Shattered

Shattered (verb): to break something into pieces, to damage as by breaking or crushing to impair or destroy, to be broken into fragments.
Hollie loved words, she had ever since she could remember. It was something many found irritating. Until she met Jack.

Jack’s world suddenly comes crashing down with a knock at the door and a ghost from the past he tried to keep hidden returns to haunt him.
Hollie doesn’t know what to believe and where to turn. Will the ghosts shatter their perfect life or will it make them stronger?

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12. Twelve

A few weeks later

 

    “You think he’ll get on okay?” I ask Sam.

    “Well, they’ve accepted him back at uni, and the placement must know about what happened, as it’ll be on his record. They had to do another criminal check on him, so yeah, they’ll know,” Sam nods. I shrug. “I mean, he’ll have some kind of meeting before starting with us, and luckily for them, I’m not a mentor or anything. Hopefully we’ll barely see each other.”

    “Do they not know you know each other?” I ask and he nods in response. “Fair enough if it doesn’t bother them.”

    “They’ll keep us on different shifts and away from each other anyway. He’s still a student, so he’ll be monitored closely,” Sam says. “I won’t really need to interact with him anyway. Luckily for them, that is.”

    “I’m sure it’ll be fine,” I assure him and put the plates in the dishwasher.

    “How’re you doing with it all?” Sam asks and I pause for a second. He’s not really asked me about how I was doing in terms of that since it happened and finished. We’ve just been getting on with it and trying to forget it ever happened, which is hard seeing as Jack’s been over once since, it’s been on the news, it’s still the talk of the town and of course it’s the thing that brought us together. But not once have I stopped to really process it.

    “Me? I’m fine,” I say with a small hint of a lie to it. “I mean… it’s never going to really go away, not for a long time. But yeah, I’m fine.”

    He puts his hand on my cheek and investigates my face. “You sure? You just seem…off.”

    “Well, finding out you’ll be working with him for weeks, and my shifts will probably clash with his as well… not perfect is it?” I ask. I managed to get a job as a healthcare assistant with Sam – the joys of having a junior doctor working there, but now I’m not so sure.

    “We can do this,” Sam assures me.

    “I hope so,” I say and get back to clearing up.

 

    I internally sigh. Why would they put me or Sam working on this case? I get we’re an emergency department and all, but I just… the entire town knows what happened with Jack and yet they put me and Sam working on a poor girl that’s come in after being raped? Why would they do that to us?

    But it’s work, I suppose, and I can’t be seen to be refusing service to anyone, regardless of any personal issues.

    “I know it’s hard, but we have to do this, okay?” Sam assures me, handing me the notes to give to the police when they finish the interview. I sigh and prepare myself for this. I remember the first time I heard when Jack had been accused. I was so confused, so hurt and so insistent that it couldn’t have been him, I was blinded by what I thought at the time was an absolute truth. He couldn’t have done it, not my Jack. But then as it went on and on and I got further and further involved, I was so confused still, my feelings changed and I could finally see him for what he could have done.

    The patient says she was out on a second date with this guy when he tried it on with her, using the fact she had let him stay on her sofa as an excuse for trying to get sex out of her. When she asked him to leave after feeling uncomfortable… well, he forced himself on her.

    I guess you think you know someone, whether it be after one meeting or whether you know them in a romantic way… and then you hit a nerve with them, whether that be you’ve said an insensitive sentence, or you refuse them sex, and they turn. You suddenly don’t know them anymore and they become a stranger. You feel nervous, scared and vulnerable to even be in their presence. But you still want to believe they have it in them to be that person you thought you knew: the nice, kind, friendly person you got to know and like, maybe even love, and then one catalyst is thrown in and all hell is broken loose in front of you, leaving you with this confused feeling about how you feel about it.

    I can’t even begin to imagine how this patient must be feeling; when I saw her just now to do some checks, her make up was smudged everywhere, the tears constantly falling and the only person she wanted to be around was Sam and myself, and it took Sam a bit to gain her trust to even come into the room bless her. I believe her, all of us do. It’s so transparent that she is telling the truth, the tests show it as well. The marks left on her… a classic case of what shouldn’t happen when you open yourself up to someone with good intentions.

   

    “Why have we been taken off it?” I demand. We’re sitting in the consultant’s office after being told we’re no longer allowed to treat the girl who’s been raped. I sit there and know why: because they’ve finally realised how close we are to this kind of thing after what happened with Jack. But the annoying thing is? I’d really got through with her and she had started to trust us.

    “She’s just started to build a trust with us. If you put someone else with her, she’s too vulnerable for that just yet,” I say. “She won’t open up, or let any tests be done. Let alone anything that involved touching her. You’ll have serious issues there, because you have taken us off.”

    She nods and closes her eyes for a second. “I know the implications I face here, but I have no choice, Hollie.”

    “Why? She won’t have asked for us to not treat her anymore, she’s too… vulnerable to be voicing such issues,” I say, trying to stress this sensitively. I just can’t fathom what the hell they would have heard or done to warrant taking the two of us off her case.

    “The police have just been back in, they have concerns shall we say,” she says and I sigh. Here we go. I knew this would come up. “The… suspect they have is somewhat…”

    “Just say it,” Sam says quietly and I look at him immediately. I haven’t cottoned on to whatever he is thinking about.

    “Say what?” I ask, confused.

    Sam sighs when the consultant nods at him. They both know it somehow. “The suspect, the DNA sample, I didn’t tell you until just now, I wanted to be sure. But the suspect in her case… it’s Jack.”

    I feel everything around me freeze and my body feels nothing but the ice crawling up my back and around my blood.

    “No…what?” I stammer, glancing from the door of the office where merely a few feet away that girl is lying in that bed, probably crying herself into oblivion, to Sam, who is sat there, stone faced and staring right at me with some kind of ‘I know what you’re thinking because I am too’ look.

    “I know, but that’s why I’m sending you both home,” the consultant says. “Take some time to process it. Obviously, innocent until proven guilty…”

    “Not now, not with him,” Sam mutters just loud enough for the two of us to register what he says.

    I listen to the two of them discuss something, but my ears drown them out until all I can hear is the thudding in my hears of pure disbelief and shock.

    He lied to me. More than once. He got drunk, he took advantage of an innocent girl because the alcohol told him to, he then covered it up because he thought it would never come back up to haunt him. He promised me he was innocent and that he would never do something like… that. He then stood up in court and swore he was innocent. He got acquitted on a technicality, and then promised me and Jack that while he had lied, he couldn’t remember if he did it or not, and that even if he did, he would not have meant to not gain her consent.

    Merely weeks later, here we are, and he’s gone and done it to another innocent girl. He’s ruined her life as well as the other girls. As well as Sam’s and mine. He’s completely taken her innocence and happiness away in one violent action that no person should ever be able to do.

    He has lied. And taken away the things from people that no person should be capable to taking away: control, happiness, innocence and trust.

    And he’s done it twice. There is no doubt in my mind that he is behind this. That he couldn’t help himself, that he saw red and wanted something and decided that when it was denied he would steal it.

    I may have managed to escape being the next victim here, by the skin of my teeth. But that doesn’t make this right.

    He lied to me, he lied to Sam, he lied to everyone. He’s shattered enough lives now, and I can’t let him get away with it this time.

 

The End

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