This is the second week of Writers Unite. As a reminder, through the month of October, I’m using Fridays to share a short story that still has no ending. I really appreciate your encouragement and thoughts as together we journey through life with these characters. <>< Katie
If you missed the first segment, it’s here.
“Courtney,” he said and paused. He wasn’t even sure the words would come out. “Was hit by a car.”
“She’s being flown to Children’s,” Brett said.
“You go. We’ll figure out the rest of your day.”
“Start with Mr. Mr. Mr.” Brett couldn’t remember the name of his patient. He pointed to the room door. He was normally calm under fire. Although this was a different type of fire. He floated back to his office, removed his lab coat, and grabbed his keys and wallet. Everything else could wait.
As he drifted into the parking lot, he heard a chopper overhead. Based on when Sarah called, Life Flight should have gone by earlier. He was scared to look up and see the medic symbol on the tail.
Yet he did anyway.
That was his daughter flying overhead. Such a late arrival meant problems on the ground preventing take-off. Problems with the patient. His baby. His Courtney.
Brett felt helpless. His little girl was fighting for her life and he was sitting in the parking lot unable to even start his car. Brett put his head down on the steering wheel and prayed. It was the only thing he could do. Once the buzzing of the helicopter was a distant memory, he composed himself and shifted the car into reverse.
A knock on the car window startled him. Outside stood the receptionist with his cell phone in her hand.
“Thanks.” He cleared the six missed calls and stared at the background photo of the four most important women in his life. His eyes when straight to Courtney, even through the photo he could hear her infectious laugh. He prayed he’d get to hear it again and not only from her twin sister Whitney. When the two of them started laughing, there was no stopping them. It brought a smile to Brett’s face.
He looked down at Bethany, his oldest, whose life changed in an instant this afternoon. It occurred to him that he didn’t know who had been driving the car: Bethany or his niece Julie. In her fumbling sentences, Sarah hadn’t said. It didn’t matter to him. Both girls would be scarred.
When Brett safely arrived at the hospital, he debated whether to participate in his customary check in at the nurse’s station to see what kind of information he could gather or to comfort his wife first. He decided Sarah was more important. He had to get to her. When he opened the waiting room door, everyone looked up at him. He was amazed at the size of the crowd they had gathered in such a short amount of time. It was hard to find his wife in the full waiting room, but he felt her before he saw her as she latched herself to his side. Brett wrapped his arms around her and she shifted so her head slid into the place on his chest carved just for her. He held her and stroked the back of her head. It was all he could do. He had no encouraging words, no information, absolutely nothing of comfort to offer her.
“Have you heard?”
“I didn’t ask,” he said.
She nodded. He knew she’d want him to ask but she wasn’t ready to let go yet. Brett scanned the room, the crowd averting their eyes from his private moment with his wife. The room was full of members from their church family but Brett couldn’t find anyone else from his biological family.
Sarah whimpered. “Don’t know.”
“What do you mean you don’t know where she is?”
What are you looking for?