Archive for August, 2017

It took three days before Liz opened her eyes and saw her father sitting at her side. His face sagged, and eyes looked as if he hadn’t slept in days. He had nodded off while he sat in a straight-backed chair next to the bed.

Liz took a deep breath and moved her head to the right. She realized she was in one of six hospital beds now arranged against a wall in the lodge’s small conference room. Each bed was set up to receive a patient, fresh sheets, and blankets folded at the foot. At the head of each bed was an IV pole, an oxygen tank with regulators, tubing and cannulas, and a plastic bag of resuscitation equipment typical in a medical ward. She turned her head back to the left. Behind her father, she could see the next room had been transformed into a clinic or exam room. She could see a gurney, a medical cart with dozens of drawers and even a defibrillator on the top. She wondered if the tall cabinet with the equipment on top was an ultrasound. She wondered who was moving around in the room.

Suddenly the silhouette of a tall woman filled the doorway. “Oh, my. You’re awake.”

Suddenly Will Edmond’s eyes jerked open, and he whispered hoarsely. “Liz! Thank God.” He reached out to clutch at her hand. “

“Dad” Liz whispered as tears filled her eyes. “Oh Dad, I…I lost them.” Her voice caught as she whispered. “I couldn’t save my girls.”

Will moved to the side of the bed and wrapped his arms around Liz. “Shush. It’s all right.” He rocked her as he whispered words of comfort until her racking sobs began to quieten. “I know what happened. The girls are in God’s hands.”

“But it’s my fault. I should have….” She protested.

“Should have what, exactly?” He asked gently.

“I….” Liz began.

“You did what you had to at the time, and the girls are with soldiers. We have to have faith that they’ll protect them with their lives.” Liz slumped against her father’s chest until she grew quiet then he eased her back against the pillow. “You have another child to think of now.”

Liz nodded. “What’s wrong with me?”

The woman that had been standing in the doorway stepped into the room. “Hi, Liz. I’m Cassie Matherson, for all intents and purposes, your medical professional.” She stepped closer, and Liz saw a tall woman with the body of an athlete.

“What’s wrong with me?” Liz asked.

“Dehydration and poor nutrition to start with then you’re covered in bruised, insect bites, infected injuries and oh yeah, you’re pregnant,” Cassie answered.

Liz forced a smile. “Is that all?”

Cassie sighed. “I don’t think so.”

“Well?” Liz watched her father turn away.

“Not really sure, could be a few things.”

Liz looked at her arm with the IV tubing taped to her skin. “But you’re a doctor, right?”

Cassie answered. “I’m a Physician’s Assistant. I’m treating you with antibiotics for now.”

Will interrupted Cassie before she could continue, “You’re getting better, and we’ll figure this out the rest.” He looked from Cassie to Liz and then back at Cassie again.

Cassie laughed. “We’re working on it. Daniel is downloading medical textbooks, left and right. I’ve got an ultrasound and microscope, so I have some basic tools to work with.”

Liz gave Cassie a wane smile. “Sounds like a plan.”

Suddenly there was a commotion outside the door. Harry, John and the two kids stumbled through a side door. An Australian Shepard was trailing behind.

Valentine – Part 2

Posted: August 5, 2017 in 24 Valentine - Part 2

“Trailer axle on the truck would be my guess.” Steve turned and looked through the back window.

“You think we can fix it?” Della asked.

Steve laughed. “With what? We don’t have any tools. We’re gonna have to leave the trailer. I knew pulling that big trailer was a bad idea.” He answered as he slid on his walking prosthetics. “You three stay here, we’re going to disconnect the trailer and let the horses loose. Come on Zack.”

Zack opened the driver’s door and stepped out into the afternoon heat. “Sure is hot.”

“Let’s get this done.” Steve stepped out of the truck and made his way to the back of the truck.

Steve stared at the hitch for a moment, then pulled the handle of the jack up and began turning it. He turned to Zack. “Unhook the chains and the catch on the hitch, so it’ll come off the hitch.”

Zack raised the latch then asked. “Want me to do that?”

“No, head to the back and get the horses out. Tie them up for now.”

Zack disappeared around the back of the trailer. One by one he led the horses out of the trailer and tied them to scrub brush near a streambed to drink from the trickle of water still remaining.

When all five horses were drinking, he hurried back to the truck just as Steve finished the last turn of the jack. He sniffed then commented, “I smell gas.”

“Gas?” Steve whispered as he wiped his arm across his forehead damp with sweat. He sniffed, bent over then slammed his hand against the tailgate. “Can’t we get a break?”

“What?” Zack asked.

Steve pointed to the ground under the truck. “Unless I miss my guess, most of the quarter tank of gas we had left is now on the ground.”

“Oh.”

Della and Darlene got out of the truck with Penny on their heels.

“Are we going to go?” Della asked. “It’s really getting hot in the truck.”

“We can’t leave the horses tied up,” Darlene commented.

“We have to make a decision,” Steve said as he leaned against the back bumper.

“What do you mean?” Della asked.

“The truck won’t go much farther. There’s a hole in the gas tank, and we can’t fix it. We might go a few miles but no more than twenty then we’ll be walking.”

“We have the horses.” Darlene protested.

“We can’t bring them, the trailer is shot,” Steve answered. “Or…”

“Or what?” Della asked.

“Or we ride off into the sunset,” Steve answered. “Without the sunset.”

Penny grabbed her mother’s arm. “We cowboys?”

Steve laughed. “I guess, we be cowboys.”