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Cursed ecstasy cursed se.., p.3
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       Cursed Ecstasy (Cursed Series), p.3

           t. h. snyder
 
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  “Linc, go call the cops. He’s done it this time; I think he’s really hurt Mama!” I screamed.

  He just stood there, frozen, staring down at me and Mama.

  “Please, Linc, go call the police. Mama needs our help.”

  Flashing lights and a blaring siren pull me from my trance. My chest feels like it’s caving in as my heart is racing. The tension in my head is causing my brows to scrunch together and I will my eyes to shut.

  Looking around, Steve is nowhere in sight. I don’t know where the hell he went off to. Lighting up another smoke, I slide down off the concrete wall and start to walk around the parking lot.

  I need air, but even now, being outside, I can’t seem to catch my breath.

  This is all so unreal—a horrid nightmare that I can only hope I’ll wake up from sooner rather than later.

  It took me forever to get over the pain of Mama’s death. Years, when all I wanted was to curl up and die with her. She was the only real family that was always there for me. Mama was the one that tried her best to protect me from my father. All the beatings, the screaming, and yelling were shielded by her small body.

  She died trying to protect me, and now…now I can only hope that I won’t have to go through the grief of loss like that again.

  Reliving those memories is far too painful. I’ve tried for twenty years to get over that night. Seeing Mama on the floor and knowing there was nothing I could do to bring her back left me helpless.

  I can’t go back to those emotions I’ve hidden myself from…I won’t do it.

  “Dude!” Steve yells, running toward me. The expression on his face turns from confusion to fear.

  “What?” I ask, uncertainty lacing my words.

  “There’s a shit load of cops in the waiting area trying to get in to see Etty. We need to get in there now.”

  Tossing my cigarette butt to the ground, I push past Steve and make my way back into the emergency room.

  Rushing through the automatic doors, I’m greeted by a sea of blue.

  Six police officers stand next to the triage nurse’s window. I listen intently to their conversation in hopes of finding out anything that will help me understand what happened tonight.

  Without looking like I’m eavesdropping, I take a seat in the row of chairs behind them.

  Their words are muffled and I can barely make out what they’re saying. All I’m able to get is that one man is now dead and another has been taken into custody.

  What the fuck?!

  The unknown is killing me; I need to find out what is going on and what happened.

  Chapter 4

  Intense pain radiates down my spine as Christian helps to move me from the wheelchair back into the hard ass hospital bed. As I scoot myself into a seated position, a stabbing sensation throbs between my temples.

  “Miss Powers?”

  I look up to him, his eyes filled with compassion and concern. Staring back into his intense dark eyes, I’m lost in thought for a brief moment. No one has looked at me like he is in….well, forever. He genuinely seems to care about my wellbeing. I get that it’s his job to help take care of the patients, but to me it seems like his going above and beyond to help watch out for me.

  He clears his throat, grabbing my attention. I rapidly blink my eyes and try to concentrate on what he just said.

  Shit, what was the question?

  My mind is in a complete fog and I can’t seem to focus. The pain is getting worse and my head is starting to spin, causing everything in front of me to appear as if it’s shaking…it’s making me dizzy.

  “Gretchen,” I reply as a wave of nausea hits me.

  Trying to rest myself back against the inclined bed, the room starts to spin faster and faster.

  “What?” he asks, his brows scrunching together.

  “Ugh,” I shriek, my hand flying to my mouth.

  Taking in a deep breath, I try to push the feeling of being sick out of my mind.

  I move myself to sit up straight and count to ten while taking in slow, shallow breaths. I hate getting sick, especially throwing up. There’s no way I want to do it here, not now…not ever.

  After a few seconds, the sick feeling goes away and I’m able to pay attention to the man standing in front of me.

  “You can call me Gretchen. That’s my name.”

  “Umm, yeah. Okay…sure,” he replies, handing me a basin.

  My eyelids feel heavy and I slowly allow them to close.

  “Are you feeling alright?” he asks.

  I keep my eyes shut in hopes that I can regain my composure. I can’t reply right this second; I need my surroundings to settle before this nausea turns into a full-blown puke fest. I hate that I can’t control my body right now—I feel as though I’m going through an out of body experience.

  “Your complexion has changed to pure white and your pupils were dilating. Let me have the nurse come in here and check your vitals before I leave.”

  I slowly open my eyes and watch as my caring orderly walks out of the room to get my nurse. My head begins to get heavy as I rest it back up against the pillows.

  Trying my best to get comfortable, I close my eyes again for a moment. The pain intensifies and the need for relief starts to overwhelm me. My senses are on high alert and the most subtle movements send a sharp pain from my head to my mid back. I cringe as the pain takes control and my arms and legs begin to go numb.

  The curtain leading into my room shifts and I hear footsteps walking toward me. I can’t seem to open my eyes; the stabbing sensation has completely taken over my entire body.

  “Miss Powers,” a voice says. “I’m just here to take your vitals. Can you rate your pain on a scale of one to ten, ten being intolerable pain?”

  “It hurts really badly.”

  “I understand you’re in pain, but in order to get you the right medication, I need to know how severe it is.”

  Trying to pry my eyes open, I see a short woman standing to my side. She’s wearing a light pink scrub top and has a stethoscope wrapped around her neck. Her dark blonde hair is pulled away from her face in a long ponytail and a small smile appears across her face. Christian stands tall behind her with a look of intensity in his eyes, his hand resting next to my leg on the bed.

  “It’s about a ten right now.”

  “Okay, that’s pretty bad. Tell me exactly where the pain is.”

  Her questions are beginning to irritate me and seem to be causing the pain in my temples to increase. I can barely hold my eyes open, let alone talk to her about my pain.

  “Gretchen,” a deep voice chimes in.

  I look into his eyes and can tell he’s trying to encourage me to talk. As hard as it may be in this exact moment, I know I have to communicate with the nurse in order for the aches and stabbing sensations to subside and hopefully go away.

  Attempting to swallow the pain, I look to the nurse and then back to Christian.

  “It starts between my temples,” I say, lifting my hands to touch my head. “Then it runs down my back starting at the bottom of my neck.”

  She nods her head and begins to wrap the blood pressure cuff around my arm.

  “Can you tell me what happened to cause you this pain?”

  The events of the night are still blurred as one. My mind is a jumbled pile of mush and it’s becoming difficult to piece everything together.

  “I can’t quite remember everything that happened,” I reply with a heavy sigh. “It hurts too much to think.”

  “Okay, Gretchen, rest your head back down and let me run some more quick vital tests. I want you to try and stay awake. If you have a concussion, we need to make sure that you’re kept from sleeping, at least for the next few hours. Is there anyone I can call to come sit with you?”

  “No, not really,” I reply, slowly shaking my head. “I’m kinda new to town and my only friend was brought in here by ambulance, too. Can you find out if he’s okay?”

  She reaches down to remove the cuff and let
s my arm fall along my side.

  “You need to stay calm and rested without any added stress. Let me see if I can find someone to keep you company, at least until the CT scan results come down here to Dr. Pruitt.”

  “I’ll stay with her,” Christian’s voice booms through the small space in my room.

  “Are you sure? We don’t want you missing out on your shift and getting in trouble with you supervisors,” the nurse replies.

  “My shift was over thirty minutes ago. I’m fine to stay here with Gretchen for the next few hours.”

  I watch as the two exchange looks and a smile.

  “Fine, as long as you don’t mind staying. Just make sure she doesn’t nod off.”

  Before walking out of the room, she enters a few items into the tablet and places it back at the end of my bed.

  “Now, to keep you awake, Gretchen,” Christian says with a smirk.

  “I’ll stay up, I promise.”

  “Yeah, I doubt that. It’s almost three o’clock; I can only imagine the night you’ve had. I’m sure you’re starting to get pretty tired.”

  A yawn pulls from my lungs and releases through my lips.

  “I am tired, but I have too much to think about right now to fall asleep. Plus, the pain coursing through me is enough to keep me up ‘til next year.”

  Staring into the eyes of this stranger, my newest confidant, I try to will myself to stay awake.

  “Do you want to talk about it?” Christian asks, pulling the chair up next to my bed and taking a seat.

  “Not really.”

  “Okay, well if you want to talk, we have plenty of time. If you have a concussion like I think you do, we have to keep you up for the next few hours.”

  I nod my head in his direction and roll my eyes.

  “Honestly, I have a past that you’d rather not know the details about. Let’s just say that it’s come back to bite me in the ass and now I’m here.”

  “Suit yourself, but I’ve been told I’m a damn good listener.”

  “Thanks, I really appreciate that. I’m just not one to bare my soul to a complete stranger.”

  “Ouch,” he says, holding his hand to his chest. “That kinda stung a bit.”

  A smile spreads across my face as he lets out a laugh.

  “I could use your help with something, though.”

  His eyes light up, “Of course, anything I can do to help.”

  “When I was brought into the emergency room, there were two other ambulances that came from the same incident. I’d feel a lot better knowing if they’re okay. Is there any way for you to find out?”

  He stares back at me for a moment without saying a word.

  “Please,” I say in a begging tone.

  My eyes shift as he moves from his seat to the end of the bed.

  “I don’t know how much information I can get for you, I’m just an orderly. It’s not like I have access to stuff like the nurses and doctors. What’s your friend’s name? I’ll see what I can find out for you.”

  Hope fills my chest as I attempt to sit up in the bed.

  “Actually, there are two. One of them is a guy, Lincoln Minzotto, and the other is a female, her name is Jo.”

  “Just Jo?”

  Shit, I don’t even know her last name. Damn it to hell.

  “I don’t know her last name, but we were all brought in from the same place.”

  “Okay, I’ll be right back,” he says, turning away from me, opening the curtain, and walking out into the hallway.

  “Wait,” he says, poking his head back into the room. “Don’t you fall asleep on me while I’m gone. Keep those pretty green eyes open ‘til I come back.”

  A small smile spreads across my lips as he walks away. For a brief moment, I find myself thinking about something else other than this dreaded night of hell.

  If he’s the only company I’ll have for the night, I’m perfectly fine with that. After all, it seems that Dault and Steve have left me and aren’t coming back any time soon.

  Resting my head back against the pillows, I allow my heavy eyes to close for a brief moment. Images of tonight flash through my mind.

  Rick…my god, Rick. What the hell happened to him and that Michael guy?

  So many questions filter through my mind about what happened. So many thoughts as to where everyone is right now. So many fears about what could’ve gone wrong because of me.

  Everything from tonight is a blurred fog. I barely remember what happened before I passed out. Linc and Rick were struggling on the ground, Jo walked into the house, and then…the sound of the gun went off.

  My god!

  Who got shot? Were they hurt? Who the fuck was killed?

  Anxiety filters through my chest and the ill feeling of nausea begins to set in again.

  Reaching for the basin Christian left, I empty the contents of my stomach into the plastic container. The pain of my neck increases and the sickness in my stomach pushes me to throw up again.

  Once I feel as though I have nothing left, I reach for a tissue on the table next to the bed. Wiping my mouth, I take in a deep breath, trying to regain my composure. Setting the basin to my side, I lean my head into my hands and let out a heavy sigh.

  I’ve gotten myself into one hell of a mess tonight and not knowing how Linc and Jo are doing is going to kill me.

  My head tilts upward, my eyes darting to the curtain as Christian enters and walks toward me with a look of hurt in his eyes.

  “Damn it, Gretchen, I shouldn’t have left you.”

  He rushes to my side and pulls my hair away from my face.

  As I turn to face him, he looks deeply into my eyes.

  “I’m so sorry,” I cry.

  The tears flow down my cheeks as the uncontrollable sobs take over.

  I’m sorry doesn’t seem like a strong enough statement to shed the hurt, pain, and loss for the way I’m feeling right now.

  Coming to Birmingham has destroyed so much and I have no one to blame but myself.

  Chapter 5

  While waiting in the lobby of the ER, I find myself staring and eavesdropping on the conversation taking place in front of me. I can barely hear what the men are saying, the suspense of the unknown growing as my fists clinch to my sides. After the agony becomes unbearable, I finally get up the nerve to butt in and ask some questions.

  At first, the cops just look me over as if I’m some sort of punk that’s grown two heads.

  Rather than standing here while they pass more judgment, I explain to them exactly who I am and that I live in the other side of the house. Once they realize I’m an essential piece to their investigation puzzle, they become a bit more accommodating to my presence.

  Their blank stares turn into glaring eyes of curiosity and fury. In the snap of a finger, it’s as if I’m standing in front of a firing squad. Questions of my whereabouts come flying at me first and then the inquisition as to why I wasn’t in the home during the intrusion.

  Why the hell do I feel like the suspect here?

  I know I’ve done nothing wrong, yet feelings of guilt and anger rage through me. These guys are making it seem as though I’m to blame for someone breaking into Etty’s side of the house.

  What the fuck? I wasn’t even there.

  It’s bad enough that I feel sick over not being there to protect Jo and Linc; I sure as hell don’t need these clowns making me feel even worse.

  The more pissed off I become, the more questions they ask. I’m beginning to feel like the suspect of their investigation.

  Once they’ve gotten all they can from me, they turn back to the triage nurse and request to see Etty. Looking around the waiting area, I see Steve parked in a chair by the far wall near the windows. Rather than just standing here feeling useless, I make my way over to him and take a seat.

  Resting my head in my hands, I try to focus, to think…about what, I haven’t got a goddamn clue. This night is getting worse by the minute and I still have no clue where the fuck Linc and Jo
are in this place.

  The details of tonight are sparse and still leave me wondering what the hell is going on; I hate not having control over the situation.

  I begin to analyze what I’ve gathered so far. All I know is that Rick, Michael, our old tenant, Jo, Linc, and Etty were all there.

  I’m no genius, but Etty is obviously alive and in the ER. Where the hell is everyone else? I need answers and I want them now.

  So many questions filter through my mind, I feel as though my head is about to explode.

  Why was this Rick dick there? Did Etty tell him to come here? How is he connected to Michael and why the hell were they in our house?

  I’m going to beat the living shit out of that punk ass motherfucker…that is, if he’s still alive. Michael caused Linc and me enough grief living in the house; so coming back here was not a good decision on his part.

  The little fucker better hope that we don’t run into one another in a dark alley; he’ll be pulled out in a body bag for sure.

  Steve’s hand falls on my shoulder and I snap out of my delusional haze. My head flips up, my eyes landing on one of the cops. He walks out of the waiting area and toward the automatic doors leading into the emergency room. Steve and I quickly move from our seats and follow close behind as he walks through the doors and toward the nurses’ station. The officer introduces himself to the short blonde nurse at the circular desk and asks where Etty’s room is located. Even though Steve and I both know where to go, we wait patiently as we are guided to the far corner of the emergency ward.

  As we approach, I can see the pale green curtain is drawn shut. The officer pulls it slowly to the side and walks through. Steve and I stand completely still, waiting for direction that we can enter.

  My chest is pounding with anxiety, anticipation, and anger for the woman on the other side of that curtain. Sweat is beginning to form along the back of my neck and my fists are back along my side, clinching to form white knuckles.

  To think that a little over twenty-four hours ago I was buried deep inside of her, making her scream my name. Now…now I don’t even want to look her in the eye. It’s insane how quickly feelings of lust and desire can change to hurt and hatred.

 
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