The Boy who Would be Man and Child Chapter 5-
It was the same tone, the same inflection, and the same dialect; it was truly Elias. Dave saw the expression on Sheila’s face, it was without a doubt the same as it was when Elias first woke up after the accident. To see her child once more gave her an immeasurable and indescribable happiness.
“Elias! ELIAS! Honey, is it really you?!” She shouted, lunging forward in an attempt to give her son a hug.“Carl, get him out of these things!”
Feinberg said with a disapproving look, “I’m sorry but I can’t do that.”
Sheila stood up, and nearly wanted to slam Feinberg against the wall. Despite it being his own son, Dave had to agree with Feinberg. Too many times had he witnessed some rookie police officer let a perpetrator out for some bogus story, it’s almost a rite of passage for them. He stepped in front, “Look, at least it’s really Elias. We don’t have to jump into all of this at once, lets just take it slow and be happy that we can actually have a moment with our son.”
Her head was already buried in his chest, sobbing almost uncontrollably until Elias spoke up again, “Mom? What happened to me, why aren’t we in Nevada?”
“Interesting,” Feinberg mumbled.
“What….what’s happening?” Sheila asked.
“He has no knowledge of the incident in Nevada, meaning Chase and Elias were lying when they declared Elias didn’t want to talk…”
Sheila sat down on the bed, leaning over, smiling at Elias, “Honey, the trip to Nevada is…well it’s over with. You were in an accident, you’ve been asleep for months…” She bent down and kissed him on the forehead, crying out “I’m so sorry.” Only a second later, Sheila felt a sharp pain on her ear.
“You stupid bitch!” Elias muttered through his teeth as he bit her ear. He let go, sheila jerked back hard enough to slip backwards and fall on her behind. “I don’ wanna know that shit!”
Sheila felt around her ear, trying to console the pain but the only thing that happened was her hand became covered in blood. Feinberg had already pressed the emergency button above the bed to get a nurse there but it seemed Sheila wasn’t going to be the one who needed a nurse.
In a small, but potent moment of fury, Sheila had jumped forward and repeatedly punched Elias’ face, nearly breaking his jaw before Dave pulled her back, “What the HELL is wrong with you?! That’s your son!! Kayla, go outside, now!”
Kayla wanted to protest but instinctively her feet literally moved her out of the room. She still couldn’t help but eavesdrop. Most of what Sheila was screaming was pretty well incoherent, though she got the gist of what Sheila babbled. She never felt so betrayed.
After grunts and moans of pain, Elias finally spoke up “I’m…not Elias! God that friggin hurts…”
It was abundantly clear to all of them, Elias had never emerged, they were still talking to Chase. The nurses tried to tend to his wounds but he decided to try and resist, despite being restrained down to his bed. The only other thing they could do was sedate him. It’s only a shot that makes you fall asleep but it still made the Dunn family and even Nurse Rivers rather uncomfortable, especially since Rivers was the one administering the sedative. Sheila’s ear was easy enough to bandage up, there may have been a lot of blood but the bite was mild.
A part of Sheila was relieved. She felt betrayed by Elias, but now that she knows it wasn’t actually him and it was in fact someone who might actually do something like bite people, it wasn’t as hard to come to understand. However, she was still plenty furious.
The visitation ended shortly thereafter. The Dunn’s were silent along the ride home, Feinberg was quietly working on paperwork in his own office, and Rivers kept her eye on the monotony of the commons area of the Ward. Nothing had changed, Elias was still dormant and has always been dormant, Chase was devious and violent, Sheila was a an emotional mess and so was Dave despite not showing it, and Kayla was just as confused as ever about where exactly her older brother was.
The rest of the night felt like death. There were no crickets outside, nor were there cars driving by. The air was still, the sky was cloudless, and the only sound from the ward came from the crackling static that overshadowed the news anchorman’s precisely calibrated speech. Rivers left, her shift ended about the time the sun was setting, but because of this one instance of a double shift and her normal night shift, she only had a few hours to go home and get some sleep, not that she could actually fall asleep after what happened.
Despite the lack of sleep, her night shift seemed to go fairly well. Elias, or more likely Rhia slept peacefully as all the other patients did. It was nearly three in the morning, the wind picked up and was howling a soft, low moan through the trees.
Rivers heard a few familiar moans coming from one of the rooms, it sounded like Rhia. She rushed over to see what the problem is, leaning over Rhia’s bed to see if she was alright. In her sleep, Rhia mumbled “I wanna go home,” but was otherwise incoherent.
“Oh god how I wish I could help…” Rivers thought. She smiled, stroking Rhia’s hair out of her face as she slept. “Your not even a girl but…you’re so pretty when you sleep….” True it was an odd thought but Rivers had a sort of ‘motherly’ love for Rhia that broke boundaries and saw past physical appearances.
She unshackled Rhia’s arms, it was the only thing she felt she could do to give Rhia even the slightest bit of comfort, along with handing Rhia the teddy bear on top of the nightstand.
Rhia slept soundly for the remainder of the night, Rivers nearly dozed off herself if it weren’t for a co-worker getting them some coffee. “Nights like this, yeh it’s borin’,” the coworker said. “Least that Jew prick aint here…”
Rivers smiled, and even chuckled a little, “Ya got that right, sister.” She rested her head on her arm, trying to hold it up but she still occasionally slipped.
“Hey, go do some rounds, walk around or somethin’, ya only have an hour left….” The coworker suggested.
“Might as well, nothin’ better to do,” She murmured, standing up and stretching out for a moment. She grabbed a clipboard and a few documents, and then took her time strolling around the patient rooms writing down their condition. Daylight had finally started to break, and other staff members were casually coming in to start their shift.
She was nearly done with rounds until she stopped by Rhia’s room. She cracked the door to see how Rhia was doing only to notice that she had gone missing. A colossal wave of panic swept across her, her heart was pounding and sweat was starting to leak out of her. She was nearly hyperventilating until she heard over a PA system, “Nurse Jaclyn Rivers, please report to Dr. Frank O’Hara’s office. Repeat, Nurse Rivers, please report to Dr. O’Hara.”
It was bad news piled with worse news, her feet kept moving her forward but her brain screamed at her not to go. The walk down the long hall to O’hara’s office seemed endless, as if the distance to the door never changed as she walked until it was right in her face. She knocked softly, “You wanted to see me?”
O’Hara invited her in, and she took a seat. “Nurse Rivers, tell me, how long have you been working here?”
“Um…S…seven years?” She knew how long she worked but couldn’t help but form that answer into a question.
“Ah, seven years, and that would mean you know the only people who have permission to remove a patient from his or her restraints are the orderlies, correct?”
“Y…yes sir,” She stammered.
“And the only ones who can give said orderlies permission are in fact…the doctors and therapists that work here, right?” Now he was being condescending, but Rivers sat their obediently answering questions or remaining silent at the appropriate times.
“Yes sir…” She muttered, as she began to look at the floor.
“And yet I see that you’ve removed a patient from his restraints not once but twice over the past week,” He explained. “Furthermore you…” Rivers cut him off.
“Twice?! Where are you getting that?!” She shouted.
“Our security footage shows you helping the patient Elias Dunn into a wheelchair for a glass of water,” he quipped back.
“He wasn’t going to hurt anyone, he was just thirsty…”
“That is -not- your decision,” he said, raising his voice slightly. “I’ve already reviewed the first incident with the board of directors. They concluded that the first instance was to be dismissed but if it were to happen again, I would be required to fill out paperwork for your immediate termination.”
“And since when would a decision like that be made without giving me a notice of some kind.”
“We -did- send you a notice via email Ms. Rivers,” he shot back. “Whether or not you chose to read it is not our concern.”
O’Hara was the kind of doctor who considered the staff to be expendable and patients to be living, breathing and walking wallets of cash depending on their insurance. There are the corrupt in any profession and unfortunately, a lot of them are higher in the chain of command.
It felt like a long, drawn out process to turn in her badge and uniform and to be given a lecture over everything about this incident that will likely affect her career. Even if she were allowed to keep her nursing license, tracks like this on her records would make it effectively useless.
She was devastated, she felt almost betrayed by her firing but the more she thought about it, the more she knew they were right. She made a judgment call that she wasn’t in a position to make, and when she got home to check her email, sure enough there it was, hidden in between spam with no subject line on its own. It even declared they tried to contact her through her cell phone but never got through, and after checking her phone she did in fact find three messages from the hospital. It was as if a lightly embedded nail was slammed deep into the wood it rested on, she knew there was nothing she could do about this.
The worst part, it wasn’t even Friday.