Getting into a writing groove is a wonderful thing. Every so often, maybe once a week, I find myself getting into them. But I usually know when they’re coming due to my habits.
It’s rare I get one on a Monday evening. But that’s what happened.
There is a little background to that, but I’m not getting into that right now: no, that’s fodder for a later post. Today we’re back in the Great Hall, and that’s where Chapter Twenty-Three stays for the duration. Enough being outside; come in and stay warm. Or at least stay out of trouble.
When we last saw Annie she was about to kill Emma. Well, not really–maybe? Perhaps? Not saying, I am, but she wasn’t a happy girl. So we’re a little further down the line at right about the moment Kerry takes his flying tumble. Any idea who those people he saw were?
I believe we’re about to find out.
All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
18:41 to 18:48
The teleport alarm seemed louder that it’d been when Emma was brought in. Annie felt a tightening in her chest, because she was torn by who might appear. If it wasn’t someone bringing Kerry in, that meant he was still out there—and if it was him, then . . .
Don’t think about it. That’s what Nurse Coraline said. That was easier said that done. Right now Annie was thinking about Emma up in the ward resting while Kerry could be—
Two women popped into the teleport area. Annie recognized them immediately: Professors Kishna and Palmescoff. Jessica Kishna held the writhing and moaning Madeline Palmescoff against her body while attempting to drag her towards the triage center. Nurse Gretchen ran over and picked up the injured Maddie, while Coraline barked at Jessica as she prepared to examine the woman. “What happened?”
“We were dealing with Deconstructors.” Jessica brushed some loose strands of hair from her face. “I ran in to help Maddie, who—” She shook her head as the moaning woman was laid upon an examination table. “She’d already killed three or four when she got hit from behind with something. I grabbed her and got us out of the area, but he must have put a trace on her and popped in right behind us.” Jessice looked at Gretchen. “One of our people is down right where we teleported in; you gotta get them.”
Coraline nodded at Thebe. “Contact Fortress and tell them to set you down where they pulled in Jess. Go out and bring them back.”
“Got it.” Thebe grabbed one of the levitating stretches and quickly made her way to the teleport area. A few seconds later she vanished with a pop.
Coraline started Maddie’s examination and started frowning right away. “Oh shit, her insides are liquefying.” As if on cue Maddie convulsed and began spitting up blood. She turned to Jessica. “She just rushed in and took on a bunch of them, didn’t she?”
“Not like we didn’t try to stop her when we figured out where a group of them were, but . . .” Jessica sighed. “Yeah.”
“Nothing I can do for her here . . .” Coraline pressed her palms together as she stood over Maddie. A white glow began peeking out between her fingers, glowing brighter by the second. Coraline yanked her hands apart and spread the white glow over the dying instructor’s body. Maddie stopped moaning, stopped convulsing, stopped doing everything—
“Okay, that’ll do.” Coraline gave her monitor a quick check, then turned to Gretchen. “She’s in status for twenty minutes; get her up to the OR and prep her. We’re gonna have to counter a Liquefy spell.” The teleport alarm went off, indicating someone was inbound. “I’ll be up as soon as I give this next one a look. Go.”
“One of our people is down–” Yeah, three guesses as to whom that could be?
Annie didn’t move from where she stood, but her eyes followed Gretchen as she hurried towards an examination table. “Male, unconscious, apparently involved in a crash.” She slipped the stretcher onto the examination table and phased it through and out of the way. “I detected no signs of respiratory or pulmonary distress.”
Coraline nodded. “Always good.” She pulled off the patient’s goggles—
Annie closed her eyes and hoped Nurse Coraline wasn’t about to speak the name she was afraid she’d speak . . .
There was a sharp intake of breath from Coraline. “Oh, god: it’s Kerry.” She reached for the jacket when she noticed the stains. “Where the hell did all this blood come from?”
Jessica cleared her throat. “That would be from the Deconstructor he hit.”
Coraline spun around. “What?”
“That’s why Maddie and I are alive: he hit the guy.” Jessica laid her index finger at a point above her jawline next to her ear. “Right about here. With his broom—” She drew in a sharp breath. “At speed.”
Thebe nodded. “I saw the body: it wasn’t decapitated, but the cranium was shattered. There was little left.”
Coraline notice noticed gray flecks on Kerry’s face and helmet. “That would explain this other crap on him—” She touched the monitor over the table as the orange glow appeared in her left hand, which she placed directly over his head. “Okay, let’s see what sort of shape he’s in . . .”
As it is, not in very good shape:
Annie walked slowly towards the table as she listened to Coraline call out the injuries. “He’s got a concussion, but there’s no swelling; skull is intact—” Her hand move slowly over his face. “Facial bones are intact; jaw in one piece.”
She couldn’t see much but a still body and the nurses and doctor standing over him. “No damage to the throat or neck; spinal cord and vertebrae are intact. Okay: broken collar bone; broken left shoulder; right shoulder dislocated; left arm broken about a third of the way above the elbow.”
Her breath came in long, slow draughts as Coraline continued her litany. “Lungs and heart are intact; no fluid in the lungs. Four ribs broken. Stomach, liver, pancreas intact; bruising on the spleen. Small and large intestines intact; no detectable perforations. Spinal column and vertebra intact.” Coraline sighed. “Lucky as hell there.”
Coraline’s hand move over the mid-section of Kerry’s body towards his feet. “Pelvic bone is intact; no ruptures or damage to the genitals. Right hip is dislocated. Ah, shit—” She looked over the table to Thebe. “His knee is screwed up again: major tears to the MCL and LCL. And his right leg is broken about a quarter of the way below the knee, so watch that.”
Annie was standing next the table now as Coraline finished. “Everything else is good.” She shut off the monitor and pointed at Nurse Thebe. “Get him up to the ward. Take him to Bed Two; that seems to be a good one for him. Strip him, clean him, bind him.” She began barking orders as she stepped away from the table. “Bianca, you’re in charge until I get back.” She turned just before entering the portal. “Thebe, you’ll need help—take Annie.”
“Right.” Nurse Thebe grabbed a stretcher and phased it through Kerry’s body. She made sure it was back in-phase and holding his weight before pointing at her helper. “Annie, take the end of the stretcher.” When she didn’t move, Thebe changed her tone so she’d get Annie’s attention. “Annie, come on—move.”
“Yes, Nurse Thebe.” She took hold of the stretcher, getting it behind her. She heard the count to lift it off the examination table, and followed Thebe’s instructors to head for the portal and the first floor of the hospital ward . . .
Now we know what happens when you hit a guy in the head with your broom: not very good things.
This is leading up to Annie helping to get Kerry–well, not back on his feet, but at least healed. You’ll see him over the next few scenes, but he’s not saying anything, as being unconscious tends to keep you quiet. Don’t worry, though: he won’t miss anything. ‘Cause when he wakes up, Annie’ll have plenty to tell him . . .