Short stories are at the heart of why Phyllis loves to write. Her father left her a legacy of the art of storytelling.
Peggy's Last Crime Scene
Sergeant Peggy Jenkins had been a police officer for almost ten years. On a routine check of a domestic violence call one night, things did not go well at all. The woman who called had said her husband beat her again and threatened to kill her. "He has guns and will shoot me! He's down in the basement to load the guns and will kill me!"
The woman had called several times before with the same complaint. Each time the police arrived they found both the husband and his wife were drunk and had been yelling at each other. This was the fourth time Peggy and her partner, Rory, had checked up on the couple.
Rory had been with Peggy since he graduated from the academy a few months before. He was young, assertive, and a bit over-confident. A lot of other officers thought of him as a smart ass, but Peggy was fond of him and treated him like a kid brother. On this latest visit to the couples' house, Rory was not in a good mood and said, "I've had it with this jerk and his wife. I'd love to take him down and beat the crap out of him!"
Peggy was driving. When she pulled up to the curb and stopped Rory got out quickly.
"Hold up there, Rory! Don't go rushing in like an angry kid!" Peggy shouted.
Rory stopped, with the door still open, and started to say something then a barrage of shots hit him and knocked him back into the car. Peggy was on the call to dispatch and yelled, "Officer down! Officer down! Backup. Backup!"
She had been looking at Rory's face as he lay on his back halfway in the car. What had been his face was now just a mass of blood, brain, and bone. She was splattered with Rory's blood. The bullets were still coming and she quickly got out to take cover.
Peggy Fires Back
Her gun drawn, Peggy braced her arms on top of the car and fired several rounds at the man standing on the porch with an AR-15. He was hit several times but still fired at the car. Some of the bullets hit the top of the car sending chips of paint and metal into Peggy's face.
Bullets went through both windows of the back seat and one went through Peggy's right side. She fell to her knees but was able to open the back door and grab one of the AR-15 rifles. She felt no pain, just anger. Then firing suddenly stopped. The shooter must have thought she was dead.
Bracing herself against the fender she slid up and opened fire on the man, seeing he was hit several more times. "Every hit for Rory," she yelled with fury and aimed at the man's chest. Then she was shot in her left shoulder and head. The shots knocked her back and she fell in the street, unconscious.
Two backup patrol cars and an ambulance screeched to a halt, their sirens screaming. Paramedics ran to Peggy and Rory. It was too late for Rory. Peggy was losing a lot of blood but was alive. Three persons were dead at the scene, Rory, the man who killed him and the man's wife in the house.
Gary Stays by Peggy
Peggy survived and after operations lay in bed with her eyes and head bandaged. Bits of metal had been removed from her cheeks and eyes. Her left shoulder was bandaged front and back with a brace strapped on to prevent movement. The shot in her side had broken two ribs. Her midriff was tightly bandaged.
The doctors were confident Peggy was not blinded, but would not know for sure till the bandages came off. The bullet that knocked her out had just grazed her head and left a nasty gash that had to be stitched closed. Her shoulder was not broken, the bullet had gone clear through the flesh under the shoulder bone and out the back, shattering part of her shoulder blade and leaving a big hole. She was fortunate it missed her heart.
Gary Cuthbert, Peggy's boyfriend, sat by the bed waiting for her to come out of the heavily medicated sleep. An IV was inserted in her right arm and an oxygen mask covered her nose and mouth. He had been at the hospital since Peggy was brought in to the ER. He sat by her for over twelve hours, falling asleep when he leaned forward on the bed.
A nurse brought in a breakfast tray for Gary, with two cups of coffee, and woke him. "You need to eat something, Mr. Cuthbert. The doctor increased her pain medication. She stirred and groaned a few times, but is sleeping again. She should be out for a few more hours, so you eat then freshen up." Gary gulped down one cup of coffee, which was lukewarm, and the orange juice. He did not want to eat but knew he had to stay strong physically for Peggy.
After eating he went in the bathroom and washed up, then leaning on the counter sobbed. Splashing more water on his face and through his thick curly black hair, Gary stared in the mirror. He felt like it was all a dream. The woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with was struggling for her own life. He was weak from giving her his own blood to keep her alive those first few hours in the ER.
Gary came out and saw the doctor and Captain Seifert standing by the bed, talking. "How is she doing, Doctor?" The Captain turned and shook Gary's hand, "How are you, Gary? Doing okay?" Gary nodded.
"She will make it," the doctor said. "It will be a long healing process with a lot of pain, but, she's strong. We will keep the eyes bandaged for several days, then
we'll know if her vision is impaired." Doctor Akiyama looked at Gary with concern. "You have not gotten enough rest, Gary. I won't tell you to go home, because I know you won't, so, I am going to have a bed brought in here and I want you to get some sleep. Maybe the Captain can send someone to your home to pick up some things you will need for a few days."
Two hours later, after a shower, Gary was sound asleep, in a light sweatsuit, in a bed not far from Peggy.
Gary had almost lost her and it shook him to the core. He and Peggy had been together for five years. He wanted to marry her, but Peggy refused.
She was dedicated to her career and felt her job was too dangerous to have a good marriage and the children Gary wanted. She knew how much Gary wanted a family and that some day he may leave her, but, that was "the way of it" she often told herself.
Gary was always patient, knowing in his heart how much Peggy loved him and that some day she would change her mind. He was proud of Peggy for her success and courage on the police force, but often worried about her safety. However, he never thought she would be so close to death. It was uncanny that the man she killed had fourteen bullets in him when he fired his last shot which hit Peggy and took her down.
After ten days the ophthalmologist who had performed surgery on Peggy's eyes took the bandages off. The room was dark as Gary stood near the bed, praying that Peggy would see him. With Dr. Akiyama also there the room was tense with anticipation. Peggy was calm, but reached out to where she knew Gary was. He took her hand in both of his. "I'm here, Baby." His voice gave her courage.
The bandages came off and a nurse gently cleansed Peggy's eyelids. "Open your eyes when you are ready, Peggy," the surgeon said. Peggy's eyelids fluttered open a few times till she could focus, then opened fully. She saw Gary and a tear rolled down her cheek. Gary softly said, "Hello, future Mrs. Cuthbert." She smiled weakly
as she squeezed his hand. "Hello future husband of mine."
Captain Seifert was standing near Gary. "Hey," he whispered and grinned broadly. "Did I just hear a marriage proposal and acceptance?"
"You sure did. And I got witnesses." Gary bent and kissed Peggy's hand.
The examinations showed Peggy's eyesight was not impaired at all.