Cody slowly opened his eyes back up. He felt his shoulder getting wrapped up. Looking up, a guy older than him was biting his lip and concentrating hard. The guy was furrowing his brow under brown bangs and a white t-shirt. Cody’s left foot was numb, and his arm felt cold from the ice in the towel. The guy kneeling over him realized Cody woke up, and began to speak.
“Hey kid, we’re gonna get you some help, alright?”
Cody liked his voice; it was hopeful. He squinted at the overhead sun, shining directly into his eyes.
“Ice,” he said weakly.
“What? Oh yeah, sure thing, kid.”
A moment later Cody was sucking on an ice cube from the cooler. It tasted heavenly cool in his mouth. His stomach growled at him, glad to have something to work with but wanting more. He could hear the guy’s voice tell someone to wrap up a bunch more ice together for “this kid”. The world soon became a blur as he realized he was being picked up and carried down the trail. He looked up to see a different face topped with a buzzcut. Cody asked for ice again, and the first guy gave him another cube. Cody wished he had a whole gallon of water to drink down at once.
Pain brought Cody in and out of consciousness for the next few hours. He could remember getting laid down in a car, asking for ice several times, and lots of cursing. He remembered someone asking him questions that he didn’t answer. He remembered loud beeps and yelling and swerving while in the car. Then there were people dressed in all white, pushing Cody in a comfy bed down a long hall and needles getting poked into his arm.
Then he felt his necklace get taken off from around his neck. He began thrashing in the bed with all the energy he had, trying to find out where it went. He couldn’t let them have it. Nobody else could have it. He was forced back down, told to lay still until they fixed him up. He never stopped trying to get out of the bed until one more needle pushed him back into sleep.
* * *
“Now that he’s getting water and nutrients, he’ll have a better chance at making it out okay. He’s in the ICU now that we’ve pulled the bullet out of his foot, and we’re not in the clear just yet.”
“Did it get infected at all?” Tom asked.
“No. The bullet cracked his ankle, but it doesn’t look like it hit anything important otherwise. His shoulder was a clean through-and-through, nothing looks heavily damaged there either. As bad as it is, the bullets could’ve been a lot worse,” the doctor answered.
“Good for him.”
“You do know you’ll have to explain what happened here, right?”
“It’s really nothing more than that we found him on our way to the lake over by school. He was lying in the path, so Jerry and I picked him up, wrapped his arm and foot with our towels and some of our ice, and brought him here.”
“Alright, well, we’re required by law to file a report when we get a gunshot victim. I’m sure the news will be here soon, too, since you know how they like stories like this. We haven’t had to deal with something like this in a year or two.”
“Great,” Tom said, unenthused.
Jeremy had taken the car to go grab a late dinner for them both. The hospital food wasn’t worth touching, and they had been there for 10 hours the last time Tom checked. Tom managed to get in contact with Janie to let them know what happened. He was surprised to hear that her and Mary saw blood in the path, but no kid. Half of him was glad it didn’t seem like he ditched the two of them for more gaming. The other half was relieved that his and Jeremy’s story could at least be corroborated.
Tom flopped onto the tough couch in the waiting room just in time for Jeremy to walk in. A bag full of hamburgers was in one hand, a tray of four sodas in the other.
“Mason called and said that he and Ben picked up the cooler,” Jeremy said, putting the food on a side table. “Have you found anything out yet?”
“Yeah, the kid’s got better chances than earlier. They’ve been giving him food and water.” Tom sat up and grabbed a burger from the bag, unwrapping it.
“He’s awake and eating?” Jeremy began munching on some fries.
“The doctor said ‘nutrients and water’ so I’m guessing not. The bullets didn’t hit him in bad places, either. His foot is only cracked, didn’t get infected and his arm shouldn’t be too messed up either.”
“Damn. Lucky kid.”
“I dunno about lucky, but it could’ve been a lot worse, yeah. We’re also gonna have to talk to the police and news about the whole thing.”
Jeremy took a few more bites of fries before grabbing a soda to wash it down. Right before he took a drink, he paused.
“Wait, Tom. We found him in the middle of the woods by ourselves. I know neither of us have guns on campus, but isn’t that going to look bad?”
“Oh don’t worry too much. I talked to Janie and she said that her and Mary saw blood on the trail before we even left.”
“What, did they not see the kid though?”
“I guess not. From what she said the blood went into the forest like it belonged to a dying animal.”
“Well it kind of did.”
Tom gave a resigned chuckle. “I guess so, yeah.”
[Part 4] [Part 6]
Luck? I think the right term is skill. Skill at getting shot in the foot.
I still need a better name that what I've got, because this "Flickering Light" title isn't making me happy. Some writing got done while I was in Missouri last weekend, but not much (more editing than writing). I've been thinking more and more about self-publishing, too, so we'll see how that goes. Everything would be free to download for ebooks and such, since I'm a nice guy and most of what I would offer there is available here anyway. Of course, if I have to pay for a publishing service, that would suck and I wouldn't do it. At least not right now.
I also looked at last week's post and edited three small portions (1-2 words each) of it that were in dire need of changing. Two were contradictory to earlier parts of the story, which I'm glad I noticed, and one was because "war medic" sounded dumb. I should've looked that up. I've looked up plenty of stuff to go with this story. I learned about catheters yesterday and now I need to look them up in order to justify a single line in my story. I really, really want things to make sense in this story.
Except the whole, y'know, Cody using portals and having a funky necklace-thing. Those are to be revealed sooner or later! I'm sure you're just dying to find out what's going on. No, no, I'm pretty sure that's how you feel. Please keep misinforming me that this is the case.