“Ma'am, we're going to need to ask you a few questions.”
Who is she talking to? Wait… who the hell is she?
I racked my brain, trying to figure out what the hell was going on. A million and one questions started racing through my mind, making it hard to focus on the woman in front of me.
“Ma’am, can you tell me what happened tonight?”
I cocked my head to the side, looking dubiously at the woman dressed in a black suit with curious eyes.
“I’m Detective Monroe and this is Officer Parkins.”
My gaze went from her to him within a matter of seconds.
What are they talking about?
“Aubrey,” he announced. “Do you remember me?”
I just stared at him not saying a word or making a sound. Trying to find my clarity.
“Can you tell us what happened last night?” Detective Monroe repeated, bringing my attention back to her.
“We’re here to help you,” she added.
Help me? What the fuck was going on?
Their imposing figures loomed in front of me, as if they were villains from a fairytale.
“Aubrey,” he coaxed, suddenly raising his hand toward me. I instinctively flinched, leaning back as far as I could, a reaction that had become second nature to me.
He grimaced, pulling back his arm. “I’m not going to hurt you. You’re safe. We’re here to help you," he repeated again.
I narrowed my eyes at him and then her, trying to take them in.
“Do you know where you are?” she followed with concern etched in her tone.
I glanced around the room, my eyes not knowing where to look first.
I was at a loss.
“You’re at the hospital,” she said as if reading my mind. “We can’t help you unless you talk to us. Do you understand? I need you to at least nod.”
“No… No… No… I hate hospitals, I hate hospitals,” I panicked, vigorously shaking my head.
She put her hands out in front of her in a surrendering gesture. “Jeremy Montgomery,” she coaxed.
I scooted back, practically ripping the IV from my arm, hugging my knees to my body. Still violently shaking my head back and forth.
“No, no, no, no, no, no,” I chanted over and over again, rocking back and forth. Trying to comfort myself like I had done countless times before.
“Aubrey,” he soothed, touching me.
I swatted his hand away, covering my ears now. “No! No! No! No!” I endlessly yelled out as loud as I could.
“What are you doing in here?” someone shouted out, making me cover my ears harder, firmer.
I tucked my head in my lap, curling up like a ball.
"I’m the doctor in charge and no one gave you permission to come in here!” she yelled again.
Hands touched me everywhere, and all at once, causing me to fight harder. Pain coursed through my entire body, my head throbbed and my vision blurred.
“She's going into shock. Get the hell out of here now! You’re not helping anything.”
“We’re trying to help her. We have a Detective behind bars and a man who—”
“Nooooo!” I cried out. “No… no… no… no… no…” I sobbed, my body shaking uncontrollably to the point of pain.
“Get out! Now!” she ordered.
“Aubrey, Aubrey, sweetie, you need to stay with me. You need to calm down,” said the woman in scrubs and white coat.
She seems so familiar? Do I know her?
I shoved their hands away, pushing at the grips they all had on me. At anything near me, at anything that was touching me.
“Don’t touch me! Don’t fucking touch me!” I screamed, violently thrashing my body around. Causing even more pain. The sounds of the machines beeping all around me were deafening. “Don’t fucking touch me!” I repeated, yelling out bloody murder.
“Grab her legs!” someone demanded above me. “Help me grab her arms.”
Their hands were everywhere, trying to control, trying to restrain me, trying to undo me.
“No! No! No! No!” I whipped around every which way, but they were too strong for me.
They were always too strong for me.
“Please… please… please…” I bawled like a baby, my emotions overtaking me, smothering me in nothing but a sea of despair and loneliness.
“Shhh… shhh…” they coaxed and I immediately pictured Dylan’s face, Dylan’s voice.
I instinctively placed my free hand over my heart, taking in their words, “Shhh… shhh…”
My body felt slack, heavy, foreign, as a warm sensation began surging through me from my head down to my toes.
“Shhh… go to sleep. Close your eyes and go to sleep, Aubrey…” I heard them faintly say as an echo in the distance.
I shook my head, desperately trying to keep my eyes open. I couldn’t fight it off. I never could. I closed my eyes against my will, welcoming the darkness.
I secretly prayed that I would never wake up. That I would die.
Knowing in my heart…
I was never that lucky.
I walked into Alex’s restaurant like a man on a goddamn mission.
“Fuck, man, what the hell happened to you?” my friend Jacob asked, taking in my bloody lip, bruised eye, and knuckles all cut up.
“Bad day at work,” I simply stated, grabbing a beer from the bar.
“No shit,” was all he could reply.
“Happy birthday.” I pulled his girlfriend Lily into a hug.
“Thanks, are you okay? Do you need me to get you something?” She looked me over. Concern and worry etched in her knowing eyes.
“Don’t fuss over me. I’m fine. Comes with the job.”
Family and friends all gathered around celebrating Lily, my best friend Lucas’ baby sister’s twenty-fifth birthday. Everyone was so goddamn happy and there wasn’t anything to be happy about.
At least not for me.
Not ever again for me.
It didn’t take long to hear my other friend Austin yell out, “What the fuck?”
Everyone turned, following the direction of his gaze.
Everyone but me.
Three police officers walked in, heading towards us. I was sitting down at the table beside Jacob and Lily, sipping my beer like nothing was going on, as if my life wasn’t about to get shit on and disposed of as if it meant nothing to begin with.
“Detective McGraw, we hate to have to—”
“Just fucking do it,” I interrupted the officer, standing to look at all of them.
The rest proceeded in slow fucking motion and trust me if I could have sped it up, I would have.
“Dylan McGraw, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”
I nodded and Jacob who was a lawyer immediately jumped into action like I knew he would.
“What’s going on?” he asked. “Dylan, do not say a word without me present. Do you understand me? Do not open your mouth for nothing.”
I nodded again.
They finished handcuffing me and escorted me out of the restaurant with all prying eyes on me. Shoving me in the back of a cop car as I had done to so many people before, too many damn times to count.
The irony was not lost on me.
I was fingerprinted, a mug shot was taken, and I was stripped and searched before they pushed me into an empty cell as I waited for Jacob to make his presence known.
I took a deep breath, sitting on the bench with my head leaning back against the wall.
My entire life flashing before my eyes like a goddamn movie reel I couldn’t pause or fucking stop.
I heard footsteps down the hall and I didn’t have to wonder who it was.
“Come on, your lawyer wants to talk to you.”
He handcuffed me once again and led me down a narrow hallway into a room with a large rectangle table that had chairs scattered along it. Jacob was sitting at the far end of the table, exactly how I assumed he would be. I took the seat on the opposite end from him, mostly because I didn’t want to walk that fucking far to be closer to him.
I was exhausted and I’m not talking about physically.
They shut the door and left us alone. Neither one of us spoke for I don’t know how damn long. We just kinda stared at each other, waiting to see who would make the first move. I sighed, leaning back into my chair, trying to get comfortable with the goddamn cuffs cutting at my wrists.
“Jesus Christ, McGraw, what the fuck did you get yourself into?”
I didn’t say a word. I didn’t even fucking move.
“What? You’re just going to sit there and stare at me all damn night?”
“I ain’t got nothin’ to say.”
“Cut the shit,” he gritted out.
“What do you want from me, Jacob? A fuckin’ bedtime story?”
He leaned into the table with his arms resting out in front of him.
“Listen to me, you stubborn son of a bitch. You need to start talking and you need to start talking real fucking quick. The charges you’re up against are going to take a goddamn miracle from Jesus himself appearing in the courtroom to get you off. Now, you need to tell me what the hell happened so I can do my job and save your sorry ass from becoming someone’s bitch in a jail cell for the next decade. Do you understand me?”
I cocked my head to the side and spoke with conviction, “Where? Where would you like me to start?”
He didn’t falter not that I expected him to.
“The beginning, Dylan, start from the fucking beginning.”
RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 16TH