Teresa’s Christmas Finale Ch. 02

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This story is part of an ongoing series. The chronological order of my stories is now listed in WifeWatchman’s biography.

Feedback and constructive criticism is very much appreciated, and I encourage feedback for ideas.

This story contains graphic scenes, language and actions that might be extremely offensive to some people. These scenes, words and actions are used only for the literary purposes of this story. The author does not condone murder, racial language, violence, rape or violence against women, and any depictions of any of these in this story should not be construed as acceptance of the above.

Part 7 – Never Give Up

“All units, stay in place!” came the order on the radio; it was Captain Cindy Ross’s voice. “All units, stand in place until my order to go in.” Units began acknowledging. “All units, determine your casualties. Get medical attention where needed.” Cindy added.

She could see that the damage was tremendous. In addition to Ward Harvester’s warehouse being gone, the other buildings on the property were either leveled or badly damaged. The buildings on adjoining properties were also destroyed. Cars had been blown down the roads, some in the manner of tumbling over.

As Cindy peered at the obliterated warehouse, she could only wonder if Don would find anything worth finding at all…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Starting to get a signal.” said the KXTC technician. “Visual.”

“Oh my God.” said Bettina as she saw the massive damage. It looked ghostly, no building where there had been a building before. “Wait, what’s that moving around?”

“Police Radio said Commander Troy ran down there.” said a technician.

“That poor man.” Bettina said, knowing he was searching for what was left of his little daughter… if anything was left at all…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Putting the thousand-stitch belt into the inner pocket of my trenchcoat, I looked around, getting my bearings.

She’s going for the pit. I was about to say, when Rudistan tackled me. As I’d seen Teresa run with Carole, I realized Teresa had seen the one tiny hope. She knew where the maintenance pit was; she’d been shot by a ricochet bullet in that pit. And if she could make it to that pit, she and Carole had their only one-in-a-billion chance to make it. It was a ‘one’, not a ‘zero’, however tiny, and Teresa had not given up on it.

And then I looked up. I saw them, two girls, ghostly white in the smoke, wearing gowns of some kind. One of them looked just like Amy, smiling happily. The other girl was a bit older and looked almost like Teresa. I’d seen this apparition before, as a ghost in her former home, and in a photograph with her sister Teresa. It was Alexis.

Her hand was pointing down, palm outward towards me, towards a spot on the ground. I began moving toward it, and them. I stepped on something and looked down to check my footing. When I looked up again, the two ghosts of Christmas Eve were gone.

Still, I went to that spot, and moved a piece of sheet metal out of the way. It was the pit. Pointing my flashlight down into the black hole, I peered down. Something blue flashed before my eyes.

“Da-addy.” came a weak voice.

I began sobbing, almost collapsing in relief as I saw two little arms reach up. Words cannot describe just how I felt at that moment, but it was a good feeling.

“Carole?” I called out. I reached down and pulled my daughter out of the pit.

“Carole, are you okay?” I asked as Carole hugged me tightly.

“Yes, Daddy.” she said. I looked over her. I saw a small patch of blood on her jumper, but looking underneath I found no corresponding injuries.

“Where’s Teresa?” I asked. Carole pointed back down into the pit. I looked, carefully moving another piece of debris. Then I saw Teresa. She was almost face down. Her eyes were open. A piece of metal, attached to a larger one, had stabbed through her right deltoid from the back, and was sticking out the front of her chest. She was immobilized in place.

“Teresa!” I called out as I moved to check for a pulse…

And then those eyes moved, and looked at me. She was alive! In pain, but alive. And then I noticed that there was no blood gushing from her wounds, so maybe no arteries were cut. Maybe she had a chance…

“Just stay there. Don’t try to move.” I said. Teresa just blinked her eyes. The relief that I was feeling was almost debilitating in its on right.

I reached for my radio. There is a ‘break’ button that sends out a powerful burst and makes a loud noise; it means to shut the fuck up and listen. I hit the button.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The loud sound on the radios jolted everyone. Cindy and Rudistan listened closely for the next words. “Break break break.” came Commander Troy’s voice. “Break break break…” Everyone seemed to forget to breathe.

“They’re alive!” came the next words. “I say again, they are alive. I need a stretcher down here, stat!”

As cheers erupted everywhere, it was Fire Lieutenant Roy Easley escort ataşehir who moved into action first. He grabbed a plastic stretcher-board from the ambulance and called out “Who’s with me? Let’s go!”

“I’m with you!” shouted Commander Zoe Singer. “You’ll need an EMT.”

“I’m with you.” said Fireman Gregory Towson. It was time to pay back Commander Troy for bringing Towson’s son home.

“Me, too.” said Lt. Irwin of the TCPD, who was beside himself with worry over Teresa Croyle.

As the four and their stretcher passed Cindy, she fell in behind them. Rudistan did not try to stop her this time. They made their way down to the building.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Can you hear me?” I said into Carole’s right ear. She nodded.

“Yes, Daddy.” she said. I spoke into her left ear and she shook her head. “Quieter.” she said. Damn, hearing loss, I thought. But if that was all, and my baby is alive, I then thought…

I looked out, and saw four people and a stretcher coming down out of the haze, through the debris-strewn parking lot. At first they looked like ghosts through the fog of smoke, then became TCFD and TCPD personnel as they came closer.

“Over here!” I called out once they got onto the concrete floor of what had once been a building. They came over and quickly took in the situation.

“We’ve got to cut this piece of metal away from the bigger one.” said Irwin.

“There’s metalcutters in her pocket.” I said, remembering. Irwin got the metalcutters out of Teresa’s pocket, then stepped down into the pit near her, and cut the metal right behind where it was embedded in Teresa’a back. Then they got situated, and in a coordinated move lifted Teresa up and onto the stretcher, laying her down on her left side. Easley strapped Teresa in place, and they picked up the stretcher and began slowly walking out.

Cindy had watched with me, tears flowing from her eyes as she watched her best friend being rescued. As the stretcher party left, she said to me “Come on, Don.” I held Carole in my arms as Cindy guided us out of there behind the rescuers and one hell of a brave heroine…

As we left, I happened to look over to my right. I saw the black crowbar, still embedded in the beam. And I knew that a Power greater than the Crowbar, far greater, was at work here today…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“And here comes the stretcher,” said Bettina, explaining to the County what they were seeing on the drone footage from overhead, “and they have Captain Teresa Croyle. Police radio broadcast that she was alive, and now they’re bringing her out. And behind them is Commander Troy, carrying his daughter, and Captain Ross with them. Oh my God, I cannot believe this. She did it. Teresa Croyle somehow saved that little girl…”

At KSTD Priya was still crying, but with happiness. Almost everyone else looked on with some form of relief, as well. Except one person. John Hardwood’s face was one of bitterness, of fury.

“John,” said Priya, “they’re alive! Aren’t you happy for them?”

“Hell no!” spat Hardwood. “I wanted to see Troy’s face when his daughter died in front of him. I wanted to see that bastard in pain!” Everyone was shocked. They didn’t notice that Priya was recording this, as were a couple of others.

“Hardwood, come to my office.” said Walther. They went inside, and moments later Hardwood rushed out, his face beet red. Walther came out a minute later.

“Priya, you’re back on mornings.” said Walther. “I just fired him. There’s something wrong with that man, something sick…”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Todd Burke watched from the command room of BOW Enterprises. He did not want to shame himself in front of Takaki Misaki with a display of emotion, but it was very difficult to do as he watched the love of his life being carried out of that devastated place.

“Todd-san.” said Misaki. “You should go to the Hospital. They will be bringing Teresa-san there.”

“Yes, Sire.” Todd said quietly. He got up, feeling numb. Teddy Franklin offered to drive Todd to the hospital.

“This is a glorious day, Todd-san.” said Misaki, his voice sounding strangely happy. “Your fiancée has brought great, great honor to you and her Clan. The kami have guided her to a place of immortality, of the highest honor.”

Todd nodded and bowed. Though Misaki was right, Todd right now could only think about Teresa’s well-being. The honor stuff could come later, he thought to himself…

Part 7 – Shame and Sorrow, Redux

An ambulance had moved down to the entranceway of Ward Harvester at the road. The rescue crew placed Teresa inside and Zoe got in with her. The ambulance quickly drove away to the Hospital.

As Cindy and I got back to the road, we saw the small crowd gathering there. Among them was my wife Laura. When I saw her face, my shame hit me. My one job in life was to protect and care for my wife and her children… and I had failed.

Laura had been crying, and her face now showed the relief I’d felt when kadıköy escort I lifted Carole from the pit. “Here’s Mommy.” I said to Carole. She reached out and Laura took her and they hugged very warmly, tears flowing down Laura’s cheeks.

“Let’s get you all to the Hospital.” Cindy said. We loaded up in my Police SUV, Laura in the back, examining Carole for injuries, Cindy driving, me in the shotgun seat. I had no words to speak. Tears of shame were running out of my eyes the entire way up.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Carole was taken in for a checkup and to talk to Dr. Yates, who was an outstanding trauma physician and psychiatrist. He was also leading the questioning that was being taped for the Police.

I went to check on my mother. She had been admitted for observation. When she saw me, she began crying.

“I’m so sorry, son, I’m so sorry.” she began. I stopped her.

“Shhh-sshhh-shhh-shhh.” I said. “You did everything you could. An eyewitness said you fought them off until you were TASERed. And Carole’s okay. We got her back. Teresa saved her. Nothing to feel bad about.”

Mrs. Boddiker was sitting on the sofa, tending my mother. “Hello Mrs. Boddiker.” I said. “Thank you for staying with my mom.”

“It is my honor to assist the mother of the Iron Crowbar in her time of need.” said Mrs. Boddiker. “I am just thankful to the Lord for this Christmas miracle today.”

“So am I.” I said agreeably. “So Mom, are they going to let you out of here?” I asked.

“I think I can stay the night.” my mother said, her eyes slightly moving. I understood. Mrs. Boddiker would stay here for the night if my mother stayed. If not, there was no telling where Mrs. Boddiker would end up, but it would not be as warm, and there would be less food and probably no shower or bathroom facilities. I nodded.

A moment later, Cindy came in. She greeted my mother and Mrs. Boddiker, then said to me “You’ve got to give your statement, sir.” I told my mother I’d check back in with her, then I went with Cindy to the waiting room. My statement was recorded and the questioning led by Lt. Curly Goodwin of Internal Affairs, which was not unusual.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I was sitting in the waiting room, waiting to hear of Teresa’s progress through surgery. I’d been told her injuries were non-life-threatening but were serious. Carole was still being interviewed by Dr. Yates, and Laura was in there with them. Tanya Perlman wheeled into the room.

“What’s the matter, Don?” she said. “Carole’s okay, Teresa should be okay. Why the long face.”

“I failed.” I said, my voice barely above a whisper. “I failed to protect my child. I failed her, I failed Laura.”

“Hoo boy.” said Tanya. A moment later I felt myself being beaten on the shoulder… by my own red crowbar. Tanya was administering the spanking as she said “You-are-not-to-blame.-Every-thing-is-okay.-Stop-beating-your-self-up…”

I absorbed the ‘beating’, but did not feel better. Then Laura came in. “Yes,” she said, “stop feeling guilty. Watch this.”

She turned on a video on her laptop. It was a copy of the interview tape of Carole.

“So what happened then?” asked Dr. Yates, his voice soothing.

“Teresa grabbed me and ran really fast.” said Carole. “Then she slid down into that hole and covered me up. And then there was a loud ‘boom!’.”

“And what happened then?” asked Dr. Yates.

“The ‘boom’ hurt my whole body.” said Carole. “And then it was really dark.”

“And then?”

“And then Daddy came and got me.” said Carole. “He always comes and gets me. Daddy is my hero.”

My head was bowed low between my legs, my face in my hands. I was sobbing unabashedly. Here I was, thinking I’d failed… and my four-year-old daughter was seeing it another way. Emotion overwhelmed me.

“See?” whispered Tanya. “No one thinks you’ve failed.”

“That’s right.” said Laura strongly. “Your daughter knows you went down there and got her out of there. She knew she could count on you, and her faith was justified!”

It was quite a while before I allowed my head to be lifted again. When I did, I simply gasped “Thank you. Thank you both.” Laura hugged me, and Tanya took the opportunity to lightly beat me on my thigh with my own crowbar some more until I laughed and made her stop it…

Part 8 – Longtime Question Answered

Teresa Croyle opened her eyes. She was in the hospital… the one where she’d been when Alexis had died. She was sitting on that bench, crying. She saw the double doors to the operating rooms, a bright light behind the windows, and she knew her sister was dead behind those doors.

Then the silhouette of her father appeared before the doors. “Why couldn’t it have been you?” her father snarled. Then he turned and went through the double doors.

“Now just a god-damned minute!” Teresa shouted, and charged through the doors after him. Enough was enough!

When she got through the doors, the scene was changed. She looked around. A bright light was overhead. maltepe escort bayan It was that same beautiful meadow where she’d been before, only this time there was no bridge over the stream, no sign of her family on the other side.

“Hello, Ms. Croyle.” said Joe Smedley, smiling happily, sitting on the bench on this side of the stream. “I’ve been expecting you. Please, have a seat.”

“Why have you been expecting me?” Teresa asked as she sat down next to him. “My day to die?” She looked back towards where she’d come from. There were no doors, just the path disappearing into a patch of dark woods.

Smedley chuckled. “Heavens no, my dear. I don’t know when you will die, but Christmas Eve will not be permitted to be that day. That was your sister’s day to die. You, my friend, are destined to live on, and see the fruit of what this day hath wrought to the very World.”

Teresa nodded. She felt tired. “It’s been a long, hard journey to get here.”

“Most things that are worth it usually are.” said Smedley. “So tell me, Teresa: you have been living your life trying to justify your father’s question why it wasn’t you. Or have you been wishing it had been you, and you kept looking for ways to make that happen? Which way was it? Or both?”

Teresa felt the understanding come to her. She looked at Smedley and said. “Neither. I know that now. I know that I did not choose to be what I am. It is my karma.”

Smedley smiled a brilliantly happy smile. “Yes, you do understand. And because you have finally come to know that, you may now find peace within yourself…” Suddenly, the light flashed into blinding brightness…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Doctor, the patient is awake.” said one of the nurses.

Teresa was lying on her back on the operating table, the bright lights above her. She felt pain in the back of her shoulder and near her right collarbone.

“Why am I not surprised.” said the Hospital Administrator, Dr. Leonard R. Cordell, who was leading the surgery team. “Hello Ms. Croyle, we’re just finishing up. We got that nasty piece of metal out of you, cleaned you up pretty good. You were lucky, no blood vessels taken out…” Teresa thought she was nodding, but the light seemed to dim, and she was back asleep.

“Okay,” said Cordell, “that piece of metal nicked the nerve, there. We’re going to have to test for function in her arm after she recovers.” He began closing up the wound…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


That beautiful sound. I heard it as I came into Carole’s room. She was being held overnight, as well. Laura would be sleeping here with her.

“Hey, Fussbudget, how are you doing?” I asked, trying to hold back tears as I smiled at my firstborn child, who was sitting up in the bed.

“Good, Daddy.” said Carole. “Mommy says I can go home tomorrow and see Bowser, and see what Santa brings me.”

“I’m sure Santa bring you lots of good stuff.” I said. “And we need to get Teresa a special present for saving you.”

“We will.” Carole said. “Daddy, is Grandma okay?”

“Yes, she’s fine.” I said. “She’ll be going home tomorrow, too.”

“Daddy,” Carole asked, “why did those bad men hurt Grandma?”

I looked over at Laura, who was stunned at the question, and I said “Carole, there are good people like us, and some very bad people out there. I don’t know why they do bad things, but I’m a policeman so that I can help good people and punish bad people when they hurt others.”

“Hurting Grandma was bad.” Carole declared. “They need to be in jail.”

“Yes, yes they do.” I said. “You worry about getting better, and I’ll worry about putting the bad guys in jail, okay?”

“Okay, Daddy.” Carole said. I didn’t tell my daughter that ‘jail’ was not what I had in mind for Thomas P. Cook and whoever his associate in crime was…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It had grown dark. Hundreds of people were on the front lawn of the Hospital, waiting for news about Teresa Croyle. It seemed the entire World now knew what had happened, how Teresa had saved Carole.

Dr. Morgan came down the hallway and to the full waiting room. “She’s in recovery, and will be in a room soon.” he said. “She came through the surgery very well. She’ll be on a breathing machine overnight, as there was damage to her lung, but if there’s no infection, she should be out in a few days.”

“Thank you, Doctor.” I said. “And thank Dr. Cordell for me, too.”

“Oh, here he is now.” said Dr. Morgan as Dr. Cordell came up behind him.

“Damn, that is one brave girl.” said Dr. Cordell. “Of course I knew it; I knew her daddy and who he was. But let’s hope this is the last time, eh, Commander?”

“I think it will be.” I said, having an insight. “I think it will be…”

Part 9 – Christmas Elves

10:00pm, December 24th. Todd was staying with Teresa in her room. She was expected to sleep through the night. I told Laura I was going to go home and check up on everyone, and set up for Christmas morning.

As I went into the hallway, I became very aware of something. A presence. I looked around, and realized I was being watched from behind a door to another room. I crooked my finger in a ‘come here’ sign. The door opened, and two women walked out: my sister Elizabeth, and her cohort Goth Girl Kathy.

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