Friday, August 2, 2013

Chasing the Lost by Bob Mayer

Chapter Two

Chase ran to the door, following Erin to the large, blood-stained table where Chelsea lay on her side. An IV ran into one leg above the wrist and a large mask covered her muzzle, a pump rhythmically working.

“She has a pneumothorax on the left side,” Erin said as she took a position on one end of the table, pointing for Chase to get on the other. “The bullet hit the chest obliquely before penetrating, or else she’d be dead. It cracked a rib before piercing the lung.”

“Where’s the bullet now?” Chase asked.

Erin shook her head. “In the lung. I need you to hold the outer wound open so I can go in and line up the pleural wound, remove the bullet, then suture it.”

Chase nodded and grabbed a pair of surgical gloves.

“Here.” Erin pointed. “Push the skin forward.”

Chase did as instructed. He looked up as Sarah stuck her head in the door. “Do you need my help?”

“No,” Erin snapped without looking at her. “Hold it there,” Erin ordered Chase. He watched as she used a scalpel to cut into the wound, widening the narrow opening so she could work. Then she dropped the scalpel and picked up a pair of forceps and forced them in. Chase glanced at the swinging door. There was no sign of Sarah.

“Steady,” Erin whispered, as much to herself, Chase figured, as to him, as she maneuvered the forceps inside of Chelsea’s chest. She clamped down, and then carefully pulled the forceps out. She dropped a disfigured bullet into a tray along with the forceps.

“Keep holding,” she ordered. She grabbed a tube and placed it in the wound. “I’m tunneling under the skin following the entry pattern of the bullet.”

Chase maintained his hold on Chelsea’s chest. He could see it rising and falling, but knew that could be the machine working, and had to wonder if she would be capable of breathing on her own.

Erin got the tube in, then grabbed a suture. “This is going to take a little time. I’ve got to do three layers of closure. The pleura, the subcutaneous, then the skin.”

Chase nodded, wondering why there was no sound of sirens. He watched as Erin worked quickly and efficiently, her long fingers tying off the sutures. As she worked her way outward to the skin, she began speaking again.

“OK, Chase. As soon as I get this last in place, we’ve got to immediately re-establish negative pressure in the chest so she can breathe on her own. Go to that cabinet and grab a three-way stopcock, and attach it to the end of the chest tube. Then get a thirty-five-cc syringe, and attach it to the stopcock.”

Chase did as she instructed. Where were the police? He had the syringe on the stopcock just as Erin finished the last suture. She reached up and turned the stopcock. She pulled on the syringe, extracting air from Chelsea’s chest cavity, and then closed the stopcock. She expelled the air in the syringe. She repeated it several more times, and then suddenly Chelsea twitched, coughed into the mask, and began breathing on her own.

Erin immediately stopped what she doing, reached up, and pulled the mask off Chelsea’s muzzle. She smiled at Chase. “I think she’ll be all right.”

“Thank you.” Chase looked toward the door and saw it was cracked open, and Sarah was peeking in once more. “Did you call the police?” Chase called to her.

She disappeared without answering, and Erin gave him a quizzical look. “Wife?”

Chase shook his head.


Chase indicated negatively once more. “I just met her today.”

Erin laughed. “Horace Chase. Always the bad boy.”

Chase bit off telling her about the kidnapping. “I need to talk to her.”

“I’ll clean up in here,” Erin said, sensing the mood.

Chase went into the waiting area. He saw that Sarah had her cell phone out, and he assumed she was finally calling the police.

As soon as she started talking, he knew he had assumed wrong.

“Walter!” she cried out. “They’ve kidnapped our boy.”

Chase couldn’t make out what was being said on the other end. Sarah listened for a few moments, then cut in, voice shrill. “Damn it, Walter. What the hell is going on?”

Again, a pause.

“Who? Who is doing this?”

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Genre – Thriller

Rating – PG

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