Immediately, Raleigh launched at Collin, but the teen was a half-second faster, as he blocked the thrown punch, and threw one of his own. Raleigh didn't appreciate being hit himself, and thus came charging at Collin, at waist level. Collin easily shoved the moving mass away from him and down into the sand. Raleigh got back up quickly and charged Collin again, but could only get a glancing blow at his opponent. Collin remained calm, and got another good punch in at his attacker.
On the other front, after he took that sucker punch to his face, Ryan went down fast and hard. As he lay there, in a semi-state of shock, a pool of blood began to form under his head. Bill quickly jumped on top of the gravely injured teen and began a brutal onslought of punches all over Ryan's head, and upper body. The attackers' blows came from left and right and were delivered hard and on target, every time. Ryan, for his part, had pulled into a fetal position and placed his hands up to protect his face. None of the subsequent blows caused any further harm, but very serious damage had already been done.
Meanwhile, Raleigh got pissed. He'd been rejected twice and scored upon as many times. The high school senior wanted desperately to punch the living daylights out of Collin, the same way he saw what Bill was doing to Ryan. With rage in his eyes, but little to no conscious thought at what he was doing, Raleigh ran screaming at Collin with flailing arms and fists which left him off balance and vulnerable.
Collin spotted his chance and landed a good downward glancing blow to the senior's face that helped push the sweaty Raleigh out and further away into the sand. Collin then saw his opportunity and seized it. He scrambled towards Ryan and Bill and with a powerful round house thrown punch, laid one right onto the side Bill Shappell's head. The powerfully delivered fist not only connected right at the teenager's ear and cheekbone it unceremoniously dumped Bill off Ryan.
The bully, Bill Shappell, hadn't prepared for Raleigh not being able to take out Collin. When Collin came at him from the blind side, and caught the full side of his face with a hard fisted blow, it not only hit the bully's ear it but also connected his cheekbone too. His ear now rang like a church bell and he knew for sure his jaw had been broken. He laid there holding the side of his head, and cried out in pain.
By then, security had gotten to the fight, and separated the four teens. Ken Thomas and Mary Taylor also arrived at that same time and went directly to Ryan, whose nose was bleeding profusely.
"Call 9-1-1. Someone, call 9-1-1," loudly yelled Mr. Ken. "Get me some cold compresses and help me lay this boy down on some towels. I also need something to throw over him to keep him warm, so he won't go into shock."
Just then, some Water Safety & Rescue Volunteers came on the scene and took over the care of Ryan and Bill. Ken and Mary were lead slightly away from 'their' boy, so the Rescue men could handle the emergency.
By then the security guys had heard enough of what happened, from witnesses, that they cuffed Raleigh Mitchell and took him away, to await the county police, while they kept a keen eye on the also hurt Bill Shappell.
"Mary … Ryan will be alright," Mr. Ken tried to calm the crying teen's mother.
"What did he do to those boys that made them attack him, and hurt him like they did?" asked the distraught mother. "I just don't understand!" With that last bit she broke down even more and cried hard on Mr. Ken's shoulder.
"Collin … are … are you okay," asked a teary eyed Eric, who broke down and cried his heart out when Collin picked him up and held him.
"Yeah, little man, I'm … I'm okay … but … I don't think your other big bro is doing to well, right now," said Collin, to the boy in his arms. The two of them stood there with tears flowing down their faces, and watched and watched, while the Safety and Rescue workers tried to stem the flow of blood out of Ryan's nose.
Just then, another group of Water Safety & Rescue personnel arrived with a stretcher and helped, the ones already there, get Ryan loaded on the back board and hurriedly carried the semi-conscious teen up and over to the still incomplete Rescue Headquarters. There, a waiting Rescue boat waited at the dock, to take the teen to a waiting ambulance.
"Collin" called Mr. Ken, to get his attention. "Gather everyone up and head to the Commander. We need to get Mary to the hospital, right away. The police can interview you and the others, there," barked out Mr. Ken, as he led Mary slowly along towards his yacht.
Ken Thomas spared no horses from those dual matched 350 HP diesels engines, as he full throttled the Commander back to the Cove, as fast as he safely dared.
When they arrived at the Cove, their friend, and Deputy Sherriff, Dan Fischer was waiting to rush Mary to the hospital. He had heard the call over the police radio, so he sped over to the Cove to see how he could help.
"Mary, you go ahead with Dan, here, and we'll follow right behind you," said Mr. Ken, as Dan helped Mary up the steep hill to the waiting patrol car.
Over at the hospital, Ryan was taken directly into the Emergency Room and thoroughly checked over for any other trauma, other than the still bleeding nose. What they found was the teen had a slight concussion from the hit he took, as well as some obvious light sunburn and some bruising on his back, and sides. An Ear, Nose & Throat surgeon was called in to check out Ryan's profusely bleeding nose. They decided an evaluation by the otolaryngologist would be best, to determine the extent of the injury, and, what if, anything else needed to be done.
"Miissteerr Kennn …" said Eric very slowly.
"Yes, Eric…" replied the man.
"Wi will my … my big brother be oh okay?" asked Eric, again slowly with tears streaming down his face. "I … I saw his face was all … all bloody and … and he looked like he wasn't a … alive when they took him away."
"Come here, young man. … Yes, Eric, Ryan will be okay. A nose bleed from a trauma, or any hard hit in the nose is one of thee hardest things to stop. That is why they took him to the hospital, so they could manage it better there. I bet by the time we get there, he will be doing much better," simply explained the man.
"You … you mean I ... I can come with you?" asked the still scared ten year old boy.
Then looking at his mom, Eric said, "Can I mom … can I go with Mr. Ken and Collin? I want to … NO … I need to see how my big brother is doing! Please let me go with them, mom!" the still teary eyed young boy pleaded.
"Yes, my son … you can go with them," assured Judy. "I'll follow along, shortly, with the car so we can go home from there."
"Thanks, mom … you're the best," said Eric as he strongly hugged his mom.
"Brad …" said Collin, looking at the other small boy.
"Yes, sir…" politely responded Brad.
"I just talked to your mom … and she said it was okay for you to go with us, too. You can help us calm Eric. Is that gonna be okay with you? She'll stop at the hospital and pick you up from there."
"Thank you, Collin, for calling her. I wasn't sure what was going to happen to me," a somber Brad responded by running to the teen and hugging him, and finally letting out his own tears.
"Girls" Mr. Ken said, to get their attention. "Have you decided what you want to do? You can go with us, if you want, or I can drop you off at either or both of your homes along the way," asked Mr. Ken of Shelley and a distraught Megan.
"Mrs. Taylor … you can come in and see your son, now," called out the nurse in charge of taking care of Ryan.
"Ryan … mom's here son. Can you hear me? … Just squeeze my hand, son," cried Mary, not caring her tears were falling everywhere.
"It … it hurts Mom. My … my nose hurts all across my face, Mom … and my head hurts, too. … He … he hit me for no … no reason, Mom. We … we weren't d… doing anything to them, Mom, honest! Col and … and I …"
"Don't talk now, son, there is no need for that, now. Collin and Mr. Ken and your 'little brother' will be here, soon," soothed Mary.
"Eric … di… did he see me, too?" asked a very hurting Ryan.
"Yes, son … I think he saw you. Mm… my bet is your 'little brother' will be here when your Big Bro and best friend get here," promised Mary to her son.
Mary held her son's hand and rubbed it wishing there was some way she could take the pain away, from him. Just then, a doctor came into the exam room and introduced himself to her.
"Hello, you must be Ryan's mother, Mary. I'm Doctor Nickolas Strausman, an otolaryngologist, otherwise known in the business as the ear, nose and throat man."
"Thank you for coming, Doctor, he is in a lot of pain and he told me he feels as if his nose is spread across his entire face … and his head hurts, too," explained Mary.
"Yes, I was called in because of what appeared as extreme trauma to the face, and nose, and I can see by the swelling across the nose and cheeks that is why he feels that way. You can see they have packed his nose to help stop the bleeding. We first try to use pressure, against the bleeding area, to cause it to clot and, thus, stopping the bleeding on its own.
"I'm going to do my exam shortly, to see if there is any other damage. I'm going to ask you to step out for a few minutes, while I check your son's nose, and I will come out and explain to you what I have found. Then, we'll decide together what course, if any, will need to be taken," explained Dr. Strausman.
Just then Ryan, who was listening to the conversation, spoke up through his tears and said, "Mom … please don't go, mom. Stay here with me!"
"I'm sorry Son your mom needs to step out while I and another doctor examine you. It is a very small area in here and we will need a nurse to assist us and … well, we don't want her to delay the process, now, do we? I'm sure you understand, Son," said the doctor, as he tried to placate Ryan.
"You … you just don't want her to see any more blood than she has already seen, that's it huh, doc?" tried to joke Ryan.
"Yes, son … I don't need to see any more than I have!" a soothing mother's voice called out to her son. "Now, Ryan, you be good for the doctors, you hear me, my young man? I'll be out in the waiting room, with Mr. Ken and your brothers."
"Thanks, Mom. I love you, Mom!"
"I love you, too, Son."
As Mary stepped back into the waiting room, Mr. Ken and three boys entered right behind her accompanied by ER Nurse Joanne Kirby. She could see from the tears, running down all their faces, the event had traumatized the three boys.
"We got here as soon as we could, Mary. We needed to change out of our wet clothes, first, and then we dropped off the girls and then traffic …," began to explain Mr. Ken, but was interrupted by Mary.
"Ken, there is no reason to apologize. I knew you'd all be here, and besides … there is nothing you could have done if you'd been here any sooner. Doctor Strausman, the ear, nose and throat doctor, and another doctor, are in there now, examining Ryan. They'll come out after they determine what, if anything, else needs to be done to get the bleeding fully stopped," explained Mary.
"Yu … you mean his nose is still bleeding?" asked a scared and teary eyed Eric.
"Come here, Eric … there is no need for you to be upset," said Mary as she tried to calm the little boy down some. "Right now, they have his nose packed with some sort of gauze or cotton balls to stop the bleeding. Most times all it takes is pressure to help the blood to clot and then stop flowing. The doctors will check Ryan over and then come out soon and tell us how my son is. Okay, my little man?"
"Oo o kk ayy" was all Eric could muster, right then through his continuing tears.
As word of the altercation, at the water park, spread, many of Ryan's buddies and friends began to stop at the hospital. Of course, that also brought out the newspaper and television reporters and cameramen, causing more than enough additional commotion at the ER entrance, and in the waiting room areas, than there was already.
Just then, a police officer entered the waiting room, spied Mr. Ken and Collin and went over to them.
"Hello, Mr. Ken … Collin," said the man.
"Oh … hello, Sheriff Barnes," responded Mr. Ken.
"I'm sorry things went awry at the water park today, Collin. No one can ever predict something like a grudge boiling over in such a public place. … Ah, I hope you don't mind, but … well, I do need to take your statement while everything is still fresh in your mind. We can do it here in a private office, or …" the sheriff tailed off meaning down at the police station.
"Bro … I'd … I'd rather do it here, so I … I can stay close to Ryan and find out what's going on. You don't mind do you?" the teen asked his guardian.
Then, the teen asked the Sheriff, "Ww will I need a lawyer?"
That question caused Mr. Ken's ears to perk up. Sheriff Barnes sort of laughed and replied, "From what I hear … you were the ones attacked, so I wouldn't think you'd need one, unless you're going to admit to me to some high crime and misdemeanor," the sheriff finished with sort of a laugh.
Eric and Brad stayed with Mary as Nurse Kirby showed the trio to a vacant room.
"Collin, Mr. Thomas, I'm going to tape this statement. This is standard procedure so I hope this doesn't upset you?" explained Sheriff Barnes.
Getting a nod of okay, from them both, the Sheriff turned on the tape recorder, and began his interview.
"First of all, Collin, I want you to describe, in your own words, what happened at the water park, today. Please use full names of the people involved, if you know them, and try to be as specific as possible. If you remember something, out of sequence, don't worry about, it just say so, mention it, and then go back to your thoughts," explained the Sheriff.
Collin explained how the group split up and the four of them got settled on the beach and how Bill and Raleigh came to them and started the argument. From there, he went into how he saw the fight happened.
"So, you didn't throw the first punch? You or your friend Ryan?" asked the Sheriff.
"Now wait just one minute Sheriff," immediately exclaimed Ken Thomas. "If you are accusing Collin here of instigating that fight, then I will stop this interview and I'll get Bill Jackson down here, or wherever, to have this so-called statement. Do I make myself clear?" further demanded an angry Ken Thomas.
"Oh, no, no Mr. Thomas, that is not what I meant," quickly answered Sheriff Barnes. "It is part of the questioning process. No one will be charged, if charges are to be pressed, until everyone has had their chance to explain their involvement. Only when our investigation is finished will we contact the DA and give him our assessment. … Okay? But by your defensiveness, I can see you've never had to answer these sorts of questions, which is good, if I do say so myself, so I can truly understand your concern. Please let me continue and don't hesitate to interrupt as you just did."
Collin went on to further explain how the two older teens accosted them; how Bill hit Ryan in the face; that he had to avoid Raleigh; and, then how he hit Bill to get him off Ryan.
The sheriff asked a few more questions, first one way then another, and within twenty-five minutes, he was satisfied with Collin's statement. Sheriff Barnes told Mr. Ken and the teen they could expect to hear from him, or Deputy Fischer, if they are needed for anything else.
As the three entered the hallway, James Shappell, William Shappell's father, saw Collin and yelled at the top of his voice, "I want that boy arrested and thrown in jail for what he did to my son. He beat my son so bad that my boy may lose his hearing."
And with that said, the man rushed the teen and tried to strike Collin.
Sheriff Barnes stepped right in and subdued Mr. Shappell and told the man, "You'd better not touch him, sir. If you have something to charge the boy with, then you will have to go to the DA or local police station and fill out a complaint form, and we'll take it from there. Now, let me warn you, sir. Any false or misleading accusations will not look good towards you, or your son."
"What do you mean … NOT look good towards me OR my son? He is a victim here! That … that thing attacked my son and seriously injured the side of his head and … and he may lose his hearing in that ear. My son didn't deserve anything like … like that kind of beating from anyone, for no reason," continued to argue James Shappell.
Just then, a crying Eric came running up, "Mr. Ken, Mr. Ken … he … he looks so bad," cried the youngster as he jumped into the man's waiting arms.
"See … even that boy knows how bad my son was injured by your … your so-called ward," sneered James Shappell, at Ken Thomas.
Ken Thomas right then saw red. "I'm sorry to disappoint you, there … JAMES … but the young boy here was telling me how badly YOUR son, Bill … BEAT UP his 'big brother', Ryan. Now, go and do what you think you need to do but … AND LISTEN GOOD … you damn sure better have your facts straight before you accuse anyone, and I mean ANYONE, of doing anything to that, so-called, son of yours. HE … is the one responsible for the attack on Collin, here, and Ryan, who had to be brought here by Water Rescue and ambulance crews because of the BEATING your … your lily clean son gave him! Now … get out of our sight!" blasted out Ken Thomas, not caring who heard what.
The TV reporters now had their story for the 6 o'clock newscast, and the newspaper reporters had the stuff they needed to go on the front page of the next morning's Sunday papers. Now, all both groups needed were some medical information, on the injured parties, and some firsthand reports from the witnesses, and they would have a story that could conceivably last well into next week, or maybe longer.
Ken Thomas continued to hold Eric as they walked into the waiting room to get an update from Mary.
"I take it Eric got to see Ryan," the man said to Ryan's mom.
"Yeah, he heard Ryan asked for him, and before I knew it he scooted out and found Ryan. Eric cried when he saw Ryan, the way he was, … but, at least Ryan was able to calm him down some, by talking to him about his injuries," filled in Mary Taylor.
"So … ah …what's the verdict, 'Mom'?" a cautious Collin asked.
"Let's sit down, first," responded Mary.
"That bad?" questioned Mr. Ken.
The four guys all sat close together so they could all hear what Mary had to say about her son's injuries.
"While you were talking to the Sheriff, the doctor came out and explained what he found. First, Ryan has a slight concussion." That was the only thing she got out before the intakes of breaths were heard.
"Second, Doctor Strausman explained the blow Ryan received, to his nose, was sufficient to cause him to have a deviated septum." That caused another gasp from those gathered.
"He said he would do surgery later today, to straighten out the nose, while he cauterizes some of the broken blood vessels, to stop the bleeding. He told me he needs to do the cauterization anyway, so while he is in there, he may as well to the septoplasty, I think he called it. Anyway, Ryan, and I, agreed that while he is here we may as well get that done. And, besides, he has a slight concussion, so he'd have to spend the night anyway, so it looks like he will get the surgery and be here, at least, overnight."
Collin gave a sigh of relief and then asked if he could go see his 'brother'.
"Hey, there, Ry," faintly said Collin, as he looked in through the curtains surrounding the bed Ryan was lying in.
"Oh … hi, Col … I guess you heard, huh?"
"Yeah … 'mom' just filled me and Big Bro and the two little ones in. She says they're going to do some surgery later and … and that you have to stay here over night."
"Yeah, that sucks. I've never even had a broken bone before today and … and now this. … Is … is Meg out there? I'm not too sure I want her to see me like this, at least not yet. I take it from Eric's face I … I still have blood all over me, huh?"
Collin laughed some at what he just heard and that made Ryan smile, but then winced from the pain he felt from stretching some of his face muscles.
"Yea, they haven't cleaned you up too well, yet, and … well, there's blood down the side of your face which goes to behind your ear. And there is some down your neck. You look like a vampire who didn't know what he was doing," teased Collin, which elicited another smile and wince from Ryan.
"Hey, … by the way, Mr. Shappell came up to me … and he accused US of beating HIS son. He said his son may lose his hearing, in that ear I clobbered. He's accusing us of starting the fight. Can you believe that shit? Oh, and yeah … I gave my statement to Sheriff Barnes. I bet they try to get one from you, before long."
Just as Collin finished saying that, Sheriff Barnes and Deputy Fischer came through the curtains. That made the two teens smile again, which also brought another wince.
"Hi, there, Ryan," simply stated the sheriff.
"Hello," answered Ryan.
"I guess you know why I'm here?" asked Barnes.
"I'll go out and get 'mom' for you, Ry," said Collin, as he backed out from the small enclosure.