By: Jason Morton
A mother's tears still stained his shoulder from having to restrain the poor woman as she rushed past staff trying to get to her son who was laying on a table, riddled with bullets. His blood flowed out faster than the trauma team could plug the holes. The woman was out of her mind and distraught. The floor was covered in crimson. Again. It was another bloody day, and it was his job to keep the bystanders, family, and friends from entering the area and interfering as they tried to save the poor kid's life. Standing there, holding a traffic wand as he directed cars away, Jeffrey felt the pain of that mother deep within his heart. For the boy, he still had a chopper ride to another hospital and a long road of recovery lay in front of him. That was if he survived the night and the three surgeries the doctors were predicting.
Jeffrey stood on the side of the road, keeping people from pulling into the main emergency entrance. Sometimes it would be two or three times a night that he would be the one having to avoid getting hit by the passing traffic. Motorists would always take more than a passing interest in the sight of the red and white medical chopper landing on the helipad between him and the building. The chopper landings were a stunning sight and Jeffrey was as guilty of enjoying them as the average person. Today, even Lt. Jeffrey Mayes was not managing to pay attention.
When the bird was back in the air, the boys' family heading two hours away to be with him, Jeffrey cleared the entrance of its barricades and headed back inside. Jeffrey knew there was paperwork to catch up on, status checks to do around the building, and a perimeter sweep to complete. After this, he really just wanted to drink, but a knock at the door kept him from pulling out the hidden flask he kept beneath his desk.
The door opened. It was Sue. Sue worked in the lab and was the senior night technician. She was friends with nearly everyone, including the younger security staff, who had her nicknamed around the hospital as the "Night Cougar." Blonde, petite, athletic, and with deep green eyes, Sue notoriously attracted as much attention as she sought.
"What can I do for you?" asked Jeffrey, turning to his desk, putting on a show conveying he was busy.
Sue stepped into the office, closing the door behind her. She stood at the door, a look of concern on her face.
"I hear you had a tough one," she said, stepping forward and sitting on the edge of Jeffrey's desk.
It was the middle of the summer, and Sue wore summer dresses under her lab coat. With her lab coat open it was apparent that the dresses hit slightly higher than mid-thigh. As she sat on the edge of the desk, her legs dangling as they rocked back and forth, Jeffrey couldn't help but take notice.
"It was hard to restrain the woman. It was her son dying on the table. That said, I get it," he told her.
Jeffrey acknowledged that sometimes there are moral lines that get crossed in pursuit of bigger goals. In this case, keeping the staff secure so they could save her son--that was a bigger goal. He felt for the woman and the grief she was going through and couldn't imagine his son being shot, dying on a table like that, and being helpless to do anything.
"It's too bad," sighed Sue.
Jeffrey looked at Sue, almost afraid to ask, "What's too bad?"
“The boy from the shooting had coded in the helicopter. He didn't make it to the trauma center.” Jeffrey sat there, numb from the news that the boy died, the face of his mother etched in his memory. He'd kept her from hugging her son one last time. The only thing she had asked for was to hold her son again before God took him.
"Now, why don't you pull that flask of yours out and pour me a shot?" Sue asked, pulling two unused specimen cups out of her lab coat pocket.
Jeffrey pulled out the black and silver container he kept whiskey in for occasions like this. Pouring each of them a shot, he held his cup in the air until Sue bumped hers against his.
Sue gave him a flirtatious smile, trying to cheer him up, as she asked, "To what are we drinking?"
Jeffrey thought about it, holding up the little urine cup that he was about to drink from. Normally he would try to be funny and have some quick-witted response, so he was surprised the words weren't forming. Sue had secretly, or not so secretly to some, become his muse as the two quickly developed a chemistry that often made others feel uncomfortable. After today, he felt as if he had nothing to offer.
"Are you still getting off at midnight?" she asked.
"Yes, why?" he asked.
Sue looked into his eyes, sensing the despair he felt. She also sensed something else, something more visceral than his angst over the woman losing her son tonight. Giving in to that visceral need she sensed they shared, she smiled mischievously at her love interest before she answered.
"Why don't we toast your uniform," she giggled.
"My uniform, why my uniform?"
"I'm imagining how happy we'd both feel if it was on my floor with my clothes," she admitted, her cheeks slightly reddening.
They'd become fast friends, mutually respecting one another's abilities at work, and she admired Jeffrey's way of handling the more hostile types that came into the emergency room. He had a way of making her feel safe when he was around. Secretly, she wanted to bring that feeling home with her. At home, she missed that feeling.
"So," she asked, "What do you think?"
Jeffrey liked the sound of what was to come. He had forgotten the feeling of new romance a long time ago. He found Sue extremely attractive, despite the nearly twenty-year age gap.
"I think that's the best idea I've heard in a long time," he finally answered, a twinge of nervousness growing inside of him.
"I'll see you at twelve," she said playfully, hopping down from his desk, and out the door.
Jeffrey woke up in Sue's bed, beads of sweat covering his toned chest, neck, and forehead. The heat was still unbelievable, even at three in the morning. He looked over at Sue, curled up next to him, her shapely legs creeping out from beneath the sheets as her sublime rear end was on display, having wiggled out from beneath the white linens. As he had always expected, Sue's invitation made for an incredible night. Waking up next to such a beautiful creature, Jeffrey was still awestruck that she chose him for her next conquest.
He swung his legs off the edge of the bed, gingerly sitting up. Combing his fingers through his hair, pushing it off his brow to the back of his head, Jeffrey decided to get up and enjoy a smoke. He thumbed one out of his pack, took his lighter, and snuck softly over to the balcony window, and stepped out onto the balcony and into the only slightly cooler night air as he inhaled deeply before exhaling the long exhaust of blue-gray smoke.
Standing there, his skin feeling a chill in the air of the early morning hours, he enjoyed the breeze. Even as warm as it was, the night winds coming in across the junction of the Redrock, Coronado, and Wassappee Rivers brought with them a coolness. He took in a deep breath of the cooler air, feeling it wash over every inch of his skin, as he stared into the skies above.
The moon over Three Rivers was full and bright. Full moons were the same from around the world. Seeing the one above him, he remembered the moon over the hills of Afghanistan. It took him back to his time in the military, his time in the middle of the war-torn country. The night operations in Afghanistan were the favorite of the former force recon sniper. Always being more nocturnal, Jeffrey could infiltrate any area under the cover of night and maintain a perfect mission record.
Coming home after his last mission, Jeffrey carried the unseen scars of war with him. His last mission put him in the "watchtower" position. He climbed up into the hills above an encampment as a Seal Team infiltrated the village below. Things didn't go as planned, due to faulty intelligence, and the teams' luck finally caught up with them after two years of combing through the countryside, taking out targets in nearly every operation. The one that haunted Jeffrey most, that brought out the questions that plagued him, was their eighteenth mission.
Looking up at the moon overhead, he remembered staring through the scope of his rifle as things fell apart. Watching the team leader and the three men on point go through the compound, they were caught by surprise.
Jeffrey had taken the shot nearly twenty-six times in two years. Then, when his team was caught by surprise, he was faced with the hardest of shots. They had found Amri-Al Asad. He held a spot on the number five most wanted list, wanted by the military, the F.B.I., and the intelligence community for his role in bombings. Asad, one of the more formidable adversaries in the terror wars, wasn't going to go down without a fight.
Lining up the shot, as Asad held a hostage with one arm and a rifle with the other, Jeffrey waited for the team leader to order the shot. He was desperately trying to take a clear shot around the hostage, a child Asad grabbed as the team moved into the compound. As he focused his breathing, keeping his hands steady and his mind clear, the order finally came to shoot. The shot whispered in the wind as the bullet escaped the barrel, the suppressor keeping his location from being discovered. Three seconds passed before Jeffrey saw the picture unfolding in the center of the compound.
At the last possible second, Asad pulled his hostage aside, placing the eleven-year-old Afghani in the line of fire. The round hit the boy in the head, dropping Asad behind him, killing the boy and leaving a wounded Asad bleeding on the ground as the seals rushed to surround him. Jeffrey sat up on the hill, staring down at the compound through his scope, his heartbroken. Getting Asad had cost them a price he didn’t imagine possible.
"Baby, is everything alright?" asked Sue, putting her hands on Jeffrey's muscled shoulders, pressing her nakedness against his backside.
Jeffrey took a puff off of his cigarette, letting the smoke roll from between his lips as he flicked his cigarette off the second-floor balcony. Somberly, he turned to Sue and stared at the most seductive eyes on any woman he'd known in the entire world. Leaning into her, he kissed her gently before answering.
"It's just the heat," he told Sue. "No big deal."
"Great," she hugged him. "Come back to bed. I'll turn on the A.C."
"I'll be there in a minute," he told her.
Watching Sue walk away was as enticing as watching her walk toward him, especially as she pranced around nude. Jeffrey just couldn't get his mind back to where he was as his thoughts were of the eleven-year-old he killed and the shot that ended his career. Walking back inside, Jeffrey went for a bottle of water and then climbed back into bed with Sue, wrapping his arms around her.
The next day, Jeffrey sat in his office, struggling to stay mum about his dalliance with the most popular woman at the hospital. She was the desire of all the guys in his division, not to mention many other departments, and he had enjoyed an incredible night in bed with her. It kept him distracted from the job, giving him something else to think about besides wallowing in his grief and misery. Listening to the rest of the guys in the department rattle on about their last shift, Jeffrey overheard something that caught his interest.
"Marcus," he called to one of the newer officers. "Could you repeat that?"
Marcus came over to the lieutenant's desk and sat down. He began to recount the story he was just finishing. Marcus Wales had just come off of the day shift. There had been one interesting thing all day. The River City Response Team brought in a kid that created quite a chaotic scene before being detained and social services were concerned he had a mental health problem.
"Well, did he?"
"I'd say so. The crap coming out of his mouth was the most inarticulate garbage I've ever heard and he must have fried himself on PCP, boss. This kid was as strong as ten of us," Marcus described.
Jeffrey laughed, and tapped Marcus on his bicep, "Are you sure you have been keeping up with those workouts? Maybe you're just getting soft."
Marcus looked annoyed but told Jeffrey to play the security footage from eleven in the morning and showed him the report. Jeffrey logged into the system, something only the lieutenants and the hospital administrator could do. Putting cameras in the rooms was questionable. The last thing they wanted was someone getting bored and deciding to play around in the system. However, this was the reason he was able to sell the hospital on the idea.
"Alright, eleven this morning," said Jeffrey. "Let's see what all the ruckus was about."
He picked the time and date and, striking the play button he sat anxiously waiting for the section of footage to start. The rest of the staff in the office gathered around.. Having heard Marcus describe the herculean-like strength the young patient possessed, they all wanted to see for themselves what the emergency room had dealt with. As the ticker on the clock hit the numbers 11:00, the screen went completely static. There was nothing recorded of the fantastical events that Marcus described.
"Like PCP huh? I guess, since the camera system went down, we'll have to take your word for it," Jeffrey said, looking at the static in front of him.
"I swear, he went through six of us like we weren't even there. Flipped one of the big trauma carts into the air before we could all pile on him. The doc shot him up with enough Thorazine to kill an elephant," said Marcus, his frustration showing as he pounded his fist on the desk.. "I don't understand why the cameras weren't working."
Jeffrey knew the system could have gone out, experienced a power surge, suffered interference if there were too many radios transmitting in the area at the time. With the number of Three Rivers Police officers that Marcus described, on top of their protective service staff, it was probably just radio interference. He reassured Marcus, telling him not to worry.
"Just go home, get some rest, put some ice on the places that are sore."
Marcus calmed down and grabbed his gear bag. As he was heading for the door he was stopped by Jeffrey yelling Marcus's name. Marcus realized he forgot to log the patient onto the persons of interest forms for the oncoming staff.
"He's still here, upstairs on three," Marcus announced before heading out the door.
Jeffrey stood there, recalling the story he heard about this kid. He wondered about keeping him there in the hospital. As hard as the team worked to secure the large inner-city hospital, even their locked ward might not be enough for someone going through such an event. The trauma bed weighed roughly three to four hundred pounds. Reading the kid's descriptors, he struggled to understand how he managed to flip such a heavy bed at five-foot-eleven and only one-hundred and eighty pounds.
Looking at his watch, he picked up his desk phone and dialed three digits. The phone rang three times before the person on the other side picked up.
"Hey, it's me. Have you guys got a blood workup on the patient in M3A1? I'm hoping to hear what his tox-screen shows," Jeffrey explained.
As he stood waiting for the answer, an alarm sounded overhead. The emergency intercom system had been activated.
"Attention, Attention, Code Black. Attention, Attention, Code Black, Floor M3."
It was the kid. It had to be. Jeffrey's gut was seldom wrong. As the officers below him hurried out of the room, Jeffrey hung the phone up and ran out of the office to catch the staff elevator. He missed the person on the other end saying, "Hello, Mayes, are you still there?"
Moments later, Jeffrey keyed his way into the mental health unit of the hospital, finding two nursing staff standing outside the observation room. The men from protective services started to move into the area as the patient thrashed around in his bed, uttering garbled, gravely sentences, and contorting himself in what looked like excruciating ways. They were all hesitant to take any action, even though something would have been better than nothing. The kid appeared on the verge of hurting himself.
"What the hell?" Jeffrey yelled at the head nurse.
More men from the hospital staff, nurses, doctors, and the psychiatrist arrived as all of their available hands responded to the code black. None knew what they were seeing as the young man, all of seventeen, possessed the build of a scrawny, malnourished, teenager.
"We went in to check his vitals and he was making odd sounds. Julianna tried to check his pulse manually. He grabbed her wrist and squeezed it hard enough he snapped a bone," explained Nurse Davies.
It didn't make sense. Even on P.C.P, this kid didn't possess the musculature in his arms or hands to snap the bone of a healthy person. Jeffrey didn't understand how it was possible. As they talked, the clanking around in the room began to get louder. Jeffrey entered the room and told his men to hold the kid down. As they reached for the patient, his tiny arms restrained only by the leather wrist restraints, he arched his back up in his bed, standing nearly off the mattress, his body contorting upward from the bed.
"Jesus boss," Luke Alvarado exclaimed.
Jeffrey grabbed hold of the teen by his torso, trying to force him back onto the mattress. The kid possessed a level of strength that shocked him. Jeffrey had always been in shape, even muscular by definition. This puny teenager he had his arms wrapped around was more than he could get under control with even five other men helping him. They held him down, maintaining a modicum of control over him as he started to thrash around.
Jeffrey yelled, “Would somebody please shoot this kid full of something to calm him down!"
One of the nurses ran into the room, a syringe filled with sedation meds. There was enough to drop a man three times Jeffrey's size, much less the patient. As she struggled to get the syringe into his veins, the teen turned to face her, a petrifying look on his face. His voice deepened and his demeanor changed as the men got him down to the mattress. As she stuck the needle in, beginning to push the plunger, the young man yelled, a deep, ominous voice filling the room.
His eyes rolled back. The kid lay there, his body convulsing, a foul stench filling the room. He turned, looking at Jeffrey, his tongue flicking in and out as a sinister sound emanated from him. As that ominous voice that filled them all with terror rang out through the room again, he bellowed, “Take the shot Overwatch! Take the shot now!"
As if traveling through time and space, images blurred in front of Jeffrey. He felt like he had been pulled back to that moment on the mountainside. A force of nature pushed him off the patient and across the room, the patient's arm coming free and his frail hand slamming into Jeffrey's vest. Jeffrey came crashing down nearly from the ceiling, his body collapsing into a heap, as the rest of the room hesitated, momentarily, but enough for the kid to get his other arm broken free of the restraints.
"What the hell was that?" Alex Thomas, another member of the hospitals' protective services staff, asked Jeffrey as he helped pull his boss to his feet.
Jeffrey looked at the face of the teenager thrashing against his men, seeing the blackest void in his eyes."I don't know."
Three more men rushed into the room, essentially diving onto the boy to hold him down, as Jeffrey and Alex took a pillowcase out of the closet and thrust it over the boy's head. Fighting to keep the boy down, a loud howling overtook the room, shattering the double-pane windows, and bringing half of the room to its knees. As Jeffrey and his team continued to fight with the teen, a man walked into the room behind them all, chanting in Latin.
"Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus, omnis satanica potestas, omnis incursio infernalis adversarii, omnis legio, omnis congregatio et secta diabolica. Ergo, omnis legio diabolica, adiuramus te…cessa decipere humanas creaturas, eisque æternæ perditionìs venenum propinare…Vade, satana, inventor et magister omnis fallaciæ, hostis humanæ salutis…Humiliare sub potenti manu Dei; contremisce et effuge, invocato a nobis sancto et terribili nomine…quem inferi tremunt…Ab insidiis diaboli, libera nos, Domine. Ut Ecclesiam tuam secura tibi facias libertate servire, te rogamus, audi nos."
As the kid calmed and fell into a slumber, the rest of the room stared in awe at the cloaked figure in front of them. Jeffrey stepped aside, telling his men to cinch the restraints. He looked over at Nurse Davies, shaking his head in disbelief.
"Two on security at all times, right outside the door," he commanded, waiting for her to agree.
Jeffrey and Alex walked up to the man in the black robe. The cloak hid his identity from them. Alex pulled the hood from his head, revealing an older, gray-haired gentleman, his hands, held together in front of him. He hadn't been reading the incantation. Jeffrey wondered what it was, and who the mysterious stranger was.
"Who I am isn't important. What is, is that the thing before us be kept in his state of slumber," advised the ominous figure.
"Alex, out in the corridor."
Alex took the man by the arm to escort him out of the ward, past the security doors. The man looked at Jeffrey with a disapproving look, pulling his arm away from Alex and questioning what authority Jeffrey had over him.
"None, and if I have to, I'll take out my gun and shoot you in the leg. Then I'll drag you out there to have a discussion while you bleed on the floor waiting for a gurney to get you to surgery."
Alex followed the cloaked figure into the outer corridor, shocked at his boss's actions. Outside the ward, Alex blocked the stairs, keeping the man from disappearing.
"Jeffrey, is he always that intense?"
Jeffrey walked into the corridor, looked at the man, and demanded to know what the hell had just happened. A sudden crash coming from behind the locked doors to the ward cut off the stranger from answering. Alex and Jeffrey keyed their way back into the mental health ward, rushing to room number one. They stood there, staring at the empty bed, flipped on its side. His men were down, the medical staff unconscious. The patient had vanished.
"What the hell is going on?" Jeffrey screamed.
About the author
I have always enjoyed writing and exploring new ideas, new beliefs, and the dreams that rattle around inside my head. I have enjoyed the current state of science, human progress, fantasy and existence and write about them when I can.