Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock

The clock and the sound of a person steadily breathing were the only sounds in the hospital room, and 16½ -year-old Shawn Spencer lay in his hospital bed, thinking to himself.

"How could something like this happen?"

Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock

"I've been down that road who knows how many times in the past six months . . ."

Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock

"Come on Shawn, it wasn't your fault. The guy had his brights on. It was not your fault!"

Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock

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Earlier that night . . . about 7:30 P.M. . . .

It was the beginning of his sixth month at his lifeguard job down at Pacific Emerald Cruise Lines, and that particular night he decided to work a little overtime and by the time Shawn left, it was already getting dark.

A half-an-hour later, he was driving his motorcycle in the near-pitch black, down a long, winding, two-way road that was flanked by close hills on either side. The headlight on his bike was the only thing that illuminated the road . . . until the car.

Shawn was just going into a left turn when a car was approaching with his brights on . . . fast. The lights shone into Shawn's eyes and blinded him for one split second . . . enough time for Shawn to forget about the turn he was in, continue to go straight, and not see the hill in front of him, as he and his bike slammed full-force into it.

The man in the car slammed on his brakes as he heard the horrible crashing noise behind him. He instantly turned the car around and realized what had just happened. He took only one look at the sight of the boy, before he pulled out his cell phone, and called an ambulance.

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By around eight-twenty, the medics had arrived and were transferring Shawn onto a Gurney.

"Ready?" the medic, Bill Parkenson asked his partner, George Hughes, who nodded back, "One, two, three." and on three the pair lifted Shawn from his place on the ground to the long Gurney.

The jolt of his body being set down on the Gurney sent a course of fiery pain thru Shawn's body, causing to release a small moan.

"I think he's comin' around. Hey kiddo, you awake?" Bill said, tapping Shawn lightly on his cheek.

Shawn cracked his eyes open at the sound of the far-away voices.

As he slowly regained consciousness, he realized that he couldn't move, and the agony he felt seemed to increase with every intake of breath, "H--hur--ts." he managed to croak out.

"I know it does, just take it easy." Bill said in a calm tone, "Can you tell me your name?" he asked as he carefully slipped a neck-brace around Shawn's neck.

Shawn let out a whimper as his head was lifted and the brace was carefully placed on him, "Sh-Shawn." he gasped out.

"Don't worry Shawn, we're gonna get you to the hospital, call your parents, and get you fixed up." George said, "Ok, we're gonna load you into the van now, ready? One . . . two . . . three." and on three, the two men got the Gurney into the van. When they did this, the jar sent Shawn's body into an unbearable pain, causing him fall into unconsciousness.

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Around 8:45 P.M. at the Spencer's home . . .

Henry was getting worried. It was 8:45 and Shawn wasn't home from work yet. Normally the kid was home by 7:00 . . . 8:00 if he worked some overtime. It didn't take that long for Shawn to get home on that stupid, loud motorcycle, especially since he never listened to his fathers advice when it came to driving. In fact, Henry didn't even know how Shawn even passed his driving test, then again, maybe he didn't want to know.

Henry sighed as he sat on the couch and impatiently waited and watched some news. He was just about to doze off, when the sound of the phone shook him awake. "Who would be calling at this time?" Henry Spencer grumbled as he picked up the receiver and answered, "Hello?"

"Henry Spencer?" the male voice asked

"Yea, speaking."

"I'm from the San Pedro Community Hospital and I'm calling about your son, Shawn. I need to inform you that he's been in a motorcycle accident."

"What?!" Henry yelled

"Don't worry sir, he's going to be alright. He is getting X-rayed as we speak. If you could come down I'll . . ."

Henry didn't let the man finish his sentence, "I'll be there." he said gruffly as he slammed the phone back on it's holder, jumped in his cream F-250, and took off as fast as he could to the San Pedro hospital.

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Fifty-five minutes later, Henry burst though the doors of the hospital and marched straight to the front desk, "What room is Shawn Spencer in? He's my son." Before the receptionist could answer, a young looking female doctor came up to Henry and held her hand out to him, "Mr. Spencer, I'm Dr.Pam Bekendam, your sons Doctor."

He shook her hand, "How's my son?" he asked

Dr. Bekendam took a deep breath, "I'm gonna be blunt with you, Mr. Spencer, I don't like to soften the rough things up. He broke his right arm in two places, had a dislocation of the left knee, fractured three of his ribs on the right side, and had a hyper-flexion injury to the cervical spine or whiplash." she said quite quickly, not missing a beat, "But despite his injuries your son is very lucky, the damage could've been much, much worse."

Henry ran a hand over his weary features, "I wanna see him." he said, trying to keep from raising his voice.

The doctor nodded, "Of course. It's right down this hallway, follow me." with that, she turned and went down the hall, with Henry close behind.

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Dr. Bekendam poked her head thru the door, "Shawn? Your dad's here." she said stepping to the side and allowing Henry to walk in. "I'll let you be. The nurse will be here in about ten minutes to give him some pain killers. If you need anything just call."

Henry just nodded and walked over to a chair, as he sat down, he took a moment to observe his son.

Shawn's arm was cast, and in a sling that was lying gently across his stomach, his knee was slightly elevated and in a brace, as was his neck. His breathing was normal, but slightly shaky as he turned his head, ever so slightly to face his father.

When Henry looked into Shawn's hazel eyes, he felt sorry for his son. Those eyes were filled with a pain that Henry had never seen in Shawn before, "How are you feeling?" he asked

"Great dad." Shawn replied sarcastically, "I only fractured three bones, dislocated a knee, broke two bones, and got whiplash. No bi-OWW!!" he cried drawing in a sharp intake of breath as he turned his head to far towards his dad and pain shot through his neck. He squeezed his eyes shut and took a few deep breaths and finished his sentence, "No big deal." he said, his voice quavering.

Henry shook his head at his sons retort, "Careful kid." he said sternly, "Shawn you gotta be honest here, was the accident your fault?"

"No!" Shawn shouted, "The guy in the car had his brights on. That's what blinded me for just a half-a-second and the next thing I know, I crash on the side of a hill!" He fell silent for a minute to calm himself down, "It wasn't my fault, dad."

Henry could almost see the hurt in his sons eyes when he asked if it was Shawn's fault, "Alright, son. I-" why was this so hard for Henry to say? "I-" before he could finish a man stuck his head through the door, "Excuse me? Do you mind if I come in?"

Henry shook his head, "Who are you?"

The man was aghast at how young the boy looked, "I didn't realize how young you were."

"Excuse me, who are you?" Henry asked again

The man looked at Henry, "I-I was the one who had my brights on. Listen, I just wanted to say that . . . I'm so sorry. I-It was dark, and I needed my brights on cause I couldn't see, and then he came around the turn and then we passed each other, I wasn't even thinking and I heard a crash. It was my fault, I-I'm sorry."

"Don't apologize to me," Henry said, "apologize to my son."

The man's face was filled with sadness as he diverted his gaze from Henry to Shawn, "I-I'm sorry." he whispered as he shuffled closer to the boy, "I wasn't thinking and I know it was my fault."

Shawn bit his lip and for the first time in his life, thought about what he was going to say. After a moment he spoke, "It's alright." he said, "I'm alive and the damage isn't as bad as it could've been, at least when it comes to me."

The man nodded, relief flooding his features, "Thanks." he said quietly

Henry looked from his son to the man, "Thank you. Now if you could wait outside for just a couple minutes I would like to have a word with you."

"Sure." the man said, "I'll just be in the waiting room." and with that he turned around and left.

"That was a wise choice of words son." Henry said to Shawn after the man left, "I'm–" and once again, Henry was interrupted when a nurse walked in. "Right when I'm gonna say something important!" he thought as he sighed angrily.

"Sorry to interrupt but I need to give the patient his analgesic." the pretty nurse said kindly

"My what?" Shawn asked

The nurse chuckled, "Your painkillers. I do warn you, they will make you sleepy." She said, injecting Shawn's IV with liquid Valium. "There you go. If either of you need anything just call." She smiled at them both then turned and walked out of the room.

Shawn gave a yawn, "Wow, this stuff works fast."

Henry smiled, "Getting a bit drowsy, huh?"

"Mmm . . . o'course not." Shawn mumbled, "What were you sayin' 'fore th' nurse came in?" he asked, his eyes fluttering slightly

Just before Shawn fell into a deep sleep, Henry whispered, "I was going to say that I was proud of you for what you said. And proud of you for telling the truth."

"It's a good thing he's all doped up . . ." Henry thought, "That means he won't remember that in the morning." With that thought, he got up to start for the waiting room when he turned, gazed at his son and said, "Good night, Shawn."