When we got to the B&B, it looked like a cross between a bridal shop and a hospital.
Aunt Jane and Virginia were flipping through bridal catalogs while Bennet was looking at a dummy with a ton of medical books and medical equipment.
Noel, who had offered to push me up the ramp, pushed me towards Bennet. I tried to tell her that I wanted to go over to Aunt Jane and Virginia but I stopped.
“Hey,” Bennet said looking up. Noel walked away over towards the ‘bridal shop’.
“I know she has a short attention span sometimes,” Bennet started, “but I never thought she’d get sick of me after just one word.”
“So whatca doing?” I asked.
“I’m going to enroll in nursing school next fall,” Bennet said.
“You’re going to be a nurse?” I asked surprised.
“Just because I’m in a wheelchair doesn’t mean I can’t be a nurse,” Bennet said.
“What’s wrong with this guy?” I asked pointing to the dummy.
“He just got shot in the shoulder,” Bennet said going into medical mode. “The first thing you should always look for is an exit wound.”
Bennet pressed a pump that sent blood-like stuff gushing out of the dummy’s arm and side. It dripped onto the sheet that was covering the carpet.
“I know it’s not that authentic, but imagine that blood was pumping out of this man’s arm. That means that his brachial artery has been nicked or severed,” Bennet said. “If we don’t stop it right away, he’s probably going to die.”
“Then what are we waiting for?” I played along.
“We’re going to tie this piece of fabric real tight on this man’s arm,” Bennet said pulling a piece of fabric from his pocket. He handed it to. He started to pump ‘blood’ out of the dummy’s arm again.
I wrapped the fabric around the dummy’s arm as fast as I could and tied the fabric as fast as I could.
“Good!” Bennet praised. “Now take this fabric and press it against his side.”
I did as he told me.
“Now remember if this happens in real life call the paramedics,” Bennet said. “And every gunshot wound is different.”
I saw a shadow of something on Bennet’s face. He looked almost as if he was guilty of something.
“Want to learn CPR?” Bennet asked abruptly.
“Sure,” I shrugged.
“Donna!” Someone pounded on the restaurant door. “Donna!”
Everyone rushed from the family room into the restaurant. Ms. Donna unlocked the restaurant door and gasped when she saw the outside of the door.
“I…,” Mrs. Rivers trailed off. She pointed at the door.
On the door was a huge Florida state shape with the word Santa inside.
“So we need blue, pink, yellow, brown, and what other colors?” Daddy asked we as we went into the home improvement store.
It was a week later, and Daddy had offered to take me along to get the nursery paint. Daddy had already painted all the other rooms (Noel and my room was purple. The name of the paint was Purple Noel when we saw that we had to get it) but the nursery. Momma had changed her mind five times this week about what she wanted for a nursery. She finally decided on a Winnie-the-Pooh nursery and promised that this was her final change.
So Daddy decided to seize the moment and go buy the nursery paint.
Daddy’s phone rang and he groaned.
“Hello, honey?-you haven’t changed your mind again have you?-oh! That’s a good idea-love you too, bye,” Daddy said. He shut his phone.
“Your mother wants you and Bella to paint the characters on the walls,” Daddy said.
We had recently found out that Bella was an aspiring young artist. She loved to draw on everything…including her newly painted yellow walls. Momma said that it was seeing Bella paint Piglet on her wall was what inspired her.
“You go look at the paintbrushes while I get the paint,” Daddy said pulling a piece of paper out of his pocket. “Your mother wrote down which colors she wants.”
I giggled and rolled down the aisle. After a second I heard a huge breath. I turned around and there staring back at me was Ryan, my mother’s ex-boyfriend.
Something inside of me told me that Ryan was the one doing all this crazy stuff around here. I mean who else did I know that was obsessed with Florida and Santa.
“I asked you a question over a year ago, girly,” Ryan huffed. “And I’m still waiting for an answer.”
Everything inside me wanted to scream, but nothing came out of my mouth. I tried to spit but my tongue was extremely dry.
“What’s going on here?”
In a split second, Daddy was standing between me and Ryan. I saw a creepy sinister grin come to Ryan’s face.
“You’re Steve Matthews of Pittsfield ain’t ya?” Ryan interrupted. He didn’t let Daddy answer him. He pulled a gun from out of his pocket.
“Natalie,” Daddy started but he couldn’t finish. Ryan pulled the tripper, shot Daddy, and then went tripper- happy.
Daddy tumbled to the floor, and a scream finally left my lips. Some people subdued Ryan and got the gun out of his hands.
Always look for an exit wound
Bennet’s words echoed through my mind. I dove from my wheelchair. Blood splashed everywhere. I set myself on the floor putting my legs in a crisscross-applesauce position.
Blood was pumping from his right shoulder.
That means that his brachial artery has been nicked or severed. If we don’t stop it right away, he’s probably going to die.
“No! No!” I screamed. I ripped away part of Daddy’s shirt. Forget about the exit wound. I had to stop the bleeding. He couldn’t die. He just couldn’t. The triplets needed him. I needed him.
Several people gasped as I tied the torn shirt piece onto his shoulder. I tied it with all the strength I had in my arms. The side of his shirt was becoming soaked so I pulled his shirt up. There it was. An exit wound. I said a silent prayer thanking God that the bullet had left his body. As far as I could tell, the bullet had missed vital organs but I wasn’t a doctor. I prayed that it hadn’t touched his organs. I took my jacket off and pressed it against his side. One lady dropped her cell phone when she saw me. Did I ever mention there’s a big ugly scare on my chest from the accident?
I fumbled into Daddy’s pocket and pulled out his cell phone. A couple of people were already on their phones with 911, but something told me to call.
“911, what’s your emergency?” The lady one the other end asked.
“My daddy’s just been shot,” I cried.
“What’s your name, honey?” The lady asked.
“Ok, Natalie, where are you? Do you know?” The lady asked.
I told her.
“Do you know who shot him? Can you give me a description, Natalie?” The lady asked.
“Yes. His name is Ryan. I don’t know his last name. Some people have subdued him,” I cried.
“Natalie, where was your father shot?” The lady asked.
“In the shoulder.”
“Is blood pumping out?”
“It was. I stopped it a little. He’s still bleeding but now it’s only trickling.”
“Natalie, are you hurt?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
I tried to see if my legs were bleeding. They were coved in blood, but it was probably just my father’s.
“Ok, honey, I need you to help me. I need you to see if he has an exit wound.”
“There is one. It’s on his side. I’m pressing down so it won’t bleed.”
“Where do you live? Is your mother there? Siblings?”
“I live at 430 Drury Hall Lane 01247 in Florida a small town near North Adams. No, my mom isn’t here or my siblings. They’re all at home.”
“How old are you, Natalie?”
“Your name sounds familiar. What’s your middle name?”
“You’re that girl that got hit by a car in New York, right?”
“Everything’s going to be ok, Natalie, the police and an ambulance are on their way.”
“I’m going crazy.”
I didn’t realize it until then that I was having a panic attack. My fingers were trembling and the fabric slipped from my hands. I was choking and my chest was tight. I was afraid I was about to pass out.
“Natalie! Natalie! Natalie!”
I couldn’t hear anything after that. I dropped the cell phone. The world soon became very hazy. My body felt like Play-Doh. My life once again flashed before my eyes but this time everything was spinning. People were pointing at me. I smiled at them and waved.
My head then hit a huge pool of blood. I knew some blood got into my mouth, but I couldn’t taste it.
A lady mouthed something like “She’s been shot.”
“I want my mommy,” I said. I’m not sure if I actually said that since I didn’t hear it.
Everything went black soon after that.