The Only Witness
Author's note: Usually I write about love stories or off of a nightmare I have had, but I decided I wanted to... Show full author's note »
FourteenWhen I woke up Anna used my hand and mouth to drink coffee but quickly smiled, “Morning, Noel!” She called and she quickly pulled me out of the abyss of darkness so I could take over.
Everyone ate breakfast and is now upstairs getting ready since I suggested we go on a walk through the park. Apparently Mr. Elrick is going to be doing a photo shoot there and he asked us to come and watch.
“Really?” I asked with a smile, “That is very unlike you, Anna. A walk through the park does not seem like your idea of fun.”
She sighed. I thought you would enjoy it. I mean after what happened yesterday I thought you might need some cheering up.
“Thanks, Anna.” I whispered but quickly stood when I heard people talking. I watched as Chris carried Grace downstairs while talking to Dr. Alice and Peter as Rider and Ash quietly followed behind them. I quickly went over to Grace and took her from Chris, “Don’t forget a scarf, Grace, it’s very cold out there.”
“I know.” She replied happily before I set her down and watched her skip over to where her scarf hung.
“How are you feeling, Noel?” Dr. Alice asked as she came to my side.
I smiled, “Much better thanks to all of you,” I replied before setting my coffee down on a small table nearby, “We should probably get going.” I added before picking up Grace and following the group outside to see Chris and Peter’s cars. I got in with Peter as Rider got in the back beside Grace and Dr. Alice went along with Ash to Chris’s car. When we started off I felt Peter watching me.
“Anna explained a lot last night. She filled in a lot of the gaps in your life I still did not know.”
Rider leaned towards the front seat, “But Anna never explained to us your relationship with Chris. Are you two dating?”
I shook my head, “Certainly not. I would never do something like that to him.”
“Then why does he stick around?”
I looked back to Rider, “Because he made a promise to Austin that he would protect me if something happened and he also made a promise to Anna so she would allow him near me.” We stopped in the parking lot surrounding the large park and all of us quickly hurried towards the center of the park where teacher was supposed to be. As we came up on the photo shoot I was struck with awe. A woman sat like a statue as the wind flowed around her. Ash came to my side as Grace watched in my arms.
“She is not very good, is she?” Ash asked and I did not look at him but did nod.
“She must be new.”
“Ah! Noel!” Teacher said as he came away from his camera and over to us, “I’m glad you could make it!”
“Thank you for the invitation.”
He smiled, “I was actually hoping you could help me today.”
He nodded as he came closer and whispered, “I cannot work with this girl! She is not very professional and I was thinking maybe you could help her?”
I looked to the girl and then back to teacher, “I can try,” I set down Grace and looked to her, “Stay here, Grace. I will be right back!” I quickly followed behind teacher over to the girl.
“Noel, this is Jessica.”
I put out my hand, “Hello, it is nice to meet you!”
She smiled before shaking my hand, “Same here.”
“Noel is one of my previous models that has offered to help us today.”
“What exactly are you trying to portray?” I asked teacher and he sighed before looking away.
“I was trying to get something dealing with fall.”
I smiled towards the model, “Now tell me, what do you think about when someone says fall?”
She stared at me for a moment, “Leaves falling.”
I sighed and shook my head, “That’s not what I mean. Does fall remind you of anything?”
“I don’t understand what you mean.”
I looked over to the group, “When I hear ‘fall’ I think of the beginning of a new life, the ages of discover. It was about this time of year 4 years ago that I saw my daughter take her first steps,” I looked up to a tree nearby, “Her dad told me this was just the beginning. It was just the first large stepping stone in her life,” I looked to the girl again, “Now what does fall make you think of?”
She thought for a moment, “Innocence.”
I nodded, “Now show me.” I watched as she walked in front of the camera and picked up a pile of leaves she proceeded to throw into the air while laughing hysterically. I watched in happiness for the girl until Teacher said she was finished and she came over to me.
“Thanks a lot for your help.”
I smiled towards the girl who could never understand, “You’ve got a little more to learn, but I believe you will become a great model.”
“Noel!” Teacher called and I walked over to help him choose a photograph, but was interrupted halfway through when my phone rang.
“Noel!” A young boy cried.
“Noah, what’s the matter? Did something happen?”
He seemed hysteric and could not catch his breath, “B…brother h…he won’t w…wake up!”
“Where are you Noah?”
“B…brother ca…carried me to y…your house a…and t…then f…fainted! I d…don’t know w…what to d…do!”
I felt something squeeze my heart, “Noah, I want you to try to bring your brother into the house. Use the key I gave you and I’ll be there as soon as I can. Don’t leave my house!”
“O…okay.” He whispered with a sniffle before hanging up and I quickly ran over to Chris with horror.
“Chris, I have to get home! Right now!” I hollered and he quickly grabbed Grace as I followed him to his car. We left Peter, Ash, Rider, and Dr. Alice in shock as Anna took over when I got into the car. Chris drove quickly to the house and when he got there I shoved Anna to the back of my mind and ran into my house but froze when I saw a streak of blood going from my porch to the inside of the house. I followed it into the kitchen to see Noah crying as he sat at his brother’s side, “Noah!” I whispered and he looked to me.
He made a whimpering sound as he quickly ran over to me and grabbed onto me tightly and I hugged him back.
“I’m here. It’ll be okay,” I whispered, “Now I have to go take a look at your brother,” I hurried over to Colin’s side and when I put my hand on his head his eyes opened, “What happened Colin?”
He looked up to me with hope, “He got mad and lashed out at Noah. I got there as quickly as I could but I couldn’t save him from all the attacks.”
I felt tears rimming my eyes and quickly focused, “Alright, I need you to just stay and rest. I will be right back with some supplies,” I looked over to Noah, “Stay and make sure your brother doesn’t get up.” He nodded and I quickly ran over to the door to see Chris waiting outside with Grace as the others drove up. I ran over to Chris, “Take Grace in the back way and keep her in her room,” I went over to Dr. Alice as she rushed out of the car, “Dr. Alice, I need your supplies!”
“Noel…” She whispered in horror as she saw the blood on my pants and shirt.
“Please, Dr. Alice,” I begged, “My friend is hurt.”
“Follow me,” She whispered and led me inside. We hurried upstairs and into her room. She handed me her first aid kit, “Take this. Whatever you need should be in there.”
I froze when I heard Noah shriek slightly. I ran downstairs and my heart seemed to stop working as I came into the kitchen to see Noah standing in front of his brother crying as he watched Peter, Ash, and Rider. He shook but his hands never let go of the knife, “Noah!” I gasped and ran over. He shook but his eyes did not leave the three men even when I got closer. I kneeled in front of him and when I put my hand on his shoulder he swung the knife and Peter started to run over but stopped when I embraced the child, “Noah! It’s me! It’s Noel! Calm down! I have you! That man won’t get you!”
Noah loosened in my embrace as he dropped the knife and cried while hugging me, “Noel!” He repeated over and over until I let go of him and he looked to me.
“I have to treat your older brother so why don’t you sit right beside me?” I asked and he nodded. I looked over to the three men, “I need you three to go to the living room and wait.” They followed my orders as I looked down to Colin. He opened his eyes again, “Where are you bleeding?”
“My calf was cut.” He whispered and I quickly rolled up his pant leg. I wrapped his wound up before patching up the three other large cuts he had not mentioned.
I looked to Noah, “Could you grab an ice pack?” He ran off and as I sat Colin up the little boy came back, “Bring it with you,” I whispered as I helped Colin stand. He looked to me with worry, “I’m going to move you to a couch so you can rest better,” I stood in front of him, “Get on my back.” I suggested and when he was on I tried to walk as fast as possible but when my stitches on my shoulder broke open I was forced to go slower. When we got to the couch I set Colin down and took the ice pack from Noah. I placed it on Colin’s bruised face but looked up when Noah gasped to see Ash coming closer.
“Noel, your bleeding.”
I nodded but quickly stopped his walking by going in front of him, “Please, Ash, don’t get near those children.”
“I will explain later but for now promise you won’t go near them.”
He nodded, “Alright.”
I turned to the boy, “Noah, where are you hurt?”
He focused on me but still shook, “I just got a scratch and was hit on my arm.”
“Stay next to your brother and keep the ice pack on his wound, I will go grab you an ice pack.” I hurried over to the fridge and grabbed another ice pack before going back to the boys. I handed Noah the ice pack and then reopened the first aid kit. I took out a band-aid and put it on the small scratch on Noah’s forehead before kissing his cheek and smiling, “There, as good as new.”
“How is brother?”
I pressed two fingers on the top of Colin’s wrist while squeezing it with the aid of my thumb on the other side. I was surprised when Colin’s hand wrapped around my hand but he never opened his eyes, “He’s just fine,” I smiled towards Noah but held onto Colin’s hand tightly, “I tell you what, how about you two stay with me for a while?”
I nodded, “I’ll call your dad in a moment,” I looked up as Dr. Alice came into the room, “Dr. Alice, could you clean up the blood for me?”
She smiled, “You stay with those boys. I’ll clean up.” I picked up my cell phone and dialed a number before putting it to my ear. Annabelle took over for me.
“Tony, it’s me.”
“I can’t talk right now, Noel…” He started to argue.
“Out looking for the two boys?”
“How’d you know?”
Anna used me to sigh, “They’re here with me. I’ve got their wounds patched up and they will be staying with me until they are healed.”
“Do you really think they will agree to that?”
Anna cleared my throat, “You talk to that woman; I’ll take care of him.”
“Alright.” He mumbled before hanging up but Anna was as shocked as me when Noah shoved my hand from his brother.
“Let go of my brother!”
Anna looked to the boy and tried to imitate me, “What’s the matter, Noah? It’s just me.”
He stood and grabbed onto my shirt with both hands, “Who are you! Where’s Noel? Bring her back!”
Anna sighed for me, “You are too perceptive, child.” She mumbled before pushing me back into control. I took a hold of Noah’s arms and smiled towards him.
“It’s alright, Noah. I’m back,” I whispered and his grip loosened, “She was just helping me. I promise.” I stood and looked to Peter, “Could you tell Chris he and Grace can come out?”
“Sure thing.” He replied before walking off. Dr. Alice came into the room and sighed.
“You reopened your stitches, Noel?”
I nodded, “Yes.”
“I will re-stitch it,” She whispered and I sat on the ground a ways away from the boys but where I was closer than the others. Dr. Alice took off my jacket and then quickly re-stitched my wound but we looked up when Grace ran into the room. She smiled and jumped into my lap without hitting my arm or shoulder, “There we are.”
“Thank you Dr. Alice.”
“No problem, Noel.”
“Noel?” Grace asked and I smiled towards her, “Why is that boy bleeding?”
I sighed before brushing some hair out of her face, “He was hurt and came here for help since I am his friend,” I replied, “Now could you go sit with the others while I help these boys?” She nodded before getting up and I walked over to Colin’s head. I slightly lifted it off the couch before sitting down and placing his head in my lap while using my legs as a pillow. He took a hold of my hand in his.
“It’s alright,” He whispered, “You don’t have to be so worried that you are shaking.”
I smiled towards his closed eyes, “I’m trying to calm down.”
“This is the first time I have seen others in your house except for that man you used to be seeing.”
I pulled his head closer to me, “I’ll introduce all of you later. First I need to get you to my room so you two can rest,” I turned to the younger boy, “Noah, is it alright if Dr. Alice helps me carry your brother to my room? I promise you she will not hurt either of you.”
He watched Dr. Alice, “Okay.”
Dr. Alice came over to Colin and watched me for instructions, “Can you help me get him into my arms and get my room door?” She nodded before helping me stand while holding up Colin. I struggled to my bedroom where Dr. Alice opened the door and helped me set Colin softly on my bed. Noah grabbed my hand and watched his brother. I picked him up and lay him next to his brother on my bed, “You rest while keeping an eye on your brother, alright?”
He nodded, “Okay.”
I led Dr. Alice out of the room then and back to the living room with a sigh, “I’m sorry about that.”
“Who are those boys?” Peter asked as I sat down on the couch next to Chris as Grace hopped in my lap. Chris gently guided my head to his shoulder and wrapped his arm around my shoulders with worry.
“They…uh…they’re the sons of the boss,” I whispered, “The one Anna told you about. He is a very abusive man to almost everyone around him, but he is especially violent towards his women and kids. I met Colin, the older boy, four years ago when he was 13. I then met Noah a year later when he was 5. They started coming to seek me for refuge when their father would abuse them right after I met Noah and come around every once and a while for help,” I looked to Peter finally, “Those boys are the best kids I’ve ever met in my life and they don’t deserve what they receive from their dad.”
“Does this happen often?” Dr. Alice asked but I quickly stood as my phone rang.
“What’s this about, Noel? Tony told me to call you.”
Anna urged me to let her take over but I ignored her. I was going to handle this, “The boys are at my place.”
“I’ll send a car…”
“No!” I hissed and everyone froze. My body started to shake since this was the first time I had stood up to someone in a long time, “Listen here, boss, either you let them stay with me and let me take care of them or I will bring them to a hospital where I will have to report it.”
“You can’t be serious!”
I frowned, “I’m dead serious.”
“Fine, they can stay with you. Call me once they are healed.”
“I will. Goodbye.” I closed my phone and let out a breath.
Noel, will you be ok?
I smiled before going and taking my spot next to Chris with Grace in my lap, “I’m okay Annabelle.”
“That was difficult for you wasn’t it?” Chris asked before kissing my forehead.
I nodded, “I had to stand up for those boys.”
“Both of those boys seemed attached to you.”
I watched Ash, “They see me as a mother since their mother is not around very much.”
Rider frowned, “It seems like that Colin kid is in love with you. The way he was talking to you and holding onto you did not seem like he thought of you as a mother.”
I looked to Rider with sadness, “Yes, Colin has expressed that he feels strongly for me, but he understands that I will not see him as anything more than a friend.”
Rider seemed to become outraged, “You treated that kid like he was your boyfriend, Noel, not like a friend. You never would treat me or Ash like that.”
I froze with horror of Rider’s anger and Annabelle quickly jumped into action. She used my hand to grab onto Chris’s arm and squeezed, “Get out of this house, you little punk!” She hissed, “Stop acting like you know Noel so well! You know nothing!”
“Annabelle, calm down!” Chris hissed as he pulled Grace out of my lap, “Grace why don’t you go to your room?” He asked and she nodded before skipping off, “Rider is just concerned.”
“Like hell he is!” Annabelle growled, “He is just jealous of any man who gets near the girl he’s got a crush on!”
“Are you saying I don’t have the right?”
Annabelle used my hand to let go of Chris, “You say you are here for Noel and want to protect her, when you are just hurting her! She’s terrified of you right now and you’re making her upset for no reason that is any of your business!”
“She knows how I feel about her!”
Annabelle couldn’t hold it back anymore. Tears started down my face as she tried to brush them away, “But she isn’t the girl you knew before! The Noel you knew was stripped away from her and murdered!” Annabelle looked to the ground, “If all you can think of is yourself and what you want, then I don’t want you near us anymore! Noel is going through enough that she does not need any more baggage from you!”
“Annabelle! Stop it! You are just making matters worse!” Chris hollered as he grabbed both of my shoulders to turn us towards him, “Noel won’t be able to handle this if you start up more problems! All of her friends don’t know everything about what has happened to her since she left, so don’t go urging their curiosity or you’ll put more stress on Noel!”
Annabelle started to break down and cried more before pushing Chris away and standing up, “I can’t deal with this.” She whispered before hurrying to my room to clean up before going to play with Grace in her room.