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Do we really mean everything we say?  Here is Chapter 3.  Enjoy the read.  I’m glad you stopped by.

Chapter 3

ELIZABETH PACED BACK AND FORTH in the waiting room.  She stopped and walked over to the window.  It looked out over the entrance to the hospital’s parking deck.  A gray Mercedes SUV stopped at the parking deck’s gate arm that blocked the parking deck’s entrance.  Was that James?  Her forehead touched the window so she could look straight down.  She could not tell if the SUV was James’s and went back to pacing.

She had not heard anything from the doctor.  She checked her watch.  Sarah had been in the examination room for thirty minutes.  Someone should come out and update her, she thought.  Did Sarah have a fracture?  Did she get a concussion?  What was she talking about before the medics arrived?  Shooting someone?  When people hit their heads delirium can happen.  Sarah, being in her eighties, and with the recent death of her husband, it could trigger all sorts of things.

Now she wished she had not followed the ambulance in her car.  She should have ridden in the ambulance with Sarah.  She has no idea if Sarah was conscious when she arrived at the hospital.  She may have passed out.

Poor Sarah, she thought.  Maybe Sarah would not be so defiant if James and Jessica did not smother her so much.  Those two would drive me crazy if they were around me all the time, she thought.  She exhaled and sat down in a seat against the wall.  It was the last row of seats.  She had been pacing in front of them.  Five people were seated in the other rows.

“Elizabeth,” James said, coming down the hallway.

She looked in his direction.  He had that frantic body language.  It happened when he was stressed and worried.  His arms moved loosely at his sides.  His strides were extra long.  His body leaned from side to side with every step he took.  She normally teased him about it.  Not tonight.  She began walking toward him.  They hugged when they were close enough.

“Have they told you anything?” he asked.

“No,” she said.  “I’m just waiting.  I’ve asked the nurse up front if she had any news on Sarah.”  She pointed to the nurse sitting behind a counter in the front of the room.  “She checked for messages from the doctor.  But they’re still tending to Sarah.”

James walked up to the counter where the nurse was.  “I’m James McDougal.  My mother, Sarah McDougal, is being examined.  Is there any status on her yet?”

The nurse punched some keys on her computer keyboard.  She exhaled and slowly shook her head.  “Nothing yet, sir,” the nurse said.

James exhaled loudly.  “Thanks,” he said and walked back to Elizabeth.  “She’s moving.  I don’t care what she says.  She’s moving.”  He sat down beside Elizabeth.  She reached over and held his hand.  “I called Jessica.  I got a message from Ben.  They’re on their way.  They’re way out in somewhere.  I wasn’t listening very carefully.”  He pursed his lips.  “Did she say anything?  I know you said you found her at the bottom of the stairs.  You said she was conscious and mumbling.”

Elizabeth squinted and turned her head sideways and blinked her eyes several times.  “She did say something,” she said.  “It…It may have been nothing.  But she said something,” she whispered.  James looked concerned.  He stared at Elizabeth.  His mouth was open.  “I can’t say it here,” she whispered.  She stood up.  James looked up at her.  “Come on.”  She began walking away from him.  He stood up quickly and followed her.

Elizabeth walked down the hallway to the other end.  No one was at the other end.  No rooms.  No nurses.  Just a big window with two large chairs sitting under the window.  She turned around when she reached the window.  James was almost to her.

“Did you hear me?” he asked.  She asked him did she hear what.  “I was telling you to slow down.  I couldn’t catch you.  What’s the emergency?”

“I thought you may want me to tell you this alone,” she said.  “Your mother did say something.”  James turned down the corners of his mouth and looked hard at her.  The expression on his face was tense.

“James,” she said and sighed and then paused.  James’s expression was turning into a squint.  “She talked about killing someone.”  His head recoiled.  “Something…”  She paused and shook her head.  “Something about your father didn’t do it.  She did it.  And that she was his only protection.  And he was going to kill her.”

“My Father was going to kill her?” he asked.

“No,” she said.  “I think she was saying that someone was going to kill your father.  She…”  She stopped and bit her bottom lip and squinted.  Then she shut her eyes tightly and exhaled loudly.  “She told me not to let them take him.”  She held up a finger.  “That’s what she said.  That was it.  She told me not to let them take him.  Then she said for him to hide.”

“She told you to hide my Father?” he asked.

“No,” she said.  “She said it to him.  Frank hide.  I’m almost positive that’s what she said.  She said Frank.  She said his name.  Do you know of anything that—”

“Elizabeth,” he said.  His face hardened.  “Come on.  You’re smarter than that.  You’re one of the smartest people I know.  You’re not taking what a delirious elderly woman said seriously?  Are you?  Remember, she had just fallen down a flight of stairs and probably hit her head against a stone tile floor.”  He looked at her.  “Tell me you’re not taking what she said seriously.”  He waited.  “She’s probably confused and hallucinating.  And that’s why she shouldn’t be living alone.”  He pointed his finger at Elizabeth.  “That’s why.”  He shook his head.

“You’re probably right,” she said.  “She’s probably had some trauma and wasn’t thinking straight.”

James told her that had to be it.  “My father or mother would never shoot anyone,” he said.  “Those two people are two of the straightest arrows I’ve ever met.  They wouldn’t even get mixed up with people who they’d have to shoot.  My mother was just imagining things.”  He pushed his hands through his hair.  “Do me a favor.  Don’t tell Jessica about this and what Mother said.  She’s just looking for a reason to put her in a senior living facility.  Any reason would do.”  He looked at Elizabeth.  “Your story would be the trick.”

“I won’t say a word,” she said.

“Thank you,” he said.

She was not going to say a word.  But, she did not believe Sarah was hallucinating.  She did not know how much of what Sarah had said was real.  Nor did she know how much of it was from her imagination.  But there was one thing she felt certain of.  What Sarah was saying was not all made up.  Sarah sounded like she was giving a death bed confession.  The only thing was missing was the background story.  Sarah probably did shoot someone.  The questions were why and when?  And, Frank was involved.  Sarah was probably the aggressor of the two.  James could believe what he wanted.  But Sarah was giving a confession.

“James, Elizabeth.” James and Elizabeth jerked their heads in the direction where they heard their names called.  Jessica had called their names out and was walking fast toward them.  Ben was walking quickly behind her.

 

I hope you enjoyed Chapter 3.  Chapter 4 will be posted in a few days.

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