Chapter 12
The Boxcar


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General Hospital
    Everyone sat waiting for the okay to go see Autumn. Elizabeth and Emily were still crying quietly their heads buried in their boyfriends shoulders. Nikolas paced around angerly, wanting to punch something, or someone. Alan and Monica were in Autumn's ICU adjusting the wires and tubes that kept her alive, for now anyway.
    "What is taking so long?" Nikolas finally said, breaking the silence in the waiting room. "Calm down Nikolas, the doctors are just trying to make sure she is stable before they let the riff-raff in," Luke said, putting his hand on Nikolas's arm and leading him to a chair next to Laura. Laura hugged her oldest son, and said, "She really means a lot to you doesn't she." Nikolas tensed and stood up quickly, "Yes she does, and if she dies it is all my fault," he said. "It's not your fault," Lucky said standing up to calm his brother. "It's Tom's fault, not yours, it's all his fault," Elizabeth said. "But I am the one who scared her, she ran into the park because of what I said at dinner," Nikolas said, nearly shouting. Finally he succombed to the tears which had been building since he found her in the park, broken and helpless because he told her he loved her.
    "What exactly did you say to her?" Luke said. "I..I told her that I thought that I had found the women I wanted to spend the rest of my life with," Nikolas answered. "Oh Nikolas, that's so sweet," Laura said. "Why would that make her run out on you?" Luke said. "I don't know, she said she needed some air, some time to think, I scared her away, and she ran and he got her, the bastard got her and nearly killed her and it's all my fault." Nikolas said walking a little way down the hall, the opposite way from Autumn's room.
    Alan and Monica came over to them and watched the scene for a few moments, tears shining in their eyes. It never got any easier to put people back together after a senseless act of violence, especially rape. Time would tell if any of the young people would ever fully recover from another rape. Elizabeth's rape had made them stronger, but would Autumn's rape undo all of that and leave them as broken as the young girl down the hall. Finally Monica spoke, "You can go see her, one at a time for about 10 minutes. She is in a coma, so talk to her about happy things, she has plenty of time after she wakes up to deal with the rape." she said. "I have to warn you, Tony looked at her as well, and we don't know yet how much brain damage might have happened, she stopped breathing several times and she has some swelling of her brain, she was also stabbed pretty close to her spinal cord, it will be a miracle if she comes out of this 100% healthy, I'm sorry to say," Alan said quietly.
    "I need to go in first, I have to apologize to her," Nikolas said. "What for Nikolas? Her attack is not your fault, it's nobody's fault but Tom's." Elizabeth said. Just then Mac and Taggert came up to the group to question the young people about what had happened. "Do you really have to do this now Bubba?" Luke said. "Do you want us to be able to find the guy that did this, or do you want him to get away again, like he did for Ms. Webber's attack?" Taggert said crudely.
    "Really Lt. do you need to throw that in our faces right now after what happened? Believe me you have all the DNA evidence this time, Tom's name is all over this one," Lucky said. "Can we please come down to the station tomorrow? We need to be with Autumn tonight," Nikolas pleaded. "Fine, I expect to see all of you at the station at 10 am tomorrow, and don't even think about investigating this case by yourselves," Taggert said. "That's enough Lt. they know when to come down I think we are done here, Autumn is in my prayers," Mac said leading Taggert out of the hospital. "The nerve of that overgrown bald pompass jackass," Luke said rather loudly. Laura smacked him in the arm, "Luke, this isn't the time or the place to start into the why the PCPD is incompetent speech," she said. "You are right angel that could take all night...I'm sorry." Luke said quickly trying to avoid the look that Laura was giving him at the moment.
Autumn's Room
    The doctors had finally left her alone. Now it was his turn to finish what that moron Tom couldn't. He crept in slowly, keeping an eye on the people in the waiting room. He knew he didn't have much time. He reached out and stroked her hair with one hand, noticing the bandages covering her face and neck, and the cast on her leg. "You really did a number on her didn't you idiot, why couldn't you have finished killing our lying, stealing little stepdaughter? It would have made it a lot easier for both of us," he said as he callously pulled the respirator off of the tube and ripped an IV from her arm. He watched as she struggled for air, and as the blood ran from her arm where the needle had been. "Goodnight sweet stepdaughter, it is done," he said as he left, taking one last look at the girl who had almost ruined his life.
Back out in the hallway
    Nikolas started walking towards Autumn's room, thinking about what he wanted to say to her. He stopped a few feet away, a sudden feeling of urgency starting to build. He needed to tell her again that he loved her before it was too late. At that moment the shrill sound of a code blue broke through the silence in the air. All Nikolas saw were people rushing towards Autumn's room before his world exploded and he slid down the wall overcome with grief.

Chapter 13