TW: domestive violence, murder, violence towards a child
All was dark, and the force of trying to open his eyes was too much. The beeping of the EKG surrounded him, as well as the noisy chatter just outside the room. Police, nurses and reporters were all arguing over who would come in first, the nurses trying to prevent everyone from coming in, to let Maverick rest.
It had been about an hour since the incident, an hour of sleep, fear, remorse, guilt and chatter, but most importantly chaos. Rushing to the hospital, the arrival of the police, the news stations having been informed somehow only half an hour after it happened, sending reporters to question the poor boy and the officers present. The numerous bandages covering the twelve year old’s head were starting to heat up quite a bit, making droplets of sweat drip down his temples and hair. He was on numerous medications, such as painkillers and temazepam, used to help him fall asleep. Although this was out of the question.
He had woken up ten minutes earlier, and as he tried to remember how he got there, he started to forget the faces of the paramedics who were present in the ambulance with him. Starting to forget the time. Every time he thought of something, every memory he brought up, started to fade away and distort. His head was in so much pain, but he kept thinking, trying to keep them from drifting away, for now or even for forever. How could he know?
Maverick was around five years old, and he was playing at the park in the sand. His mom was sitting on the bench beside him, and had a fresh bruise below her eye, the first one. He was digging in the sand until his finger scraped against a sharp rock burrowed in the sand. It stinged, and when he looked at his finger there was a drop of blood coming out. He started crying, and when Linda, Maverick’s mom, came over and picked him up she comforted him and said “What you see is blood. It stays under our skin but when we cut ourselves it comes up. Do you remember how last summer there were roses in the garden close to here? Well if you ever see blood, just imagine that each droplet is a red rose petal.”
Then when he tried to replay the memory, it became distorted. He started to forget what she said, and then what even happened. And then another random memory surfaced.
He was nine, it was christmas, and his mom had gotten him the softest teddy bear he had ever felt. He forgot the numerous other toys laying around, and even the boxes in which he usually liked to play in. It was so soft all he wanted was to go back to sleep with it. But he couldn't. And not anymore.
He leaned his head down as he tried to move his fingers, to feel the fabric of the sheet covering him. But he couldn't. He tried to wiggle his toes, and feel the cold metal of the end of the bed. But he couldn't. Not after the accident. Well it wasn't really an accident.
“Hurry up Maverick! We need to leave now just grab some clothes and we're gonna go.” his mother told him from the other room. They were going to run away.
Maverick grabbed his school backpack and started stuffing clothes inside, and finally his teddy bear. He was told that he was too old to still have it but that didn't bother him, he kept the toy with him no matter what.
The boy sprinted out of his room into the bathroom, grabbed his toothbrush and toothpaste but stopped when he heard the front door open. He was here.
“What are you doing!?” he bellowed when he saw Linda with two bags in her hands, passports at the ready. It was David.
David was Maverick’s father. He was drunk half the time and usually on some other kind of drug pretty much all the time. He was supposed to be at the bar, to which he usually stayed till midnight, so when he left ten minutes ago they saw the opportunity and took it.
It had been a few weeks now that she wanted to leave, but she never had the right timing or will. This time however, it was Maverick who encouraged her, and the mother realised that it was time to get out of this toxic household.
Maverick ran out when he heard a slapping sound and a sharp cry coming from the small living room. But instead of going towards the yelling and shouting, he went straight into the kitchen and grabbed a knife. He ran back out to protect his mom, the room flooded with light coming from the glass wall, but when he saw the gun he froze. It was a handgun, and not only in the man’s hand but the barrel was pointing straight at the sobbing mother’s heart. David’s back was facing Maverick, so the boy could have moved, but fear flooded his mind. But nothing could have prepared him for what happened next.
A shot that echoed throughout the entire apartment complex, ceasing the screams and shouts that were coming meters away from Maverick. He could only see the man’s back and a cease of movement, but nothing else.
Tears flooded his eyes and he dropped the knife that was in his hand. “No… No no no NO!” he yelled, unable to comprehend the event that took place. He charged towards David, who had now turned around. But Maverick was a fly compared to David, even as he flailed his fists against him. David, who was taken by surprise, had fired two more shots but they only hit the glass and aluminium walls behind Maverick, creating two holes and a spider web of cracks on the surface. But when the boy was two close to shoot he shoved him with all his might, sending Maverick straight into the cracked glass, and down onto the ground below.
Maverick remembered the paramedics in the ambulance saying how he was lucky they were only located on the third level, but he was confused by this statement, since if he was really lucky then would any of that have happened? But once again as he remembered this it slowly drifted away from his mind. The one thing that he had trouble forgetting was the fall, however. It felt as if it was all in slow motion, his back first hitting the cracked glass, then going through, and almost flying in the air, until his body landed on the hard ground below. It had taken several seconds for the blow on his head to knock him out, in which he heard several screams and felt every piece of glass fall onto him.
But a tear welled up in his eyes, as he remembered. Remembered how he had froze, how he had been too scared to save his mother. He did not feel any sort of happiness that he was still alive, that someone had called the EMS in time. The only thing he felt was guilt. Guilt so powerful it ate him up, taking over his brain and heart, filling him with sadness. But before he could think of anything else, the fogginess invaded that memory, distorting and changing it, and then he blacked out.
He was stuffing clothes into his bag, getting his toothbrush. “Hurry up Maverick! We need to leave now just grab some clothes and we're gonna go.” his mother told him from the other room. He was in the washroom getting his toothbrush when he heard the door opening. It was David. “What are you doing!?” he bellowed when he saw Linda, Maverick’s mom, with two bags in her hands, passports at the ready. Maverick ran out when he heard a slapping sound and a sharp cry coming from the small living room. But instead of going towards the yelling and shouting, he went straight into the kitchen and grabbed a knife. He ran back out to protect his mom, the room flooded with light coming from the glass wall, but kept running towards David. He lept in the air like a superhero, landing on the man, knife at the ready, but he was too late. While he was in the air his so called father had shot the gun. Before Maverick had the chance to do anything with the blade, David once again threw the boy off with ease, sending him onto the perfect glass, making him fly down onto the cold surface.
He guessed he was asleep for a total of two minutes. But that was fine. In this new memorie, he had tried to save his mom. He got really close to saving her, but there's nothing more he could have done. There was no reason for him to feel guilty. He smiled, and wished that his mom was there with him. And while the feeling of guilt was gone… His smile quickly left from his face. His mom wasn't there. He was in pain. His memories were fading away. His head hurt so much. But once again, horrible feelings filled him up.
His eyes were too dry to produce tears, but Maverick knew he would cry if he could. A nurse came in, and started doing something with the numerous devices and tubes pricked into his arms. What he would give to feel it. He guessed that the fall must have broken his spine, paralysing him. Suddenly his head started ringing and his vision came blurry, when he realised that the nurse must have given him something to make him fall asleep, and the fogginess invaded his head once more.
“Hurry up Maverick! We need to leave now just grab some clothes and we're gonna go.” his mother told him from the other room. He stuffed clothes in his bag and ran to the washroom where his toothbrush was, until he heard the door open, but he already knew who it was before the person said anything. “What are you doing!?” bellowed David when he saw Linda, Maverick’s mom, with two bags in her hands, passports at the ready. Maverick ran out when he heard a slapping sound and a sharp cry coming from the small living room. As he ran out of the washroom, he realised there was a large knife in his hand, that he recognised to be from the rather minute kitchen. No hesitation this time, he thought, as he (for once) remembered something. The different possibilities of what could happen if he did not act now. His mom dead, his fault. His mom dead, not quite his fault. This time he would save her.
Maverick sprinted into the living room, jumping over the sofa to see that David had not yet pulled out the gun. The man turned around when he heard Maverick come, however, pulled out the weapon from his waistband, and fired two shots that missed, going through the glass wall.
Maverick jumped onto the man and plunged the knife into where the man’s heart would be. An explosion of red rose petals flew out of the wound, and the force of these petals flew him backwards into the glass, sending him flying out of the building.
And during the two seconds that Maverick was falling, the boy looked up and the beautiful rose petals soaring through the air, twirling and dancing in lines. He smiled at the fact that he succeeded in his mission. He had saved his mom.
Maverick slowly woke up, and judging by how the big crowd of people were now absent and it was darker outside he guessed he had slept a few hours. No nurses were present, only the occasional person walking by the window on his door. Except this did not bother him. He wasn't alone. There, at the end of his bed, stood his mom. She was wearing the same thing as during the apartment, and said nothing, only smiled at him. Maverick smiled back. He had saved her. He succeeded. Deep down, he knew she wasn't real, a figment of his distorted imagination. But that didn't bother him.
Because when he saw her, he could feel the weight of the shards of glass that covered him when he fell, and the soft fur of his teddy bear on his fingertips when he touched the sheets. It was all okay. He could now forget, and stop struggling to keep his memories, since he could make new ones, better ones, without the person who he used to call dad. Just him and his mom. It was all okay. There was no reason to be sad. No reason to feel guilty. He was the hero. And even if he closed his eyes, there was no darkness, only light. And for once there weren’t many thoughts that went through his mind, only a certain few words. Nothing too bad occured that couldn't be fixed. There was no sad ending. Only happy. He thought. Only happy.