Chase After Acceptance

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A human's brain is like a painting, certain colours making up different things. An infinite set of colours for someone's thoughts. So why is it that certain people choose to limit themselves to black and white? To limit themselves to the boring shades of black and white. Choose to see everything as it is, and not go any deeper. Isn't it said that to know someone, you must see and accept their true colours?

Submitted: April 01, 2016

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Submitted: April 01, 2016

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I've always hated shootings. Police officers usually see the worst of them. As a police officer myself, I saw some bad ones on the news, but I had never been a part of a big one. Shootings right outside a school are the worst. Targeting innocent children and teachers for what? Usually it's for nothing more than attention. What comes of these attacks is even worse. Sometimes children are killed. Innocent young minds ripped away before they had a chance to grow. Right outside a local preschool stood a gunman and a boy.

I saw a boy standing there, frozen in place by fear. Roughly ten metres down the road I saw the gunman place the gun in his right hand, raise it, and aim. I saw the smile on his face. The young boy an easy target. He was about to fire his gun, ready to take another life. I ran towards the boy. I knew what I was about to do, or more correctly what I knew was right. Was it stupid? Yes. Would it be worth it if we lived? Definitely. It was a lovely time to use the word "if", but I still instinctively ran as fast as I could in the boy's direction.

I got there just in time and pulled out my gun. A bullet hit my vest, which hurt, but meant that it didn't hit the boy. I stood there now, facing the gunman, with my gun ready to fire at a moment's notice.

"Put down the weapon," I said loud enough for the gunman to hear. 

I felt the boy hugging my leg as he shook with fear. The gunman didn't respond, he just had the weapon aimed at me. He was shaking, his eyes were filled with the wild fire of near insanity, which was the most dangerous thing to see in a person's eyes when they had nothing to lose. He knew that he'd be caught and put in jail anyways. To him, what's one more kill besides another victory?  

We stood there facing each other for what felt like hours. Eventually he moved forward a step. I made sure to follow him with my gun pointed right at him. He moved to the sides, like he was circling his prey. Then he stopped. He stared at us. His hand moved and I immediately heard bullets whizzing past me. 

I shot back at him. I aimed for the legs and core area. My real attention was on keeping the boy safe. I protected the boy behind me from the bullets with my body.

I hit him twice, one in the arm and the other in the abdomen. He fell from the shots, but managed to shoot another two at me as he fell. The first shot hit my left shoulder, the second found my left leg. I felt my shoulder pop, I didn't take it as a good sign. I could feel the bullet in my shoulder, and the pain was excruciating. I muttered a word or two that I hoped the boy wouldn't hear or ever repeat at home. If the boy's parents heard they might just have killed me. Well, if the bullets didn't anyways. 

The second shot that hit my leg sent me into the worst pain I'd ever felt. It felt like someone took an inch wide nail that was on fire and just nailed it into my leg ever so casually before leaving me there to suffer. 

The impact of the bullets sent me to my knees before falling completely down. I landed on my side, but rolled onto my back. I could feel my breathing quicken as my body fully registered everything. My heart was hammering, I could hear it in my ears thudding away. The little boy was next to me, not knowing what to do. His eyes were filled with tears. I put my hand on my left shoulder wound and brought it back to see it dripping with blood. An average Tuesday. 

After what seemed to be hours, other officers appeared along with paramedics. The paramedics quickly rushed me into the ambulance and started driving towards the hospital. I could hear the sirens blaring. My vision battling as it went in and out of focus as the blood rushed out from the shot wounds. My head was pounding and everything was starting to seem fuzzy. 

I felt the an oxygen mask on me, which I was thankful for. I could feel my uneven breaths, a bad sign, which the oxygen really helped. I heard people speaking to me. I couldn't figure out who, but they were comforting as I felt a little panicked. They were telling me I was going to be alright. They told me I was a hero for saving the boy. 

As we got to the hospital I could feel myself slipping. My eyes desperately wanted to close. To close and sleep, but I knew that if I closed them I'd meet an entirely different form of darkness. I fought to keep them open. The pain in my shoulder and leg was excruciating. 

I was wheeled inside the hospital and into a room immediately. 

Doctors crowded my bed and I felt my arm being jabbed by a bunch of different needles. 

"You're at the Memorial hospital. I'm Dr. Winston, you're going to be alright," a young male doctor said to me.

I shut my eyes and nodded. I felt them take my vest off and tear open my shirt to the sight of the bullet. They started doing all sorts of things to stop the bleeding. I felt a hand on my shoulder, another on my leg, another on my stomach, and another on my arm. I wasn't phased at the touch, more at how many there were and how urgent they all felt. I quickly felt myself no longer caring at what happened, as though the mere thought of it required any precious energy I had left. 

I felt the pain slowly start to take over as my brain focused on nothing else. I could hear myself moaning in pain as they moved me around to see and evaluate my wounds. 

Suddenly I heard her voice. It was filled with sadness and urgency, but I heard it. Brooke. Her voice was like that of an angel as it rang in my ears, and I clung to it like an infant to their mother. She found my room immediately and was met by a multitude of doctors by the door. She looked inside and instantly started crying louder when she saw me in my broken, bloody glory. She was still in her uniform. I'd told her I'd be back at the station at 10 am after a night shift, but clearly I was interrupted. She must've gotten home and then left immediately when finding out. 

"Brooke," I whispered weakly. The small task of saying something left me winded. I raised my arm, which caused pain to go shooting through me, but I didn't care. I tried to reach her, knowing full well I wouldn't be able to. My lungs burned, and my brain sent signals of pain through me.

She practically pushed her way inside and sat down right next to me, ignoring the many doctors that were speaking to her. She took my right hand and placed a small kiss on it. I squeezed her hand, not finding enough energy to do much more. I forgot almost everything going on around me as I stared into her eyes. There were a few tears in the way, but they were still her eyes, comforting and soft in the chaos that surrounded us. 

Doctors came up to her and asked her to step outside. She reluctantly let go, and followed them. I heard them talking in the hall...sort of. It was a little muffled by the end as my head was filled with the sound of my beating heart instead of their conversation.  

The doctors came in and told me I had to go up to surgery for my wounds. I nodded, there wasn't much I could say against it anyways. Brooke was in the hall. 

"Don't die. Got it? I don't know if I could handle that, so I'm being selfish and telling you, you can't die. For me," she almost commanded. I sensed the panic and authoritative nature of her words and chuckled, which caused me to wince, before raising my right arm to touch her hand. She usually never talked like that. It was different from her usual sweet, and caring tone. She smiled at me. They wheeled me up to the O.R. Brooke's smile was the one thing on my mind as they rushed me into the large operating room. 

I had an amazing surgeon who was gentle as he spoke to me. He was calm and said my sacrifice saved that boy's life. I looked into the eyes of a separate type of hero. He was a healer, like I was a protector. Two people from different worlds that shared a general goal. Similar to the fact that I had saved many lives, the surgeon that stood before me had probably saved many more. Him telling me I was a hero for saving the boy? It was a good thought as the sleeping gas took effect.  

I woke up in a hospital room. I knew this not because of what I saw, but what I heard. Frankly, I didn't have the energy to open my eyes yet, but my ears didn't need me to tell them to hear. The rhythmic beats of the machine told me my heart worked normally again. I remember the uneven frantic beats it had when I entered the hospital, so I took the simple rhythm as a good sign. After a moment I decided to open my eyes. The room was bright, filled with sunlight. The light blue/gray walls were somewhat calming. I felt the nose buds rushing oxygen into my every breath, and the all the medical equipment that was connected to my arm. 

I took a deep breath. I winced as my left shoulder hurt from the simple task. A nurse walked in and smiled at me. 

"Glad to see you're awake," she said, "Some people have been here for hours waiting,"
People? I knew I had just woken up from a surgery, and it was quite possible that I was still a little dazed from the drugs, but I was certain people meant more than one. 

"Who?" I managed to mutter while under an unpredictably restricting amount of pain. Who knew being shot twice and then having a surgery could do that?

"An officer, a boy, and a woman that I believe to be his mother," she said to me as she checked my machines. 

"Hm," I mumbled. 

"Would you like to see them?" She asked. 

I nodded, not wanting to cause any further pain from a fast movement. 

She smiled, "Okay, I'll be back shortly." 

She turned and left the room. I lifted my right arm. It wasn't that bad. It didn't go as smoothly for my left arm. After trying to lift it, it felt like someone stabbed me right in the shoulder blade. I felt the bandages and wraps on my left leg so I concluded that my left side stole the show, and would suffer a lot over the next few days.

My left leg felt like it had been run over by a car in one concentrated area. It was painful, yes, but nothing compared to the torture my left shoulder was feeling. It felt like it had been targeted by the devil himself, throbbing as the pain leached from the one area down my arm, my upper back, and the last part reaching my left lung area. 

I heard someone enter my room. A woman appeared holding the hand of the boy I took the bullets for. She looked at me with teary eyes. 

She walked up to beside my bed. 

"May I sit?" She asked as she gestured towards the chair that was beside my bed to the left. I nodded and smiled. 

She took my hand. I winced as the movement of my shoulder caused a new wave of pain. She quickly let go and apologized. 

"I wanted to thank you so much. You saved my little boy. If it wasn't for you, he'd be..." She trailed off, unable to finish the sentence. 

"Just doing my job. Is he alright?" I asked in a much more quiet and weak voice than I wanted. 

The little boy was suddenly there. He grabbed my arm and smiled. 

"Hi there," I said with about as much enthusiasm as I could muster, but given the situation, it probably wasn't a lot. 

"Hi," he said cheerfully. "Thank you for saving me."

"It's no problem at all little man," I said weakly. "How old are you?" 

"I'm turning six in one month!" He said proudly. 

"Two months dear," his mother said smiling. He giggled a little and nodded. 

"My, you're pretty much a man aren't you?" I said with a little more energy than before. 

Then I saw Brooke in my doorway. She was still in uniform, minus the vest, which told me she had been waiting at the hospital and hadn't left for the entire operation. She walked in, but stopped in the hall area when she noticed I had other company. I gave her a small smile. She looked relieved, and like she was about to burst into tears at the same time, but restrained herself. I couldn't help but feel bad when I noticed the stressed look on her face, the red eyes from crying, but, most importantly, how she wouldn't smile back. She just stood there and looked at me attempting to keep her composure calm. 

"Mommy, I'm hungry," the boy said. 

"Okay honey," she said quietly to him. 

She turned to me with a somewhat embarrassed smile on her face. 

"I'm sorry, uh, he hasn't eaten for a while, and I guess I lost track of time in the waiting area. I do want to speak with you some more though. Would you mind if we come back after?" She asked me. 

"Not at all," I said smiling. 

They left the room and were met by Brooke in the corridor leading to the door. 

"Ma'am," Brooke said politely. 

The woman and boy left, and Brooke walked over to the front of my bed. 

"Ash, sometimes you're a huge idiot," she said to me when they were gone. 

"You call me the idiot, but remember you married me," I said with a small chuckle and smile. 

When I didn't get a response I just looked at her with a pouty face. 

"That was supposed to be funny," I said matter of factly with a half smile. "Aw, c'mon babe, it was a good joke!" 

"Ash, I'm serious." She said back with the pain obvious in her voice. She walked over to the right side of my bed. 

"I'm sorry," I said gently as I took her hand. 

Her eyes filled with tears as she looked at me. "I could've lost you today." 

"I'm right here, I'm fine. Just a little holy, that's all," I said. She laughed.

I scooted over on the bed, wincing at the pain, and she lied down to my right. I put my arm around her shoulders. She leaned her head on my right arm so that she was facing me. 

"I'm right here," I said. I closed my eyes and enjoyed every second. How lucky was I to find her? To be hers? Charming, caring, badass, smart, funny. I was the luckiest person alive to have her in my arms. 

I kissed her head and she took my hand in hers. Before long I was fast asleep. 

"Hello!" I heard a familiar squeaky voice, as the little boy yelled as he ran into my room. 

I jolted awake, a flash of pain ran through my body from my shoulder. Brooke woke up too and got up as he approached my bed. 

"Sorry," the mom said as she walked in after her son. "I'm Julianne Morenstein by the way. We never fully introduced ourselves," she said extending her hand. 

"Ash Winter," I said to her shaking her hand. 

"I can't tell you enough how thankful I am for you," she said. "My son is my world. I want the best for him, and I couldn't protect him. I just don't know what I'd do without my little angel," she said watching her son look out the window at the buildings. 

"I can tell he means so much to you," I said. "What's his name?" 

"Eli," she said admiring her son. 

"That's a great name," Brooke said smiling. 

I saw Brooke watch Eli as he danced around. I saw the care and concern in her eyes for this child, for any child really. I knew she wanted children, but I wasn't quite ready to have a third party in our household. Eli was a cute kid. He had blonde hair, cute blue-green eyes, and an adorable smile. I couldn't imagine how I would feel if my kid died in a shooting. I would love my child more than anything, and the thought of my child being torn away from me by a bullet and a madman made me sick. The thought alone sent me into a very dark place of mind. Looking to see Eli, who was content to spin in circles for fun, who was so innocent. It made the small sacrifice I made to save him make the pain worth it. 

Brooke squeezed my hand. I turned to her. She was smiling at me. Her smile nearly melted my heart. Her brown hair was flowing around her face, her brown eyes focused on mine, her lips curved up in a smile. 

I gave her a quick kiss on her nose. She giggled a little making me laugh. She gave me a quick kiss on the lips. 

Eli stopped dancing around and stared at us. His head turned to the side in confusion. I turned to Julianne who just looked horrified. 

"Everything alright?" I asked her. I gripped Brooke's hand a little tighter. I realized what was happening, but I refused to think a caring woman like Julianne would see us as something bad. 

"How could you show that type of affection in a hospital of God? Have you no shame?" She asked me. 

I felt my heart sink. I'd encountered people who had decided it'd be fun to pick on the different girl in my past. To destroy who I was because of something so small. Who told me I'd go to hell for loving someone of the same gender. For something I couldn't control, so I had decided a long time ago that if I loved someone, I'd love them. I found the one person I loved. We got married in a church like anyone else. 

"I beg your pardon?" I said to her with a little more sharpness than I wanted. 

"You're in a hospital of God, and you have the audacity to sin here? And in front of my son?" She was raising her voice. 

"Ma'am, please calm down." Brooke said calmly. She always stayed calm in these situations. 

"Momma, what's wrong?" Eli asked.

"They've sinned," she said simply to him. "I'll explain when you're older." 

She started to leave the room. "Thank you for saving my son, but now you have exposed him to sin and we must leave." 

"Love your neighbour as you love yourself." I said quoting a passage from the Bible. Were we not all children of God? I've met so many people who could both accept and believe, but she just happened to not be one of them. It was unfortunate, but just how she saw things. 

"You have no right to speak the words of God. I pray for you, and I hope you see the error of your ways and become pure," she said. 

I chuckled and held up my left hand, which was excruciatingly painful.  

"I have been married to my love. I will not be loving another," I stated. 

"Then I pray for you in the afterlife. You will not be forgiven, I know this," she said. 

"I saved your son today ma'am. I'm sure God, or whoever is up there, will forgive me," I said. 

"Ashley," Brooke said to me almost pleadingly. 

"Sorry," I said to her quietly. She hated these types of things, but I couldn't stand it. What was I doing wrong to deserve anyone to treat me this way? Nothing, I did nothing wrong. 

"Let's go Eli. We should leave now," Julianne said. 

Eli got up and walked over to me. 

"Eli, we don't need to talk to them anymore. Let's go," Julianne said impatiently from the doorway. 

Eli ignored her and walked over to me. 

"I'm going to tell everyone I met an angel today. An angel named Ash who saved me. Thank you," he said with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes. He focused on my face, as if he was trying to memorize it, and turned to Brooke. He smiled at us before turning away and going to his mother. 

"How could he see the world in colour while his mother only sees the world in black and white?" Brooke asked quietly when they left.

"Because he's a child who hasn't been blinded by anything. We're all born with colourful vision, but some go one way while others go the other," I replied. 

She snuggled up beside me, and we stayed that way for a few hours after Julianne and Eli left. 

In an age where we can accept the advancement of technology and the idea of living on another planet, why can't we see and accept our world, and all of the people in their true colours? 

Fin

*side note: I have no intention on insulting anyone's beliefs or ideas. This is a simple story, so please don't freak out.  There's a small (very small) connection here to another story I'm working on. It'll be out in a few weeks. Comment, share, star, or whatever you like * <3


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