The starting gun fired and Cassie shot out of the blocks. I was running anchor, so I had to wait longest. The changeover between her and Melanie was not up to their usual standard, but it was okay. So far, so good. Melanie had the ability to stay with the next leg until they had the baton. I shuffled from foot to foot. The baton went to Venus without any mishaps. I got ready. Venus was striding around the bend making up some ground. She was three strides away, I started running. I felt the baton in my hand, and I pulled away. I drove, pumping my arms and legs, making my strides long. I didn't dare look to see who was around me. I crossed the line.
First! I had really achieved everything I'd come for. A gold in my event and now a gold with the team. I waved to Jared, Jamie, Tomo and Vicki. I blew a kiss to Shannon. I handed in the baton and headed over to them.
I heard another BANG! But this wasn't the starting gun. I felt an intense pain in my thigh. I looked down to see blood trickling down my leg. Tears welled in my eyes but I wasn't going to cry. I started to limp over to the tunnel, so I could get to the medical centre. I could feel myself collapsing. BANG! A second shot made everybody that was rushing over to help, freeze in their tracks. A fresh pain bloomed just above my collarbone. I screamed out, and my vision started to go blurry. I felt the warm blood running down my chest and soaking my vest. My back hit the floor. I was struggling to stay conscious. Someone was slapping my face.
"Jaz! You have to stay with us! Okay? At least until we get you in an ambulance!" I felt my eyes closing. Slap! "Don't you dare close those eyes! Awake Jaz! Come on", they were saying. I was trying so hard. The pain was clouding my vision even more. I was lifted onto a stretcher, I grunted in pain.
"Let me go with her! Please?" I heard a familiar voice shouting. I strained to see who it was, I couldn't. My breathing got ragged, and every breath hurt. I felt pressure on the wound near my neck, and an oxygen mask was strapped onto my face. I gave into the pain and closed my eyes.
"Holy shit," I croaked. My voice was raspy, and talking stung my throat. I opened my eyes to bright hospital lights and instantly closed them again. "Someone turn off the bloody lights." Even through my eyelids, I saw somebody had dimmed them slightly, so I opened my eyes. I saw a kind looking doctor walk to the side of the bed.
"You have been out for a day by the way." I nodded. "I'm Doctor Sharpe as well," he told me. I nodded to acknowledge him. I didn't want to speak again.
"I have good news and bad news; for both wounds," he paused, waiting to see if I'd heard. "Chest. Good news: the bullet missed your wind pipe and a major artery. Bad news: due to the surgery we had to perform; it will take about a week for you to be able to talk comfortably." I nodded again. I was lucky. "Your leg now. Good news: no major tissue was damaged and you will be able to carry on with your sprinting career." I grinned, that was what I had been most worried about. I wiped the smile off my face. There was still the bad news. "Bad news: you won't be able to start training again for at least a year." And on that bombshell, tears that I had been holding in for so long, flowed freely down my face. Sprinting meant so much to me. Everything. It was my childhood dream, everything I was working towards. I knew I would be able to run again; but whether I would be a high enough standard to make the team, was still uncertain.
"Are you ready for visitors yet?" The doctor asked, obviously concerned. I shook my head.
"Tomorrow," I said, my voice sounded like a fork on a cheese grater. He gave me a sympathetic look and left the room. I found a light switch near my bed and turned the lights off completely. I had been given morphine, my body was numb.
But it didn't stop the ache in my heart. Imagine that you couldn't achieve your ambitions. Imagine what makes you happy, has been ripped away from you. Imagine something that makes thousands of people happy, has been cut off from one person. That person being me.
That night I cried myself to sleep.
A/N: that chapter kinda had to be short. For effect and all. Short but not so sweet. Quality not quantity. Kay I'm not sure bout quality, but ssshhh!
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