No Vayas Allí
Su difunto marido siempre le había advertido que no fuera a esa parte de la ciudad.
No recordaba cómo había llegado hasta allí, sólo que necesitaba dinero desesperadamente.
Pero todo sucedió en un abrir y cerrar de ojos. Se encontró en el suelo mojado y un dolor agudo le atravesó el estómago. Gritó, tratando de soportar el dolor que le oprimía los oídos. Y entonces los vio.
El aire inundó sus pulmones y el corazón le retumbó en los oídos. La adrenalina se apoderó de su organismo cuando clavó los ojos en su líder.
“Ese dinero no es tuyo”, gritó. Antes de que el hombre se diera cuenta, ella salió disparada hacia él.
Lo que siguió sería un espectáculo que causaría escalofríos a cualquiera que estuviera allí para presenciarlo.
Nunca había estado en los planes de Eleanor Summers el acercarse a esta parte de la ciudad.
Se suponía que debía estar en la comodidad de su hogar, esperando a que el tiempo se despejara.
Pero algo inesperado había surgido, impulsándola a esta desafortunada situación. Ahora estaba aquí, apenas lúcida, con el vientre manchado de rojo.
Una Mujer Reservada
Eleanor era una viuda de setenta y cinco años que vivía en Great Bend, Kansas. Tenía unos ojos que habían visto muchas cosas, pero siempre estaba alegre sin importar la situación.
Normalmente caminaba con una sonrisa deslumbrante, saludando a todo el que se encontraba en su camino.
Sin embargo, a pesar de toda su amabilidad, había cosas que siempre había mantenido en secreto sobre sí misma.
Un Nuevo Hogar
Originaria de Manhattan, en Nueva York, Eleanor vivía sola en su casa familiar a las afueras de Great Bend.
Una chica de ciudad hasta la médula, se había enamorado poco a poco de la campiña de Kansas. Le encantaba su clima nublado y la amable comunidad que la había acogido como a una más.
Pero acababa de perder a su marido de cuarenta y cinco años en un accidente que casi se cobra también su vida. Desconsolada y sola, sólo intentaba seguir adelante.
Para matar el dolor y la agonía, Eleanor había practicado algunos deportes.
La actividad constante le resultaba estimulante y le despejaba la mente, algo que realmente necesitaba en aquellos tiempos difíciles.
En sus años mozos había practicado infinidad de deportes e incluso los practicaba de vez en cuando. Lo único que quería era no volver a pensar en la muerte de John. No tenía ni idea de que su vida pronto correría peligro.
Caminar Con Energía
Eleanor solía salir de casa por la mañana temprano para dar un corto paseo. Después se reunía con su mejor amiga en el parque para practicar su actividad favorita, el power walking.
Desde el accidente que le arrebató a John, había estado realizando diferentes tipos de actividades extenuantes, intentando curar su pierna, que se había hecho daño.
Aunque su médico le aseguró que el dolor remitiría con el tiempo, aunque no llegara a esos extremos, veía el power walking como algo que necesitaba hacer.
De momento funcionaba, y Eleanor estaba contenta. Su ruta de marcha solía atravesar tres partes de la ciudad.
La primera era el parque, donde ella y su mejor amiga desde hacía cincuenta años, Debbie, y su marido, Charles, comenzaban la actividad.
Se adentraban en el corazón de Great Bend, disfrutando del sol de la mañana y saludando a todo el mundo a su paso. Después, caminarían hacia el río Arkansas, disfrutando del frescor de la madre naturaleza. Pero todo esto llegaría a su fin muy pronto.
Un Día Como Ningún Otro
El día del incidente había empezado como cualquier otro para Eleanor.
Se levantó temprano y, tras una ducha rápida y un abundante desayuno, cogió su bastón y se apresuró a bajar al parque.
Esperaba pasar el día con Debbie y Charles, como hacía habitualmente. Pero hoy, algo era diferente.
Su Mejor Amiga
Debbie, que rara vez venía a la ciudad sin Charles, estaba sola. Le explicó que su marido había cogido la gripe y que hoy no vendría.
A pesar de ello, estaba deseando participar en la actividad de marcha rápida del día.
Pero también tenía otra idea que metería a Eleanor en un buen lío.
“¿Por qué no hacemos yoga hoy?”, preguntó con una sonrisa. Hacía tiempo que las dos se planteaban participar en una clase de yoga en el parque, pero Charles se había opuesto.
Sostuvo que no podía permitirse el lujo de ser visto estirando en spandex en medio del parque como un hombre.
Pero como hoy no estaba y probablemente estaría fuera durante toda la semana, las damas decidieron lanzarse.
Esterillas De Yoga
Primero se apresuraron a dar su paseo energético y después visitaron uno de los estudios de yoga más famosos de la ciudad. Como ya habían pasado la mitad del día, sólo esperaban inscribirse para la siguiente sesión.
Todo fue bien hasta que el yogui preguntó a las señoras si tenían esterillas de yoga en casa que pudieran traer para la sesión de la mañana.
Su estudio se acababa de quedar sin esterillas y, como era parte integral de la experiencia, necesitaba que las dos vinieran con algunas.
Algunos Lugares Que Visitar
En caso de que Eleanor y Debbie no tuvieran esterillas en casa, les sugirió algunas tiendas y centros comerciales donde solían encontrarlas.
Se disculpó por haberlas hecho pasar por el aro para conseguir algo que debería haber tenido a mano.
Esperaba que las señoras encontraran colchonetas excelentes en la ciudad. No sabía que eso llevaría a la terrible situación en la que se encontraría Eleanor.
En Busca De Las Esterillas
Tan rápido como pudieron, las dos mujeres se embarcaron en la búsqueda de esterillas para la sesión de yoga del día siguiente.
Incluso ignoraron el almuerzo de ese día, con la esperanza de encontrar lo que buscaban antes de que cayera la noche.
El cielo también se teñía de un gris oscuro, lo que indicaba que un fuerte aguacero era inminente. Pero que lloviera sería la menor de las preocupaciones de Eleanor aquella tarde.
Una Parte Peligrosa De La Ciudad
La búsqueda de esterillas de yoga llevó a Eleanor y Debbie a zonas de Great Bend que rara vez habían visitado.
Caminando junto a su mejor amiga, Eleanor recordó todas las advertencias que su difunto marido siempre le lanzaba.
“Nunca camines por esa parte de la ciudad”, le decía. “Si realmente tienes que ir allí, hazlo con un amigo o conduce”. Para Eleanor, estaba a salvo. No había nada que ella y Debbie no pudieran atravesar. O eso creía ella.
Ignorando Las Advertencias
No era su intención adentrarse tanto en una de las zonas más peligrosas de la ciudad.
Sólo estaban de paso, con la esperanza de acortar algunos pasos mientras se dirigían a su próximo destino.
Llegaron con éxito a la tienda que buscaban y Eleanor pudo respirar aliviada. Pero, de repente, sonó el teléfono de Debbie.
Algo Iba Mal
Lo cogió mientras Eleanor miraba la gran selección de esterillas de yoga que la tienda tenía en exposición.
Debbie se puso rígida y su sonrisa se desvaneció. Hablaba mientras daba vueltas. Algo no iba bien.
Canceló la llamada y le dijo a Eleanor que tenían que irse. No dio más detalles, sólo se dio la vuelta y echó a andar.
“¿Qué pasa?”, preguntó Eleanor mientras se apresuraba a seguirla. “Es Charles; está empeorando”, respondió Debbie.
“Se pondrá bien”, quiso decir Eleanor. Conocía a Charles desde que conocía a Debbie y siempre lo había contado entre las personas más dramáticas de su vida.
“Ve tú”, dijo Eleanor. “Como ya estoy aquí, elegiré unas cuantas esterillas, te enviaré algunas fotos para que elijas tus favoritas y te lo traeré mañana”.
Volver A Casa
Debbie sonrió, aunque seguía con las cejas fruncidas. “¿No te da miedo volver sola?”, preguntó. “¿Recuerdas las advertencias de John?”.
“Sí”, respondió Eleanor. “Cogeré un taxi cuando termine. Probablemente llegaré a mi casa más rápido que tú a la tuya”.
Debbie sonrió y abrazó a Eleanor. Lo que no sabía era que su mejor amiga no llegaría a casa esa noche.
Elegir Las Mejores
Eleanor vio cómo Debbie subía a un taxi y desaparecía en la distancia. Rápidamente empezó a elegir esterillas de yoga, separando las que le gustaban de las que le parecían feas.
Envió algunas fotos a Debbie, que se decidió por dos que le gustaban mucho.
Le preguntó a Eleanor si podía llevar las dos y, por supuesto, su mejor amiga dijo “Sí”.
With everything set, Eleanor took the mats to the counter to finish up.
She’d spent a little over thirty minutes picking out what she needed, yet it felt like she’d spent the entire afternoon here.
The sky was dark outside, a slight shower already wetting the streets. Eleanor needed to get home before the rain blocked her way.
No Cards, Just Cash
The cashier quickly rang her up, and Eleanor pulled out her purse, ready to pay.
But the store only took cash, so she couldn’t use her card.
Unfortunately for her, she was fresh out of dollar bills. She looked around, searching for an ATM where she could withdraw some cash. She grunted and turned to the cashier when she couldn’t see any. “I’ll be right back.
Eleanor hurried out of the store and into the shower. She covered her head with her purse, looking around until she saw an ATM.
With a grin, she approached it, ready to get some cash so she could put all this behind her.
She knew John was screaming in heaven right now, lamenting how she was ignoring each and every one of his warnings. If she’d have known, she’d have listened.
At The ATM
Eleanor made her way to the ATM and got to business.
She rummaged through her purse, taking out her card before slipping it into the machine.
She punched in her pin and the amount she needed, impatiently tapping her foot on the wet ground. She had no idea that the terrible end was already looming around her.
A Sharp Pain
She was in the middle of taking out her cash and card when it happened.
The pain came from nowhere, jarring through her as she lost her balance.
The world tilted and danced, and before Eleanor could react, her body hit the cold, wet ground. The pain flared through her, and she cried out as her eyes turned blurry. What was happening?
A shoe appeared in her wavy vision, and the sound of laughter mixed with the ringing in her ears.
Someone snatched the dollar bills in her grasp, and that’s when red covered her sight.
Air flooded her lungs, and her heart thundered as it pumped adrenaline all over her system. She locked eyes with the man, saying, “That money isn’t yours to take.”
Standing For Herself
Eleanor lunged at the man, using her weight to topple him. She screamed, fury burning through her.
One man tried to tackle her from behind, but she sprung up and shot her hand into his neck.
He croaked with wide eyes. The rest of the men stepped back before rushing to help their two friends. They vacated the area as fast as they’d come.
Eleanor heaved where she stood; She couldn’t believe what had just happened.
She’d fought off an onslaught of attackers. But her sight inched down to her blouse, and her lips parted.
The article of clothing was red and wet. The pain that had disappeared just moments ago fell back on her like a rogue wave, and she fell against the wall. Was she going to make it?
She Should’ve Listened
Eleanor’s sight stayed glued to the direction the men had run to.
She didn’t dare look at her wound, fearing it was something serious.
“Oh, John,” she stammered. “I should listen to you more.” She was still shaking when the cashier from the shop came running. But Eleanor keeled over before she made it to her.
What followed was an indistinctive darkness that seemed to last for hours.
Then a dim light shone at the center of it before Eleanor opened her eyes.
She woke up on a hospital bed with Debbie crying beside her. Tubes gleamed everywhere, each of them digging into her skin. This was far from over.
A Common Criminal
Eleanor took in the room around her.
Charles was screaming at two doctors, saying they needed to heal Eleanor or he’d bring down his wrath on them. An officer was also in the room with a pen and notebook.
But that wasn’t what had her heart racing. Her left hand had been cuffed to the bed like a common criminal.
A Bitter Taste
Eleanor tried to sit up in her bed but couldn’t. Her body, still coming back from the potent effects of sedatives, was unresponsive.
Her mouth had a constant bitter taste, and her tongue was heavy.
She looked at her best friend and tried to smile, but that, too, was impossible. But the biggest question in her mind was why the officer had cuffed her.
I Shouldn’t Have Left
“Easy there, honey,” Debbie said when she realized Eleanor was trying to sit up.
She wiped the tears dangling on her lashes and moved her chair closer.
“I’m so sorry I left,” she said. “I shouldn’t have. I’ll never leave you again, I swear.” “Wait, what? What about me?” Charles intoned from the other side of the room.
A Happy Moment
His reaction was enough to make Eleanor’s lips curve.
She could even feel laughter simmering within her, though it was having trouble bubbling up her throat.
Debbie ran her hand across Eleanor’s hair, patting it lovingly. She wiped more tears and turned to the doctor beside them. “Can she talk, doctor?”
Something’s Not Right
“Yes. As soon as the effects of the medicine we gave her wear out.” But something about the way he talked didn’t sit right with Eleanor.
She’d been in and out of many hospitals in her seven decades of life.
She’d been there because of her own sickness, to visit friends and family, and even bring loved ones for a check-up. Eleanor was familiar with the man’s tone. Something was terribly wrong.
Worry And Panic Take Over
She tried to sit up again. She could feel panic welling up in her stomach, could feel it starting to flow through her veins.
The doctor looked at her knowingly, a flash of worry passing through his face.
He called Charles outside, and what followed was enough to confirm Eleanor’s fears that this wasn’t over yet.
The moment Charles walked out of the room, the doctor pulled the door shut. But Eleanor could still hear the bits of the conversation.
The doctor’s voice, unlike Charles’s, was calm and reserved. Yet the things he was saying didn’t inspire any faith.
Charles returned after a second, calling Debbie out. And that’s when all hell broke loose.
Everything’s Not Fine
Debbie screamed so loud that the officer sitting next to Eleanor had to step outside to see what was happening.
He returned with a sheepish smile, assuring Eleanor that everything was fine.
Her eyes inched down to her cuffed hand, and he rubbed his neck in response. “Everything is okay,” he repeated. “Just relax, alright?”
But Eleanor wouldn’t. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been in handcuffs, if ever, and wondered what crime she’d committed to be cuffed to a bed like this.
This usually happens to criminals after they get hurt while doing nefarious activities.
She was by no means a criminal. She’d only been trying to protect herself.
To add more mystery, Debbie’s reaction had triggered a side in Eleanor that usually surfaced only when there was trouble.
Eleanor knew her best friend in and out. Where Charles was usually dramatic to a comical level, Debbie rarely lost her cool.
To see her this distraught meant whatever was going on wasn’t a laughing matter.
Debbie stormed back into the room, halting at the door before her eyes landed on Eleanor.
Her tears had doubled, the quivering in her lips together with them.
She stepped forward slowly, shaking her head as if she’d already lost her best friend. She turned to the officer with a threatening look.
“Undo that cuff right now,” she seethed. She’d rarely used such a chilling voice, but today it felt necessary.
“The people you should be arresting are out there. You should be ashamed for cuffing someone as sweet as Eleanor!”
Seeing her this emotional had Eleanor tearing up. She finally found the strength to speak for the first time since waking up.
“What’s happening, Debb,” she stammered with difficulty, her throat hurting. Debbie didn’t answer.
She just shook her head again as her tears flowed freely.
“Please say something,” Eleanor continued. She could barely get the words out. Her teeth, tongue, and lips fought against each other, each straining to allow her to talk. “You’re scaring me.”
The officer leaned in, opening the cuff. He looked uncomfortable, like he should have been anywhere but here.
“I’ll give you two a little privacy,” he said and snapped the cuff onto his utility belt. He walked to the door and turned around. “For what it’s worth, I wasn’t on board with cuffing you to the bed.
It was unnecessary and downright disrespectful.” His gaze swept the room before he walked out.
No Goodbyes Today
“Do you wanna tell me why you’re so upset?” Eleanor croaked, and Debbie’s tears flowed afresh.
“I won’t let it happen,” she said. She took Eleanor’s hand and squeezed it.
Her hold was gentle at first. Then it became tight to an uncomfortable extent. What was happening? Now that Eleanor was awake, weren’t things supposed to return to normal?
I Can’t Live Without You
“I won’t lose you,” Debbie cried. “I can’t see a life without you. (merakisalonnc.com) ” “What’s wrong, Debb?” Eleanor asked.
She needed to understand what had happened after she passed out. She had no idea how bad things were.
The doctor stepped in with a nurse and Charles. They reached out for Debbie, trying to separate her from Eleanor.
How Are We Feeling?
Charles walked Debbie out, leaving the doctor, nurse, and officer, who came in afterward. The doctor was the first to talk, while the nurse came to ensure Eleanor was comfortable.
She steadied her pillow and checked the beeping machines by the bedside.
“Mrs. Summers, how are we feeling?” the doctor began with a smile. He had a tablet in hand, scrolling through it before continuing.
We’re Doing Everything We Can
“Tired,” Eleanor answered. The doctor nodded and stepped closer.
Although his expression was emotionless, there seemed to be a glint of sadness in his eyes.
He sighed and held the tablet to his side. “I know you’re wondering what’s going on here. We want to assure you we’re doing everything possible to stabilize your condition.”
“Am I not stable yet?” Eleanor asked. “What’s happening, doctor, and why was I cuffed to the bed?”
The doctor seemed to search for words. He looked at the officer, who nodded and leaned against the wall.
The doctor placed his tablet on the bed and said, “I’ll answer what falls under my profession. The officer will cover the rest.”
A Quick Rundown
When Eleanor agreed to his terms, he said, “Your attacker’s blade went through to your left kidney.
The injury was severe when the EMTs brought you in, but we managed to contain it.”
“Then why the commotion?” Eleanor croaked. “Give it to me straight. No mincing words because I am not getting any younger. Am I okay?”
“Mrs. Summers, you have barely been lucid for two straight days,” the doctor said.
“We’ve had to wheel you into two surgeries so far. It goes without saying that your body has been under a lot of stress.
The attack nearly lacerated your kidney. We thought we’d tended to the damage on your first night here. But we were solely mistaken.”
The Real Situation
“The kidney raptured some hours after the first surgery, and we discovered blood was leaking into the surrounding tissue – a dangerous occurrence, Mrs. Summers.
We had to take you into a second emergency operation to stabilize your condition.
We thought we had it under control until we found out your kidney was bleeding again. It had detached itself from its blood vessels.”
Layered In Gauze
“What does all of this mean, doctor?” Eleanor asked. It was now that she could finally move her limbs.
The first thing she did was touch her belly.
It was layered in gauze that was secured by pins. Pain jolted through her when she grazed her fingers against the rough fabric. “Be honest with me, doctor,” she said. “Am I gonna make it?”
Don’t Lie To Me
Eleanor Summers didn’t know why she asked that question. In seventy-five years, she’d never asked such a grim question.
She could feel the tears bud in the corners of her eyes. She couldn’t even reach up to wipe them.
The image of John appeared in her mind; he was quietly watching. “Please, doctor,” she whispered. “The truth.”
The doctor let out a sigh. Eleanor could tell this was a lot on his shoulders. “Your records show you have had a history of kidney failure.”
“Yes,” Eleanor said. About three decades back, she had a transplant that saved her life.
She’d even forgotten that only one of her kidneys, which she got during the transplant, was fully functional. The other one was barely carrying out its function as required.
Time Is Ticking
“The ruptured kidney was the healthy one, Mrs. Summers,” the doctor announced sombrely. “The remaining kidney can only do so much at the moment.
We’ve already put you on a kidney waiting list. Charles is also putting out the word to your family, asking for donors.
The news left Eleanor without any words. She lay in shock, barely breathing. Why didn’t she listen to her husband when he warned her against going to that part of town?
“But in the meantime,” continued the doctor. “This deputy will ask you a few questions.”
“Officer Hewitt, at your service, ma’am,” the officer introduced himself.
But Eleanor couldn’t bring herself to care. Her life was slipping away from her grasp as she watched. What good would answering questions from an officer do? If only she knew that her life depended on it.
Be At Ease
The doctor said, “Please be at ease, Mrs. Summers. Know that we are doing everything to stabilize your condition.”
He nodded at the officer and exited the room.
Alone with Officer Hewitt, Eleanor closed her eyes. Perhaps this was only a bad dream, and everything would return to normal when she opened her eyes. But her nightmare was only beginning.
I Should Have Been Attentive
“We can do this later if you want, ma’am,” the officer said, and Eleanor opened her eyes.
They were still wet with tears, and she hated that trying to bring up her hand to wipe them was more painful than the stab in her lower abdomen.
“My husband, John, warned me against going there,” she said. “I really should have listened.” But the officer would turn everything on its head soon.
“Was he familiar with that part of town, your husband?” he asked, taking out a pen to jot everything down.
“He was born and raised here,” Eleanor said.
“What about you?” asked the officer. “Manhattan, New York,” Eleanor smiled sadly. “John used to make fun of me for being a city girl. He reveled in the culture shock I got on my first visit here.”
A Dangerous Side Of Town
“That part of town has been a hotbed of crime for a while now,” the officer said, albeit with a tinge of guilt. “But the Force is working hard to deal with the problem.”
He took out his phone and scrolled for a second. “After your incident, we brought in a few individuals.
The cashier from the shop you were trying to make purchases from helped identify them. I only need you to help confirm their identities and give a short statement.”
He brought the phone closer so Eleanor could have a better look at the mugshots.
He scrolled through each of them, giving her ample time to study them.
She didn’t recognize any of the men until the last photo. The mugshot sent a chill down her spine, bringing back the events of the attack into her mind.
The man in the mugshot was the same one who hurt Eleanor. He was the same man she’d tackled into the ground.
She pointed at him, identifying him as the attacker.
Officer Hewitt nodded and pocketed the phone. He noted something in his notebook and took Eleanor’s statement of what had happened. “Now, do you want to tell me why I woke up in cuffs, Officer?”
Officer Hewitt stepped back. “When we brought the suspects in, one was severely injured. We had to take him to the emergency room because of breathing problems.
His lawyer insisted on cuffing you for causing extensive injuries to the man’s throat.
Of course, most of us know it was self-defense. But the lawyer pulled a few strings with some superiors in the Force, resulting in the cuffs.” But that wasn’t all.
Twisting The Story
The lawyer claimed that the men hadn’t attacked Eleanor, that she’d ambushed them at the ATM. They claimed she’d called them names first, throwing in slurs to aggravate them. When they didn’t respond, she attacked them.
“We know that is a lie,” the officer said. “I’m looking into the feed from security cameras around that area. Anything to prove you’re innocent.”
He walked to the door and said, “You remind me so much of my grandma. She was from New York too, moved here to start a family in the fifties.”
He tapped his fingers against the door frame, his eyes sightless for a second. “She was fierce and loving. Understanding and nurturing.
I would give anything to see her again.” With that, he asked Eleanor to be strong. She wouldn’t be leaving Earth anytime soon.
For Eleanor, surviving an attack like that was a traumatizing experience. Although she was safe in her hospital bed, she couldn’t close her eyes, fearing a repeat of what happened. Her fingers were constantly trembling, and her lips were quivering. She didn’t know the end was close.
Debbie And Charles
Debbie and Charles returned after a few hours, finding Eleanor asleep.
They hadn’t managed to find anyone willing to donate a kidney to their dear friend. They wished theirs could have been compatible with hers.
Eleanor’s life wouldn’t be in danger then. But out of nowhere, the doctor burst into Eleanor’s room, informing them of good news.
Serve And Protect
“Officer Hewitt just passed by my office,” he began. “He wanted to check if he was compatible with Mrs. Summers.
We ran a few tests and discovered he is!”
Debbie yelped, hugging Charles. She didn’t know this officer personally and couldn’t understand why he’d choose to help them. But she was eternally grateful for it.
A Good Deed
Talking to the local press a few weeks after a healthy Eleanor was released from the hospital, Officer Hewitt said that Eleanor’s story deeply touched him.
He wanted to see her return to life and so helped as much as possible.
“Catching the guys that did this to her didn’t seem like enough,” he said. But that wasn’t all.
They Deserve The World
The officer had worked overtime to prove that what Eleanor did was because of self-defense. He combed through camera footage for hours until he found a clip that showed the men attacking her first.
“I am glad the transplant was successful,” he said. “Women as resilient and fearless as she deserves all the good in this world.”
To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.