Krist turned, his body was moving slowly and he turned to Don, who was still holding the gun. Their eyes locked for no more than a few seconds, but Krist felt his mouth open, almost as if he had no control and a surge of vomit escaped his lips.
Don’s face was twisted, agonized and on the left side of his face, just between his cheek-bone and ear-lobe, a wound, circular and a few inches in length had blasted through the side of his face.
Don had tried to shoot himself in the head – and it hadn’t worked. Blood seeped from the gaping wound, the fleshy hole revealed the white-yellow bone of his jaw. His mouth hung open, he was making noises, his entire body tensed and poised.
Dave suddenly found his feet, he moved quickly, leaving the apartment and going to the payphone in the hall. He dialled 911 and screamed for help. Krist could hear him shouting, screaming for an ambulance, screaming for anyone to come.
Krist felt more vomit boiling from his stomach and dared not to look at the wound any further. He turned to Kurt, who had stopped convulsing so severely and was fast falling into unconsciousness.
Dave and Krist sat hunched, silent, shocked and tensed in the waiting room of Providence St. Peter Hospital. Kurt and Don had been taken forward hours ago, for treatment.
They were both supposed to get treatment for shock, but so far, no one had called for them and Krist was doubtful that they would. For the most part, they were concerned about Kurt’s condition – it had been hours since they had taken him.
Dave looked to Krist, his face pale, drained and ashen. He looked like he was going to say something, but he refrained. He knew he didn’t have to.
Somewhere in the hospital, Don was receiving treatment. His second wife was at his bedside; family – sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and a wife, who was devoted to him, surrounded him.
In another part of the hospital, Kurt was also receiving treatment, but Kurt was all alone.
Finally, Krist and Dave were called through; they followed a nurse to a private room. It was quiet and the low light cast a relaxing glow.
In the bed, Kurt’s small frame was lightly covered with blankets.
His right arm was in a sling and his left wrist was bandaged. Around his chest, ribs and back, more bandages had been wrapped tightly around him, holding a brace-support in place. He face was grazed and bruised and there was slight swelling under his right eye.
“Has he regained consciousness?” Krist asked softly.
The nurse smiled sympathetically. “Briefly,” she said gently. “We need to monitor him for any signs of brain damage. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to say when he’ll wake up fully, but the doctors are confident that he’ll make a full recovery – from the scans, there was no visible sign on damage to his brain. There was a slight swelling at the back of his head -”
Dave looked at her, “In his brain? He had swelling in his brain?” His voice was high and panicked.
She nodded. “But it went down within half an hour. They’ve studied the CT scans and could find no further exposed damage but we’re just waiting on his verbal responses now.”
Dave swallowed and walked over to the bed, leaning over Kurt and sighing a little. He gently raised his hand and gently stroked Kurt’s face.
Krist finished discussing Kurt’s condition with the nurse and thanked her before she left.
He joined Dave on the other side of the bed – both men sitting on either side of Kurt, watching him, waiting for him to wake. He looked so small and fragile.
“He’s fractured three ribs,” Krist said, repeating the words of the nurse. “And his spine is bruised… nothing else is broken, it’s mostly cuts and bruises and bone-bruises.” He alliterated.
Dave nodded and kept his eyes to Kurt’s thin, pale face. “When will the police come?” He asked, softly.
Krist shrugged. “They’ve probably seen Don. Obviously, they can’t do anything until Kurt wakes up, but they’ll need to talk to us, too.”
Dave nodded. “Krist… I, I don’t want to go back there.” He said, softly. Krist looked at him, thinking Dave was on some sort higher mental level, assuming he was referring to not wanting to go back to the situation, to recite the events.
“Dave, you have to tell them. You have to you don’t really have a choice -” Dave shook his head, “No, Krist. I don’t want to go back to the apartment.” He informed him, quickly. “I don’t want to go back there.”
Krist nodded, understanding. “You and Kurt will come back to my place. We’ll find you both a new place. I don’t want either of you going back there, Dave. I want you close to me.”
Dave looked at him, “What about the money? We don’t make that much – not enough to pay for demos, recordings, room rental, travel, gas, food – rent, everything is expensive and we have so much to pay for, and now the hospital bills and Kurt’s drug treatment, Krist, we can’t just up and leave!”
Dave’s voice rose slightly and Krist shushed him. “Dave, don’t worry – we’ll figure it all out. For now, come back with me. We’ll think of something, okay?”
Kurt moved slightly, his eyes were moving behind his lids, his mouth twitched and his lips parted. Incoherent mumbling was all that followed and the episode was brief and unpromising.
Krist reasoned that this could continue for a while. Dave was adamant about not leaving Kurt’s bedside.
Three hours had passed and Kurt’s condition had not changed. The police had come to take statements from Krist and Dave, and Don’s whereabouts in the hospital had been confirmed – they were not allowed near each other.
Krist knew he was going to be faced with charges and he freely admitted to his violence. He still remained silent about his threats to Don, previously with the gun, and it seemed that Don had not yet mentioned it.
That was even if Don could talk at all – Krist didn’t want to think about the wound or his face or what he had done and attempted to do.
Don had major lacerations to the left side of his face, the vision in his left eye was impaired and at least a quarter of his face was gone, however, he had still survived, albeit very barely. The left side of his face would have to be restructured and grafted and he was in dire need of blood replacement.
Dave finished giving his statements and joined Krist back in Kurt’s room. “Any change?” He asked, softly, taking a seat to the right of the bed.
Krist shook his head. “No – he looks like he’s about to wake, but then he just falls back into it again.” His voice was soft but concerning.
Dave sighed lightly and sat back in his chair. He felt sick but numb. He was almost completely devoid of any emotion, save for how he felt about Kurt and Krist and even slightly, how he felt about Don.
“Are you getting charged?” Dave asked, softly.
Krist shrugged. “Probably. They need to compile all the evidence first, but I admitted to beating him up. I admitted to what I did.” He said, reflectively.
Kurt flinched, his left arm flexed and his hand extended and he murmured something before suddenly opening his eyes. It was like he was waking from a bad dream.
He settled, closed his eyes again, but only for a few seconds, before allowing himself to become fully awake.
“My, my, turtles!” He said suddenly, looking distressed and panicky. He flinched, as he jolted up, not completely aware of why his body hurt so much.
“Kurt, Kurt, it’s alright.” Krist assured. “You’re at the hospital, Kurt – your turtles are fine. They’re okay. You need to be careful Kurt. You need to rest.”
Kurt sat back, as Dave pulled the pillows up behind him to make him as comfy as he was able.
“A lot of stuff happened, Kurt – can you remember anything?” Dave asked, softly, pulling the blankets round him slightly.
“My dad,” he said, quietly. “He, he was… he tried to… I can’t, I think I -” he stopped, closing his eyes tightly, and pausing.
“Shh, Kurt – don’t think about it. Your mind is very delicate. It’s okay, just don’t stress over it. It’ll all make sense, Kurt, we’re here for you, Kurt.” Krist said, raising his hand and stroking his hair. “Just calm down.”
Kurt settled briefly, drawing in a sharp breath, which only added to his pain, the sharp numbing jolt of his ribs and back made him cough, and that in turn, hurt his body even more.
His nose began to run and tears formed in the corner of his eyes. “I don’t know why…” he sobbed. “What I did for him to do that to me,” Dave reached for his hand and held it carefully.
“I haven’t talked to him for… I called him, after my panic attack, but it didn’t go well, so I didn’t call anymore and since that, I haven’t talked to him. I got a letter… I got a letter but I never opened it.”
His voice was thin and childlike. “But why did he do that? How did he know about me… he told me, he said someone came to see him and told him I tried to kill myself.”
Kurt was starting to shake and Krist couldn’t take the guilt. He let out a small choke-like sob and shook his head. “Kurt, I’m so, so sorry…” he mumbled. “It’s my fault, Kurt. All of this… it’s because of me.”
Dave and Kurt were silent as Krist explained everything – why he had gone through Kurt’s things, why he had opened the letter and then what he had done afterwards.
Dave was shocked and it only numbed him more so. He and Kurt were in complete disbelief that Krist could even think about doing something like that, let alone do it.
Krist was uncertain if Kurt was angry about his actions, but he was more concerned over having to tell Kurt that his father had blown half in face off in an attempt to kill himself. They remained silent until Krist finished everything he had to say. Dave looked to Kurt, concerned, worried.
Kurt’s eyes were watery and dark-blue, making him look paler with the combination of eye colour and the dark rings under his eyes. “Where, where is my dad now?” He asked, uncertain of the answer, of if he even wanted to hear it.
“There, there was an incident, Kurt… the gun, he used – the one he held to you. He, he tried to turn it on himself, Kurt. He pulled the trigger, but, but it didn’t work. The angle was wrong. He… the bullet, it, it went through the other side of his face.”
Kurt’s bottom lip quivered as his eyes widened. His hands were shaking and then his face flushed and he felt his stomach lurch and he threw up all over his sheets.