Twisted

$4.99

What begins as a nasty rodeo competition morphs into a ring of horse thieves, an uncle with a past, and consequences that span generations.

TWISTED, continues the journey of the Crosby and Fairgate families. Will these two Texas teens finally overcome the past and discover the future God has planned, or will they forever be trapped by the crimes of their fathers?


Available at these places and more

Amazon


What People are Saying



Crissy Crosby is back, and she’s growing up.

Twisted, the second book in the Roped series by DiAne Gates, begins with a bang and never slows down. Barely a week after Crissy defeats arch-rival Jodie Lee Fairgate in the rodeo arena, taking home the coveted Best All Round belt buckle, trouble with the Fairgates is popping like fireworks in a dry hay field. Not only Crissy, but also Mama and Daddy, her best friend Chun, and even her beloved Papa are caught up in the intrigue. Through it all, young readers watch Crissy learn first-hand about the real world: how deceptive appearances can be, how quickly events can turn from troublesome to dangerous, how hard it is for people to change and how healing it can be to forgive them when they do. Readers also see her grow in more subtle ways, finding a more mature relationship with her heavenly Father and learning to trust the One who will never deceive her, will protect her in any events she will ever encounter, will be her real strength for change, will always forgive her.

Author DiAne Gates is determined to meet her audience in the world they live in. She is known for creating characters her readers recognize, for telling her stories at a pace that holds their attention, and for building her fiction on the foundation of biblical Truth. Twisted attests to her success in each of those areas.

Kathleen Brown
Author of A Time for Miracles—Finding Your Way through the Wilderness of Alzheimer’s

                    *  *  *  *  *
Ms. Gates’ heart pounding suspense delivered in her latest YA Novel, Twisted, will hold the reader captive until the final adrenaline-charged page. – Victoria Pitts Caine, bestselling inspirational fiction novelist.
                    *  *  *  *  *
Twisted will twist around your mind so hard you can’t put it down and don’t want it to let loose, even after the last page. Amazing descriptions and action-packed scenes brings the reader to the edge of the drama and dangles them in delightful suspense.  
Julie B Cosgrove, award winning author of the Bunco Biddies Mysteries and The Case Files of Jack Manson series.

                    *  *  *  *  *
Twisted drew me in from the very start. The action and the interplay between characters felt so real. A great read for teens! Sharon (Mother and grandmother)
                    *  *  *  *  *
Twisted, the second book in The Roped Series, is fitly titled. It kept my attention and curiosity from beginning to end. DiAne Gates does a masterful job of developing the personality of all of the characters. The message of Twisted is one that needs to be heard and is suited for everyone from young adults to the young at heart.
 Jim Haines | Minister for Adult 3 and Adult 4, First Baptist Dallas, Dallas, Texas.
                    *  *  *  *  *
"What a lesson to be learned by a spunky young heroine. You have to love Crissy! Picking right up from Roped, Twisted will keep you turning pages!" Caryl McAdoo, Christian author of the Texas Romance family saga and more
                    *  *  *  *  *
 DiAne Gates has done it again! She tells a riveting story of love and hate, family grudges, and redemption, with some mystery and suspense mixed in. Her imagery is flawless and her characters leap off the pages like wild horses. She catches the flavor and quirky uniqueness that is Texas and everything rodeo. A fun, engaging, and emotional tale that will pull in the young readers. Uh, but don't be surprised if the over-sixteen crowd can't put it down either! Inspirational Western and Best-Selling Author Heather Blanton

 


Excerpt


An Apology?

 

Crissy Crosby, what are you doin’ here? My brain screamed, Help! And my skin crawled.

Mama’s, Daddy’s, and Papa’s boots struck a unified cadence with mine on the cement walk as we approached the steps of St. Francis Hospital in Tyler, Texas.

The Crosbys had arrived.

We must have looked like the Cartwrights from TV reruns of Bonanza—ready for a showdown in our starched jeans, with lined creases down the legs, white shirts, and black cowboy hats. Of course, each of us sported our own silver buckle.

The glass doors emptied into the main lobby and standing outside, seeing my reflection and knowing who waited inside, my stomach went swishy and my palms leaked sweat.

I’d been in a hospital once. When I was born. The smell of disinfectant burned my nose hairs, and other unidentified odors lurched my insides into barf alert.

Mama glanced at me. “You all right, sugar? You’re white as Crisco.”

“Do I really have to go with y’all?” I sucked in an ounce of air. “Please don’t make me go in there. Not after Saturday night.”

“We talked about this at home, Crissy. Mrs. Fairgate said Mr. Fairgate wanted to see the whole family. She believes he intends to apologize. Let’s give him a chance.”

My legs that had tapped a rapid rhythm on the sidewalk didn’t feel like they could shuffle into the elevator. Felt like I was perched on top of a rollercoaster just before the big plunge. This place gave me the creeps. And that man hated me. So did his daughter. Would I have to see her, too?

Jodie Lea’s ugly head kept poppin’ up in my mind, bloody and battered.

Mama pulled me close. “We’re all here—together, dear. If there’s one smidgeon of trouble, we’ll leave. OK?”

I nodded and stared at the floor tiles. What was I supposed to say to Mr. Fairgate? What would he say to me? More lies?

Papa and Daddy led the way as we walked into the elevator. Daddy pushed the button to the second floor, and the elevator door opened to a stench that wrapped around us like tentacles on a slimy jelly-fish and saturated everything we wore. My knees went slack and my feet stuck to the floor. Aww, that stinks. And I thought the odor downstairs was bad.

“Come on, Angel Biscuit. I’ll be right beside you. Anybody tries to bother you has gotta come through me.” Papa winked and reached his hand out for fluffin’, but must’ve had a second thought ‘cause my hair was curled for dress-up. He chuckled and dropped his hand.

I raised an eyebrow and tossed him a quirky smile.

Mr. Fairgate’s room was half-way down the hall on the right side. The door closed.

Daddy tapped, and Mrs. Fairgate opened the door and greeted us with a big, ole artificial thank-goodness-you’re-here smile.

I tucked behind Mama and Daddy and tried to make myself invisible.

Machines beeped. Wires attached to Mr. Fairgate ‘bout every place they could find a piece of skin to hook one. Even had tubes running into his nose. He lay propped up on snow-white pillows in an equally white bed, but still managed to look like he owned the world.

A thousand tiny needles played tic-tac-toe up and down and across my body. I couldn’t stop shaking.

Suzie Fairgate hugged Mama and smiled that fakey happiness at the rest of us. “He had a good night last night.” Her voice sounded way too cheery for the facts. “They’re running more tests this morning.”

Daddy and Mr. Fairgate just gawked at each other. A starin’ contest? Daddy’s jaw clenched, unclenched, and clenched again. But I couldn’t read either one of them. We stood, waiting for the man to speak. I had the feeling Mr. Fairgate knew he held all the aces and enjoyed every minute of control.

I looked at his eyes. They were hard as steel—angry eyes. My mind whispered, There ain’t no apology behind those eyes. Nuh-huh, not today.

And my heart sank.

Mr. Fairgate’s eyes shifted to me. My heart pounded and my neck hairs spiked. But I stared straight back at him, just like my daddy did.

He blinked, released my stare, and shifted his attention back to Daddy. He moved his hand slightly off the bed and motioned Daddy to come closer.

Then he spied Papa.

“Who invited you, old man?” His voice came out croaky, but with the same old familiar snarl.

My head jerked around to look at Papa. His eyes were closed. I knew my Papa. He was praying. He opened his eyes and looked real steady at Mr. Fairgate, but didn’t speak a word.

Mrs. Fairgate slipped between the two men and whispered out loud. “I did, Ed. They came as a family. At your request.” She patted his head and smoothed his forehead with her hand.

He slapped her hand away.

Except for the beep of the machines and the echo of the intercom in the hallway, silence hung like a shroud.

“Ed”—Papa’s deep-toned voice filled the room—”You’ve been given another chance to turn your life around and rescue your family. Don’t squander this one, too. Remember—twenty years ago?”

“Yeah, old man, I remember.” Mr. Fairgate rolled his eyes and twisted his lips to a hiss. “Still harping that old God thing? Give it up.”

I looked from Papa to Mr. Fairgate. Twenty years ago? Before I was born? The two men stared at each other. Papa’s eyes puddled to sadness—Mr. Fairgate’s with contempt. Mrs. Fairgate looked from Papa, back to Mr. Fairgate. Mr. Fairgate shifted his gaze back to Daddy and motioned for him to come closer. Again.

The heat rose from my toes to the top of my head. My brain screamed, Let’s get out of here—right now.

But Daddy took two small steps toward the bed.

“That’s close enough, Crosby.” He scooted higher on the pillows and eyeballed Daddy, long and hard.

How could this man have enough energy to be hateful? Thought heart attacks meant a person could die. He sure didn’t look like he was about to—

Mama reached down and clasped my hand. Her hands were as clammy as mine.

The twitch in Daddy’s jaw intensified.

I wanted to run out the door, down the hall, and back to the truck.

Mr. Fairgate motioned to Mrs. Fairgate. “Woman, raise this bed up so I can see all of ‘em when I talk.” He issued orders to Jodie Lea’s mother as though she were a field hand ‘stead of his wife.

She scurried to reach the button, raised the bed, and patted Mr. Fairgate’s hand again.

Sick or not, I woulda smacked the sass out of him. The air was so thick I couldn’t inhale enough to fill my lungs.

Mr. Fairgate cleared his throat. “Crosby, I have friends in this county. I’ve spoken with most of ‘em this morning and we all agree—sell your ranch and get outta Terrell. You’ll never work here again. Ya hear? You’re through. You and your lyin’ brat tried to ruin my reputation. Now you’re all gonna pay.” Every syllable flew from his lips hitching-and-pitching-to-piercing.

I gasped and tucked closer behind Papa. My brain continued to scream, OK, guys, let’s get outta here. Time to go. He’s crazy.

Suzie Fairgate looked at Mama and Daddy and mouthed, “I’m so sorry.” Her forehead wrinkled and her eyes widened into circles of fear. She clasped her arms around her chest, her face washed pale, her body shaking.

I thought of the years of abuse she had endured at the hands of this evil man.

“When I get out of this hospital I’m going to sue you, Crosby. And you”—he turned his head toward his wife—”I’m sick of your sniveling. Get out of my house. Go on back to your mama. Jodie Lea and I don’t need you.”

My mind hit the whoa button. Her mama? Wait a minute. She’s dead. Papa said Jodie Lea’s grandmas died. All of ‘em.

Then his beady eyes settled on Mama and narrowed. “Deborah, I told you one day you’d be sorry you chose this piece-a-dirt. If it weren’t for your old man and that witch he married, things would be different between us.”

I clapped my hands over my ears. What was going on? I didn’t want to hear another word of this out-of-control nightmare growing worse by the minute.

“Ed?” Mrs. Fairgate gasped.

Mama glanced at Papa. He shook his head. The vein in Daddy’s neck went from twitching to vibrating, and his eyes burned to broil, but he kept quiet. Though I couldn’t make sense of anything, I knew Mr. Fairgate shot his mouth way beyond my daddy’s ability to endure.

The machines ratcheted their beeping. The nurse call lights flashed and another contraption screamed a warning racket. My mind raced out the room before my body could react. Papa took hold of me and pulled me toward the door.

Fairgate pointed his shaky finger at me. “Don’t you leave, missy. I’m not done with you. Show your face at school and Jodie Lea will make your life a living hell. You don’t mess with the Fairgates and live.”

Papa held me in a one-arm hug and pushed me out the door and into the hallway. Chills ran up one side of me and then down the other like electric currents on steroids. But I couldn’t leave Daddy and Mama in there. I hugged the edge of the door.

Daddy’s face heated radish-red, and he lurched toward the bed. Mama grabbed his arm and held him back.

He growled. “You’re a lunatic, Fairgate. If you get outta here alive I’ll see you behind bars.”

“Not one step closer, Crosby,” Fairgate yelled. “Now all of you, get out.” He looked at his wife. “Yeah, you too, woman. You’ll all hear from my attorneys. Soon. Got no use…”

The sound of running feet smacked the floor behind me.

A nurse rushed into the room. “Everybody out,” she ordered.

Mama supported Suzie Fairgate by her shoulders and led her to a room down the hall, across from the elevators.

Mr. Fairgate’s breaths came in harsh, short gasps. I turned to see his fingers clutching his hospital gown, his face a pasty shade of gray.

My feet were nailed to the floor. I couldn’t breathe.

“Ahhhh.” He screamed. His eyelids slammed shut and his arms slumped flat on the bed.

Another nurse sprinted in, punched numbers on her phone pad, and shouted, “Code Blue, Code Blue. Room 256.”

Daddy took my right arm and Papa my left and they steered me down the hallway behind Mama and Mrs. Fairgate.

The hospital intercom squawked, “Code Blue. Code Blue. Room 256.”

A team of techs raced by with a crash cart. Nurses and doctors poured from every hallway, to converge on Mr. Fairgate’s room. I heard someone shout, “Clear.”

It was Saturday night all over again.


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What begins as a nasty rodeo competition morphs into a ring of horse thieves, an uncle with a past, and consequences that span generations.

TWISTED, continues the journey of the Crosby and Fairgate families. Will these two Texas teens finally overcome the past and discover the future God has planned, or will they forever be trapped by the crimes of their fathers?


Available at these places and more

Amazon


What People are Saying



Crissy Crosby is back, and she’s growing up.

Twisted, the second book in the Roped series by DiAne Gates, begins with a bang and never slows down. Barely a week after Crissy defeats arch-rival Jodie Lee Fairgate in the rodeo arena, taking home the coveted Best All Round belt buckle, trouble with the Fairgates is popping like fireworks in a dry hay field. Not only Crissy, but also Mama and Daddy, her best friend Chun, and even her beloved Papa are caught up in the intrigue. Through it all, young readers watch Crissy learn first-hand about the real world: how deceptive appearances can be, how quickly events can turn from troublesome to dangerous, how hard it is for people to change and how healing it can be to forgive them when they do. Readers also see her grow in more subtle ways, finding a more mature relationship with her heavenly Father and learning to trust the One who will never deceive her, will protect her in any events she will ever encounter, will be her real strength for change, will always forgive her.

Author DiAne Gates is determined to meet her audience in the world they live in. She is known for creating characters her readers recognize, for telling her stories at a pace that holds their attention, and for building her fiction on the foundation of biblical Truth. Twisted attests to her success in each of those areas.

Kathleen Brown
Author of A Time for Miracles—Finding Your Way through the Wilderness of Alzheimer’s

                    *  *  *  *  *
Ms. Gates’ heart pounding suspense delivered in her latest YA Novel, Twisted, will hold the reader captive until the final adrenaline-charged page. – Victoria Pitts Caine, bestselling inspirational fiction novelist.
                    *  *  *  *  *
Twisted will twist around your mind so hard you can’t put it down and don’t want it to let loose, even after the last page. Amazing descriptions and action-packed scenes brings the reader to the edge of the drama and dangles them in delightful suspense.  
Julie B Cosgrove, award winning author of the Bunco Biddies Mysteries and The Case Files of Jack Manson series.

                    *  *  *  *  *
Twisted drew me in from the very start. The action and the interplay between characters felt so real. A great read for teens! Sharon (Mother and grandmother)
                    *  *  *  *  *
Twisted, the second book in The Roped Series, is fitly titled. It kept my attention and curiosity from beginning to end. DiAne Gates does a masterful job of developing the personality of all of the characters. The message of Twisted is one that needs to be heard and is suited for everyone from young adults to the young at heart.
 Jim Haines | Minister for Adult 3 and Adult 4, First Baptist Dallas, Dallas, Texas.
                    *  *  *  *  *
"What a lesson to be learned by a spunky young heroine. You have to love Crissy! Picking right up from Roped, Twisted will keep you turning pages!" Caryl McAdoo, Christian author of the Texas Romance family saga and more
                    *  *  *  *  *
 DiAne Gates has done it again! She tells a riveting story of love and hate, family grudges, and redemption, with some mystery and suspense mixed in. Her imagery is flawless and her characters leap off the pages like wild horses. She catches the flavor and quirky uniqueness that is Texas and everything rodeo. A fun, engaging, and emotional tale that will pull in the young readers. Uh, but don't be surprised if the over-sixteen crowd can't put it down either! Inspirational Western and Best-Selling Author Heather Blanton

 


Excerpt


An Apology?

 

Crissy Crosby, what are you doin’ here? My brain screamed, Help! And my skin crawled.

Mama’s, Daddy’s, and Papa’s boots struck a unified cadence with mine on the cement walk as we approached the steps of St. Francis Hospital in Tyler, Texas.

The Crosbys had arrived.

We must have looked like the Cartwrights from TV reruns of Bonanza—ready for a showdown in our starched jeans, with lined creases down the legs, white shirts, and black cowboy hats. Of course, each of us sported our own silver buckle.

The glass doors emptied into the main lobby and standing outside, seeing my reflection and knowing who waited inside, my stomach went swishy and my palms leaked sweat.

I’d been in a hospital once. When I was born. The smell of disinfectant burned my nose hairs, and other unidentified odors lurched my insides into barf alert.

Mama glanced at me. “You all right, sugar? You’re white as Crisco.”

“Do I really have to go with y’all?” I sucked in an ounce of air. “Please don’t make me go in there. Not after Saturday night.”

“We talked about this at home, Crissy. Mrs. Fairgate said Mr. Fairgate wanted to see the whole family. She believes he intends to apologize. Let’s give him a chance.”

My legs that had tapped a rapid rhythm on the sidewalk didn’t feel like they could shuffle into the elevator. Felt like I was perched on top of a rollercoaster just before the big plunge. This place gave me the creeps. And that man hated me. So did his daughter. Would I have to see her, too?

Jodie Lea’s ugly head kept poppin’ up in my mind, bloody and battered.

Mama pulled me close. “We’re all here—together, dear. If there’s one smidgeon of trouble, we’ll leave. OK?”

I nodded and stared at the floor tiles. What was I supposed to say to Mr. Fairgate? What would he say to me? More lies?

Papa and Daddy led the way as we walked into the elevator. Daddy pushed the button to the second floor, and the elevator door opened to a stench that wrapped around us like tentacles on a slimy jelly-fish and saturated everything we wore. My knees went slack and my feet stuck to the floor. Aww, that stinks. And I thought the odor downstairs was bad.

“Come on, Angel Biscuit. I’ll be right beside you. Anybody tries to bother you has gotta come through me.” Papa winked and reached his hand out for fluffin’, but must’ve had a second thought ‘cause my hair was curled for dress-up. He chuckled and dropped his hand.

I raised an eyebrow and tossed him a quirky smile.

Mr. Fairgate’s room was half-way down the hall on the right side. The door closed.

Daddy tapped, and Mrs. Fairgate opened the door and greeted us with a big, ole artificial thank-goodness-you’re-here smile.

I tucked behind Mama and Daddy and tried to make myself invisible.

Machines beeped. Wires attached to Mr. Fairgate ‘bout every place they could find a piece of skin to hook one. Even had tubes running into his nose. He lay propped up on snow-white pillows in an equally white bed, but still managed to look like he owned the world.

A thousand tiny needles played tic-tac-toe up and down and across my body. I couldn’t stop shaking.

Suzie Fairgate hugged Mama and smiled that fakey happiness at the rest of us. “He had a good night last night.” Her voice sounded way too cheery for the facts. “They’re running more tests this morning.”

Daddy and Mr. Fairgate just gawked at each other. A starin’ contest? Daddy’s jaw clenched, unclenched, and clenched again. But I couldn’t read either one of them. We stood, waiting for the man to speak. I had the feeling Mr. Fairgate knew he held all the aces and enjoyed every minute of control.

I looked at his eyes. They were hard as steel—angry eyes. My mind whispered, There ain’t no apology behind those eyes. Nuh-huh, not today.

And my heart sank.

Mr. Fairgate’s eyes shifted to me. My heart pounded and my neck hairs spiked. But I stared straight back at him, just like my daddy did.

He blinked, released my stare, and shifted his attention back to Daddy. He moved his hand slightly off the bed and motioned Daddy to come closer.

Then he spied Papa.

“Who invited you, old man?” His voice came out croaky, but with the same old familiar snarl.

My head jerked around to look at Papa. His eyes were closed. I knew my Papa. He was praying. He opened his eyes and looked real steady at Mr. Fairgate, but didn’t speak a word.

Mrs. Fairgate slipped between the two men and whispered out loud. “I did, Ed. They came as a family. At your request.” She patted his head and smoothed his forehead with her hand.

He slapped her hand away.

Except for the beep of the machines and the echo of the intercom in the hallway, silence hung like a shroud.

“Ed”—Papa’s deep-toned voice filled the room—”You’ve been given another chance to turn your life around and rescue your family. Don’t squander this one, too. Remember—twenty years ago?”

“Yeah, old man, I remember.” Mr. Fairgate rolled his eyes and twisted his lips to a hiss. “Still harping that old God thing? Give it up.”

I looked from Papa to Mr. Fairgate. Twenty years ago? Before I was born? The two men stared at each other. Papa’s eyes puddled to sadness—Mr. Fairgate’s with contempt. Mrs. Fairgate looked from Papa, back to Mr. Fairgate. Mr. Fairgate shifted his gaze back to Daddy and motioned for him to come closer. Again.

The heat rose from my toes to the top of my head. My brain screamed, Let’s get out of here—right now.

But Daddy took two small steps toward the bed.

“That’s close enough, Crosby.” He scooted higher on the pillows and eyeballed Daddy, long and hard.

How could this man have enough energy to be hateful? Thought heart attacks meant a person could die. He sure didn’t look like he was about to—

Mama reached down and clasped my hand. Her hands were as clammy as mine.

The twitch in Daddy’s jaw intensified.

I wanted to run out the door, down the hall, and back to the truck.

Mr. Fairgate motioned to Mrs. Fairgate. “Woman, raise this bed up so I can see all of ‘em when I talk.” He issued orders to Jodie Lea’s mother as though she were a field hand ‘stead of his wife.

She scurried to reach the button, raised the bed, and patted Mr. Fairgate’s hand again.

Sick or not, I woulda smacked the sass out of him. The air was so thick I couldn’t inhale enough to fill my lungs.

Mr. Fairgate cleared his throat. “Crosby, I have friends in this county. I’ve spoken with most of ‘em this morning and we all agree—sell your ranch and get outta Terrell. You’ll never work here again. Ya hear? You’re through. You and your lyin’ brat tried to ruin my reputation. Now you’re all gonna pay.” Every syllable flew from his lips hitching-and-pitching-to-piercing.

I gasped and tucked closer behind Papa. My brain continued to scream, OK, guys, let’s get outta here. Time to go. He’s crazy.

Suzie Fairgate looked at Mama and Daddy and mouthed, “I’m so sorry.” Her forehead wrinkled and her eyes widened into circles of fear. She clasped her arms around her chest, her face washed pale, her body shaking.

I thought of the years of abuse she had endured at the hands of this evil man.

“When I get out of this hospital I’m going to sue you, Crosby. And you”—he turned his head toward his wife—”I’m sick of your sniveling. Get out of my house. Go on back to your mama. Jodie Lea and I don’t need you.”

My mind hit the whoa button. Her mama? Wait a minute. She’s dead. Papa said Jodie Lea’s grandmas died. All of ‘em.

Then his beady eyes settled on Mama and narrowed. “Deborah, I told you one day you’d be sorry you chose this piece-a-dirt. If it weren’t for your old man and that witch he married, things would be different between us.”

I clapped my hands over my ears. What was going on? I didn’t want to hear another word of this out-of-control nightmare growing worse by the minute.

“Ed?” Mrs. Fairgate gasped.

Mama glanced at Papa. He shook his head. The vein in Daddy’s neck went from twitching to vibrating, and his eyes burned to broil, but he kept quiet. Though I couldn’t make sense of anything, I knew Mr. Fairgate shot his mouth way beyond my daddy’s ability to endure.

The machines ratcheted their beeping. The nurse call lights flashed and another contraption screamed a warning racket. My mind raced out the room before my body could react. Papa took hold of me and pulled me toward the door.

Fairgate pointed his shaky finger at me. “Don’t you leave, missy. I’m not done with you. Show your face at school and Jodie Lea will make your life a living hell. You don’t mess with the Fairgates and live.”

Papa held me in a one-arm hug and pushed me out the door and into the hallway. Chills ran up one side of me and then down the other like electric currents on steroids. But I couldn’t leave Daddy and Mama in there. I hugged the edge of the door.

Daddy’s face heated radish-red, and he lurched toward the bed. Mama grabbed his arm and held him back.

He growled. “You’re a lunatic, Fairgate. If you get outta here alive I’ll see you behind bars.”

“Not one step closer, Crosby,” Fairgate yelled. “Now all of you, get out.” He looked at his wife. “Yeah, you too, woman. You’ll all hear from my attorneys. Soon. Got no use…”

The sound of running feet smacked the floor behind me.

A nurse rushed into the room. “Everybody out,” she ordered.

Mama supported Suzie Fairgate by her shoulders and led her to a room down the hall, across from the elevators.

Mr. Fairgate’s breaths came in harsh, short gasps. I turned to see his fingers clutching his hospital gown, his face a pasty shade of gray.

My feet were nailed to the floor. I couldn’t breathe.

“Ahhhh.” He screamed. His eyelids slammed shut and his arms slumped flat on the bed.

Another nurse sprinted in, punched numbers on her phone pad, and shouted, “Code Blue, Code Blue. Room 256.”

Daddy took my right arm and Papa my left and they steered me down the hallway behind Mama and Mrs. Fairgate.

The hospital intercom squawked, “Code Blue. Code Blue. Room 256.”

A team of techs raced by with a crash cart. Nurses and doctors poured from every hallway, to converge on Mr. Fairgate’s room. I heard someone shout, “Clear.”

It was Saturday night all over again.

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