Love & Hate – Chapter 7: Al Jackson is Hysterical

Chapter 7 by Matt Wall

“Where’s my daughter! Somebody tell me where she is!” shouted a hysterical Al Jackson as he frantically hurried through the halls of the hospital. His expensive blazer flying up behind him like a cape and his briefcase swung around like his weapon.

“Mr. Jackson?” Eden said. “I can take you to her.”

His face didn’t change. His mouth hung open and his eyes were wide with the fright of anticipation. “Where?”

“Right this way.”

“Is she all right?”

“Dr. Bell says the operation was successful…”

“Operation!” he shouted, and grabbed Eden by the arm. “What do you mean operation?”

She pulled her arm back, knowing that Al was in shock and not thinking clearly. “Her spine was damaged and she had internal bleeding. We needed to operate right away.” She studied his face and his reactions. “But, sir, I must say, that if you go in there like this, I don’t know if that would be very good for Ciri. You need to hold it together. You have to be strong for her. I’m sure that she will be scared when she wakes up, and seeing you this hysterical, might only make things worse.”

“How dare…” Al wanted to backhand the pretty girl right out of her scrubs, but he understood what she was getting at. He took a deep breath. “All right. Show me.”

Eden let him into the room, where they found Van sitting at Ciri’s bedside, clutching her hand tightly. “I’ll leave you. Let me know if you need anything.”

Al looked down on his daughter. Her face, badly bruised. Tubes coming out of every which way. Machines working steadily around her, to keep her alive and well. “Van, what happened?” Tears welled up in his eyes.

Van shook his head and bit down on his lip. “I’m not sure what happened at first, but I saw the aftermath, Mr. Jackson.”

“Meaning what?”

“I found her lying facedown on the ground, and saw Brody Mills standing above her.”

“Brody Mills? The bartender at The Green Door?”

“The one and only. I don’t know what happened, but when he saw me, he ran. I already told my dad. I’m sure the guy will be in custody in no time.”

“Brody Mills!” Al shouted. “I will bring down the wrath of God on him for what he has done to my daughter.” He knelt down at her bedside. “Has she woken up yet?”

“Not yet. They tell me she could wake up at any moment now.”

“You stay with her. I need to see your father and Mr. Mills.”

Meanwhile, in the stock room of The Green Door, Allie was looking for someone. “Brody? Are you in here?”

“What do you want?” he said, as he threw a large box against the wall.

A slight touch of fear danced up Allie’s spine. “Brody, I was just trying to help. Chief Dean seemed serious and I thought that you needed an alibi.”

“But you didn’t help!” He grabbed her by the arms and pressed her against some shelves. “Now, when the truth does come out, which should be any minute now, not only am I going to get picked up, but so will you. It makes me look even more guilty, now that we lied about it.”

Allie was coming to the realization of something. “Brody, did you do something? Did you hurt Ciri?” Her face flinched at every small movement that he made. 

He laughed and pushed off of her. “How can I expect you to believe anything I have to say, when I myself don’t even understand it.” He paced back and forth. “Come on, you’re coming with me.”

She tried to make a run for the door, but Brody grabbed her by the arm. “Now! We are getting out of here.”

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