“No, it’s not safe. They might hurt you! Jared, come back!” he yelled desperately. But he was too late. The police burst through the door smashing Jared into tiny bloody pieces. Henry tried his hardest to restrain Jay but he broke loose and ran for the first officer through the door.
Jacob, seeing only his brother’s blood went after the “beast” who slain him. He grabbed the blue beast by the throat and squeezed till his yellow eyes popped out. He watched the droll from the fangs pour on his large hands. When the beast clawed at Jay, he broke both of his arms and was going for the legs when the rest of the pack charged at him. The defender was no match for their weapons. Like fire, the small pellets from their claws burned through his chest. Jay’s blood spread quickly across the hard wood floors. Nicole stared in horror as she witnessed the whole thing. Salt streamed down her full face as she watched her baby being carted off like a panther by hunters. Yet, she couldn’t move. The whole scene was being played out on what looked like a muted big screen television – badges flashed from all directions, guns drawn, Henry, with his hands outstretched, his mouth moving but no sound passing through her ears. Then like an explosion, she heard everything at once which caused her to scream. “Stop…stop!” All fear now gone. “Get your hands off my husband.”
“Ma’am, calm down, we’re just…”
“Just what?!” Arresting him for nothing! She interrupted.
“You bust in our home, shoot my child and now you put guns to my husband’s head, frighten my daughter and tell me you’re just…just what? Just gonna make a statistic of my husband? You claim he’s resisting arrest, why would he need to be arrested?!” Her heart moved like a commuter train within her. Her words were full with rage. Then before the police could answer, the paramedics cut in to remind them of something far more important.
“I have a pulse…he’s still breathing and I need to get this man to the hospital now!” With that the sirens rang through the streets as the ambulance driver tried to break sound and speed barriers to get Jacob to the hospital.
Henry was still arrested, arraigned and released, then met Nicole at the hospital. Mercy General was known for many things but being the best hospital was not one of them. However, Jacob received excellent care partly because he had become a local superstar.
“Mr. and Mrs. Jackson?” the surgeon asked.
“Yes, Doctor,” they answered in unison.
“Your son is in critical but stable condition.”
“Can we see him?” Nicole asked
“Maybe in a couple of hours, he’s still unconscious.”
Nicole turned to see Henry just staring into space. “Henry, did you hear what the doctor said? Henry?” She called again. Still no response; Henry collapsed in the vinyl chair. With his hands still in his pockets, he began to wail, out of both pain and anger. His shoulders caved in on each other, his body curled in a slumped ball. He no longer looked like the tower of strength Nicole knew him to be. He was now in need of her strength.
“If you’d like, I could have someone come and talk with you,” the doctor offered cautiously knowing that the suggestion being made could sometimes make matters worse.
Nicole rested her head on Henry’s. “That would be fine, thank you, doctor…?”
“Roberts,” he finished as he disappeared around the corner.
Two hours later, the triage nurse was wrapping up Henry’s hand when the psychologist walked in.
“Mr. Jackson, I presume” smiling. What happened to your hand?”
“He put it through the candy machine,” the nurse answered.
“Really? You didn’t see the strip on the bottom that said ‘push’?” making light of the situation. Henry looked up at the man and answered, “I did. I thought it meant the glass.” The two men laughed as the very angry nurse left them alone. “I don’t often make light of people assaulting fixed objects. It often means there’s something going on inside. But in your case, I read the report. Heck, if what happened to you and your family happened to me, well I’d take out the coffee machine as well,” the doctor continued. “By the way, I’m Dr. Michael Arnold.”
“Henry Jackson, that’s my wife Nicole,” pointing outside the door. “Why don’t we all go somewhere quiet to talk?” The doctor asked.
They found a nice spot in a corner outside the hospital’s chapel. The doctor explained how Jacob had been tested for drugs as well as other tests. The test for drugs was negative. So he asked them if they knew what brought on the behavior and why the cops shot him so many times. So Nicole explained that she had heard him talking to himself in the room. When she asked who it was he was talking to, he’d told her to ‘shut up’.
“Did you have an argument earlier?” the doctor questioned.
“No, he’d been in his room all day.”
“What about you, Mr. Jackson, anything odd?”
“Ah…yeah. When the cops banged on the door, he told Jared to come away from the door.”
“Who is Jared?”
“Our youngest son. He was killed by a drunk driver. But that was five years ago. Jacob was acting like he was standing in the room.” He tossed me like a rag doll then bolted for the door.” he continued, puzzled.
“Mrs. Jackson?” The doctor’s face now full of concern.
“Yes,” she answered. Her expression said she knew more.
“Um, a couple of years ago he said he saw Jared eating in the kitchen,” shrugging her shoulders.
“Was that the only time?” the doctor continued to probe.
“The coach in high school called me in because Jacob was in the locker room talking to himself.”
“What was he talking about?”
“The coach didn’t say – just that he was arguing. And I didn’t ask Jay either.”
“Excuse me doctor!” Henry was now furious.
“This happened more than once and because of it – whatever “it” is our son is dying upstairs! But for some unknown reason, you never told me! Thanks, Nicole, thank you very much!” Knowing that asking Henry to calm down would go badly, Dr. Arnold just calmly spoke to Nicole while Henry paced the hallway in front of the chapel.
“Nicole?” choosing his words carefully.
“Do you know if there’s anyone in either family with a mental illness?”
Her eyes searched the hall, “What do you mean?”
“He means anybody like that crazy uncle of yours, Nicole!” Henry barked.
“Uncle?” asked the doctor.
“Um, ah, it’s not my uncle. He’s just “high” all the time. My father was diagnosed with schizophrenia”.
“What? You told me you didn’t know your father and you heard he died when you were 12 years old!” Henry’s voice was so loud that the chapel door creaked open and a pair of tiny child’s eyes stared at him.
“Henry, please,” Nicole pleaded. “Please, look at the kids. Come sit down,” tears streamed from her eyes. “Honey, I’m sorry I lied,” searching his face for understanding. “I was 12 when he died,” she continued. “My dad was a young man with troubles – at least that’s what people said. He couldn’t handle life,” they said. “So, he shot himself. I came home and found him holding a picture of me in his arms. Blood was everywhere – the ceiling, the walls and on his favorite arm chair. We would sit in it together to watch football games. I found him slumped in our chair with my picture because he gave up on me! That’s what I told myself. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I was told that my Dad was schizophrenic. I was only told because I was marrying you,” she held his hand. “My mother didn’t want me to have children.” She leaned back on the bench and began to cry. Henry looked into her oval face. The look in his eyes told the story of his heart. He loved Nicole. He couldn’t imagine what it would be like to carry such a burden.
“Mr. and Mrs. Jackson, I believe that what your son was going through, is quite possibly schizophrenia,” Dr. Arnold said.
“Do you know what made it happen? Was it football? Jared?” Nicole asked.
“No,” he continued. “No, in your case Nicole – may I call you Nicole?”
Kaleidoscope and more can be found inside…