“My sister-in-law and her husband? I thought they’d have been brought
in by now,” he blurted out, “but they haven’t arrived. Were they taken
elsewhere? Windham? Harrington?”
Situations like the one involving Logan’s loved ones were never easy.
George focused on a painting and Logan waited with bated breath as his
superior faltered to articulate the words that possessed the power to
devastate the lives of everyone he held dear.
“No, Logan, they’re here.”
“Here?” Logan shook his head in defiance. “I’ve been here waiting and
watching the whole time.”
“Someone needs to identify them.” George said, his voice breaking.
“I’m so sorry, it was too late. They were already gone.”
Terrified and disoriented, Steven's eyes darted around the tiny space.
The bed rails rattled as he thrashed his arms in an attempt to free
himself of the tethers that held him captive.
He tried to scream but nothing more than an unrecognizable sound left his body.
Incessant beeping, the shrill alarms of a dozen machines filled the
room; his heart racing at the onslaught of sensory overload, the
bright lights, the loud noises, the weird odors.
The room was closing in on him.
Logan stood, picking up the glass of iced tea he’d been nursing and placed it in the sink. “Where is the birthday boy? He is home, isn’t he?”
“He’s down in the basement rotting his brain.”
“Ah, playing with the NES. Would you girls call us when dinner is
ready?” Logan grabbed the small bag that his wife had carried in and
followed the sound of fighter jets to the game room.
When he tapped on the door frame, the lanky young man jumped up from
his beanbag and dropped his controller.
“Logan, you made it. Mom said she thought you had an evening rotation
“You honestly thought I’d miss your big day? I traded with Doc
Wascher. He’s gonna cover this weekend, too.” He held out the bag from
the hobby shop. “Here, I brought you something.”
A grin spread across the young man’s face. “Wrestlemania. Cool. I’ve
wanted this one for a while, but I’ve been saving for a Super Nintendo
System, the games are so much cooler. I figured there wasn’t a lot of
sense in buying any more of these old games.”
“I thought maybe you were getting tired of Duck Hunt and Super Punchout.”
Steven rolled his eyes, they both knew the kid had more games than he
knew what to do with.
“Thanks, man. I appreciate it. You wanna go a few rounds?”
Later, as they were eating dessert, Steven blurted out, “You should
have seen the Undertaker kick Logan’s ass. He didn’t stand a chance.”
“Language, Steven. And please address your uncle properly.”
“Sorry, Mom, Uncle Logan.” He muttered under his breath. He knew his
uncle didn’t give a shit, but his mom was really hung up on such
things. He adored her, but he wasn’t a kid anymore; when would she
stop treating him like one?
“Welcome back, Stevie,” Sophie whispered before turning her face into
her husband’s chest, her shoulders shaking with the silent sobs that
wracked her body. He’d never seen his fun-loving aunt so somber.
Don’t cry Aunt Soph, please don’t cry.
Something was terribly wrong. Disjointed thoughts, niggling fragments
of something important danced in the periphery of his mind, but it
seemed the harder he tried to make sense of them, the more they eluded
“The rehab you want to send me to isn’t going to be cheap, is it?”
Logan crossed the room, placing both palms on the huge window that
looked out across the city, dropping his forehead against the glass.
“No, not by a long shot, but it’s the best in the area.”
“Does it really matter? The way I understand it, there’s only so much
they can do for me anyway. I don’t need the best.”
Logan bristled and faced his nephew. “Don’t you understand?” He
practically shouted, stabbing his finger violently into his own chest.
“I want you to have the best. What if you don’t have to spend your
life like this? What if there’s another way?”
Steven wheeled himself across the room, challenging his uncle. “And
how much does the best cost, Logan?”
Logan pushed off the window. “Ten grand.”
That didn’t sound so bad, compared to what his mounting hospital bill
must amount to. Perhaps he wouldn’t have to stay as long as his
doctors had recommended. Steven tried to calculate the weekly charge
in his head. They’d said six to eight weeks... so by the week it would
roughly cost them...
Logan cleared his throat. “Ten grand, a week.”
Steven blanched. “Oh no! There’s no way,” he argued, wheeling himself
towards the door. As far as he was concerned, the discussion was over.
Logan tried to stop his nephew. “Don’t you see? Your independence-
Steven pulled out of his uncle's grasp and rolled through the door.
“It’s not worth it. I’m not worth it.”
Logan stepped in front of him, his hands grasping the desk arms of the
chair, his gaze level with Steven’s. “I’d give everything I own to fix
this, to give you your life back.”
“No! No way, Logan. Forget it. I’ll do some sort of outpatient therapy
at home then get an apartment in the elderly high-rise."
Logan’s head jerked up, his eyes tightening in anger. “I won’t let you do that.”
“Do you know what it’s like to have to wait, sometimes for hours, for
someone to put you in a wheelchair, just so you can look out the
window? Can you imagine what it’s like to know you’ll never hike or
rock climb or ski again? Until you have some comprehension of what I’m
going through, hit the road and don’t come back. I’m so tired of being
patronized! You don’t have a clue what I'm going through!"
He remained silent as she continued her rant. It was important to let
it all out. Steven made his way around the foot of her bed as she
continued to yell. She had a death grip on the bedrail, her eyes
“I’ve lost everything! I’m twenty-seven years old. How dare you tell
me I’ll learn to adapt? You’ve handed me a life sentence.”
Certain he’d slipped out the door during her tirade, she opened her
eyes to find him sitting mere inches from her face wearing a bemused
Her eyes got big as she took in the wheelchair. Comprehension flooded
her features and she hung her head in embarrassment, a bright red
flush gracing her cheeks. Clearly mortified by her actions, she
whispered, “Oh God,” and buried her face in her hands.
"You. You're Owen McCrea." Steven whispered, stumbling over his words.
McCrea just laughed as he offered his hand to the kid. "My friends call me Mac. How ya doin?"