By JD Rockel
December 18, 2026
“Hey, John. You’re here early.”
“You too, Rosa. What’s with the buses today? I almost missed mine.”
“Me too. I’m so thankful my mom is on the ball. She always has us ready on time. And I’m so glad it’s Friday, only a week before winter break.”
“Me too. I need some time away from here. I have a question, Rosa. I know Ella spoke to Jerry about their issue, but do you have any idea when she might let Jerry see her again?”
“She said that Jerry walks by her locker and classrooms just to show his presence. I think she will go see him during Christmas break. She said she wants to take a present to him as a peace offering.”
“That would be very helpful. Jerry has been so depressed and repentant. He needs some reassurance from Ella.”
Just then Ella came to the lockers.
“I just need a couple of things out of my locker. It won’t take but a second and I’ll leave you two alone.”
“Ella, it’s me and John. You can trust us, and we won’t mention you know who.”
“That’s right,” John added. “I respect you and the space you need right now. I can’t imagine what this has done to you.”
“Thanks,” was all Ella said in return. In and out of her locker and she was gone.
“I guess we need to go too, John. I hope time away from school will be a blessing for Ella and Jerry. I know I will enjoy some extra time with you.”
“See ya, Rosa.”
They both took off to their respective classes.
Ella arrived at her locker to put her books away before lunch. Ella finished with the books and closed her locker. Turning around she was surprised by a new face.
“Hello there. I’ve been looking forward to this moment.”
“And who are you?” Ella asked. She could tell the boy speaking to her was an upperclassman. He looked older than John and a head taller than Jerry, well-built but with greasy black hair. His body odor was repulsive as were the clothes he wore.
“I’m Andy and I’ve decided you will be my girl over winter break.”
“Excuse me? You can leave now please.”
“Not until you agree to be my girl. I won’t take no for an answer.”
“Well let’s give it a try first. NO!”
Ella tried to leave and get past Andy. Andy thrust his hand in front of Ella and planted it on the locker door making a loud noise that startled her.
“I will give you one more chance. After that you will be very sorry you said no.”
“Very sorry about what, chump?” Jerry had appeared out of nowhere and interposed himself between Andy and Ella. Andy took a surprised step backward.
“Get out of my way, tadpole. You don’t know who you are dealing with.”
“And you don’t know who you just accosted. This is my girlfriend, and you will not speak to her anymore.”
Ella was shocked and wonderfully amazed that Jerry referred to her as his girlfriend. He must have been keeping her in his sights more than she knew.
Jerry pushed Andy back another step. Andy raised his right hand and out popped a knife. His hand slashed down towards Jerry. Jerry lifted his left arm to protect his face and pivoted to the right. The knife found its target on Jerry’s forearm. Jerry began to fall backward. Ella screamed. Blood began to spurt from Jerry’s arm, shooting out to the locker doors. Andy turned to run away. Jerry landed flat on his back. Ella heard his head crack against the hard hallway floor.
“Help! Someone get help,” Ella screamed.
The blood from Jerry’s arm continued to squirt out with each heartbeat. There was no resistance to the knife blade from his short-sleeved shirt.
“Please, we need help.”
Ella dropped to the floor, her knees and dress landing in a puddle of Jerry’s blood. She clamped her hand around the wound. The blood stopped spurting but continued to ooze out between her fingers.
I need a tourniquet. Ella looked around at the crowd of students surrounding her. With laser eyes, she looked at one boy and yelled, “You, I need your belt for a tourniquet.”
The boy stepped forward hesitantly and removed his belt.
“I can’t let go of Jerry’s arm. Wrap the belt around his upper arm and pull it tight.”
The boy complied. “That’s good. Now wrap it around a couple of times and tuck the loose end in so it won’t unwrap… That’s right. Perfect!”
The oozing stopped but Ella would not release her grip. Just then, Mr. Edwards came into view.
Bending down he asked, “Ella. Do you have the bleeding under control?”
Nearly crying, Ella begged, “I’m OK here. Please go get help from the office.”
“I’m on my way, Ella. You hold on. Quickly, what happened?”
“A senior boy named Andy accosted me and slashed Jerry’s arm with a knife when we resisted.”
Mr. Edwards stood up from his crouched position and ran towards the main office. Halfway there, he paused and talked briefly to the resource officer. As he continued to run to the office, the officer ran to Ella.
“Hello, Ella. I’m officer Patricia. You can call me Pat. It looks like you have done a fine job to stop the bleeding.”
Officer Pat reached up to Jerry’s neck to check his pulse. She reached for the radio microphone on her epaulet. “Germantown dispatch, this is resource officer Patricia at Germantown High School. I need an ambulance and police backup. The victim is a sixteen-year-old male with a knife wound to the left forearm.”
“10-4. Ambulance and backup are en route. Dispatch out.”
“Ella, you are very brave and doing a great job for Jerry. Is he a friend of yours?”
Sobbing, Ella managed, “Yes, he’s my boyfriend.”
“OK. The EMTs are on the way. You keep holding on to him. I’m going to talk to a few students over there.”
Ella looked up and saw a crowd of students, some of whom were holding up cell phones. This will be posted online for sure.
Looking down the hall, Ella saw Mr. Edwards running back towards her with nurse Judy and the Vice Principal. Mr. Edwards tried to make some breathing room around Jerry. Vice Principal Robertson began talking with officer Pat and nurse Judy dropped down to her knees next to Jerry’s head. She took her stethoscope and listened to Jerry’s chest in a couple of places. When she was done she took out a penlight and checked his eyes.
“Am I correct that you are Ella, and this is Jerry?” Judy asked.
“Yes, ma’am. Does his heart and breathing sound OK?”
“Yes, they do. Your tourniquet looks like it did a great job. Have you been studying first aid?”
“Not really. I just watch a lot of medical dramas on TV.”
“Well don’t believe everything you see there. What you did here was well done though.”
Ella heard sirens approaching.
“Sounds like the paramedics might be arriving. Just keep holding on until they say otherwise.”
About a minute later, two paramedics ran in carrying several equipment bags.
“Looks like we have a hero here,” one of the EMTs said.
“No ma’am, Jerry is the hero. He protected me.”
“We will do our best to take care of him. My name is Jessie, and my partner is Larry.”
Larry went to Jerry’s right arm and attached a blood pressure cuff. Jessie repeated the tests nurse Judy had performed and also checked for a pulse on Jerry’s left arm.
“What’s your name and the name of your friend?”
“My name is Ella, and this is my friend Jerry. Jerry Weston.”
“The tourniquet you put on is working very well. Good job. Tell me what happened to Jerry.”
“He was cut by a knife while protecting me from an older student.”
“It looks like a lot of blood came out. Did it spurt out?”
“Yes, like with his heartbeat.”
Jessie reached for her radio microphone. “Froedtert hospital, this is EMT Jessie. I have a sixteen-year-old male. His name is Jerry Weston. He has a deep knife wound on his left forearm. Probable arterial cut. The patient is stable but unconscious. Pupils are equal and responsive. Standby for BP.”
Paramedic Larry said, “BP is 88 over 55.”
“Froedtert, BP is 88 over 55. His pulse is 97 and his breathing is regular. I estimate at least a pint of blood has been lost.”
“10-4. Begin an IV of normal saline, large bore needle. Also start oxygen at one liter per minute. Transport as soon as possible.”
“What we are going to do, Ella is to detach you from your friend. I am getting a large gauze pad and some tape so we can replace your hand pressure with the gauze pressure.” Larry started the IV and oxygen.
“Larry, pass me your BP cuff please.” Larry passed it over to Jessie. “I’m going to place the BP cuff just under the tourniquet.” Jessie pumped up the cuff once it was in place. “Now we can take the belt off and control the bleeding with the cuff.” Jessie carefully removed the belt while watching Ella’s hands. No blood oozed out. “Great, I’m ready with the gauze. I’m going to pour some water over your hands to help them get unstuck. Don’t worry if some skin pulls on Jerry’s arm and opens the cut. You won’t hurt him.”
Jessie poured the sterile water from her bottle over Ella’s hands. She felt it run down her dress and onto her knees. This was the first she noticed her knees, thighs, and lower back were hurting from holding Jerry’s arm while kneeling. The palms of her hands stuck to the blood and skin around Jerry’s wound. She saw the cut open up as she pulled her hands away. Is that the blood vessel that was cut?
Jessie moved in with the gauze and covered the gaping wound completely. Ella watched her wrap the tape around the bandage more times than she could count. Then she looked down at her hands. They were covered in blood. She was kneeling in more blood.
Nurse Judy moved in and placed her hands on Ella’s arms. “Let me help you up Ella. The EMTs will take good care of Jerry and get him to the hospital.”
“Ella!” Rosa yelled. Mr. Edwards had found her and brought her to Ella.
“Mr. Edwards, what about Andy?” Ella’s voice was shaky. “Has anyone found him? I’m still scared.”
“The school is on lock-down. Office Pat and several other police officers are looking for him. We got his picture from one of the cell phones.”
Judy helped Ella to her feet. When she was clear of Jerry, Rosa threw her arms around Ella and hugged her tight.
“Come to the clinic, Ella. I can help you get cleaned up so you can go to the hospital when your parents arrive.”
Ella began walking down the hall. Then she stopped and looked back at Jerry. The paramedics were putting him on a stretcher that the ambulance drivers brought in. There was so much blood on the floor. Ella’s knees buckled and she collapsed. Jesus. Please keep Jerry alive. I’m sorry I have neglected you. Please save him.
Nurse Judy escorted Ella and Rosa to the school clinic. As they were ready to go in, the paramedics accompanied Jerry out the main entrance.
Judy reassured the girls. “They are the best, Ella. They will stay with him to the hospital.”
Ella’s face was wet with tears. Her hands carmine with Jerry’s blood. The blood-stained dress was the very one she wore to the dance when she met Jerry. She relived his kindness and warm kiss. Rosa looked at the fear in Ella’s face.
“I have some scrubs that will fit you nicely.” Judy went over to a cabinet and retrieved the clothes. “These shoe booties will keep others from seeing the blood while you’re at the hospital. Come with me. I’ll help you change in the bathroom.”
Rosa sat down on a chair and hung her head. Her white capris were stained with Jerry’s blood, transferred from her sister’s dress when she hugged her. Ella followed Judy to the bathroom. Ella moved like a puppet as Judy helped her change. Some good hand soap and warm water removed most of the blood from Ella’s hands. Judy did the washing while Ella stood limp. With the dress off, Judy did a quick check of Ella’s skin, looking for any bruises or cuts. The scrubs went on and lastly, Judy put the booties over Ella’s stained shoes.
As they exited the bathroom, Renata flew in the clinic’s door. She never looked at Rosa but went straight to Ella, embracing her in a momma-bear hug. “Ella, you poor dear.” Looking up at Judy she asked, “Do you know how Jerry is?”
“He was stable when the paramedics got to him. Ella here saved his life I think. He was bleeding badly.”
“Mom,” Ella whimpered, “it was terrible. Jerry fell back and hit his head on the floor. He didn’t move at all.”
“Is he unconscious, nurse?” Renata asked.
“I believe he was when he left. There was no outward sign of concussion, and he could be awake by now. You will have to find out from the doctors at the hospital.”
Rosa stood up and joined her mom and sister. “If you are up to it, we should go to the hospital.”
“Yes, please,” Ella begged. “Let’s go right away.”
“Here’s your dress, Ella.” Judy handed her a clear plastic bag with the marred dress inside. “I hope you can wash it out. It’s very pretty.”
“Thank you, nurse Judy. It’s the dress I wore to the Back to School dance where I met Jerry.”
“Oh, my. Even if you can’t clean it, I’m sure you will keep it for its double memory. Stay safe everyone.”
Renata led Ella and Rosa out of the clinic. As the clinic door closed behind them, a boisterous commotion came at them from the hallway on the left.
“I didn’t do anything. You can’t take me away like this. I have my rights.”
“That’s Andy, the boy who attacked Jerry,” Ella said with terror in her voice.
Andy was forcibly escorted by two police officers. Officer Pat followed behind them.
Andy looked straight at Ella. “You! You’ll pay for this. This is all your fault.”
Officer Pat came up to Ella as Andy left the building. “Please don’t worry about him. We have the knife and there is still blood on it. We have plenty of video evidence, also. Andy will be in jail for a long time. I suspect he will be tried as an adult.”
Ella burst into tears again. Rosa and Renata hugged her tightly. Renata prayed, “Jesus, we never understand when tragic events like this happen. But we trust you are in control. We ask that you will take care of Jerry and heal him quickly. May our faith in You grow through this trauma.”
Ella squeaked out, “Amen.”