“Please tell us what happened the night of June 13th. Be as specific and detailed as possible.”
Look, I’m going to make this as quick as possible for the obvious reasons. I will give my version of events for why I was fired and you’re going to do your damndest to try and get me my severance package or at least something to keep me going in-between jobs. How does that sound? Do we have a deal?
It started about half a year ago when I had just moved to the area. I was looking to pick up some work as a veterinary technician, but there were no clinics hiring. I decided I would take any job that came my way to make ends meet until I could get my foot in the door at one of the veterinary clinics in the area. As you know, I managed to land a security job at a nearby hospital. It was this hospital to be exact.
It was a pretty quiet job, I walked around on patrol every hour or so. Struck up a conversation with the nurses and patients when I was feeling chatty and spent the rest of my time reading “A Song of Fire and Ice”. What? It’s not like you can fire me twice. You would be surprised what I caught some of the other guards doing when I stepped in to relieve them. I’m just trying to give you a feel for my routine and lay all the cards out on the table.
June 13th began as a pretty quiet night. There were no belligerent drunks that needed to get their stomach pumped and I didn’t have to restrain any junkies who were fiending for another fix, but were stuck in detox. I liked these nights the best of all, where I don’t have to worry about a drunk vomiting on my shoes or have to talk a problem patient back into their beds. By the way, in the interview the boss man said nothing about how to restrain patients that weren’t free to leave. I’m just saying, with a little more training about protocol maybe we wouldn’t have had the situation we did and I wouldn’t be talking you through that night.
Anyways, it was around eight o’clock that I got the call from the boss. He told me that the hospital was about to be getting a very important patient and asked me if I felt up to the task. I told him yes because there wasn’t another option. He could try to call someone else in to work for my 8 PM to 8 AM graveyard shift, but there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell he would find someone on such short notice. I agreed to watch the VIP even though I had no real clue of what I was doing.
I decided to ask the charge nurse for some information about what hospital security typically does with important patients. I assumed that it was probably some B-list celebrity who had gotten tipsy at a club and rolled their ankle on the dance floor. The charge nurse told me what I already assumed. I would be sitting in their room making sure to keep any media or strangers out while doctors treated her. I asked her if she had any idea who was coming in and that was when she told me it was Christine Parker.
I had no clue who that was. The charge nurse was apparently a big fan of “America’s Most Wanted” and watched it every week before it was canceled. She told me that in 2011, an eleven year old had gone missing on her way home for school. This girl, Christine Parker, had apparently been missing for over three years until today. She was picked up on the side of the roads from a nearby forest by highway patrol. She was set to arrive at the hospital in thirty minutes to treat the injuries she sustained in the escape from her captor.
I did a quick walk around the hospital to make sure there weren’t any news crews setting up outside. Apparently the police misled the media by telling them she was being sent to a larger metropolitan hospital while quietly sending Christine out to a hospital in the boondocks. Of course, this meant that they had to post up near the hospital they told the media about otherwise they would catch onto their duplicity. Their ploy had worked and there was no one in sight. The girl would be allowed to convalesce in peace without media buzzing around her like flies on a shit heap.
Christine arrived and was taken up to the OR wing of the hospital. This wasn’t because she needed surgery, but because the OR was shut down on the weekends. I always assumed it was closed because the surgeons wanted some time to play a round of eighteen holes on the weekend without having to worry about checking in on their wards. She was brought into the OR because there weren’t a whole lot of people there and it would be easier to keep all non-essential personnel out of the way.
There were a flurry of doctors around her and I couldn’t really get a good look at her through the whirlwind of white coats and nurses' scrubs. I caught glimpses. She had dirty brown hair that looked like it was a bird’s nest and hadn’t been combed in a long time. There were scars along her arms and legs that I am fairly certain didn’t stop at the sleeves of her clothes. Her right hand was shattered and it looked like it had been shoved into an industrial trash compactor. Bones poked out of her hand like pins in a pincushion. She was emaciated and looked like she had been through hell.
The doctors took a blood sample and left to run some tests and order a few scans. The nurses pulled the curtain and helped her change into some scrubs. When they pulled the curtain back, I saw that the scars indeed did not stop at her sleeves. The nurses asked some basic questions and then went on their way to treat their other patients. The only information I caught was that she was fourteen, she didn’t know if she had any allergies, and she had been held captive in the woods for over three years. Once the nurses left, it was just me and Christine in the hospital room.
I had no clue of what to say to her. She was obviously shell-shocked. I am not really a conversationalist so I tried to keep my trap shut and not look at her injuries. I didn’t do a good enough job because she caught me looking at her hand. She raised her broken right hand and said, “That hurt like a bitch.” She gasped and raised her hand to her mouth as if she had said something horrible and I tried to put on my best smile and told her that it was alright if she wanted to swear. She paused and then said uncertainly, “Fuck, shit, balls.” She spoke like she was testing them out and enjoyed how they rolled off her tongue.
She continued by telling me that he wouldn’t let her swear. It was here that I breached protocol and asked her what had happened out there in the woods. I wanted to have that information ready for the police when they arrived so maybe I could save her the trouble of re-hashing it for two stone-faced officers. I remember the time they asked a rape victim to describe her attacker’s genitals who then broke down at being forced to remember that trauma. I tried to give her that one mercy and protect her after she had been exposed to so much.
She looked down and said, “The hand doesn’t hurt as much as you’d think. I think the fact that I had time to steel myself for what I had to do. I needed that hand broken so I could slip the cuffs. I had to do it otherwise he would take it from me again.” Do you understand? The kid smashed her own hand up! She did it so she could slip the cuffs. I then asked the question that I wish I never asked. I asked what her captor was going to take from her, thinking maybe he had given her a puppy or doll to assert control over her.
Christine lowered her hand to her stomach and for a second, I thought she was having some intestinal issues until she said, “I’m late.” The horror of that statement barely had time to sink in before she continued. She said that she had missed her period before and when her captor found out, he beat her viciously. She told me that he kept striking her until she was on the ground and then he kicked her in the stomach.
She started to cry and there wasn’t a single thing I could think of to say to calm her down other than, “It’s over.”
Around this time a nurse arrived and gave Christine a sedative. I think they did this so they could examine the extent of her injuries without causing her any more pain or the trauma of reliving it. I hate to say it, but I was thankful she was out cold. I didn’t want to hear anymore about the horrors she had to endure for three years. The scars and improperly healed bones were a testament to the tortures she had suffered.
I watched over her for a few hours. I tried not to look too closely at the hundreds of scars, some calloused and healed while others looked like they were weeks old. The soles of her feet were blackened and cut up from running through the woods for miles while seeking help. I tried to not look at her mangled right hand that she had stomped and broken so she could slip the cuffs off. I tried not to look.
It was around five o’clock when the man showed up in the OR. I was getting ready to kick him out when he asked if I was watching over Christine Parker. He was an average looking guy. He was wearing jeans and had a weary look to him. I told him that I was watching over a private patient whose identity had not been known to me, just like the guide tells us to say. I thought he was some vulture from the newspaper who had slipped in, but that was when he told me that he was her father, Richard Parker.
He kept pressing and eventually I relented under the condition that I stay in the room while he was there. I brought him into the room and he stood over the broken body of his girl. It looked like he was about to break into tears at the sight of her injuries, but he managed to keep himself under control. As she was unconscious, there wasn’t much he could do or say to her. He stroked the side of her face and then sat down next to me. We sat in silence for five minutes before he struck up a conversation with me.
He told me all about his daughter, how she liked those frilly Disney princesses, how she used to be so afraid of the dark that he’d had to buy a nightlight, how he used to carry her around on his shoulders. It was here that he really cried. He buried his face in his hands and wept. He looked like a man who was weeping at a funeral, which in a sense, I guess he was. The daughter he knew had died. She would live a scarred and emotionally damaged life. He took a couple of minutes to get himself under control.
He told me that his wife would be here shortly. We talked a little more. It was mainly small talk. I can’t even remember what we talked about exactly. He was more focused on Christine than talking, but I think he felt uncomfortable with the silence. I don’t have an exact time, but I think we probably dragged the conversation on for an hour or so. It was around 7:30 when Christine started to come to from the sedative.
Richard Parker noticed her stirring and rushed to her side. He stroked the side of her face as she opened her eyes. He leaned down and planted a kiss on her forehead and whispered something into her ear. He turned towards me and told me that he promised he’d let his wife know when she was awake. He left for the main lobby just as my radio went off in my ear. It was my boss radioing in so he could take over my shift.
I went down to the command post and greeted my boss. He typically showed up fifteen minutes early to let me off with a couple of extra minutes. He asked how it went and I told him that it had been pretty quiet except for when the father visited. A look of confusion crossed his face and he told me that Christopher and Regina Parker were supposed to be coming in at around noon so the doctors and nurses could bandage and treat her before the reunion. The realization hit me like a foot stomping onto a hand. I sprinted back towards the OR.
I sprinted down the hallway, dodging nurses and doctors alike. Christine was bone white and the look in her eyes confirmed my worst fears. She sat frozen on the bed. She looked like she had seen the devil himself and to her eyes, she probably had. I was out-of-breath from running, but I managed to wheeze out, “Who was that?”
She spoke in a whisper, but it felt like she was shouting the words right into my ears, “It was him.”
I croaked, “What did he tell you?” She looked up at me and in that moment her eyes were as wide as saucers.
She said, “He told me that he ‘loved the time we spent together. And that we should do it ag-’ ” The rest of the words caught in her throat and she broke down wailing and weeping. My boss arrived at around that time and I was fired almost on the spot.
That’s my story. I know I messed up, but how could I have known who that guy was? Well now that I say it all out loud, I guess I really was in the wrong on this. I doubt I’m going to get a termination package. This trip out here was a waste of time, well not completely, maybe I’ll go give Christine a visit… Why are you looking at me like that?
What’s going on here? This whole interview thing wasn’t about my severance or wrongful termination. This interview was about Christine! Oh God, is she all right?
“Christine has been missing since last night. We have no clue where she could be.”
Written by EmpyrealInvective