Autumn's Light

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Loss

I went running into the hospital to see Bryce sitting next to Savannah and then Hendrix’s dad Tony sitting across from them. Bryce got his feet when he saw me and pulled me into him immediately. I was in shock for a moment, not moving. My dad was shot. He was in Emergency surgery. The only information I got before I was hysterically hyperventilating in the truck was that a drug raid went bad, they went into a trap. It wasn’t just my dad that was shot in the event. It was an event of multiple agencies.

But why didn’t he tell me he was leaving right after we went to the dance? Why is he always keeping secrets from us lately? Maybe this wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t go to homecoming, but also who am I kidding? He never stayed home from work. My heart is shattering being held by my brother. My vision just staring at the blank wall in front of me.

My father is in there fighting for his life. The last thing he did was make sure me and Bryce were taken care of and going to have the best night of our lives. But now he’s alone, in that surgery room. It all suddenly hit and it hit me hard.

I grabbed the back of Bryce’s shoulders with my hands and burst into tears. He was holding onto my head and my shoulders rocking me back and forth. I didn’t realize I was screaming while crying until he had dropped to his knees taking me with him. He cradled me into his arms and held me closer. We did not know if he was going to make it.

“Shh.. he’s gonna be okay Ott.. He’s gonna be okay..”

It was like he was trying to tell himself to believe that also. He just kept repeating it over and over. My heart and stomach were in knots. I couldn’t keep the tears from falling. My dad was our everything. He was all we had left. I was so sick of losing people I loved to incidents that was out of my control.

During that time Hendrix was sitting by his father and listening to him while watching me carefully. Savannah was watching the doors at this point, waiting to hear any news.

The opposite doors burst open and my Uncle Dustin came barging in. I mean that literally too. Uncle Dustin was a huge dude. But him and dad looked like twins, though our dad was the oldest. Bryce’s eyes caught our Uncles and Bryce brought me to my feet as our uncle came and grabbed us both into a hug as best he could.

“My god, I came as quickly as I could…” he was panting, like he had been running here.

Uncle Dustin lived in Dallas. He was the reason my dad moved here. My dad’s family was from Texas, my dad only moved for college and ended up meeting my mom. He then joined the army and then went into police work. We’ve visited Uncle Dustin many times and he’s visited us. He also had a daughter, Marley. Marley was our age and the closest thing to a sister I’ve ever had. Me and her spent almost every summer together until we both went into High School. I haven’t seen her in two years now. We text here and there, but she kind of went MIA, or I did. ..

“They haven’t told us anything Dusty.” Bryce blurted out. I could tell Bryce was trying to hold it together.

“Like hell they aren’t!” He pushed past us and to the phone attached to the wall. The doors were locked from the other side. I could hear him yelling into the phone. That’s our uncle. He got shit done.

Bryce’s arm went around my shoulders as Hendrix and Tony appeared next to us.

“Autumn. I have got to go to the crime scene. You let me know the minute your dad wakes up will you?” Tony asked while walking out of the doors. I simply nodded to him in response.

Bryce took cue as Hendrix reached for me, Bryce sliding his arm off me and Hendrix’s replacing it. He pulled me to him as I sat there holding him. Bryce went over to Savannah and sat down next to her, holding her hand. Uncle Dustin must’ve got tired of arguing with the attendant and sat down in the chair next to the phone.

Hours went by. I ended up laying across Hendrix’s lap next to Bryce. He was holding onto my feet and legs. Hendrix had fallen asleep, along with Uncle Dustin and Savannah. Me and Bryce had stayed up and watched the updates. We were told he was out of surgery an hour ago. But nothing about his condition. It was now 4 Am. I sighed and slid myself off Hendrix’s lap and to the phone on the wall. I dialed yet again. I wanted more updates. This was driving me crazy.

“Emergency.” The voice answered.

“Yes its Autumn Greene again, my dad..”

“Oh yes, Miss Greene. The doctor will be out soon to speak with you.”

I hung up and went over and sat next to Uncle Dustin. He woke up and looked at me.

“AUTUMN! Any news?” he stretched out and grabbed my arm.

“Doctor is coming out soon.” I whispered.

“Thank god.” He was rubbing his face at this point trying to wake up.

The exhaustion did not hit me yet. I was too filled with hurt and adrenaline. I could not fall asleep until I heard if my dad was okay or not.

Bryce came and sat down next to me.

“So?”

“Doctor’s coming.” I mumbled out.

Bryce grabbed my hand and I half smiled at him. In a normal event, Bryce would not be this touchy feely with me. He nodded and us three just watched the doors, waiting for them to open to tell us the news of my dad.

A half hour went by and I could see Bryce starting to nod off. I kept moving in my seat to keep him awake. Anytime I moved his head snapped up.

The doors opened. We all jumped up to our feet. Including Hendrix and Savannah now waking up at the noise.

“Greene..”

“That’s us.” Uncle Dustin spoke up walking to the doctor and shaking his hand.

“I’m doctor Gray. I’m sorry to keep you waiting this long..”

His voice was in and out like he was tired as well. We all stayed silent. Just give us the details.

“Chief Greene had multiple gun shoot wounds. Thankfully he was wearing his vest but a couple bullets did go through with the bigger caliber rounds..”

I blinked.

“He is out of surgery and doing well. He will be out for a few days as he heals, but I expect he will be up and about in a few weeks if all goes well.”

I almost collapsed. He was okay! He was going to make it. My dad was alive. He was ALIVE!

“But..”

Oh my god, there’s always a but and if there’s a but right now its not good.

“I’m afraid one of the shots hit his ligaments and muscles in his left arm. He won’t be able to grip a gun again. At least for a very long time. We can do physical therapy and then maybe in the future we can see how he heals.”

My poor dad. He lived for his job. He lived for his army days, his police jobs, and now being chief. He can’t do that without being able to grip a gun. We all nodded as my uncle pulled the doctor aside to ask him more questions.

Hendrix came up and put his arm around me. Bryce was staring off into space for a good moment. He was probably processing just like I was.

“He’s alive.” I blurted out to no one in particular. Maybe I just needed to hear it out loud.

“Let’s go kids.” Uncle Dustin came into view and nodded the direction of the surgery rooms. The doors were now open for us to go see my dad. Hendrix kissed my forehead and went and sat back down. Motioning he’d be right outside if I needed him. I didn’t need to hear it out of his mouth to know. Savannah was sitting there too.

We walked into the room, my dad was laying there with wires attached to everything on his body. Wraps everywhere. Machines beeping in the background. My head went back to the scene of this right before my mom died and I stopped in my tracks. Anxiety came straight to the surface. The flashbacks started. Seeing her laying there in a hospital bed. The doctors working on her, shocking her heart over and over and the machine didn’t beep. Then they called it and I remember me screaming, screaming into my brother’s arms while my dad grabbed my mom’s lifeless body.

“It’s okay Ott.. “ Bryce grabbed my arm and was pushing me forward. I was surprised he was not going through what I was.

The doctor showed us into the room and we gathered around my dad’s bed. He was sleeping. I grabbed his hand and tears came out of my eyes again.

“Oh god.. dad.. !” I shut my eyes as tears came wading up in my eyes. “I love you.. please stay strong.”

I wanted to hit him. I wanted to hurt him. But I also wanted to hug him and never let go. I was so mad at him for getting hurt and almost leaving us. But so happy he was still alive. My heart was ripped in half.

We stayed there with my dad for as long as they would give us, then suddenly we were back out in the waiting room. They told us that he wouldn’t be awake for a few days and the doctor would keep us up to date. My uncle decided to stay at the hospital as we were told to go home for now.

It was now 8 AM on Sunday morning and I still had my homecoming dress on from last night. I’ll never forget this night.

-

I went home with Bryce after telling Hendrix he could go to his own family. I know he hated to leave me right now, but I wanted to be with my brother. Bryce made sure Savannah got home first then we got to our house.

Stepping in the house seemed like a different energy. It wasn’t the happy place I came home to every night. Even when dad wasn’t home the energy was still there. This was our safe place and now it felt just plain empty.

We both walked up the stairs and changed into pj’s then we walked to my dad’s room. We climbed into the king size bed and laid down. It felt like we needed to be there, to feel my dad in some way. I put my head near Bryce’s shoulder and we both fell asleep. Noting was said and nothing had to be said. We had to be each other’s strength. We were going to get through this.

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