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Cursed ecstasy cursed se.., p.2
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       Cursed Ecstasy (Cursed Series), p.2

           t. h. snyder
 
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  “Who is Rick? Why would Michael come back? How did they get in?”

  His questions fire at me and I’m taken aback by the assault of his intensity. I’m beginning to feel numb, tears falling from my face and a lump lodging itself in my throat.

  Looking down at our intertwined hands, I whisper, “Rick is the reason I left Oregon. He’s the man I needed to run away from, and now, it’s because of me that he did this.”

  Dault pulls his hand from mine and tilts my chin to face him.

  “Look, Etty, I’m sorry he came here looking for you. Right now I don’t want the details; I need to know where my family is. You need to be strong for me and tell me what the fuck happened.”

  Gripping my hands in my lap, I look to the floor, to Steve, and back to Dault.

  “The guys had guns. Rick fought Linc to the ground and Jo came running into the house…the last thing I remember is the sound of the gun going off.”

  Dault’s expression changes from fear to absolute panic. His jaw drops and his head falls into his hands.

  “Are…are they okay?” he stutters.

  “I don’t know much, Dault. Please don’t hate me,” I cry.

  “Etty, I’m not concerned about how I feel about you right now. I need to know that Linc and Jo are okay.”

  I bite down on my lower lip, the taste of dried blood sitting on my tongue. His reaction was something I was worried about, but seeing his fears, the pain and hurt…it’s killing me.

  Trying to fight the anguish that is raging inside my chest, I continue to tell him what I know.

  “We were taken in different ambulances to the emergency room. I could hear the doctors talking when they placed me in my room, but the details are fuzzy.”

  “Shit, Etty, c’mon, think really hard. I need to know the rest of the story.”

  “I’m sorry, Dault, but someone is gone.”

  “What?!” he screams.

  My eyes dart to Dault as he stands and begins to pace the small space beside me. Steve gets up to stand beside him and stops him in his tracks.

  “Dude, we’re all in a stage of panic not knowing what’s going on. Etty really needs to get back to her room and let the doctors watch over her. This isn’t easy on any of us.”

  The death stare Dault gives Steve sends a chill down my spine….he hates me.

  “You’re right, I’m of no use to either of you,” I say, moving in my seat.

  Dault’s large hand grabs my arm and I’m stunned by the sensation that drives through my extremity.

  “Etty, if you hear anything you need to tell us. They won’t give me anything since I’m not family.”

  I nod my head and watch as his firm grip releases from my arm.

  “Dault, tell them you’re her fiancé and I’m her brother. At least that will get us back there.”

  My eyes jump to Steve and back to Dault.

  “That’s the furthest from the truth. She just said someone is gone…who the fuck is gone, Etty?”

  Steve slaps him upside his head, “There’s no need to be a fucking prick right now, Dault, just do it.”

  Dault’s gaze shifts to me and then back to Steve.

  “Fucking hell, let’s do this. I need to know what’s up with Linc and Jo.”

  Without a second thought, I stand from my seat, the pain in my head and neck growing with each step. Walking toward the triage nurse’s station, I signal to the nurse to let me through the doors.

  The automatic doors open and I walk through, not even looking back to see if Steve and Dault are behind me.

  Doctors and nurses are scattered throughout the large space as I make my way back to my room.

  “Gretchen,” a voice says from behind me.

  I turn to the deep sound and see the nurse that has been tending to me.

  “You really shouldn’t be up and walking around in your condition. You took a hard hit to your head and should be lying down in your room.”

  I look to him, his deep brown eyes set with a fierce gaze.

  “I’m on my way back there now; I needed to find my…brother.”

  “I see,” he says, reaching for my arm and I allow him to escort me back to my bed.

  Once I’m settled onto the most uncomfortable bed, the nurse takes my vitals and enters the information into his tablet.

  “I need you to stay put. An orderly will be in here within the next few minutes to take you for a CT scan. Don’t leave this room unless it’s for a medical reason…got it?”

  Nodding my head, he looks to me with a smile and leaves the room.

  “I’m going to walk around to see if I can find anything out, maybe someone can give me better answers than you.”

  God, he hates me. I can’t even look at him. The tone of his voice is now filled with anger and hatred directed at me. It’s bad enough I feel like shit and I’m placing all the blame on myself, I don’t need him to dish me more hell.

  “Dault, chill the fuck out. You’re taking this all out on Etty. It’s not like she planned this to happen.”

  “She said it herself…this is all her fault. If her fucking issues hadn’t followed her here, we wouldn’t be sitting in the ER, scared to shit over what’s happened to our friends.”

  Steve looks to me as the tears begin to fall from my face again.

  Grabbing for Dault’s arm, Steve walks him out of my room and shuts the curtain.

  Resting my aching head back on the pillow, I try to remember what the hell happened to lead me to this place.

  Visions of tonight play through my mind.

  Not sure what was happening, I got up from my bed and moved to the door. Before I could make it across the room, it swung open.

  From the light of the hallway I could see two men standing next to one another. My eyes were still sleepy and I couldn’t focus on their faces.

  My heart was pounding through my chest as one man walked toward me, grabbing on to my arm.

  His hands were rough against the skin of my arm. I wanted to fight him and run, but I had no clue what I was up against. The other guy hadn’t come into the room yet. The fear of what was about to happen scared the shit out of me.

  He pulled at my arm harder and pushed me down on the bed.

  I pleaded with him not to hurt me; I would have given them anything to just leave me alone.

  My eyes moved to the other guy, who was starting to move into the room. A glare from the hallway light cast a shadow behind him, but I couldn’t make out his face.

  He spoke…that voice, it killed my ears. There’s no way that he could’ve found me here. I wished over and over in my head that I were in a nightmare.

  The words he spoke, the hatred coursing through his voice…my body went into panic mode; I couldn’t speak or move.

  Rick’s voice was demanding as he told Michael to bring me toward him. I was beyond scared; I didn’t know what he was going to do to me. Hell, I was prepared for him to kill me right then and there.

  The other guy reached for my arm and pulled me up off the bed. My body was trembling with fear, not knowing what was going to happen. Every time I thought of him finding me, the fear of him killing me plagued my thoughts.

  I stood in front of Rick, my legs feeling too weak for me to stand. His hand swung back and connected with the side of my face. The taste of blood filled my mouth as I stumbled backward.

  Rick grabbed for my hair and pulled me out of the room. Shoving me down the stairs with extreme force, I tripped over the last three steps and fell head first into the wall with a loud thump.

  Everything started to become foggy; I couldn’t process what was happening.

  I saw the gun….I watched as he went back up the stairs...I feared for my life as Linc walked through the front door.

  The moment Rick’s eyes landed on Linc, I knew he was enraged. As they struggled to fight one another, Michael held on to me with a death grip. There was nothing I could do; I was trapped.

  Linc tried to wrestle the gun out of Rick’s hands
, but it was too late…the gun was fired and that was the last thing I could remember before falling to the ground and passing out.

  The next thing I knew, I was lying on the ground with a swarm of paramedics standing over me. They blasted questions in my direction, but I was too confused to respond. I was in shock, hurt, and desperate to know where Linc and Jo were.

  I tried to sit up but the pain in my head was too excruciating. My arms and legs were beginning to feel numb and the taste of blood sat on my tongue. By the time I was lifted onto a stretcher, the room was filled with cops and other paramedics running around in circles.

  The last thing I heard as they wheeled me out of the room was that he was pronounced dead.

  My head snaps up and pain radiates down my back. The curtain to my room slides over and a tall man walks in with a wheelchair.

  “Gretchen Powers?” he asks, reaching for the tablet at the end of the bed.

  “Yes, that’s me.”

  He looks back to me with a smile on his face.

  “My name is Christian and I’ll be taking you upstairs for your CT scan. Can you make it to the wheelchair or would you like me to assist you?”

  He starts to move in my direction, but I shake my head.

  “No, I think I’m good.”

  I slide myself to the edge of the bed and step down onto the floor. For a brief second, I lose my sight and everything goes black. I reach out for the edge of the bed when a strong arm reaches behind me for support.

  “Take it easy, Miss Powers. Let me help you.”

  I accept his gesture and allow him to help me to the wheelchair. Slowly, my vision starts to come back, but spots appear. I blink a few times in hopes that I’ll be able to rid myself of the tunnel vision.

  Resting my head in my hands, I sit back and let Christian take me to my next destination.

  Scared shitless and feeling all alone, I have no clue what’s going on and Dault and Steve have left me.

  My heart starts to race and tension begins to form along my temples.

  Etty, you’ve really done it this time…way to fuck up a good thing. It never fails—I’m always the one to bring the drama into a situation and now I’m worried that my past may have hurt someone I truly care about.

  Chapter 3

  The sickening smell of this place is beginning to make my stomach churn. It’s cold, bleak, and uninviting. The University of Alabama’s emergency room is the last place I’d planned on spending my night.

  Steve and I have been pacing the ER floor for the past thirty minutes, trying to get answers with no luck. Everyone we ask shuns us off, going back to their business as if we don’t exist.

  What the fuck is that shit?

  I’m frustrated and want answers…it’s not that much to ask.

  Looking to the giant clock on the wall, it’s a little after two in the morning and the buzz I had at the bar has completely diminished. I could really use a drink to take the edge off right about now.

  A stinging sensation hits my back. A smack from Steve brings me back to reality for a split second. Turning to face him, he has a smirk of boredom plastered across his face.

  “I need a smoke,” he says, gesturing toward the doors.

  I shake my head in his direction. What the hell is he thinking? We can’t walk out now. We need answers.

  “Now isn’t the time, man. We have to find out what’s going on. How is it that we’re in an ER filled with people and no one is willing to give us an answer?”

  “Take a good look at us, Dault; we’re probably scaring the shit out of these people.”

  I look him over and then glance down at myself.

  “So what if we’ve got a few tattoos and we’re dressed in jeans and t-shirts with skulls and crossbones? It’s not like we walked in here with guns blazing.”

  A laugh escapes him, “Hell if I know, but I can’t stand around here forever. Let’s go outside for a bit and then come back to try again.”

  “These people are pissing me the hell off. Someone’s gotta know something.”

  Leaning my body up against the wall, I plant my feet firmly on the floor and slide my hands into my pockets.

  “Suit yourself, I need some air. These people will be here when we come back in, plus I want to check on Etty.”

  I roll my eyes and shake my head at him. The last person I want to see right now is her.

  How could she have let this happen? Any comforting thought I had about her is now gone. It’s her fault we’re here and I’m scared shitless that something dreadful has happened to Linc and Jo.

  For fuck’s sake, someone is now dead because of her shit storm of a past. I can’t deal with her or her pouty little face.

  Etty should’ve told me and Linc about her issues; we could have helped her. Now her hell of a past is here and my two best friends are missing, hurt, or…fuck me….god no, I won’t even go there.

  Steve is now walking toward the exit doors and I push myself away from the wall.

  “Hang on, man, I’m right behind you. I guess I need some air, too.”

  Shaking his head at me again, he lets out a heavy sigh as I follow him through the large emergency room. Before walking out the doors, he pauses in front of Etty’s room. The curtain is open and her bed is empty.

  “Guess they took her up for the scan. We can check on her when we come back in,” he says before pushing the automatic door button on the wall.

  Seeing Etty is the last thing I need right now—I’m not sure what will come out of my mouth. I’m more than pissed off that this is all happening to me because of her.

  I can’t lose Linc or Jo. They’re my family…they’re all I have left to live for.

  A nagging ache fills my chest and my hand flies up to touch the fabric resting over my heart. I can’t imagine what I’d do if anything ever happened to those two.

  Linc and I have been friends since we were little kids. He’s been there for me through everything. Linc’s not just my best friend, he’s my brother. No matter what curve ball life throws our way, the two of us can get through anything. Between school, sports, and the loss of my family, we’ve always stuck together. There’s nothing we can get through without the other.

  Jo…fucking hell. Since the moment I first set my sights on her, I knew she was going to be a big part of my life. She’s not like any woman I’ve ever met. My first thoughts of her went straight to my heart, not my dick. Jo has impacted my life more than any other woman since the death of my Mama. She’s one of the most important people in my life—the girl that I’ll love forever and protect with my life. I’ve never been this close to a woman; she’s like family…my little sister.

  Running my fingers through my hair, I let out a breath of frustration. God, if only I was there at the house with them, I’d have done anything to keep them safe.

  Knowing that something tragic has happened to either one of them sends my thoughts into frenzy.

  Death isn’t something I deal with well. I don’t know if I could come back from a misery like that again.

  Walking through the automatic doors into the cool breeze, my head begins to spin with thoughts I’d rather not dwell on right now. Taking a seat along the concrete wall, I light up a smoke and release a long puff of air.

  My past destroyed me the night my mom was killed in our home by my father.

  I shut my eyes as the horrid memories of that night flash behind my closed lids.

  The front door slammed shut and a muffled cry began to fill the house. It was a whimper I was all too familiar with—it scared me to death.

  A loud sound vibrated through the wall behind the closet followed by a thumping noise.

  Linc and I both jumped at the screams coming from outside the room. I could hear Mama’s shriek and the thud of something slamming against a wall.

  I was trembling, my teeth chattering, and my chest vibrating from the rapid beats of my aching heart.

  Sounds echoed from the other room and more shouts and screams soon fo
llowed. I had an idea of what was happening, but the fear rushing through my body left me numb and lifeless.

  My body froze as two loud bangs went off. I started to shake and reached my arm out to Linc. We clutched onto one another in the stuffy closet. Tears fell from my eyes and my stomach felt sick. I knew what had just happened, but my mind wouldn’t cooperate—I couldn’t think, let alone move.

  I sat completely still, unable to budge; it was as though every nerve ending in my body had shut down.

  The front door slammed closed and my cheeks were soaked from my falling tears. My heart was pounding and I could hardly breathe. The more time that passed the more scared I became. A lump formed in my throat and it was almost impossible to swallow. I knew I needed to get up and check on my mom, but there was no way I could. So many thoughts filled my mind; I didn’t want to see what I already knew I’d find when I went out to the living room.

  Linc got up from our crouched positions, and no matter what, I knew it was time. If he had the courage to go…I had no other choice but to pick myself up and go with him.

  The house was now silent—the cries and screams had stopped. My worst possible fear was brought to life as Linc and I walked down the hallway to see Mama’s lifeless body on the floor in front of us.

  Pushing Linc to the side, I ran past him to her. A scream burst through my lungs and out of my mouth as I saw Mama lying there.

  She wasn’t moving. I leaned down close to her chest to see if she was breathing, but nothing…nothing was happening. I tried to feel her body to see if there was any life left in her, but she remained completely still.

  It all started to feel real—the reality of what my father had done sunk in the pit of my stomach. I wanted to throw up, curl myself up alongside of her, and pray to God that she was still alive.

  Falling to the floor next to her body, I tried to shake her, move her and wake her from the sleep I knew she’d never come back from.

  As lifted my head off of her body, I saw the blood. Looking around, I noticed there were splatters of her blood everywhere. It was on the walls, the carpet, and now all over my shirt.

  I started to shake her harder, but she wouldn’t open her eyes.

 
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