Chapter 10 -- Responsibility

1.8K 47 0
                                                  

Chapter 10 – Responsibility

As soon as she entered the hospital’s revolving glass doors and took the elevator up to the second floor where he grandfather was staying, Mary saw her parents at the end of the long hallway speaking to the doctor who she remembered awkwardly hugging the day before.

Fearfully, but with an air of fake calmness, she approached them. As soon as her parents saw her they stopped talking, turned their heads toward her and watched as she slowly made her way down the endless hallway to her death sentence. Kill me, she thought. Just kill me now and get it over with.

“Will you excuse me for a minute, Dr. Vampula?” Mary heard her mom ask the doctor.

Dr. Vampula? Was that some sort of mix between Vampire and Dracula? A tiny, tiny hint of humor bubbled up inside of her, but it was not enough to diffuse the scary situation she was about to face. She gulped.

The doctor nodded and continued speaking quietly with Mary’s dad, who had now turned his attention back to him.

Without any warning, her mom had wrapped her arms around Mary and was pressing her body closely to hers in a warm, motherly way.

“Oh, honey,” she said, then paused to look Mary in the eye and grab each side of her face. “Why didn’t you tell us about Grandpa Harry?”

“Mom, I left you guys like 15 voicemails …”

Her mom looked surprised. “What? We didn’t get any of them.”

Oh Jeez, Mary thought. How could I have gotten my own home phone number wrong? This had to be a new all-time low for her. She felt stupid for a few seconds as she thought about what the people she actually had called thought about her frantic voicemails. Oi.

Her mom continued: “The only way we found out about this was because the hospital called this morning. We kept trying to reach you at Grandpa Harry’s today but you never picked up.”

Of course she hadn’t; she’d been at the art studio with David instead of sitting at home by the phone …

This sort of thing didn’t happen to normal families, she thought. “This is why we need cell phones,” she said aloud.

Her mom looked her up and down, as if considering the situation, then nodded her head in agreement. “You’re right,” she said. “We’ll get cell phones.”

Yes! Mary thought, semi-rejoicing over the thought of finally having her own phone.

“Is Grandpa Harry okay?” she then asked, quickly changing the subject to the more important issue at hand.

“He’s doing fine. Your dad’s talking to the doctor right now … Mary, what happened?”

The question Mary had been dreading for days now finally had made its appearance …

After she finished explaining the situation – leaving out the parts about Liam and almost being murdered by a psycho biker dude, of course – her mom hugged her again, nearly suffocating her.

“Mary, what did I tell you about wandering off by yourself?” she asked sternly.

“I didn’t mean to,” Mary said.

Liar! she thought. Of course she’d meant to. It was all because of Liam. But it didn’t matter now because she was never going to see him again. Ever. And Grandpa Harry was safe, and no one needed to know. Everything would be okay, and soon they would be able to forget all about this entire thing …

“Alright,” her mom said, gently nodding her head. “Looks like your grandpa’s going to be in the hospital for a few more days. You’re still to stay in Sandstowne until September, okay?”

Mary nodded, somewhat thrilled at the thought for some reason.

“But you need to be more careful,” her mom warned in a harsh, scolding voice. “I hope this has taught you a lesson in responsibility, Mary.”

It sure had …

========================================

Grandpa Harry wasn’t awake when Mary stepped into his tiny hospital room. But she was relieved when she saw his chest steadily moving up and down. The regularity of his breathing was a comforting sight. Still, as she looked at the elderly man laying in the stiff hospital bed, she couldn’t help but feel an undeniable sense of guilt over the whole thing. But she’d already yelled at herself enough. The important thing right now was that he was okay …

She unfolded a newspaper she’d found out in the hallway and pulled out the page of comics. She knew Grandpa Harry wouldn’t be able to read them, but she set the page down on his bedside table anyway. For some reason, this gesture made her feel better -- almost closer to him, in a way. She sat on a chair near his bed and watched him for a little while before her mom came in and gestured her out of the room.

“Time to leave,” she whispered to Mary as she pointed down at her watch.

Mary took one last look at her grandfather and silently promised him she’d be back soon.

========================================

The next two days melted together then dripped by slowly, slowly like thick molasses. Mary’s parents had left Sandstowne and driven back home; they both had jobs they had to get back to – but her mom had promised they’d be back in a few days.

Mary liked her newfound independence; it made her feel more grownup and free. But, at the same time, she was bored. Her boredom and solitude coursed through her veins and threatened to crush her sanity unless she did something about it soon …

She decided to visit David. When she strolled over to the studio, though, he wasn’t there, and the building was locked up, so she bought a smoothie from a small café across the street and enjoyed the cool taste as she trudged back to her grandfather’s house in disappointment. She didn’t want to go back, as she realized the imminent boredom she would once again have to face.

As she passed the cemetery that stretched to the outskirts of town, she heard voices from within. She couldn’t see who the voices were coming from, but she recognized one of them. It sounded so familiar to her, and she knew she’d heard it before.

As always, her curiosity got the best of her and she couldn’t help but open the cemetery gates and step into the graveyard.

Cemeteries always creeped her out. Looking at all of the gravestones sent tingly chills through her spine. She imagined dead bodies laying in boxes underneath the cold, hard ground and shuddered when she thought that someday she, too, would be stuck in a box -- and that thought didn’t do much for her claustrophobia. I’m definitely being cremated, she made a mental note to herself.

She was too distracted by her morbid thoughts to notice the shadowy figure looming behind her, until a rough hand reached out and grabbed her shoulder. With that, her smoothie fell to the ground, pink liquid splattering across the grass below.

Black LeatherWhere stories live. Discover now