Because is about the decisions we make every day—from the biggest to the smallest—and how these choices not only affect us as individuals, but also the people we love. When Adam, a young doctor, intervenes in the rape of a girl, he is shot by teenage thugs and rushed to the hospital where, incidentally, he is a resident. As the people in Adam’s life rally around him, they are forced to ponder the myriad outcomes of their choices, deciding how their stories will truly end.
Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter of 2007′s Because:
The instant the first shot was fired, Adam knew he’d been hit. The nine-millimeter slug tore through his left shoulder, narrowly scraping past bone and ripping through muscle, tendon and ligament until, a fraction of a second later, it leapt mercifully from his back.
Adam hadn’t seen the kid pull the gun. He remembered stepping into the alley, seeing the three teenagers, hearing the pistol pop.
He felt the second bullet strike immediately after the first, this time in his abdomen. Adam wavered and collapsed to his knees, blinking away shock as he gasped for breath. He correctly figured the second shot had punctured his left lung.
So this is what it feels like to die.
Adam hadn’t seen the punks run; he assumed they’d taken the young girl with them. At this point, he really didn’t care. He was far more concerned with getting air into—and hopefully, out of—his ruptured lung. He rolled over and laid down on his back, devising a plan to… what? What was he planning?
Never one to think more than a few moves ahead, Adam Davis was clearly in trouble and, for better or worse, he knew it. He’d attended to hundreds of gunshot wounds in the E.R., but how did one mend one’s own wounds, especially when one could barely breathe?
“Adam?” a soft-but-frenzied female voice called out to him. He couldn’t see the speaker; he could feel her, inches from him, but why couldn’t he see? What was wrong with his eyes? He prayed it was—
“Oh my God—” a deep male voice uttered.
“I’m trying! He’s got it locked!” Ben shouted. As Adam slowly and cautiously opened his eyes, the disorientation was instant: lights swirled, lines conversed, stars winked on and off intermittently. While instantly gracious that he could indeed see, he closed his eyes again and held them shut tightly. He felt Sara’s arms cradling him and he’d seen Ben standing over him, fumbling with something in his hands.
Why weren’t they calling for help?
Adam decided he needed to tell Sara what had happened. Summoning all his strength, he tried to sit up, but Sara placed a hand on his chest and gently forced him down onto his back again.
“Kids,” Adam choked, spitting up blood that trickled out the side of his mouth. He could feel it, like warm syrup slowly streaking down his chin, trickling past his earlobe. “A girl…” Adam coughed violently as he finished his report. He felt Sara wiping his chin, clearing away the blood.
Was it getting colder?
“Shhh,” Sara whispered softly. “Don’t talk. Just keep looking at me.”
Adam forced his eyes open and peered into Sara’s, her pale blues choked with tears that Adam felt gently drip on his face—warm, sparse, salty drops. Adam wheezed, desperately trying to force more oxygen into his wounded lung. Sara rocked back and forth, cradling Adam like a baby as she wept.
Is it that bad? GSWs to my shoulder and lung, Adam thought. I can pull through that if I get to surgery soon. Why hadn’t anyone called an ambulance? Hadn’t anyone heard the shots?
He tried to sit up again and felt Sara lightly restrain him.
I’ve got to tell her—
But no intelligible sound would escape his lips; he only sputtered and spat gibberish and blood.
“Shhh. Don’t talk, Adam,” Sara admonished tenderly. In that moment, he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she loved him. “Everything’s going to be okay,” she whimpered, her words forced through tears.
I must be in worse shape than I thought.
“The ambulance is on the way.”
I wonder if they’ll take me to St. Luke’s.
As Adam’s vision clouded over and Sara’s face blurred, he plainly heard her sobbing and felt her swaying. The pitching motion was soothing, but before long, he couldn’t even feel her arms around him. A strange, offbeat thudding noise faded into existence, and Adam soon realized he was listening to his own heartbeat. The thump-thump beat paused, then picked up again, faster and less rhythmic.
I may not make it.
The last thing Adam remembered was a loud, shrill whine joining his heartbeat in the bizarre stereo mix. The inhuman screaming increased in volume until it drowned out his off-kilter heartbeat.
Ah, the siren. The ambulance. I’m going to be alright…