The Third Outcome

by Michelle Forster

"What did you say to me you little punk?"

"I didn't say anything to you; I was talking to someone else so mind your own damn business."

"Wise ass huh? I'll teach you a lesson you'll never forget, stand up!"

"Why don't you go pick on someone else for a change, maybe someone closer to your own size, can you do that?"

A minute later everything goes black.

I wake up in intensive care with a faint realization of why I am here. Suddenly it all comes back to me, I remember the jerk that put me here, I remember watching his fist about to hit my face as I was thinking to myself how one of two things are going to happen; either he will beat me to a bloody pulp and he'll be kicked out of school for good and I'll never have to see him again or two he will beat me to a bloody pulp, I will end up seriously hurt enough that I'll be in the hospital long enough that I won't have to see him for at least a while. I guess I got my answer, not the one I had hoped for but good enough.

I am stiff and sore all over, I can't move either of my arms, my legs feel about twice their normal size and I have a pounding headache, don't they give people pain meds for this sort of thing anymore?

"Oh thank God, everybody he's awake.

Oh great the whole family is here, my mom, dad, sister and her husband. Just what I needed.

"Your ok. You're in the hospital and you're going to be just fine."

Why won't someone give me any damn Tylenol for this headache then?

"The Dr said your arms are broken."

Yeah well tell me something I don't already know.

"He also said you had a pretty bad concussion and might have brain damage."

Might have what?

"Wesley are you ok?"

I try to answer but nothing comes out, maybe it's shock, maybe that kid hurt me so bad I can't talk. Can I move my feet? Yeah my feet work; at least I'm not paralyzed.

"Wesley, talk to me son. Fran I think you better buzz for the nurse he can't talk."

Yeah buzz for the nurse; I want to know what is going on here.

"Oh, wonderful, Wesley is finally awake." The nurse walks over to me with a clipboard in her hand and looks at the monitor I am hooked up to marking in the numbers. "You're pulse looks ok and your blood pressure is a little low but that is to be expected after being in a coma for a week."

A week?

"Nurse, Wesley doesn't seem to be able to talk. I asked if he was ok and he just looked at me and didn't answer."

"He is probably pretty drowsy, he's had a rough time sir and he is probably very confused."

Yeah I am pretty confused all right. I'm not confused about Matthew Monahan though. Ever since the first day of school this year he has been picking on me. I don't even know the kid; as a matter of fact I didn't even know his name until then. I am going to get even with that guy; I don't care what it takes.

The nurse takes out a small flashlight and shines it in my eyes. "His pupils are reacting normally to light which is a very good sign at this stage." The nurse takes out more equipment and runs a few more tests. "Everything seems o.k. but I am going to let the Dr. know he is awake and then he can give a more thorough examination, I will go get him now if that is o.k. with you?"

"Yes that would be fine, thank you very much."

My parents look at each other then at me, my mom hugs me and she has a tear in her eye. What's the big deal, the nurse just said everything was ok.

I wonder if Matthew got his walking papers from Pine Ridge High School yet. Heck, I should press charges on him, let him rot in jail for a few months, I never even thought about that until now. He thinks he is so tough at a school surrounded by kids half his size it won't be a picnic in jail with bikers and gang members that eat kids like him for breakfast. Get a taste of his own medicine.

I have second thoughts, just for a second but long enough to put a little doubt in my mind. Maybe going to jail would be a bit harsh, he's just a kid and a trip to jail would probably seriously hurt any chance he would have of really making it, he would struggle through life.

"Hi there Wesley, I'm Dr. Peters and I've been looking after you for the week. I am just going to do a few tests, it shouldn't hurt ok?"

I nod my head but even that hurts, my head is pounding. Don't people usually hand someone who can't talk a piece of paper so they can communicate? Oh yeah my arms are broken, I probably couldn't write anyway. I think a little bit more about Matthew and decide that if I come out of this and everything is ok and he got expelled from school then I will just let it go. Right away a voice comes from the corner of my head saying how stupid that is. You have been in a coma for a week stupid, you might have brain damage, are you nuts? This guy needs to be punished.

I had better figure out what I am going to do, I don't want to ruin his life, especially if I walk away from this but he should be punished. I guess I have a while to think about it.

"Ok Wesley, everything looks ok, we are just waiting on your brain scans and if those come back negative then I think you'll be able to go home in a couple of days." He takes my parents just outside the door to talk, my sister and brother-in-law stand there looking at me.

"Wesley, I am so sorry this happened to you. If there is anything I can do please tell me. Can you talk now?"

I shake my head no, well actually I haven't even tried to talk again but I am not in the mood for talking. I would love to ask for some meds. I squint my eyes and try to make a face like I am in pain so maybe Tammy, my sister might catch on.

"Wesley, are you in pain?"

I nod my head

"Where are you in pain?"

I try to move my hand to point at me head but of course it doesn't move so I look up. Oh man that hurt.

"Your head hurts, of course it would. I will go see what I can do." And she walks out of the room. I look at my brother-in-law Jeff and he pats me on the shoulder.

"Hang in there kid, everything is going to be fine. You look a lot better then you did I can tell you that much. Chicks dig scars."

Scars? Where do I have scars?

Finally the nurse comes back with a needle.

"I am sorry; I didn't realize the pain killers had worn off." She carefully inserts the needled into my IV bag. "There, I am sure you will feel much better now. I will be making my rounds again in half an hour."

Seconds later I feel better.

Just then a police office walks into the room accompanied by my parents and the Dr.

"He just came out of it about a half hour ago, he hasn't spoken yet but this is a fairly normal reaction when someone just comes out of a coma" The Dr tells the cop.

"Well I think I need to talk to the boy anyway, if you all would excuse us please."

"Don't worry Wesley; everything is going to be just fine." Everyone else leaves the room.

The cop must be here to ask if I want to press charges, I still haven't made up my mind though. I will hear him out but I want to know the results of those brain scans.

"Wesley, Matthew didn't make it I'm afraid. I am going to need a statement from you."

Matthew didn't make what?

"Until then I am going to read you your rights and I'm afraid I will have to cuff you to your bed, we are placing an officer outside your room." He recites the speech.

What? What is going on?

There must be some mistake, some idiot at school must have said I hit Matthew and now I am the one in trouble? He must see the confusion in my eyes or maybe it is panic.

"You don't remember what happened do you? No one told you either?"

I remember talking to my friend Trevor then Matthew coming up and causing a scene then him punching me, me stumbling back, him punching me again and I fell to the floor then he's kicking me, slams my head into the floor that's when everything goes black.

He takes a long breath and sighs. "Matthew beat you up, you remember that right?"

Well yes of course I remember that. I nod my head.

"Well before you blacked out Wesley you fired two shots hitting Matthew in the head killing him, your being charged with voluntary manslaughter."

Unbelievable.

Wait I remember now. My dad had bought me a gun for my birthday, he said I was a great shot and decided I deserved it. We went out every weekend and hunted rabbits or whatever else we could find.

"Matthew is dead, you killed him."

I am feeling faint. I think I am blacking out.

I come to and the room is dark I am alone. I hear a clank; look down; my hands are cuffed to the rails of my bed.

I can't remember. I can't remember bringing the gun to school. I can't remember shooting Matthew. I would never do that, why did I do that?

The Dr comes in. "Do you want your parents here? I have something to tell you"

No, I don't need them here. Not anymore. I shake my head.

"I am sorry son but the tests came back positive for brain damage. Over time it may get worse but we can't be sure yet until we see your progress, we found some hemorrhaging too I'm afraid and you will have to go in for surgery."

Yeah, wonderful.

I guess I didn't count on the third outcome when Matthew's fist was about to strike my face. Matthew beats me to a bloody pulp, I shoot him two times in the head, I get brain damage that may leave me helpless one day in prison. Oh and I'll never have to see him again.

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