CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and SIXTY-NINE
Saturday afternoon — 3:15 p.m.
Sandy woke up with a start from a horrible nightmare about being stalked by her abusers. She moaned. Her pain from her injuries had activated her PTSD. She was having real trouble getting rest.
She was lucky though.
The people around her knew that she was struggling so they never left her alone. Every time she woke up, she would see someone else that she loved. She just had to turn her head.
She tried but gasped with pain.
“Okay, okay, okay,” Charlie’s voice came from beside her. The sound of hard pills knocking against plastic pill bottles filled the air.
“Ch …Ch …” Sandy tried to speak.
The next thing she knew, a young man who looked like someone she knew was sitting on her bed. Gasping in horror, she pulled away from him.
“Wh …” Sandy said.
Her dream was still vivid before her eyes. This young man was going to … She couldn’t bear to watch. She slammed her eyelids closed. Even the act of squinting her eyes tightly closed caused her pain. She let out a sob. A tear streamed down her face.
“Look at me,” the young man said.
She was too obedient not to open her eyes.
“It’s me, Sandy,” he said. “Charlie.”
Sandy shook her head, and then he smiled. His mouth was full of braces on his beautiful gleaming white veneers. His eyes folded in the way that her dad Mitch Delgado’s did. She tried to touch his face but her hands were bound in casts. He pulled off her covers and lifted the shirt Maresol had put on her when she was unconscious.
Like he had when he was tiny, he pressed his face into her skin. When he was little, he used to hide his head under her shirt when he was afraid. There was no way that anyone in the world would know that. She put her hand on the top of his head.
“Ch’r-ly,” she said.
He rubbed his chin on her belly, and she felt the stubble of his new beard. She laughed and squealed. And for the briefest moment, she was herself again — whole and happy, in the company of one of her favorite people.
The pain returned.
Unaware that she did it, she moaned. Charlie moved fast. He pulled down her shirt, put the covers back, and disappeared for only the briefest moment.
“Here,” Charlie said when he returned. “Take this.”
He held out some pills. She put them in her mouth. He held the water for her to drink.
“I wanted to ask you …” Charlie said. “Well, really Bernie wanted to ask you. Your grandfather. You remember him.”
Now separated from the nightmare, Sandy made a quick nodding motion.
“He’s made some THC patches,” Charlie said. “He gave me one when I came in. He thought that it might help.”
Sandy shook her head. He knew how much she was against marijuana use.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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