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Manslaughter

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When you wake up and see only blackness, life becomes harder. When the last thing you saw was the solution of mixed tears and blood of your lover, your heart becomes heavier. When the first thing you hear is that you caused the death of your child, your life becomes unbearable.
***
“Let’s take Libby to the beach today. Just for fun, no plans lets just, go!” Jonathan shouted from the lower level of the house. “Alright, I don’t see any problem with that.” I turned to Libby who was still sitting in her crib “do you want to go swimming today Libs?” She looked up at me and began to babble. I sat and listened to her babbled story, adding in my own comments every now and then.
***
“Take her to see the body, maybe it will help her.” The doctor tried to whisper, but I heard every word. “I can’t see anymore. The accident, remember? Lost my vision?” I was bitter. I had a reason to be bitter.

I was escorted down the hospital corridors, holding onto the arm of a nurse. She brought me to the morgue. I felt a temperature difference as soon as we entered the room. She told me to stay where I was and then I heard a door open, followed by wheels on a track. She came back and grabbed hold of me and led me where she had just been. I stood quietly, by the body of my recently deceased daughter.
***
“Wow, she really likes the sand doesn’t she?” Jonathan said as he looked up at me from his spot next to Libby. “Yeah, if I didn’t know better I’d think she was born on a beach.” I replied. I took a quick swig from my flask, and let the vodka sting as it slid down my throat. Jonathan didn’t notice. “I’m proud of you; you haven’t even gone to the liquor store all week,” he beams up at me. I just smile and sneak another gulp of vodka.
***
“Would you like to hold her, one last time?” The nurse asks. I began to cry as I nodded; soon the lifeless corpse was lifted into my arms. As I cradled my child near my heart I began to sob. “I’ll give you some time.” The nurse says before I hear her foot steps leading out of the door. “I’m so sorry Libby, I’d give anything to have you back.” I whispered into the hair of my lifeless daughter.
***
“Can’t we just sleep on the beach? I’m so sleepy, and so is Libby.” Jonathan yawned. I shook my head before explaining that sleeping on the beach is illegal. “I don’t trust myself to drive, I’m too tired. Will you drive us home?” I couldn’t tell him I’d been drinking so I accepted and took the keys to go warm up the car. Sitting in the driver’s seat I tried to make myself more sober by slapping my cheeks a few times. I looked in the rear-view mirror to see the love of my life carrying the one thing I held most dear; Libby.
***
I heard foot steps leading back into the room “I just heard that Jonathan has woken up, would you like to go see him?” She asked her voice so soft and timid. “Yes.” I whispered. She walked over and took Libby from my arms “I’m so sorry.” She whispered before placing my daughter back onto the metal table and wheeling her back into the wall.
***
“Are you sure you can drive?” Jonathan asked me before buckling his seat belt. “Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?” I answered. “I don’t know.” I drove off without another word.
***
The nurse grabbed my arm again and led me to the elevator. She let go to push the button but quickly latched onto my arm again. We stepped into the elevator and waited in the comfortable silence. I could get used to this nurse, she was really kind.
***
“Penny, watch out! What is wrong with you, you nearly got us killed!” Jonathan screamed at me. I continued driving but turned to lash back “Yeah, like I meant to. That’s my greatest goal in life, how did you know? I’ve always wanted to kill my husband and daughter!” I wasn’t watching the road. I didn’t see the truck coming straight for us. The truck hit the car directly and sent us spiraling off of the rode. I looked over to see Jonathan crying, tears mixing with his blood. That’s when it happened; we had been pushed into on coming traffic. The right side of my head was roughly slammed into the dash board, and I instantly blacked out.
***
“Jonathan, we brought someone to see you. Are you feeling up to a visitor?” My kind nurse asked my husband. He must have nodded because I was suddenly being pulled up to his bed. “Penny, why are you being escorted, what happened?” his caring voice asked me. “Blunt force trauma to the right side of the head, the optical center in the brain was damaged. She can no longer see.” My nurse explained. I felt a familiar hand reach out to mine. “Where’s Libby? “ His concerned voice pried. “Can you give us a minute please?” I asked the nurse, she whispered an agreement and sat me down in a chair before leaving the room. “Where’s Libby?” He asked again. I began to cry; he held my hand and stroked my cheek. “Libby didn’t make it through the crash. I was told when we were hit by the second car, it killed her instantly. She wasn’t in pain.” Midway through the sentence he began to sob, and let go of my hand. “You were drunk, weren’t you?” He asked as he shifted in the bed. I didn’t see any point to lie to him “I was.” It tore me apart.

“I’ve been told that I must come get you Penny. An officer needs to talk to you.” My nurse said from the door. “Alright I’ll be ready in one second.” I heard the door close and turned to Jonathan. I put my hand out to feel where he was, to find he had turned away from me. “I love you.” I told him, placing my hand on his back. He shied away from my touch and began whispering “my baby, my beautiful baby girl, Libby my darling.”

My nurse came and led me out of the room and up the hallway. We came back to what I could only guess was my room. “Penny DeSonne?” I heard a male’s voice ask. “Yes sir.” I answered. “You are currently under arrest for driving under the influence, causing an auto accident, and four counts of involuntary manslaughter.” His calm voice read. “Four counts of manslaughter?” I asked. “Yes, four. The driver and passenger of the Toyota truck that you initially hit were both killed, along with the passenger of the Honda civic, and of course the death of your child.” He said it like nothing bothered him; he was okay with the deaths. I felt cool metal handcuffs clasp onto my wrist. The man took hold of my arm rather forcefully and began dragging me down the hallway.

I heard screaming in another room, and doctors telling the man to calm down. As I got closer I realized what the man was screaming.

When you wake up and see only blackness, your life becomes harder. When the last time you touch your daughter and only feel cold skin, your heart becomes heavier. When you were the cause of your husband screaming to God, asking for his daughter back, your life becomes unbearable.





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