Hero Within – First Chapter

I noticed that my Sample Sunday’s were a bit on the short side compared to others, so I am going to go ahead and post the first chapter of The Hero Within, one of my upcoming shorts.  This is unedited, so I apologize for any errors you may come across.  I’ll be doing my best to clean it up soon 🙂

It was a delightful spring day in 1997.  Jessica Kelvin was doing dishes in front of an open window.  Her eyes gazed past their large backyard and rested upon a small park where children were playing.  The water continued to run, despite the fact that she had stopped washing the plate still held in her hand more than a minute ago.  A breeze came in that caused the curtains to dance, along with it the sound of a small child’s laughter.  Jessica closed her eyes, smiled deeply and took a deep breath in through her nose.  She couldn’t help but feel elated.  For after three years of trying, the Kelvin family was blessed with their first born son, David.

With her eyes still closed, she recalled to the day young David was born.  The happiness and joy she experienced that day overpowered any hurt, pain, or sorrow she had encountered in her entire life.  She couldn’t believe that four months had already passed by since then, time was truly flying by.  She resumed washing the dishes with a smile on her face when she heard the door close.

“Jessica, I decided to close up the shop early today.” Mark shouted from the foyer.  He walked into the kitchen as Jessica was finishing the last of the dishes in the sink.  “I wanted to spend some time with you and David this afternoon; it’s such a beautiful day.” He added.

Mark owned a small mechanic shop just down the road.  He wasn’t the cheapest around, but Mark and his crew did quality work.  He had his loyal customers, those that realized an honest and talented mechanic was worth the slightly higher bill.  It wasn’t uncommon for him to close the shop earlier than planned some days, if business was slow.

He walked over to Jessica and kissed her tenderly on the lips.  “Where’s our little boy?” He asked with excitement in his expression.

“He’s sleeping like a perfect angel, as always.” Jessica responded as she started to take off her rubber gloves.

Mark’s expression had a hint of disappointment; he had plenty of love and affection to give his only child.  He tried to hide it from Jessica, but she already saw it.  He was ready to play with David.

“Relax.” She chuckled and gently placed her hand on his forearm, happily oblivious to the oil and grease that accumulated throughout the work day.  “It’s time to wake him anyway, I need to feed the little guy, and then he’s all yours.” She said.

Mark’s eyes lit up like the Rockefeller Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.  Jessica’s smile got impossibly bigger, which caused her to squint her eyes and scrunch her nose.  “I love how excited you get to be with David.” She said as she started to prep a bottle of formula.  Mark took this time to go wash up from the day’s work.

As Mark was finishing up, Jessica walked past the small hallway bathroom towards David’s room.  Mark eagerly dried off and followed her.

“I was thinking maybe we could take Davey to the park today.” He said as he walked down the hall way.  He walked through the door into David’s room.  “What’ya think baby?” He asked.  Jessica was leaning over the crib, fiddling with David.  She ignored his question.

“Babe?” He asked.

Suddenly, he saw Jessica’s body tremble, and nudge David as aggressively as one could be with an infant.   She turned around quickly to look at Mark; her face was as pale as a ghost.  “Mark, call 9-1-1!” She shouted with an unsteady voice.

“What’s wrong?” Mark asked with intensity and concern matching hers.

“He’s not waking up, he’s not moving.  Just please go call for help!” Her voice sounding grimmer with each word that passed through her lips.

Mark sprang into action and hit the nearest phone in the house.  The 9-1-1 operator had Jessica make sure David was still breathing.  He was, and he limitedly responsive, but still not waking up.  Within five minutes, the paramedics arrived, rushing into the house like a bull after a Matador.

The ride to the hospital was only seven minutes, but for the Kelvin’s it felt like a lifetime.  Unable to do anything to help, they just watched and listened to the medics communicate with each other.  The two in the back worked in harmony, each one knew what the other was thinking.  When Garcia, the medic tending most closely to David needed an item, the other, Jackson, was already handing it to him.

Garcia looked up at Jackson expecting an answer, to which Jackson said. “Seventy-five over thirty-three.”

Jessica frantically looked at Garcia, then at Jackson, then back to Garcia.  “What does that mean?  Is that bad?” She frantically asked.

Garcia hesitated.  “It’s low; we need to get him to the NICU.  We’re not very well equipped to deal with children of this age.

Mark’s face reddened at the thought of his only child dying because the ambulance crew was unprepared.  He realized shouting at the two gentlemen as they frantically worked to keep his son alive was not a good idea and let it go.

The hospital was finally in sight.  The ambulance let out bursts of wailing as it backed in to the bay.  The sound ripped at Mark’s inside; thinking of heart monitors and other hospital equipment that was waiting just yards away.  His eyes began to water up.

The paramedics jumped out and pulled the bed from the back of the truck.  The sight of David’s tiny body lying on a full sized stretcher would permanently be burned into his memory.  Mark and Jessica quickly followed Garcia and Jackson down the hall.  A doctor promptly met them.  It took him no time to realize that David had significant pressure building up in his head, and he needed surgery immediately to relieve the pressure.

Mark and Jessica were guided to a surgery waiting room where they would remain for two hours.  Pacing from wall to wall, and sipping on coffee that Mark at one point referred to as ‘Sludge’, the two waited anxiously for someone to give them news.

Jessica sat in a chair, staring at little bears holding balloons on the wallpaper.  Her eyes seemed almost completely devoid of life.  Mark continued his pacing.  It was how he maintained his composure.  His walk was smooth, but his hands and arms were fidgety.

It was every parent’s worst nightmare.  It’s what they feared the most, but never thought would happen.  But it does happen, and the Kelvin’s had no choice but to wait, hopeful that a man in green scrubs would come through the door with an optimistic look on his face.

A nurse finally came in.

“Mister and Misses Kelvin?” She asked.  Mark walked towards her, having to stop and help Jessica up, who was still frozen with shock and awe.

The nurse held the door open with her back and pinned a clipboard between her chest and forearm.  “David is out of surgery, and in recovery.  We have a room for you two to wait in until he is out of recovery.  Doctor Eisenberg will be down shortly to discuss the surgery.” She said with neutral, yet reassuring face.

“My son!” Jessica landed back in reality.  “Is he okay?”

“Doctor Eisenberg was able to relieve the pressure in your son’s head.  His vitals were returning to normal, and he is resting.  The doctor will have more to share you with you in a few minutes.” She said and gestured for them to follow her.

They waited another forty-five minutes in the small private room.  There was equipment in the room that looked ready to be hooked up to a patient.

The doctor stepped in and formally introduced himself.

Jessica was impatient.  Like a detective interrogating a suspect, she insisted to learn what he knew.

The doctor’s face turned grim.  Jessica reached for Mark’s arms to brace herself for the storm that was about to shake her life.

About AJ Powers

I am a professional game developer during the day, but at night, my true passion comes to life when I read and write books.
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