Chapter Twenty-Six: Verge of Death

Tara walked from the hospital in a zombie like state, thinking about her conversation with her mother and unable to accept the fact that her mother was gone. It was strange knowing that she would never again be able to hear her mother tell her she loved her or hold her in her arms. She would never again be able to turn to her mother in comfort and discuss the things that were bothering her.

"I miss you, Mama," Tara whispered, looking towards the sky as she spoke the words.

Lost in thought, Tara continued down the street letting her mind drift to the past and the memories of the good times she spent with her mother. She could remember when her mother would take her horseback riding through the fields near their home, and the lullaby her mother would sing her at night to calm her nerves or help her sleep. With a tearful sigh, Tara sat down on a park bench, not even aware of her location and just let the tears fall down her face, unable to hold back the pain and heartbreak of losing her mother.

"What the hell are you crying about, Girl?" a familiar voice snapped, causing Tara's head to snap up as she looked into the cold eyes of her father. "You're the reason why your mother died. You kept using your cursed demon powers and making your mother sick."

"I-I-I-I-I..." Tara stuttered, trying to force the sentence out but failing.

"You what? Come on, Girl. What were you going to say? You're sorry? You killed your mother. You brought that demon around her and now your mother is gone. Don't try apologizing. Now get up and wipe your face. We're going home," Donald Maclay told her, his blue eyes filled with contempt as he stared at his daughter.

When Tara just sat there just staring at her father, Donald's eyes flashed in anger as he grabbed her arm and jerked her to her feet. "I won't tell you again. We're going home. Now. Come on."

"Y-y-y-yes Sir," Tara mumbled, following slowly behind her father with her head bowed in a sign of defeat.

"I'm ashamed of you, Tara. You've been hiding behind a demon and avoiding your family. I didn't even get the chance to say goodbye to my own wife because that demon was always in that room. You have destroyed this family."

"I-I-I'm s-s-s-sorry," Tara whispered, keeping her eyes locked on the ground as she continued to walk behind the cruel man, knowing that as soon as she walked through the door of his home, she would be punished for her actions.

Donald didn't say anything else as they walked the last few blocks to the Maclay home. He opened the door wide and waited impatiently as Tara slipped into the house before glancing behind him to make sure no one was watching as he closed the door and turned to face his daughter.

Tara flinched when she saw her father turn to face her, knowing what the cruel man was about to do to her. She knew from the look in his eyes that he wasn't going to go easy on her, not this time. The beating seemed to last for days but was only mere minutes. Every time Donald's fist connected with her body, Tara felt like her life was coming to an end. This was the first time he had ever hit her this hard. This was the first time that she knew he wanted her dead. When her father struck her once more with a swift kick to the head, Tara felt the world go black.

"Tara? Tara? Baby, wake up," Willow whispered, gently shaking the blonde. "Please, baby, wake up."

Tara groaned softly, feeling as if she had been run over by a semi. "W-Willow?" Tara wondered, looking into the familiar green eyes of the redhead.

"That's right, Baby. I'm right here. I'm gonna get you to a hospital, okay? We'll get you taken care of."

"It hurts," Tara said, her voice barely above a whisper.

"'s alright, Love. You'll be okay," Willow promised, easing the blonde to her feet and wrapping her arms around Tara's waist to hold her up. "We'll get you to a doctor."

"M-my m-m-mom is dead," Tara told her, as a tear fell down her cheek.

"I know, Baby. I felt it when she passed," Willow explained, feeling her heart break for the woman in her arms. "This is gonna feel weird, but you won't be hurt. Alright, Baby? It'll just feel really strange for you."

"Okay," Tara whispered, not sure what Willow meant until a strange sensation filled her, and she gasped in shock.

"'s okay. It's over. I just needed to get you to the hospital quickly. Okay?"

"Okay," Tara mumbled, as the darkness took hold once more.

Beep...beep...beep... The constant sound of a machine beeping in the distance slowly pulled Tara from the darkness that seemed to hold her under. "Ugh," Tara groaned as she began to come to, slowly opening her eyes to look around the dimly lit room of the hospital.

Tara frowned as she looked around, not knowing how she ended up in the hospital. The last thing she could remember was the pain that came with each blow from her father's fists and feet. She remembered each cry that came from her lips as the pain shot through her, but after that everything was blank. She knew her father and brother wouldn't have taken her to the hospital. Neither of them cared enough to have taken her to get cared for. Tara wondered if Willow might have found her and helped her, but she doubted it. The dark witch would have stayed. At least she thought Willow would stay.

Maybe the police found me? Or maybe I'm dead, Tara thought, looking into the distance as she tried to determine what had happened.

Before she could continue her thought process, the door opened and a familiar doctor walked in, smiling at the sight of Tara laying there wide awake. "It's good to see you're awake, Miss Maclay," Dr. Scott said, giving Tara a soft smile. "How are you feeling?"

"Confused. What happened? How did I get here?" Tara asked, frowning at the doctor.

"You were attacked. Some girl brought you in claiming to be a friend. I didn't recognize her, so I asked her to wait in the waiting room. I didn't know if she was the one that did this or not," Dr. Scott explained, frowning at the blonde.

"Did she tell you her name?"

"I'm sorry. She didn't tell me. Do you want me to describe her to you?" Dr Scott offered, surprised by the hopeful look that had filled the blue eyes.

"'s fine. If she's still out there, will you send her in?" Tara asked, feeling nervous as she stared at the doctor.

"Miss Maclay, I know this isn't my place, but I don't think I should send someone in if you don't know their name. If this is the girl that did this to you, then..."

"It wasn't her," Tara argued, staring into the distance as she spoke.

"How do you know that?"

"Because it wasn't a woman that did this to me. It was a man," Tara explained, turning to look into the doctor's concerned grey eyes.

A/N: Thank you Gimpy72 for all the help with this story and all my other stories.