Bold Tricks(2)By: Karina Halle
“What is it, Ellie?” the nurse asked but the girl couldn’t speak. Her sobs were too powerful. She could only shake her head and moan pitifully, tears streaming down her face.
The nurse knew. She quickly administered more drugs through the IV drip that went into the girl’s arm. The girl had been horribly burned on her leg, one of the worst instances the nurse had ever seen. The doctors had done what they could but without insurance, her parents were unable to pay for any reconstructive surgery. A skin graft could have saved the girl from having horrible scars in the future.
Her parents weren’t even around. They had been sitting in the waiting room for most of the day, but at night they’d gone elsewhere, leaving the girl alone in the hospital. The nurse was extremely suspicious of them – everything from the furtive way they kept leaving the building to the way they explained what had happened to the girl.
Though it was believable that the girl came from the type of low-income family that would allow her to search for car parts on a nearby trash heap, the whole story about accidently spilling battery acid on her leg didn’t ring true. The nurse thought it sounded like her parents were probably running a meth lab instead. Even worse, they could have been neglecting or abusing the girl. There was definitely something wrong with the story but the girl had been in so much pain that neither the doctors or the nurses could find out what her version of events were.
Except now. The girl’s sobs were subsiding as the morphine began to take effect, working quickly in her eleven-year-old system. The nurse watched her carefully, debating whether or not she should try and ask her. This was a job for Child Services, not her, but there was something about the girl she wanted to protect. It was like she could see the child was already damaged before the burns on her leg happened.
“Ellie,” she said gently, smoothing back the girl’s fine blonde hair. She was going to grow up to be a stunning woman, already showing promise in the usually awkward pre-teen phase. That made the nurse feel even more sickened for her, knowing her beauty would be marred by the scars that would come.
The girl opened her wide brown eyes and looked up at the nurse. Her face was wet from tears and she looked scared despite the subsiding pain.
“Ellie,” the nurse went on, “are you able to tell me what happened to you?”
The girl blinked, unsure of what to do or say. She could barely remember what happened herself but knew that what had happened was wrong. And even though her parents hadn’t told her yet to keep quiet about Travis Raines, the bad man whose house her mother made her break into, she knew all too well to keep her mouth shut. She was the daughter of con artists, after all, and truth was never an option.
Still, there was a part of her that wanted to tell the nurse what happened. She wanted to get the Travis man in trouble. She wanted him to be put away for what he did to her.
“I … I don’t remember,” the girl said, so terribly afraid she’d tell the truth.
The nurse studied her. “Do you remember looking for car parts?”
Car parts? The girl had no idea what her parents had told the doctors. The confusion came across her face, just long enough for the nurse to pick up on it.
“Ellie, what was the last thing you remember?” the nurse asked quickly. “How did you burn your leg, did your parents do this to you?”
The girl’s face fell as she tried to figure out what to do.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Amelie Watt yelled, appearing at the doorway.
The girl cringed at the sound of her mother’s voice. In her increasingly delirious state, she was worried that she may have done something to anger her.
Amelie marched into the hospital room, her eyes blazing at the nurse.
“Why are you questioning my daughter?” she yelled, furious, her arms waving. “That isn’t your right.”
The nurse stepped back from the girl but refused to apologize. “I’m concerned about her.”
“Your only concern is to make my daughter better.” Amelie crossed her arms, head held high. She was a striking woman with exotic Eastern European features – high cheekbones, a strong jaw, and dark sloe-eyes. She gave off the impression that she wasn’t afraid but she couldn’t hide the tremor in her voice. “Why are you waking her up in the middle of the night anyway? Let my poor baby sleep.”
The nurse raised her brows. “Your baby was crying in the middle of the night, screaming from the pain. I was the only one around.” She let those last words sink in like daggers.
Amelie sucked in her breath and shook her head. “Don’t you dare question my parenting skills. We had to leave to get some sleep at home. It’s the only way we can be there for her.”