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   Chapter 47 No.47

My Sister's Keeper By Bill Benners Characters: 10530

Updated: 2018-05-28 11:26


AS I PULLED UP TO MY PARENT'S HOUSE, I saw my mother flailing about the front yard flanked by two policemen and two neighbors attempting to console her. My first thoughts were that something had happened to Dad. I left the engine running and jumped out. "What happened?"

Mother surged toward me screaming and crying, but her cries concealed her words. I took hold of her hands. "What? Slow down."

She tried to say something, but instead collapsed against me, her weight sending both of us against the side of the car.

"What is it, Mama? Has something happened to Dad?"

Like a wounded animal, she thrashed about sliding down the side of the car to the ground.

"For Heaven's sake, can't someone tell me what's going on?"

The woman living next door stepped forward. "Your sister's been in an accident."

"An accident?"

Mom rolled to the ground, threw her head back, and let out a shriek that all of nature would recognize and I knew it was bad. "What? What happened?"

The woman pointed up the road. "We were standing here talking about your dad when somebody ran up and told her that Martha had been hit by a bus."

I saw a faint flashing in the distance. A vice clamped down on my chest. I couldn't breathe. My blood pressure soared. I could feel my heart pounding in my fingers. Muscles I never knew I had twisted into a knot. As I spun to turn, my right leg gave way. I caught myself on the car door, bumbled into it, dropped the shift into "reverse, " and stomped the accelerator. The car wheeled backward squealing as it spun around and raced off to find the scene of the accident.

It wasn't hard to find.

When I got there, they had Martha on a gurney and were lifting her into an ambulance. I ran to her but was held back by Sam Jones as they closed the doors.

"They're taking her to the hospital, " he said.

"What happened?" I gasped.

"I got here right after it happened. They say she just came out of nowhere. She just shot out into the street without even trying to stop. Like she meant to do it."

I felt the blood leave my head and my limbs began to tingle. "That's ridiculous! She wouldn't do that."

"Maybe not."

I bent forward and grasped my knees, my pulse suddenly weak. "Maybe, hell! She would never do that, Sam!"

The ambulance let go a yelp from its siren and pulled away exposing one of the metal arms broken off the wheelchair lying in the street. I turned away and grabbed hold of a sign post. My chest rattled and my legs shook. "Jesus! How could this have happened?"

"You don't look so good, " Sam said. "Maybe you should sit down." He took my arm and walked me toward my car. "There's something else, too, Richard."

I panted. "What?"

"She called me about ten minutes before the accident and told me she'd seen a light in a window at that damned warehouse. She told me she'd wait for me. I was coming to meet her."

"So how'd she end up here? Three blocks away?"

"I was on the way when I came upon the accident and when I realized who she was, sent another car around to have a look at the warehouse. There was nothing there."

"Well, there must have been something the

There were now one hundred seventy three pages. I pulled the computer stand closer to me, shifted back to the beginning of the story, and began reading.

It was titled Down in Flames by Martha Baimbridge. It opened with a shy teenage girl named Chelsea who, when invited by a popular boy in school to go on a trail ride with him and his friends, had been thrown from the horse and left paralyzed from the waist down. I read on.

From there, it was a heart-wrenching resemblance of many of the problems Martha had faced and the girl's struggle to accept her fate and put her life back together. It was at times difficult to read as I saw it more as Martha's story than Chelsea's, but I read on, feeling that at that moment my sister was speaking to me and that I was as close to her as I could get.

With Sydney sleeping quietly beside me, I accompanied Chelsea as she buckled down hard, did exactly what her therapists said, and struggled through the pain and frustration of striving to become whole again. But after much pain and little progress, she became angry and bitter. She was difficult to deal with and cruel to her doctors and therapists—even Andrew, who had fallen insanely in love with her. Turning inward, Chelsea became obsessed with the challenge of finding a better medicine, a better doctor, a better therapist, and fired them all.

Her friends stopped coming and her family gave up on her, yet she was determined to find a way. But one failure led to the next and frustration led to devastation, and finally to the crushing reality that she would never walk again. As Chelsea sat in her wheelchair perched high on a ridge overlooking the sea below and pondered suicide, my heart ached for her and I cried for her, and as dawn broke and Chelsea searched for some thread of hope to hold on to, the pages stopped abruptly and Martha left me hanging.

Oh, God! Maybe her suffering had been worse than I'd thought. Maybe she did throw herself out into that traffic. Maybe she'd lost all hope like Chelsea and needed relief—one way or another. Oh, Martha! Why didn't you tell me?

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