This is just a little change to the first scene, an added scene, and a changed ending to Rampage. I hope you enjoy it!
Don and I were discussing the latest case.
"Head over to the lab and check those photos out." Don said, still walking forward.
"I'm on it!" I called back, turning the corner.
At the end of the aisle was a man with a gun, holding someone around the neck. I heard the shot ring out, and I dove, almost fell, out of the way.
Unfortunately, I didn't dive the way I wanted, and my side was knockedhard into the corner of a table and I banged my head against it. The breath rushed out of me, and I had to crawl under the table. What pain should have been there was taken over by fear.
Shots fired and I shook with fear. I grabbed onto the leg of the table I was under. Screams and shots were all I could hear. Finally, with a loud thud, the shots ceased. People were screaming once more, but not in fear anymore.
I slowly crawled out from under the table. I looked around for Don, Megan, Colby, and David, the more important ones to me. I saw Megan first and then Colby and David. Don was on the phone a few aisles away from me. I breathed a sigh of relief.
I looked down and found my fodler. I clutched it to my chest, as though that might help my shattered nerves. My heart pounded in my chest. I had to get out of here.
I took the stairs two at a time and when I finally got out of the office, I was silently sick in one of the trash cans.
I got up and went next to one of the walls and leaned against it. FBI and police cars pulled up to the building a few minutes later. None of them paid me any attention. I felt blood dripping down my face, but I paid it no mind.
My knees began to buckle and I slid down the wall. I buried my face in my hands, trying to wash away the images that rushed through my head of the past few minutes.
Soon people were rushed out on stretchers and I watched them go by. I didn't recognize any of the victims. Don came out and talked to one of the police officers and told him what happened. When he spotted me, he came rushing over.
"Hey, man. You okay?" He asked, stooping down in front of me.
"Yeah, yeah. I'm fine." I said, though my voice shook.
"That's a nasty cut on your head." When he touched me, I flinched back away from him.
"Are you all right? Are you hit? Let me get you in one of the ambulances-" Don spoke quickly.
"Don! I'm...I'm fine, okay?"
I didn't look him in the eye because I knew if I did he'd know I was lying.
"I'm positive. I-I need to get back to work." I said, getting up to go to my car.
"Charlie, wait." Don said.
"I'll see you later." I called behind me. I walked fast to my car, and drove to the campus to work.
Charlie looked pale as a ghost when I came up to him. Something was bothering him, but I couldn't understand what. The cut on his head concerned me, because quite a lot of blood had dried to the spot. It needed a good cleaning. I just hoped he didn't get too caught up in his work to not do anything about it.
(additional scene/different ending)
I must have fallen asleep at my office because when I woke up I was sweating and screaming. I had had a nightmare over the other day.
I felt a hand reach out and touch me and I screamed.
"Hey, hey, hey. Take it easy, buddy. It's me." Don's voice spoke.
"Don?" I asked, my eyes tightly closed.
"Yeah, I'm here. God, what's the matter. You're shaking like a leaf. You okay?"
"I'm...I'm okay." I said as I struggled to breathe normally again.
"I've never seen you like that. What was that all about?"
"It was nothing."
"Come on, Charlie. You can't say that was nothing."
"It is. It's just lack of sleep. All these numbers in my head. I'm fine, Don." But I looked away just to be sure he didn't see the fear in
Don stalked around the room.
"What has gotten you so upset lately? You don't even look like you know what's going on. What's wrong?"
I was silent for a minute. I didn't know if I could tell him, but I knew I should.
"It's just...this whole thing has gotten me pretty spooked." I looked up at him then, hoping I could get him to understand.
"I don't see why. Look, everyone's okay. It's not like you did it or anything." Don argued.
I laughed a little, though I found nothing funny. It was more disgusting.
"If you don't get it then...fine. I'll see you later." I said, trying to keep myself from getting too angry.
"Charlie, I understand..." Don started, but I cut in.
"No you don't! And that's exactly what the problem is." I yelled at him.
Don took a step back and I ran out of the room.
"Come on, Charlie.You're in no condition to be driving." Don called from behind.
"How would you know?" I screamed back, glaring at him. Don stopped in his tracks and I turned and ran out to my car.
Charlie never raised his voice. Not to me, not to Dad. No one. What was wrong with him? I hated that look in his eyes he gave me. He looked disgusted with me, but I didn't know why. What had I done wrong?
Something was the matter, and I had no idea what.
I gripped the steering wheel with all my strength. I blinked away tears of frustration. I couldn't take Don. Could he not remember when he first experienced something like that?
I shook from the images that flashed in my mind. I could see FBI agentsbeing shot to the ground, hear the screams filled with terror. It was all still so vivid in my mind that I felt I was still there.
I knew I was driving too fast, and I gradually began to slow. I had noreal destination in mind. I planned on going home, but when I pulled up to our street, I just kept driving. I was in no mood for Dad's lectures, his advice. I didn't need that right now. I needed to think.
I needed help.
It was dark already by the time I decided turn around through town and go back home. I was doing no one any good and I'm sure Don went home to see if I made it back okay.
I passed by one of the gas stations, and saw a masked man holding up the station. Shaking with fear, I got out my cell phone and dialed the police.
I circled around when the man saw me on the phone. I knew I was in for it, so I sped away.
I could hear the man shouting at me, and then I heard a gun shot.
I screamed in a panic, shaking uncontrollably as the other day's events flashed again in my mind, and, with it, came fear.
I lost control of the car and I swerved into a ditch, where I lost all consciousness.
I was driving to Charlie's house when my cell phone rang.
"Eppes." I answered.
"Don Eppes? This is Sheriff Lawrence here. Your brother Charles has been in a car accident."
"What?" I exclaimed.
"He's fine, though. He's at the hospital now."
"Thank you. Bye." I hung up and turned the car around.
I drove to the hospital, angry all the way. I knew he was in no condition to drive! I knew something was wrong when he didn't answer the phone at home.
I parked my car and got out to go inside the hospital. I asked one of the nurses where Charlie was and I was told to go to room 5134.
Charlie was sitting up in bed with his eyes closed. He had a bandage over his head and a cast on his left arm. I noticed a bruise starting on the left side of his face, but the damage didn't seem to be bad. I noticed he wore a hospital gown over his jeans.
"How could you do this to me?" I demanded as I entered the room.
Charlie opened his eyes and looked at me. His expressive brown eyes were filled with fear and pain. It made me almost regret being so mad. Almost.
"What the hell were you thinking? I told you you were in no condition to drive! Why couldn't you listen to me? It could have been a hell of a lot worse than what it was."
All while I was lecturing, yelling at him, Charlie tried to interrupt me by saying my name. It didn't work, though.
"How do you think I would have felt getting a call to come down there for a job and found you laying in that car dead? Huh? What made you do something so stupid? What's wrong with you anyway? Something's been bothering you and you won't tell me. I wish you could just throw away that stupid stubborn pride of yours and tell me what's wrong-" Charlie interrupted me when he screamed.
"I'm scared, all right!" He screamed. His face was pale from me yelling at him. We just froze, staring at each other.
"Hey, everything okay?" Dad came into the room.
"I got a call at home. You all right, kiddo?" Dad asked Charlie as he came up to his bedside.
Charlie, still staring at me, replied, "I'm fine, Dad."
Dad leaned Charlie's head closer to him and kissed him on the forehead.
"Don't scare me like that. So, what you got here, a broken arm?" He asked, nodding toward the cast.
Charlie, finally looking away from me with some dampness in his eyes, replied, "It's just a broken wrist. Nothing serious."
"What happened to your head? You were wearing a seat belt, right?"
"Yes, Dad. I banged it against the door when I was being rattled around."
"I take it that's where the bruise came from, too?" Dad asked.
"Yes." Charlie replied. He was becoming more pale and he didn't look at me anymore.
"It's a good thing it wasn't worse." Dad said, sighing.
He looked in between the two of us, knowing something was amiss.
"I-I think I'm going to go get some coffee. Larry wanted to talk to you earlier. He left a message. I'll call him and let him know what's going on."
Dad moved out of the room and I sank down in one of the chairs in front of Charlie's bed.
"What's going on?" I asked softer than usual.
"Don, do you remember your first kiss?"
Before I could answer, one of the doctors came in to check on Charlie.
"I just wanted to check on your broken ribs real quick." The doctor said, apologetically.
"Can you lift up your gown for me?" The doctor asked Charlie.
Charlie, looking down at the floor, did as he was asked.
I winced a little when I saw the dark purple and green bruises indicating his broken ribs.
"Charlie, are you sure you had your seat belt on?" I asked him.
"Oh, this didn't happen today. These bruises indicate that they're a few days old." The doctor answered. I saw Charlie blush slightly.
"Okay, it doesn't look like they're bad. You should be able to go home tomorrow morning." The doctor said before leaving.
"Okay, okay. That day... when I got out of the line of fire, I was knocked into the corner of a table. It was nothing. I never even felt it at the time...I didn't feel much then, though."
"Why didn't you get it checked out before?" I asked.
"I haven't thought much about it. It never bothered me because I was thinking about... other things. Anyway, I asked you if you remember your first kiss."
"How about your first date?"
"Your first baseball game?"
"Yes. Charlie, where is this going?" I asked, getting annoyed with the questions.
"Okay, how about the first time you were at a shooting?" He asked, and this time he looked me in the eye.
Realization fell on me. He was scared. I had gotten so used to the job and the shootings that this last one barely phased me. Sure, it
bothered me that Charlie was there, but when I knew he was safe, I thought nothing more of it.
"Oh. Charlie, I'm so sorry..." I said as I realized how horrible I must have seemed to him.
"That day...I'd never been truly scared before. I don't think I even knew what scared was until then. It just keeps running through my mind the scenes that played out. I can't get it out of my head. And tonight..."
"What happened tonight?" I asked, getting concerned.
"Don...I...I was shot at." Charlie said, causing my heart to beat a little faster than usual.
"Charlie... do the police know? Who was it? Was it someone involved in the case?"
"It's nothing, Don. I saw some hold up at one of the gas stations in town. I was calling the police when the guy saw me. He came running out, as I tried to speed away. He shot at me and the sound of gun fire was too much for me. I nearly jumped out of my skin and I lost control of the car..." He stopped because he started shaking.
I pulled my chair up beside him and held out my hand, palm up. He took hold of it and squeezed.
"I'm not used to being scared like that, you know? You're always around me and I feel safe with you and with Dad." Charlie admitted.
"You feel safe around me?" His admission warmed my heart.
"Yeah, I do. I...I don't want to ever have to go through that again, Don. I can't..." He looked at me and his brown eyes were swimming in tears.
"It's okay, buddy. You won't have to." I said as I got on the bed and took him in my arms and hugged him.
"We Eppes men are not used to showing are feelings... something that should have been remedied a long time ago." Dad said from the door way.
We looked up at him and he smiled, though tears were shining in his eyes.
He came over and sat on the other side of Charlie and hugged us both.
He kissed us each on the forehead.
I knew Dad had been talking about Mom, and I blinked back tears. I didn't care. I'd hold on to my stubborn pride as long as I could.