you mean…” Nathan begins when Sara cuts him off.
“Yes, my Uncle Josh and Uncle Justin are dead. They died saving Josh’s daughters.”
He stands there speechless, gawking at them.
“I, I, am so sorry, and this will cripple mom’s heart.”
“If we may, I have a child waiting for me, and before we depart this decrepit place, I want to visit my wife,” Lucas says, finally breaking his prolonged silence.
“Yes, sorry, sir,” Nathan replies and taps on the door before they enter.
Slowly the heavy hospital door is opened, and Nikki is half-conscious. She slurs her words when she can focus on who’s in the room.
“Nathan, is that you, son? Like, For real, are you here?”
“Yes, mom, I made it; sorry, I was working on the new levy in Tender Springs out in Colorado. Are you going to be okay?” He goes on to explain his absence.
“It’s all fine, my sweet boy. Who is with you?”
Nathan turns back to look over his shoulder at Kyle and Sara.
“Lucas, go find Emily and Brooklyn. We got this.” Kyle whispers.
Together they walk to the side of the hospital bed where Nikki can see them.
“You look so much like your dead Uncle Nathan. You know that’s who I am named you after, right?” She stumbles over her words feeling the pain medication numb the pain.
“Yeah, mom, I know you’ve told me.”
There’s a pause as tension once again builds around the small entourage.
“Mom, I need to tell you something, and it’s bad news.” Nathan gulps with such a force, Nikki picks up on it even in her swaying back and forth state of mind.
“Well, spill the beans, Captain Sappy Pants!”
With his eyes shut and a single deep breath, Nathan let’s slip the news.
“Mom, your friends are dead. Josh and Justin died a little while ago.”
The stare in her eyes says it all when her pupils grow to the size of silver dollars.
“Do what! No! Justin, so nice, so sweet and honest. Josh, the love I let go of by mistake. NO!”
She screams, shoots her blood pressure high enough to send an alert to the nurse’s station, where they come into the room to kick the visitors out.
“Hey, you three out now! We need to keep her heart rate down. She still has surgery to get the bullets out of her body. We’re backed up enough and don’t need anything else going wrong. Now go!” They’re ordered while escorted out the door.
Nathan leans against the wall while Kyle and Sara stand there itching to check on the rest of the family.
“Hey, listen, we hope Nikki comes out alright, but we need to check on a couple of other members of the family.”
“Do what you need to do then; I have this under control. Thank you for getting me up here to see her.” He praises their generosity.
“Our pleasure guy, if you need anything, we’ll be around here somewhere,” Sara tells Nathan walking away to the elevator.
Together they wait on the elevator to head up to the Psychology Ward. They are stopped in the waiting room where Lucas to be cleared to enter. The staff runs clearance to make sure it won’t elongate the girls’ time under evaluation given the trauma they suffered.
“Still waiting…” Sara references when she notices Lucas pace back and forth in the waiting room.
“Yes, they’re contacting the psychiatrist, so I have clearance to spend a few moments with her.”
Impatience sets in when time seizes to a crawl as they sit and wait, as the clock ticks away.
“Come on, you blokes, this is bloody absurd!” Lucas growls by tapping his foot on the floor.
“Takes time, man; they’ll get us in there shortly,” Kyle says, to ease his brother-in-law’s anger.
It’s a few minutes later that the safety locked door opens.
“Mr. Lockhart, you’ve been granted fifteen minutes. She’s sedated; she’ll appear to be a bit loopy.”
Not wasting time, Lucas rushes to his feet, but when Sara and Kyle try to follow behind him, the unit nurse stops them in their tracks.
“Sorry, we didn’t get clearance for you two. You’ll have to wait here for your friend.”
Lucas looks back to shake his head that he’s sorry.
“I’ll send her your love.” He comments as he begins his way down the corridor. They return to their seats to relax and wait.
“Here we are sir, just be patient and don’t mention anything about what happened to her or ask about anything that occurred. We had a hell of a time getting her under control. She’s feisty for her size.”
Lucas chuckles to himself, “takes it from her dad,” he comments before he steps into the room.
His heart breaks when he sees her strapped to the bed.
“Hi, my darling, it’s me, it’s your hubby.” He calls out with a soothing voice.
“She may still be out of it a little too much.” He’s told when the nurse stands by the door.
Emily hears his voice and begins to stir a bit.
“I killed him…I killed him…” She slurs, tugging at her restraints.
“No, no, you didn’t, my love.” He whispers in her ear.
“I can feel his blood on my hands. He fell on the knife, and I stabbed him. I can listen to him wheezing now. I killed the only person who wanted me in this world. You don’t want me, you tolerate me, and Brooklyn puts up with me for the money.”
Lucas shuts his eyes to pray while he holds her hand while she continues to ramble.
“He killed his friends; he was going to kill me after he killed Justin. I can hear him scream. He was killed protecting me. They raped Brooklyn, he raped me, and he made us watch my uncle hang in the air. He shot daddy. Then I stabbed him. I’m going to Hell; I’m a hell-bound whore.”
The visit is cut short when she suddenly jerks to attack Lucas.
“You, you tried to kill me, you won’t get me again! I swear when you get these cuffs open, I’ll kill you. You won’t take me as your slut ever again. I’ll bite your dick off!” She begins to scream, fighting to get free as Lucas backs away, startled.
“You have to go! Orderly I need your assistance, stat!” The nurse yells out, pinning Emily’s body to the bed.
“I need another tranquilizer now; she’s hysterical.” She orders when four men enter the room to take control of her limbs.
Lucas exits the room to return to the waiting area. He stops right in front of Kyle and Sara. Lucas tumbles to his knees, taking his hands to cover his face, upset over what he discovered transpired back in Youngstown.
Kyle tries to comfort him with kind words.
“Give her some time, bud. She went through Hell. She’s strong. She’ll return to who she is soon enough. Take your dad back to England, and I’ll keep the kids while you’re gone.”
“Not a chance I’m about to leave them behind. When I go back home, we’re remaining there. She’s gone mad, I tell you, her mind is gone. She’s never coming back to us. To beat it all, she’s the one who killed Josh, she told me. He somehow fell on a blade she had, but that’s all I know.”
Shocked by the revelation, they help Lucas to his feet and return to the lobby, where they bump into Audrey and Gwen. When they stop to talk, they share the experience from the Psych Ward.
“We didn’t get to see Brooklyn, but Emily’s a mess. She’s lost her bloody mind.” Lucas explains.
He edits out the part about not returning from Europe.
“God help us; the glue that held this family together is gone. Justin was always the one able to keep things together behind the scenes.” Audrey lets out, her nerves unravel.
“He’s with God now. May he be the Guardian Angel this family needs to heal.” Gwen speaks up, shaking her head.
“They’re stuck in a seventy-two-hour evaluation. It was a miracle they allowed me inside.” Lucas admits holding his chest as the anxiety flares.
They take a moment to embrace each other and return to James’ house to pick up the kids, then try to comfort each other as the gloom and doom of the madness results continue to unravel over dinner as they make arrangements in a short amount of time for the funerals.