Web Toolbar by Wibiya Shelby Rebecca: Chapter One of Sadie Survived

Monday, November 25, 2013

Chapter One of Sadie Survived

Sadie Survived is the sequel to Sadie's Mountain. These are the first two books in the Reclaiming Life Series. In this book, I will delve into Dillon's story, although Sadie will also have a few chapters--so it's a duel perspectives book.

I'm in the mood to share what I've written so far. However, as a WARNING, this excerpt contains major spoilers from Sadie's Mountain. If you haven't yet read the first book, I'd recommend you do that before reading this. It's available for sale on all major online retailers.

Also, this Work in Progress in intended for mature audiences, 18+, due to heavy topics, adult language, violence, and sexual situations. It is unedited, and subject to change.

Copyright, Shelby Rebecca. All rights reserved. 2013.


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Chapter One

Dillon—On The Mountain

 “Dillon!” Reverend Morris says through the speaker on my phone. “Where are you guys?” I ask, my voice giving away my nerves.

“We ran into a couple’a officers from Fayetteville waitin’ for us coming up the trail.”

Crap! I shake my head. Are we going to be alone?

“They sent us back down but we’re looking at the map so we can take another trail,” he says. “The coal company’s suspended demolition while all these people are protesting, and some of us are up here and they don’t know where we are.”

“Alright Reverend. We’ll be waiting for you. How many are still coming?” I yell into the phone, but my attention is tuned in elsewhere. Somewhere out there, I hear the rumbling sound of a four-wheeler coming up to our right.

“Did you hear that?” Sadie asks. When I look over to her she has this odd look on her face. My stomach aches to relieve the fear I see so evident in her eyes.

“There’s still ‘bout ten of us,” he says, out of the speakerphone. Could Donnie have found us up here? And it looks like we’re going to be here alone.

“Did someone make it past the cops?” I ask.

“Not that I know of,” he says.

“What were the cops riding? Motorcycles? Four-wheelers?”

“Four-wheelers,” he responds.

The sound of that four-wheeler is getting louder. From the corner of my eye I see Monty stop and fling his head up. It doesn’t feel right to me. Animals usually know when something’s wrong before we do. My horse is restless, too. We’ve got to move. Now.

 “Let’s get off this trail,” I say, trying to sound calm. I don’t want to scare Sadie worse than she already is. I pull the reins to the left and duck under a branch as Sadie follows. I’m so pissed at myself. I should have waited for the rest of the group first before I allowed her to come up here. We’re going to be alone. No. We are alone. Shit!

“Sadie,” I say, “we’re up here alone. We don’t have the group to protect us. I don’t want you yanking that gun out on cops, but just keep it in mind. I have mine, too, remember.”

Just then, the look on her face changes. Her eyes look like a wild animal, and I freeze. I realize that what’s odd is the buzzing sound of the four-wheeler had stopped. But I hear a shuffle and before I can process it, a four-wheeler carrying my brother barrels out of the forest.

 Both our horses bolt forward to get out of the way, when a loud sound bursts through the trees. I see his eyes, pure hatred and malice. Then I see the gun. I’m jerked backward—hard and fast. My shirt puffs up, like a bomb has exploded inside my chest, blocking out the sounds. My ears ringing.

What the…! I’m shot?  Instinctively I grab my chest as blood pumps onto my hand. My horse is jittery and hopping around.

My own brother shot me? Is Sadie okay? Is she shot, too? I look to my side toward her as she jumps down off her horse. Thump, thump. My heart beats in my eardrum.

Excruciating pain, like a jack-jammer, strikes inside my chest wall. Then, everything seems to go into slow motion. I understand it, scientifically. Large amounts of epinephrine releasing from my adrenal medulla are causing a slow motion effect. Fight-or-flight. I choose fight—but my body’s not cooperating. The ringing in my ears—confuses me.

The terrified look on Sadie’s face. I want to tell her, no.  Ride away. I’ll take care of this. But my voice isn’t working. My chest is so tight. My lungs feel like they’re being squeezed by a vice. Am I breathing? Short knife-stabbing breathes. Not enough air.

“Dillon!” She screams. Breaks my heart. God. That sound. It physically hurts worse than my chest. She’s running toward me. I’m trying to make my legs swing down off the horse as I see a flash of Donnie intercepting her.

No! Get your hands off of her.

I’m dizzy. But I’ve got to protect her. Mine to protect. He yanks her back by her hair and kicks her in the back. No! I swing my leg backward as she falls forward.

Everything goes black. I feel a cutting ache in my chest, my leg, my back. My ears ring. Thump, thump.

When I come to, I’m off the horse. Flat on the ground. I hear rustling, punching, kicking sounds. What’s happening? I’ve got to keep her safe. Get up! I force myself to stand. Grab my gun. As I find my footing and open my eyes, Donnie slaps Sadie across her the face. My stomach hallows out. My hand forms into a fist.

She’s bloody. Again. It’s running down her cheek. Just like last time. The anger comes up from the pit of my stomach. I’m shaking with revenge as I raise my gun. I want to kill him. I’m going to. I trip, drop my arm. No! Force my arm up again. Just as I’m taking aim, he yanks her up and flings her around so she’s facing me.

He’s got the gun to her head, using her as a human shield. Her eyes. The fear in them—it nearly breaks me. I’ve got to do something. But what?

“I’m sorry, Dillon,” she says, closing her eyes. “This is all my fault.” I shake my head no. All I can think of is what a failure I am. I’ve failed again. I didn’t protect her. Again. Thump, thump.

“Let her go, Donnie!” I yell and my chest tightens up, knives twisting. Her eyes, now open, are pleading with me. This isn’t fair. She doesn’t deserve this. My love. My darlin’.

“Dillon!” she cries. I just wish she wasn’t in the way. I’d kill him right now if I could. My own brother.

I can’t breathe. The dizziness makes my sight fail. Everything goes white. I fight it.  Force my arms straight. My throat feels tight. My lips feel wet and warm. I wipe my mouth. Yep. It’s blood. My chest is warm. I push down to try and curb the bleeding. Thump, thump.

 “Dillon! Go get help,” she says, her voice shaking. God, she’s so brave. Braver than I’ve ever been.

“I’m not leaving,” I say. That’s not happening. Not again. I’m not leaving her alone with him. I cough, feeling more blood coming up my throat. I wipe it away with my shoulder, never taking my eyes off Donnie’s gun. The look on my brother’s face is bone-chilling. I’ve never seen that look in his eyes. The same one Dad had when he’d go nuts. One time Donnie cried. He got it worse for that. He never cried again. He was always the stronger one, so Dad gave it to him worse.

“Drop your gun, Dillon,” Donnie says to me, with authority, like a cop. “I don’t got no problem shootin’ her right here, right now. Cept’, I was plannin’ on some alone time with ‘er first. But, hey, I’m just livin’ out the last moments ‘a my life right now, too. Think I’m gonna let y’all send me to prison?”

I shake my head no. “If you’re caught, Donnie, why do you have to take her with you?” I say, trying to reach the person I used to know behind those black eerie eyes. Just, trying to buy time. Everything starts spinning. I step backward to keep myself upright.  Thump, thump.

“Because she’s mine!” Donnie screams in Sadie’s ear. No. She’s not! My nostrils flare as I shake my head.

 The anger inside me is a living thing. The love for Sadie is stronger. It’s what keeps me standing here. I force my eyes open. It’s blurry, but I see her wince as he starts running his hand up her ribs under her right arm. It feels like acid in my bloodstream, watching this. Helpless to stop it.

She moves to get away from him, her eyes close. I try to hold my gun steady enough to take the shot and not hit her instead. My eyes shake too much. Thump, thump goes the blood through my heart. I hear it loud in my eardrum, reminding me I’m alive.

She writhes in disgust as Donnie leans down and whispers in her ear. I close my eyes to try and steady myself. My vision, blurry. My breathing quick and excruciatingly sharp. I’ve got to get it together, for her. I shake my head back and forth—to bring forth logic. I can’t give up.

“You see this,” he says, louder, and I hear her blow out a pained breath. I open my eyes and see him squeezing her breast.  Sick bastard. I feel my lips curling. The barrel of his gun is pressed into her temple. I fucking hate this sick piece of shit.

My heartbeat thumps in my eardrum. Blood drains down my arm. I look down and see it drip on my shoe. I wipe my mouth again. She’s not looking at me. Tears on her cheek shine from the light through the trees, mix with the blood on her cheek.

 I try to steady the gun. I have to step backward again to stay up. I close my eyes. So dizzy. Thump, thump.

 “Keep your eyes open, boy,” he says, as I hear her cry out in pain. 

“That’s how she likes it,” he says, as he lets go, and slowly moves his hand down her stomach. Revulsion rolls through me like a river. “This is how I felt watchin’ you with her, all these years!” he hollers. Is he going to try to touch her right in front of me? Is he trying to prove something? How can I stop him? Save her?

 My breathing is too sharp. Short, shallow. I know I’m going into shock—everything is going so slow. I widen my stance. Thump, thump.

“Donnie!” I demand. Oh! That hurt. But he doesn’t stop. He just keeps glaring at me. He’s moving slowly, looking at me with a smirk on his face. He looks wickedly happy. Disgusting. Sick, piece of shit.

“I told ‘er she needs a real man,” he says, rubbing up against her with his hips, his eyes squinting at me full of vile hate. How did I not know how much he hates me? How did I miss all the signs? My own brother.

That’s when I see it. Sadie looks different. Numb. It’s like when I saw our old dog catch a rabbit once. At first the rabbit fought, but then there was a moment when it just froze, the look in its eyes was empty. But it blinked, so I knew it was alive. It had accepted its fate.

I can’t let this happen to her. Not again.

“Stop, Donnie!” I yell through the pain, through the panic. The throbbing. I stumble again, but I don’t fall, I force my arm to stay straight and take a step forward.

“Just remember who was here first,” Donnie says into Sadie’s ear, but he's really saying it to me, as he stars to move his hand down the front of her pants. A furious anger inside me runs through me, chills me. Makes me murderous. “And the last,” he says. I shake my head no. If I could just take the shot.

I look into her eyes, tell her not to give up. Something changes in her expression. It’s not fear anymore, it’s anger. It’s a determined look I’ve not seen before. She speaks to me with her eyes, nods toward the gun she’s got hidden under her left arm. It’s the only chance we have. I nod my head yes. ‘Do it,’ I say with my eyes as I shakily point the now too heavy gun.

His hand is still moving down, now halfway down her pants. Do it, Baby.Now!

I see her hand move so quickly across her chest, under her arm— just like I taught her. She’s got it. She stomps his foot, turns, knees his groin. He bends at the waist. She steps back, widens her stance. She’s going to kill him. She’s going to be okay.  I can’t see straight enough to shoot. Double vision. Thump, thump.

“You’ll never touch me again,” she says, but he’s smiling at her. “Drop the gun!” she demands.

“Bitch, I ain’t droppin’ my gun,” he says, trying to straighten his back.

“Sadie,” I say, but it sounds like a wheeze. “I’ve got this. Just call for help,” I say, and cough to try and get some air into my lungs. The stabbing pain nearly drops me.

“Yeah, Dillon’s got this, Sadie.” Donnie laughs. “We’re all gonna die today,” he yells. “It’s just a matter ‘a who I’m gonna shoot first.”

“Just shoot ‘im,” I say, but not loud enough to be heard, and she does. The sound makes me jump backward. My sight goes white again for a second, Wait—he’s grabbing his arm. In the arm instead? Why didn’t she kill him?

She kicks his gun into the trees. Everything is spinning. I can’t keep my arm up any more. It’s too heavy. It falls. But I keep hold of my gun. Is she going to shoot him again? I’m confused. I can’t? What was I was going to do? Thump, thump.

 “What are you waitin’ for?” he asks. “Just do it!” Donnie yells.

“Dillon, please call for help,” Sadie says, determined. Where’s my phone? I think. I look at the ground, searching, but my knees buckle, and I’m on the ground again.

 “Dillon?” She yells, frantically.

“I’m okay,” I say forcing breath in and out. But I’m fading. The light is gone. A dark emptiness surrounds me.

“Just put the gun down,” says a breathless deep voice. Not Donnie’s.

“Who’s out there?” Sadie yells.

“I’ve got this, Sadie,” a man says, winded but still calm. “I’m gonna handcuff him. Just put your gun down.”

Thump, thump.

Officer Howard?

“Dillon needs help. Is someone coming to help us?” Sadie sounds far away from me.

“We need a rescue chopper, now! Two shot. One in custody,” he says. I hear an answer come back. Static. Must be through a radio.

“Dillon,” Sadie says, pulling me back from the empty dark space. She’s holding me. Pushing her hand into my wound.

“Sadie,” I say, and cough. I feel her wipe my mouth with something. My heartbeat sounds slower, soothing as it dies out, having run out of blood to circulate.

“Dillon, baby. Look at me,” she pleads. I want to, but it’s so hard to open them. It feels better when they’re closed. I force them open and stare into those moss-green eyes. Her eyes always tell me how she feels. Too heavy. Everything is too heavy.

“I’m going to sing to you, baby. Our song, but you have to promise to stay with me. They’re coming for us with a helicopter. But you have to stay awake,” she says. Is it over? Can we be together now? I have to stay with her. Can’t give up now. She’s okay. We can have our life now. He didn’t win.

“I promise,” I say, forcing a smile, trying to be strong—for her. Thump.

“You are my flower,” she sings to me. The sound of her voice is like a life line. I focus on the strength in her voice. So sweet. So pure. I thought I’d lost her. But she’s here now. I have to fight. She’s worth it. She’s finally mine, again. Thump, thump.

Through the sounds of the chopper. The feeling of them lifting me. I hear her say, “Hold my hand. Don’t let go.”  I feel her warmth. Her comfort.

“I won’t let go,” I say and I mean it. I will never let go. “Sing to me, darlin’” I ask. I need it.

She’s my everything. First thing I do when I’m better.

Ask. To. Marry. Me.

#

Sadie survived. All I knew as I heard her singing to me, our song, was that she was alive. It’s all I could process when I came to. That and the anger, like a fire in my gut, but I try to hide that from her. It’s not her fault, and I want to protect her from all this crap swimming inside my head.

I’ve been here a week. Medicated to keep me comfortable, but what happened to us, it’s never going to go away. It’s a part of us now. She’s scarred, and now so am I, my chest like Frankenstein, pieced together. But it bonds us, too. Although, I’m heavily medicated, the chemistry we share is like sparks inside me. I know when she’s in the room with me, and when she isn’t, I ache for her to come back. I can’t really sleep or dream until she’s here and safe.

All that matters is her, and as I open my eyes, I already know she’s not in the room with me. My eyes dart around in the dark, searching for the solace that I know isn’t there. I feel frantic. It seems like danger is everywhere, in everyone. No one is safe. I know I’m irrational, but the need to protect her is so strong within me, I feel like jumping out of this feeble body just to be with her so I can protect her.

I lift up, feeling heavy and drugged. Pick up my phone and clumsily swipe the screen on. Tap the messages, and swipe my text to her.

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Me: Where are you?

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And I wait. And wait. I lie back and feel the pull in my chest where my stitches are. My phone buzzes. Finally! Although it’s only been two minutes, it feels like forever.

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Sadie: I’m at the cafeteria. I got a salad and a drink. I’ll be right back.

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I blow out a breath and my lung pinches. She’s fine, I tell myself. She is so strong. I’m so proud of her. Both times she was attacked, and lived through them. Most of the time since we’ve been here, she’s okay, it seems. I know she’s anxious, though, like always. She fights the need to feel numb, while I fight the anger that boils up from my gut and tries to consume me.

She doesn’t deserve to live with the anger, so I push it down under the surface and let it bubble in my peripheral vision. I stare at the beach scene in water color on the wall straight ahead. I’m jealous of those beach people. Such a simple life they lead. No brothers there who rape, who try to kill. Just sunlight and sand. Just the wind. I feel a chill on my skin.

I feel her come in before I see her. “Baby,” I rasp, and put my arm out for her to come to me.

“Dillon, do you need the nurse?” she says, as sets down her food and drink  and sits on the bed with me.  So warm. So alive. And I hold her, tilt her chin up toward me. Her eyes look confused, and then she seems to understand. She blinks and runs her fingers up my stomach and touches my stitches. They itch now, but her fingers there feel like salve. She moves up toward me, but doesn’t move in for the kiss. She’s waiting for me to take it.

Take me, her eyes are saying, and my jaw tenses. I put my hand around the back of her neck and tilt her chin. “Close your eyes,” I say. It’s funny to me that I have to remind her—that I always have since that first time. When she does, I feel the need to claim that mouth. It’s mine.

I taste her pink lips one at a time, and dart my tongue in to penetrate her, to claim. And she submits, giving back as I take what I need. I move my hand down to her breast. The image of my brother’s hand there bites me, and I squeeze her—too hard, as she gasps, and then pushes herself into my hand even more.

There’s a monitor beep, and then the curtain swings open. Sadie jumps back as one of the many nurses comes in and moves around to the monitor side of the bed. I’m watching her, my girl. I feel savage. Heated. I want her. Her lips slightly parted, her chest rising up and down. I marvel in how I affect her. How she is mine, and only mine. And she knows it, too.

“Dr. McGraw,” the nurse says, “your heart rate spiked up all of the sudden. I need to check your blood pressure,” she says, as I lift my knee to hide how hard Sadie just got me now.

“It’s fine. We were kissing,” I say, as I watch a red tint climb up Sadie’s cheeks. “That’s all it was.”

The nurse, an older woman with a little bubble haircut, stands there tapping her toe. She’s holding the blood pressure sleeve and looking at the heart monitor. I shift my gaze back to Sadie. She looks wild right now. Her hair a mess. Her mascara smeared. She reminds me of how she looked that first morning after we’d slept together for the first time. A little vulnerable, but safe, and a little anxious.

“Your heart rate just jumped again,” the nurse says, exasperated. But I know why. Men, we wear our anatomy outside the body, not like our women who tuck theirs inside like the nectar of a flower. And mine is hot and throbbing under the sheet, reminding me every second of how close my mate is.

An image of my brother’s hand halfway down her pants flashes across my eyes. And I want to erase him from her. I want to take him and what he’s done out of her, out of me. Revenge boils under my skin.

“Open up,” says the nurse holding a thermometer, as Sadie stands and walks over to the chair in the corner. She places the plastic stick in my mouth, but I don’t take my eyes off of Sadie. I feel like if I do, something bad will happen to her, and it will be my fault again. Irrational? Yes. But a spike in my testosterone level makes me primal. Primitive. Possessive.

“Your fever is up slightly. We’re going to keep an eye on you,” she says. Sadie comes back. Sits on the edge of the bed and wipes my damp forehead.

“You do feel hot,” she says. “Lie back. I’m not leaving again. Rest, please.” I feel myself drift off to the loud sound of my heartbeat in my ear.

As the night progresses, I wake as my breathing becomes more and more labored. I’m relieved when I hear Sadie typing on her laptop in the room with me, and I watch her. I don’t want her to leave. I start to feel a chill in the air, and my chest tightens. The nurse comes in to take my temperature, again.

 “I think  I’ve got an infection,” I say to the nurse, my teeth chattering. After a CT scan, in a sweaty cold daze, I hear the doctor say to Sadie, “The positive-pressure respiratory treatment they’d given him to reflate the lung accidentally popped a blood vessel and caused inflammation of the pleural lining of his lung. There is air trapped in his chest wall, which is extremely painful.  We are going to have to remove it. Please sedate.” Sadie is rushing toward me as I watch the needle stab the IV plugged into my arm. Is it crazy that all I can think about is her? As I fade to black, I think out loud, “Don’t leave me.”

#

Two weeks since the shooting, I’ve finally regained around seventy-eight percent lungs capacity. It hurts to talk. The coughing is excruciating, so I’m usually medicated enough to stay asleep so that the pain is just a dull ache in the background of my mind—kind of like the ache in my heart where my brother used to be.

I’ve been having nightmares about what he did to her. Of how I found her that day. Of him touching her right in front of me. The look in his eyes bores through my brain and hollows out my stomach.

But then I’ll look over at her with her eyebrow cocked up as she intently types her next best seller. Green eyes sparkling. Pink lips just begging to be kissed. Even though the hospital smells of medicine and cleaning supplies, I can still make out her scent. She’s never worn perfume. She just smells like her, like my best friend, like home, like what love is.

#

I hear her voice talking to me. I feel her hands running up and down my arm. I know she’s here. That’s all that matters—has ever mattered since I ran into her on the mountain. The shock of seeing her that day. I wasn’t going to let her go.

I know it sounds weird considering what I’m going through here in the hospital, but when she left me there’d been this ache in my chest that I realize only went away when I finally saw her again. I couldn’t let her out of my sight. I still can’t. The compulsion to protect her is stronger now than ever.

 “Dillon,” she says, and I nod my head. I’m foggy. Tired. My eyes too heavy to open. “You don’t have to open your eyes, but I want to tell you a secret,” she says, as she grabs hold of my hand. She’s shaking.

“What’s your secret, baby?” I mumble, and strain to open my eyes slightly. Her face is ruddy. Her lips are quivering.

“I took a test,” she says, and I’m confused. “We’re going to have a baby,” she whispers and purses her lips. Her eyes wide, and vulnerable.

“Yes!” is all I can say, as I pull her toward me and try to sit upright to hold her.

“No, no. Stay lying down,” she says, as she leans over me, her hair tickles my shoulders and cocoons all around our heads. I feel the tears coming down my cheeks. She has them, too.

I take her face in my hands and press my lips to hers, taste the salty tears as they mix with our kiss. Her lips, so soft as if they were made just for me.

“I love you,” I say, and hold her close. So grateful we’re alive. And I finally have her all to myself—even if it’s just for a little while until the baby comes.
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Sadie Survived has been put on hold until further notice. Copyright, Shelby Rebecca. All rights reserved. 2014.

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