The Man He Used to Be, ch. 11

by: Marty Chrisman

Bo glanced up anxiously each time the door to the emergency room opened but it was always a doctor for somebody else, not the Dukes. It was almost four hours before a doctor finally came out to where the Dukes were gathered. Shelby and Enos were still there too, just as anxious as the Duke family to find out how Luke was.

“Are you Mr Duke?” the doctor asked Jesse

“Yes, sir. And this is my nephew, Bo and my niece, Daisy. How’s Luke?”

“I’m Dr Barnes. Why don’t we step into my office so we can talk privately.”

Jesse felt his heart jump into his throat. It was never a good sign when a doctor wanted to talk to you privately.

“Uncle Jesse,” Daisy cried, grabbing her Uncle’s arm fearfully.

“Now Daisy, I’m sure it’s gonna be okay.” He patted her hand reassuringly “Let me talk to the doctor here so I can find out how Luke is.” He glanced at Bo, who immediately took Daisy in his arms, comforting her. Bo’s own fear for his cousin showed clearly in his eyes.

Jesse followed the doctor into a nearby office. Closing the door, the doctor motioned for Jesse to sit down in one of the two chairs facing the desk. Jesse sank into the chair, suddenly feeling old and tired. He’d spent more then his share of time in hospital waiting rooms because one of the boys was always getting hurt, but neither one of them had ever been hurt this badly before.

“How’s Luke?” he asked “How’s my boy?”

“Mr. Duke, I’m afraid that your nephew is in critical condition. He’s been severely beaten and there are obvious signs of torture. He has broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder, a broken nose, and a serious head injury. Along with a number of contusions, cuts, burns, lacerations and water in his lungs from almost drowning” The Doctor paused, then added “Right now he’s in a coma and I don’t know if he’ll wake up or not.”

“What are his chances?” Jesse asked voicing the one question he wasn’t really sure he wanted to hear the answer to.

“We don’t know yet. His heart stopped just after you brought him in. We got it started again but in his weakened condition, I can’t make any guarantees. The next seventy two hours will be critical. If he makes through that, he may just have a chance.”

“Can we see him?”

“I’m sorry, not right now. We’re still running some tests to fully access his condition.”

Jesse’s face went white. He felt as if he were re-living the events leading up to Kelly’s death but this time it was Luke’s life that was on the line. Jesse prayed desperately that he would not be forced to make the decision that Luke had been forced to make concerning Kelly.

“Thank you, Doctor.” Jesse said “You do everything you can for my boy, ya hear?”

“We will, Mr. Duke. But I’m afraid there’s only so much we can do. The rest of it is up to God.”           Jesse slowly pushed himself to his feet and went back out to the waiting room to tell the others what the doctor had said.

Daisy started crying when she heard the news and Bo looked like he wanted to. Enos and Shelby both looked at Jesse with sadness and concern plainly written on their faces. “Uncle Jesse,” Enos said in a stressed out voice “I gotta git back to Hazzard but I’ll be praying for Luke.”

“Thank you, Enos.” Jesse said, struggling to keep his own emotions under control.

“Hang on, Enos and I’d ride back with you.” Shelby said. She knew this was a private time for the family and she didn’t feel comfortable staying any longer. She gently put her hand on Jesse’s shoulder. When he looked at her, she said softly “I’m so sorry, Jesse. I’m praying for him too.”

“Thank you, child. We all appreciate that just like we appreciate all you’ve done to help us find Luke.”

“I wish I could have done more so you could have found him sooner.”

“Now don’t you fret none. If you hadn’t seen those men take Luke in the first place, we might never have known what happened to him.”

“I need to go home but I’ll come back to see how he is.” Shelby said “I promise.”         Jesse nodded. Since there was nothing more they could do at the hospital and they weren’t going to be allowed to see Luke, Jesse quietly told Bo and Daisy that they needed to go home and get some rest. They would come back the next day to see how Luke was doing. Bo protested hotly, wanting to stay at the hospital to be close to Luke. But he gave in when Jesse insisted that he come home with them.

It was almost three AM before they got back to the farm. Bo went into the room he had shared with Luke since they were little and closed the door. Without bothering to undress, he threw himself down across the bed.

Bo didn’t know what he would do if Luke died. They were more than just cousins, more than just best friends, and closer than brothers. There was bond between them that went deeper than blood, a connection that sometimes made it seem as if they were different sides of the same person. They always seemed to know what the other was thinking or feeling or even when one of them was in trouble. Without Luke, Bo would use a big part of himself.

Faced with the possibility of losing Luke, Bo suddenly realized how Luke had felt when he lost Kelly. Bo had known at the time that Luke was grieving and had fallen into a deep depression, he understood all that, but he didn’t understand what Luke had felt deep inside until now. Tears fell quietly down Bo’s face as he said a silent prayer for his cousin’s life. It seemed as if he had just fallen asleep when a pounding on the bedroom door awakened him. Before he could say anything the door was flung open and Daisy came in, tears streaming down her face. In a broken voice, she said “Come on, Bo. We have to get back to the hospital. The doctor just called. Luke’s getting worse they don’t think he’s going to make it.”

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