On Thursday morning, Jeanetta was discharged from the hospital, although she did not actually leave until the afternoon. She had insisted on staying until at least the second visiting time with her husband. The hospital staff had graciously allowed her to stay in her room as long as she wanted, with Heather and Kevin by her side. They brought Jeanetta lunch, even though she had completed the exit paperwork long beforehand.
Jake was still heavily sedated, the result of his doctors’ efforts to keep him as still as possible so that the internal reconstructions they had attempted would not be undone. Although he was not completely conscious, both Jeanetta and Heather felt that he was aware of them. Heather stood on one side, her mother on the other, each holding a hand, which would occasionally give them a firm squeeze.
Afterwards, they prepared to return home. Heather could sense her mother’s reluctance to leave, since she was feeling it herself. But she reassured her mom that, in attending to her own rest, she would be prepared to come back in the morning to see him again.
Heather and her uncle carefully helped Jeanetta to the car and then filled the backseat with flowers and the bags that she and Heather had kept at the hospital with clothes and other personal belongings inside them.
Heather then squeezed into the backseat. Sitting among all the colorful flowers, she was morbidly reminded of a funeral parlor. She sat pensively trying not to remember the night before or any of the other events that had led up to this moment. But she felt as though the phantoms of fear were perched above her, ready at any moment to pounce upon her. She closed her eyes wearily and kept them shut through the rest of the ride home.
When they arrived, she threw the car door open automatically, but then sat a moment looking at the front door of her house. Her home had always seemed a safe place, but could it keep her safe now? Could anything keep her safe from the evil that was now haunting her?
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