With lights flashing and sirens screaming, the ambulance made its way
through traffic, heading to Regional Hospital. As it passed Lake Griffin
High School, the occupant on the stretcher was totally unaware. It had
only vaguely registered when someone had shaken him, trying to bring him
into consciousness, and had then loaded him onto the stretcher. It was
Saturday, so there was no school traffic, but an event at the community
center was just letting out, so the ambulance changed its course
somewhat to avoid a jam. When it finally arrived at the hospital,
attendants raced out to help, asking if the victim had been identified
"We found his school ID in his pocket. His name is Jaden Hansen, age
fourteen, with undetermined cause of collapse," said the EMT pushing the
"Do you think it’s a drug overdose?" asked one of the attendants.
"We just can't tell at this point," the EMT replied.
When the stretcher was settled in the ER and the EMT was filling in the
doctor, a nurse began to draw blood for a toxicology screen. After
nodding at the EMT, the doctor was all business.
"Get him set up for a head CT! Has anyone located the parents?"
The CT scan came back normal, but the blood test was positive for high
steroid levels. He was immediately treated for a drug overdose and put
on suicide watch in the ICU.
Getting a call from the hospital on her cell phone, Jaden’s mother,
Alice, immediately started to panic and shouted for her husband.
"Donnie, come here quick! Talk to the hospital. It's about Jaden."
Listening, then hanging up abruptly, Donnie said, "Let's get down there
now! They’re treating him for a drug overdose, but he's still
"Drug overdose?" Alice couldn't believe it. "Not Jaden. He would never
do drugs. He's a good boy. They must be mistaken." Her heart was
pounding, and she was glad Donnie was driving, because she felt as if
her arms and legs wouldn't cooperate. She wasn't even sure she could
walk into the hospital. Thank goodness her daughter, Jenny, was spending
the weekend with her friend, Sarah.
When they arrived at the hospital, they went right to the ER information
desk and gave their names. Their anxiety heightened with every passing
The woman at the desk shuffled through some papers, and finally said,
"Yes, here it is. Your son is in the ER annex." Heading down the hall
where the volunteer had pointed, Donnie tried to ease Alice's panic, but
he was nearly frantic himself. He hadn't always been the best dad in the
world to Jaden, but he did really love him. He knew he had constantly
been on him about his activities and his friends, but he had felt that
he had known what was best for his son.
"Oh, please," he thought, talking to some greater being. "Please let him
be all right."
As they hurried into the annex, they saw a boy heavily bandaged around
the head and face, with his arm in a sling, bound to his body. Even in
the dim light, they could see there was no shock of pale, blonde hair.
It was not Jaden. Feeling very relieved, they turned away to continue
looking for their son.
"Dad? Mom? How did you know I was here?" The bandaged figure spoke
softly. Their relief turned to bewilderment, then alarm, as they got
closer and saw the boy on the bed was Brandon, their other son. Confused
conversation ensued until Alice's cell phone rang again. When she
noticed the caller ID was Regional Hospital, she gave it to Donnie with
a terrified look. Then she kissed her older son on one of the few places
on his head where there was no bandage. Listening to the phone, Donnie's
face changed from consternation to fear.
"Alice, it was the ICU nurse. They’re wondering when we expect to get
there to see Jaden. And,” he said flatly, “she said they think it
was a suicide attempt.”
Excerpted from "Shadow of the Rainbow" by Ms Randa L. Zollinger. Copyright © 2013 by Ms Randa L. Zollinger. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.