I’m trying to finish this up today. This is one of three chapters I hope to post today.
WARNING: This is disturbing.
Laura was just at the edge of unconsciousness when she felt hands tear at the plastic covering her face. The cool air made her thank God, as her lungs pumped furiously. A second later, the tape was torn from her face, and she coughed the rag from her mouth, hacking repeatedly while trying to gulp large breaths.
She felt the plastic tie on her right ankle come loose, and then the screaming of her little boy invaded her feelings of joy that she would live. Thrashing to get her arms free, she sobbed, “My baby! Give me my baby!” over and over.
The officer that was cutting her loose tried to tell her something, but she never heard him. The only important thing was getting to her little boy.
The pain in her arms and hands as blood flowed back into them made her sob, but she ignored it when they placed Eddy in her arms. She would endure a hundred times worse to make him understand that she was there for him.
A paramedic attempted to put an oxygen mask on her face, and she screamed, “NO!” violently shoving the thing away. Her hand made it’s own way to her neck and began ripping at the tape and plastic that rested there, until it sat in pieces on the floor.
It was then that she realized that Eddy was still sobbing his promise over and over as he trembled. His eyes were unfocused, staring wide into space as his mouth moved.
“Please! Get his pacifier and his bear!” she sobbed, rocking him back and forth. She took the offered bear and put it against his chest, moving his arm to hug it. When the arm just fell away, she took his paci and offered it to him. Eddy made no attempt to nurse; he just kept repeating his promise. “I’m so sorry Baby!” she told him as she pulled him into a tight embrace.
Laura had been the one to insist that Katie come live with them. Jim’s sister Jacqueline had offered to take her in after the fire, but Laura had demanded that she come stay with them because Jacqueline had never had children. The guilt of that decision tore her up inside as she felt her baby tremble.
The paramedic returned a second later, and attempted to take Eddy from her. With a vicious growl, she screamed, “GET AWAY FROM HIM!” and kicked out at the man.
A second later, she felt a familiar hand on her shoulder, and heard a voice she didn’t know she’d ever hear again. “Laura…” Jim croaked.
Turning to stare into the tear streaked face of the man she loved, she leaned toward him and buried her face in his chest, sobbing her heart out.
“You need to let them help him,” Jim cried a moment later.
“I’m sorry…” she sobbed. Her heart had never ached so bad in her life. “I can’t let go of him…I just can’t!”
“You don’t have to,” the officer that had freed her, told her in a thick voice, tears streaming down his face. “We’ll carry you both up the stairs.”
Laura attempted to put weight on her feet, not understanding why they needed to carry her, but the excruciating pain that resulted made her sit back and cry “Thank you…” wanting to say more, but unable to keep from sobbing. She trusted this man. He had saved her life.
“They need to give the boy a shot,” he explained.
When Laura nodded, the paramedic approached again. He wiped Eddy’s thigh with a small pad, stabbed a needle into the large muscle, and slowly pushed the plunger. She had prayed that Eddy would scream when he felt the needle, but he didn’t react at all.
“All right, we’re going to carry you up just like you are. You need to just sit there and hold that baby,” the officer told her.
Laura hugged Eddy a little tighter as four large officers lifted the chair into the air. It was slow going, but they made it into the kitchen where a gurney waited to take her and Eddy to an ambulance. They had just transferred her from the chair when she saw her husband being carried into the kitchen.
The stretcher slid into the ambulance, locking into place, when Eddy finally stopped speaking. “Thank God,” Laura cried. She didn’t think she could listen to that any longer. The pleading in his voice tore at her with every repetition. The police officer that saved her stepped up into the ambulance just before the doors closed. “Where’s my husband?” Laura cried fearfully.
“He’s going in another ambulance. He’ll be right behind us, I promise,” he told her.
Laura saw the lights of the second ambulance through the back windows as they pulled away. A thought occurred to her then, and she turned to ask, “How did you know?”
Fresh tears slid down Officer Tasker’s face as he answered, “Officer Grant managed to lock his mike on before…” and his voice broke. A moment later, he added, “The dispatcher patched it in, and every cop with a radio heard that baby screaming,” sobbing now.
Laura cried with him as she realized that more than fifty officers were at the house. Thinking about it, she knew she’d have broadcast it to them too, in hopes that someone would get there to help the child.
When they got to the hospital, it took patience, but the staff managed to treat the three of them. Dr. Stevens was called in, as was Jim and Laura’s family doctor. All three were admitted for observation, and transported upstairs.
Laura was finally glad to be able to do something for her little boy, when the floor nurse suggested she change his wet diaper. Laura took her time, making sure every touch was a loving one, and noticed that Eddy started nursing his paci in his sleep as she taped the fresh diaper closed.
The smell of baby powder greeted her anew as she pull him into her arms. She watched the shield of his paci move rhythmically as he nursed.
“Here, see if he’ll take this,” the nurse told her as she offered her a baby bottle of juice.
“Thank you,” Laura replied and offered the nipple to Eddy. Without hesitation, he latched onto it and began nursing. That was one less thing to worry about, and Laura was grateful.
“I need you to take this,” the nurse said as she held a pill cup out toward her.
“What is it?” Laura asked.
“Medicine to help you sleep.”
“I don’t want to sleep, what if Eddy wakes up?”
“He won’t wake up, I promise. The medicine in his IV will make sure of that,” she replied. When Laura didn’t take the medicine from her hand, she added, “You can’t take care of him if you’re not well. Take the medicine, please.”
Laura reached out and took the small cup. She knocked it back and then took a drink of water. Glancing over to the other bed in the room, she saw that Jim was still sleeping. They had had to do surgery on his right ankle, repairing two of the blood vessels.
“Why don’t you lay him beside you? That way, you can hold him as you go to sleep.”
Turning on her side, Laura laid Eddy down on the bed, and then scooted him close, his head in the crook of her shoulder. He never stopped nursing the bottle throughout the shift.
“Okay, get some rest. If you need anything, just push the button,” The nurse said as she raised the side rails on Laura’s side of the bed. A moment later, she turned out the lights and closed the door.
Laura was glad to be alone with the people she loved. She kissed Eddy’s cheek and felt the soft fur of his bear tickle her chin. He was holding it now, and that made her feel better. She didn’t know what tomorrow would bring, but was determined to do whatever was necessary to make him better.
She felt warmth spread through his diaper as she held his bottom, just before the medicine took her into sleep.
The sound of the door opening woke Laura. The clock showed it was a little after eight. Glancing over, she saw Gary walk into the room pushing a bedside table ahead of him. She was surprised to see him here at this hour. Jim sat up at the edge of the bed and stretched. She saw bandages on both of his wrists, and the one on his ankle. He surprised her when he stood and approached the bed, kissing her gently before saying, “I love you.”
“I love you. What are you doing out of bed? You just had surgery yesterday,” she admonished him.
“I’m fine Honey, they looked at it this morning and told me it was okay to get up, just not to over do it,” he told her with a smile.
“Good morning,” Gary said, before opening the laptop that was on the table he had brought in. “There are some things you need to know. Normally, I’d wait a few days, but you’re going to need to see some things in order to know how to help Eddy.”
That got Laura’s immediate attention, and she asked, “What things?”
Gary held out a small white cylinder, with a glass end on it. “Have you ever seen one of these before?”
Laura looked at it. It was a little bigger than a double A battery. There was a small wire hanging off of the back end of it. “No.”
When Jim said he hadn’t either, Gary asked, “What kind of work did Katie’s father do?”
“He was in security, why?” Jim asked.
“Well, that makes sense now. The gun Katie had was registered to her father. It had been logged as stolen when it didn’t turn up after the fire,” he explained. “And this, is a miniature video camera. They found more than a dozen of these, and three times as many small, wireless microphones all over your home. They were in every room, including the basement.”
“What?” Laura asked, astonished. It made sense now. Laura hadn’t been able to figure out why Katie had asked to dust every room when she first got to their home; now she knew.
“In our bedroom?” Jim asked, looking uncomfortable.
“Yes, in the bathrooms as well. They communicated with a wireless router in Katie’s bedroom, and allowed her to watch and record the video on this computer.”
“Oh my God!” Laura exclaimed, blushing as she realized what that camera had recorded in her bedroom. She wasn’t a prude, but felt that sex was a very private thing.
Looking to Jim, Gary motioned to Laura’s bed and said, “Sit down.”
As soon as Jim was seated, he turned the computer on and said, “I’m going to ask you to watch something that will be extremely difficult for you to see. I would never ask you to do this, except that you can’t help Eddy if you don’t know what he’s been through.”
“We know what he’s been through, trust me,” Jim said, shuddering.
When Gary looked right at him and said, “No, you don’t,” Laura wasn’t sure she wanted to know.
“I don’t want to watch this with Eddy here,” she said, patting his diapered bottom. She felt he was dry, and knew that the nurse had come in to change him fairly recently.
“He just got medicine, I made sure of it. He won’t be waking up for some time.”
Laura remembered her vow to do whatever she needed to to help Eddy. With a deep sigh, she said, “All right.”
When Jim nodded, Gary clicked an icon on the computer’s desktop. A window opened on the screen, and Laura saw Katie sitting in her room, staring intently at her computer screen. The video cut to Eddy getting into bed, and then cut back to Katie leaving her bedroom.
Once again it showed Eddy’s room, this time, Katie entered. She approached the bed and Laura listened as the two kids started talking. She heard Eddy say he wasn’t a little kid, and tears began making it difficult to see as Katie changed to the nightmare that she had seen in the basement.
Laura pulled Eddy closer and kissed his forehead when she heard him beg Katie not to hurt his mom. Anger flared when Katie reached under the covers and told him to pee. The anger deepened when Katie made him talk like a baby. Fresh tears ran down her cheeks as she watched Katie’s confession to killing her family, and afterward, Eddy laying in his bed frightened.
Fear struck Laura then when the scene cut to Eddy and Katie in the kitchen. She felt awful that she hadn’t believed Eddy when he told her Katie did it. With all the blood and pain of the cut, Laura hadn’t noticed that Eddy had wet his pants.
Minutes passed as she watched Katie terrorize her little boy. She saw in graphic detail why he started calling her Mommy, why he started snuggling up with her and Katie, and why he asked to be taken to the Potty.
Fresh anger struck her as she heard their conversation in the bathroom, before seeing Eddy dancing in front of the toilet as it flushed, going to his room and getting into bed without having gone to the bathroom. He was terrified. Terrified enough to lay in a soaking wet bed all night.
She wanted to strike out at someone when she watched Katie make him drink a large glass of water, then mock him as she made him pee in his bed, and then forced him to nurse his thumb. The anger didn’t get better when she watched her tell him he had better ask for his paci back. The heartbreaking tone of her little boy’s voice came back to Laura, as he practically begged her for his paci, and she sobbed.
When the video showed Katie coming back into the room that same night, and demanded he wet his bed again, Laura understood why his bed was soaked the morning she woke him up.
She wanted to hit the screen when Katie came in the room after Eddy went to shower the next morning. She had bought the act hook, line, and sinker. She honestly thought that having Katie there would be good for Eddy.
The scene of Katie barging into the bathroom and pulling Eddy’s towel from him, forcing him to stand naked in front of her as she dried him like a little child, made her growl. Denying him the use of the toilet, and forcing him to lay down and wet his pants, brought more tears. Katie had known exactly what to do to get Eddy put back into diapers. She was aware of his wetting years ago, and took advantage of it.
The conversation Laura had had with Katie replayed then, Katie appearing so supportive of Eddy as Laura explained she was going to diaper him, and give him his paci back. Laura didn’t know how in the world she could have been taken in so completely.
Just then the dance of joy that Katie did in the hall as she held the diapers in her hand played on the screen, and guilt filled Laura.
When the video displayed the terror in Eddy’s eyes as he ran to get his bear, Laura started patting his diaper as she cried. It was no wonder she couldn’t help picking him up and getting him his pacifier.
Jim watched all of this in shock. He saw the two perspectives clearly. The one that Katie had wanted them to see, and the reality of the situation. It was incredible how many details she had nailed down, and how easy it looked. That had him feeling guilty.
When the scene cut to his bedroom, and Laura and his first conversation when he had been hard on her, he reached out and put an arm around her, his guilt worse now.
The video shifted to show Katie telling Eddy that Mommy would get hurt. Jim wanted to punch a hole in the wall as he watched his little boy, terrified that his mother would come to harm. When Eddy volunteered to take the punishment, Jim couldn’t hold back the tears.
By the time the video showed Eddy getting diapered for the night, both Jim and Laura were crying freely. But when it shifted to the morning, and they watched Katie wrap their son in a blanket, and then begin suffocating him, Laura became hysterical.
“No, no, no, no, no…” Laura cried, pulling Eddy up into her lap, rocking him back and forth. She repeated this again and again as she watched video of her baby flopping around on the bed, desperately trying to breath. Her hand pulled at the neck of her t-shirt, as the memory of not being able to breathe struck her acutely.
Laura remembered, last night before she went to sleep, thanking God that Eddy hadn’t had to endure the torture of being suffocated. He knew all too well what that felt like, and that made having to watch his mommy and daddy go through it so much worse.
She felt Jim’s arms wrap around her and Eddy, his chest vibrating with his sobbing. He was crying harder that she had ever heard him cry before.
When the video shifted to later in the day, she was grateful. That was until she witnessed her baby screaming into his bear as Katie punished him by rubbing his poor tortured bottom like she was scrubbing a pot. The feral gleam in her eye as she made him scream made Laura want to vomit.
When Gary slammed the laptop shut, tears streaming down his face, Laura was so grateful, she cried, “Thank you!” She was frightened that there was more video of her poor little boy being tortured.
She continued to sob, rocking her baby back and forth, crying for all the torment that he’d had to endure. As terrifying as sitting in that chair, slowly suffocating was, she would volunteer to endure it again if it would undo what Eddy had been through, even if it cost her her life.