I still felt numb.
My mind was on overdrive, thinking about everything at the same time.
So as I sat in the ambulance with a blanket wrapped around my shoulders, all I could think about were the events that occurred in the last hour or so. I shut my eyes to block them out, but the memories hit me back with a stronger force and I was left overwhelmed and empty at the same time.
“Why do I even need this?” I grumbled as I tried to shrug the blanket off. One of the nurses held onto it and placed it back onto my shoulders.
“You may be going into shock, dear. It’s a measure we take and I would recommend for you to keep it on.”
I was in no mood to argue.
She continued dabbing onto my wounds.
“I really don’t need this. Can we go see my mom first?”
The nurse sighed sympathetically. “Of course, dear. We will make a move soon, but you have a lot of open cuts and wounds. I just want to make sure they won’t get infected.” She gently pulled onto my arm to continue her work, but something came over me all of sudden and I snatched my arm back towards me.
“I don’t need this though! I don’t! Can we go for god’s sake?! I don’t care about me! I. Don’t. Care. I just want my mom and my dad and I want to go home without the fear of stupid lunatics going behind our lives.”
The nurse looked at me with a tight-lipped smile and nodded. “Okay dear. Robert, take her to the hospital, too. We’ll look after her there.”
My insides were telling me to say sorry to her for bursting out like that. It was totally uncalled for.
But my heart was still pounding in my chest, my leg bouncing up and down in anxiety.
Gun, mom, man.
Gun, mom, man.
Gun, mom, man.
Gun, run, mom.
Ambulance, gun, mom.
Mom, run, safe.
Help, hospital, run.
Gun, mom, man.
I pulled on my hair to put a stop on my thoughts.
Maybe it was affecting me more because of how my mom went in on a stretcher they exact same way my brother did. She was unconscious too. She’d lost her consciousness in our little prison itself.
It felt like too much of a reply.
And somewhere internally, I had to repeat to myself a thousand times that she was still alive.
The lady’s dabbing hadn’t stopped, but we did end up reaching the hospital.
I was transferred to a room in which only a hospital bed with a side table could be seen. “When can I see my mom?” I asked like a little kid again. “Or dad? Someone please.”
“We just need to make sure you haven’t broken anything. We need to run a quick test. Your condition isn’t the best, dear.”
I started sobbing again. Why was I crying? Oh my god, Sam. I’m going to punch you. Shut up. Why you gotta embarrass yourself like that?
I didn’t recall much after. They gave me a heavy dosage of something, and I was awfully tired and sleepy. I was stubborn though. I plucked out their IV’s just about twice until the medicine took me out.
Well, I guess I lost that round.
I don’t know what time it was.
All I know is that I had been right ahead at those white walls for over an hour now from the moment I woke up. And I just had been going through one of those moments where I didn’t feel like getting out of my bed or doing anything really.
Right then, a nurse came in.
“Oh! You’re awake!” she exclaimed in surprise. “Why didn’t you call us, dear?”
Uh. . .I could call them? How exactly?
I could suddenly feel the pain as she pressed onto my face with something and winced. I couldn’t even speak and this lady wanted me to call her?
She noticed the look on my face and realization dawned on her. “There’s a button right beside your bedside.”
I nodded awkwardly. Of course, I knew that.
She helped me sit upright and handed me a glass of water to quench my thirst. Once the water had gone into my system, the dryness in my throat faded away and I proceeded to ask, “My parents? Are they here? Are they okay?”
She smiled warmly at me. “Yes, they are, dear. Your dad is outside waiting on you, and your mom is absolutely stable.”
My eyes welled up with relief and I almost had to resist myself to give her a bear hug. “Thank you,” my lips wobbled as I struggled to keep a smile on my face.
“I’m going to call in the doctor, so he can brief you on your situation and then we can allow visitors in.” The doctor came in to brief me just like the nurse said, and I found myself zoning in and out at random moments as he spoke. He told me that the rope marks on my wrists and ankles would hurt for a while and just repeated the words sprains and bruises a whole lot of times.
Eh, it’s fine. I knew that part.
“Do you want me to send your dad in?”
I merely nodded.
“Okay, let me just finish this up and I’ll send him right in.”
A few moments later, a head popped right through the plain, white door bringing some color into the room. Dad rushed over to my side and kissed me on my forehead. “I really want to hug you right now, but I’m also kind of afraid I’ll hurt you. At the same time, I also want to throw you out of the window for scaring my old heart like that.”
“Are you okay? Did anything happen to you?” I searched his arms for any wounds.
He stopped me. “I am completely fine. But I’m really glad you’re okay, kiddo. I don’t know what I would have done if anything would have happened to either one of you,” he closed his eyes as if even thinking of it pained him and then pushed himself to continue, “Emily, though... she lost her right arm. And I don’t know how to fix that. I don’t know how to fix anything.” He almost broke down towards the end but I placed my palm on his face.
“You can’t fix it. None of us can. But what we can do is be her pillars of support.”
He collected himself and nodded. “Yes, but for now, I want you to take care of yourself completely and make sure your face doesn’t get any uglier.”
I let out a laugh. “That bad?”
“Yes. That bad.”
“One less thing to worry about. No more boys behind me,” I winked at him.
“About that. . . the kid is outside too? What’s his name? Alan? Arin? And Cecilia too.”
“Alex and Cecilia?” I questioned. “How did they know I was here? And how did they make it here so fast?”
“Well, I don’t know about fast. My back is most certainly aching in those disastrous chairs I’ve been sitting on outside for a day now.”
“Mhmm,” he agreed. “Would you be okay to talk to them? I can ask them to wait if you’re not ready yet?”
“No, it’s okay,” I replied, still confused by how they were here. “You can send them in.”
A couple of minutes in, Cecilia ran in the door and almost crushed me with a hug. I winced in pain. Okay, maybe hugs could wait for a couple of days till the pain subsided.
“Oh. My. God. Your face looks like a watermelon and seems like an onion because you’re about to make me cry.”
“I’m fine, Ceci,” I waved her off with a slight smile and then saw Alex stand right behind her awkwardly from the corner of my eye.
“Hey,” he waved, almost unsure of himself.
“Hi,” I said back.
“How did you guys know I was here?” I addressed both of them. “It’s barely been a day.”
“About that. . .” Alex started before he trailed off.
Ceci continued on. “How do you think the police tracked you?”
“Uh. . .” I answered back dumbly at a loss of words. I don’t think I’ve been given proper time to think on that question.
“You called Alex up. And he heard it a lot of screaming and muffled sounds. So he phoned up the local police to inform them that something may be wrong. And one police station connected to the other and bam. We found out you were stuck in the middle of a crazy drug dealer’s--”
“And murderer,” I added, as anger rushed back to my veins and a shiver ran down my spine. “He murdered my brother.”
There was silence for a bit as the both of them registered my words. “I-- I’m so sorry. I don’t know what to say.”
“You don’t need to say anything,” I shook my head at them with a sad smile. “Fact is that he’s gone and we can’t do anything about that. But maybe. . .maybe my brother can finally get the justice he deserves.”
“And that’s why you can’t play football. . ?”
I nodded. “I had a football match the day he died. It was the biggest one ever and I was so happy. I rushed to tell him I got selected by a scout to play in Uni, but I found him in a pool of his own blood. I saw the killer run out, but no one believed me. It got ruled as suicide. Ever since, I can’t bring myself to play football.”
“Did you ever try?”
“I did,” I remembered, trying my very best to not let the tears in my eyes fall. “I fell on the floor and remembered my brother be brutally murdered. I didn’t try after that. Replaying that day is my greatest weakness. I can’t go through it again. I can’t go through the pain of being happy and having it viciously snatched away in mere moments.” I looked at him with my unshed tears. “That day, I lost myself.”
The reels in Ceci’s head turned as she pieced the puzzle together. “Those nightmares every day. Your insomnia--”
I cut her off with yet another nod. “I got diagnosed with PTSD. It was part of the reason why no one took my statements seriously,” I scoffed.
There was silence, and my mind wandered back to what they had said. “Wait? Didn’t I cut the call? I remember cutting the call?”
“Uh. . .you did? I don’t think so? I mean I just got a call and it was awfully hard to not notice something was wrong. So I just informed the right people.”
“And you saved my mom’s life. You saved our lives.” I looked at him genuinely and sincerely. “Thank you, Alex.”
He let a small smile appear on his face. “Anytime, Sam.”
Ceci cleared her throat and winked at us and I had the urge to not roll my eyes at her. I had never thought of Alex that way, and up till now, he had only gone from being my number one hated person to a really good friend.
“I’ll be honest with you, I was more of hoping that my plan involving them using the walkie talkie and then tracing my location would help. But I’m really, really glad they were that stupid to throw my phone away in only the final destination,” I laughed.
“Yeah, that was absolutely mad,” Alex and Ceci laughed with.
Soon, we three sobered up. “When can I get discharged?”
“Doctor’s say you’re not exactly critical, but do need to be taken care of. So quite possibly in an hour or so.”
“Okay,” I whispered, my mind burdened itself with thoughts with of how mom was again.
Ceci and Alex just stepped out of the room, telling me they were going to leave me to rest and demanding for me to let them know if I need anything. Dad re-entered the room, telling me that he was going to fill up some paperwork to get me discharged.
I got out earlier than expected. Couldn’t have taken over forty minutes or so.
I changed into my normal clothes and Dad helped me with the way to my mom’s room.
Suddenly, my hands got clammy. I was nervous.
At that time, everything went by in a blur and all we could focus on was our survival. Now, that the second part was taken care of. . .all the issues we’d buried as less relevant had become more prominent.
Issues such as the fact that my mom lost her right arm.
And I didn’t know how she would react.
I didn’t know what to say.
I was lucky enough she made it through. I was grateful if anything.
But I was scared because she never deserved it. And losing an arm is quite possibly one of the hardest things to even imagine, let alone go through.
I slowly pushed through her ward, and with an encouraging nod from my dad, walked into the room.
She was resting, eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling.
“Mom. . ?”
Her head turned to mine in a flash and her waterworks couldn’t be stopped. “Sam! My darling. My sweetheart,” she motioned for me to come nearer with her left hand and held me tight as she cried against me. “You’re here. You’re really here. You’re okay.”
“I am, mom. And you will be too.”
“Oh, Sam. . .” she cried again. “I don’t know. I don’t. . . my arm. My arm is gone, Sam. It’s gone!”
“Shh,” I tried calming her down. “I know it’s tough but you’ll be fine. You’re the strongest person I ever know and I can’t even imagine what you’re going through. All I know is that you are the most amazing mom out there, and you are my hero. And heroes go through this with their heads held up.”
She glanced at her arm and then back at me again. “They stopped the bleeding. But they’re taking me into surgery. . . I-- I’m scared, Sam. I’m really, really scared.”
“As you should be,” I told her.
“But I know you’ll get through this. It’ll be one of the hardest things but I have complete and utter faith in you, honey. We love you. So, so much. And we’ll be there every step of the way.” Dad continued for me.
She squeezed her eyes shut then opened it again and I saw another determination in her eyes. She looked at the two of us and smiled.
My heart was at ease again.
We had to leave her soon after as she got ready for surgical procedures and it was one of the most painful things to do. My hands trembled, my heart anxious as I sat on those chairs waiting for her to come out.
“Ms. Samantha Anderson?” a policeman approached me. “If you’re okay to talk right now, would now be a good time to take in your statement?”
I looked at my dad for confirmation and he gave me the sign to do so if I was ready. “I guess?”
“If you want to know, however, thanks to yours and your mom’s bravery Mr. Jonathon Brundy was arrested along with twenty-five of his underground and hidden sidemen. We found thousands of kilos of drugs in their possessions and enough evidence to charge at least a couple of them with first-degree murder. They have all been charged and are awaiting trial to be convicted.”
My heart couldn’t have swelled with pride more in that very moment and I looked to the side once again, where I saw my expression mirrored on my dad’s face.
I gave him a nod of acknowledgment and gratitude.
I took a deep breath and looked around me. My mom was in surgery, but she was hopeful. My friends from Uni came in to visit and quite potentially saved both mine and my mom’s life. My dad sat across me with a proud look on his face.
And Seb. . ?
Seb was right with me. Commending me on how for the first time I was better at him than something other than football. Definitely both took a beating better than him.
But who’s bragging, right?
So, I tagged along with the policemen to a secluded ward where they were to take my statement.
“I’m ready,” I informed them.
And I was. For everything ahead. Be it whatever.
I’m a little sad. This was the last chapter of this magnificent ride we’ve been through together. A special ride that was undoubtedly far from perfect.
All that remains is an epilogue now.
There might be a couple of errors, so don’t hesitate to point those out to me. I tried to clear up a lot in this chapter, and I hope it brought some sort of closure to you. Hopefully, it was satisfying enough for you as readers. (lemme know any feedback-- good or bad)
I’m so happy and proud of myself for getting this done despite having such a rough year where I’ve constantly been busy. But more than that, I’m more grateful to you all who’ve stuck through with me this whole time. I owed you this book and much more.
Sending you lots of love. Stay safe.