Chapter Index for newbies and slackers.
Chapter 10: Wounded
Chapter 10: Wounded
Mike and Kyle rushed towards the front door of Jack’s home, wheeling the gurney and the terrorist it bore along with them.
“Hey—wait up! You’re not bringing him into my home! We’ve got women and children in there,” Jack shouted to the two. They paused, turning back around to look at him.
“I need to put him somewhere!” Mike said, exasperated.
“The garage then,” Jack said, waving them in the direction of the garage. Scraps of wood and power tools from the Kyle’s hasty spike strip construction project were strewn all over the place. Jack kicked the debris out of the way, clearing a path for the gurney to travel. The chickens, who had been sheltered in the garage in a makeshift cage, clucked with excitement at the new arrival.
With the gurney in place, Mike set about checking the man over. He looked at the bandages, the tourniquet placed above the wound, and evaluated his vitals, and then went to work adjusting the tourniquet and reinforcing the dressings on the wound. The gunshot wound was in the middle of the man’s thigh, with a small entrance wound and a much bigger exit wound.
“Mike—what is happening out there?” Kyle asked.
“It’s a nightmare—total chaos. I’ve been running non-stop, one call to the next. First it was car crashes from people rushing home. Then, late last night, it was injuries from looting and robbery. Cops had a big clash with rioters at the mall—folks were going nuts trying to steal tablet computers, if you believe it. That was a total mess. With the power grid down and people on edge, that was bad enough—the hospitals were overwhelmed pretty quickly. Then, this morning happened. These guys had it all planned out,” Mike said, nodding towards the man on the gurney.
“The evacuation notice to get people running for their lives, then BOOM, set off your truck bomb and murder a whole bunch. Wait for police and EMTs to respond and set off your ambush.”
“We barely made it out of there.”
“Why did you come here and not go straight to the hospital?” Jack asked. Mike looked up from his work.
“No way we would have made it—the route is too jammed up by now, too crazy. I needed somewhere safe, where I could make sure this guy was stabilized and help out Officer Bowman over there. And, I thought Brooke and the kids might have come over here last night—are they around?” Mike asked, still clearly oblivious to the ordeal that his wife had gone through. Jack and Kyle exchanged glances.
“Mike!” came an excited cry of relief from the Rourke home, interrupting Jack before he could begin. Brooke, her injured arm in its makeshift sling, rushed out of the door to her husband’s side. Fiona followed after her.
“What happened to you?” Mike asked, gesturing to her injured arm with a look of panic on his face. Brooke collapsed into his arms, sobbing. Mike wrapped his arms around her, holding her close. Brooke buried her face into his chest; the strong façade she’d put on earlier that morning crumbling away.
“Where were you?” she managed in between sobs. Mike held her tightly.
“I’m sorry—they needed me at work,” Mike said, struggling with the words. He was confused, overwhelmed.
“We needed you at home!” Brooke cried. Mike looked to Jack for assurance, the hurt welling up in his eyes.
“Things were pretty bad on your street. Brooke held down the fort and kept your kids safe. She did a great job,” Jack said, not wanting to get into the full details with a police officer standing right next to him. While their actions had been out of necessity, legal entanglements were the last thing they needed at this point.
Bowman watched, rocking with impatience.
“Come on, we need to keep this scum bag alive. I’m gonna be damned if I let the one suspect in custody—“ Bowman started, but Kyle interrupted with a raised hand.
“Give ‘em a moment. Ya’ll have made it this far without keeling over dead—you can wait another minute,” he said.
Mike overheard the exchange. He took a deep breath, trying to compose himself.
“Actually, he’s stabilized for the time being, Officer Bowman. We’ve got the bleeding largely under control for the short term. But I need to go grab my bag and some gear out of the ambulance so that I can attend to you.”
Officer Bowman grunted his approval.
“Let me borrow those scissors,” he added, nodding to the heavy-duty paramedic shears on Mike’s belt. Mike handed them over, and then he and Brooke left, heading for the ambulance. Brooke leaned heavily on Mike’s shoulder.
Bowman staggered towards the terrorist. Encrusted with blood and burnt flesh, he looked like an extra from a zombie movie. His injured right arm hung limply at his side, the shears held awkwardly in his left hand. He began cutting off the chest rig’s straps, having a difficult time of the task.
“Let me help,” Jack offered. Bowman took a moment, pausing and looking into Rourke’s eyes. Jack could see the exhaustion, the anger, frustration and anxiety at work. He could also see a fogginess behind those eyes—Bowman’s injuries had taken their toll on him, though he was determinedly powering forward. The police officer looked at Jack for an uncomfortably long time before he finally handed over the shears.
“Alright. Cut all that stuff off of him. We need to search him really well—I did a quick pat down and found a handgun and a big ol’ knife,” Bowman said, wobbling on his feet.
“Of course. Fiona, can you grab Officer Bowman a chair? Then, Mike will probably need some warm water, bandages, and towels,” Jack said. Fiona unfolded a metal folding chair, and Bowman nearly collapsed into it.
“Thank you, ‘mam.”
Jack went to work with the trauma shears, cutting through the webbing straps that held the chest rig in place. The presumed terrorist looked completely unconscious, but Jack kept a wary eye on him as he worked.
The chest rig was simple in construction, with three button-flap magazine pouches, each large enough to hold two AK pattern magazines, and then two grenade pouches on either side. The chest rig still held three magazines—Jack drew one, checking the bullets on top. Surplus Russian 5.45x39mm.
“AK-74. Guess he would have a fair amount of trigger time behind a Kalash.”
Jack tossed the remains of the chest rig on the floor, then moved onto searching the man’s pockets.
Mike and Brooke returned quickly from the run to the ambulance with a load of medical supplies in tow. Mike quickly went to work, checking Bowman’s wounds, cleaning off blood and preparing the injuries for bandaging. Bowman’s radio chirped with activity, and the officer reached to respond.
Jack tried to ignore the distractions, focusing on the task at hand. He was inches away from a killer, and though he was handcuffed and strapped to the gurney, for some reason Jack still felt threatened. He had no idea just how deadly the bearded Slavic man might be. If he was here, on American soil, as part of an enemy guerrilla force, there was little doubt that the man was trained and experienced in combat and willing to kill and die for his cause.
Emptying the man’s pants pockets turned up a folding knife, butane lighter, a thick wad of American currency and a cheap prepaid cell phone. No wallet.
“No ID,” Jack announced.
Searching the man’s waistline, Jack found an empty inside-the-waistband holster and knife sheath—previously the home to the pistol and knife Bowman had found in his hasty search. There were also a pair of loaded handgun magazines—Jack checked those, too. Glock 19 mags, loaded with jacketed hollow points. Jack removed the man’s belt entirely, adding it, the holster and sheath to the pile of man’s possessions.
Jack turned his attention to the man’s leather hunting boots, cutting through the laces and pulling them free. The terrorist had boot knife strapped to his right ankle – a double edged knife he recognized as a SOG Pentagon. That was added to the pile as well.
Jack began cutting at the man’s RealTree smock, slicing through the material, when he heard Bowman rattle off his street’s name. Jack turned, seeing the injured police officer speaking into his radio’s handset.
“Wait, did you just announce our address?” Jack asked, though Bowman was too preoccupied with his radio conversation and Mike tending to his wounds.
“Hey, Bowman!” Jack said, loud enough to draw the attention of everyone gathered in the garage. The police officer turned towards Jack.
“Did you really just tell the whole world our street address?”
Bowman looked taken aback.
“Ya, I’m calling into dispatch for backup and medical. That a problem?”
Jack cursed under his breath.
“We’re able to monitor your transmissions with a decade-old Radio Shack scanner. You can bet this guy’s comrades are monitoring them, too.”
“And now they know exactly where this guy is,” Jack said, jabbing a thumb towards the restrained man.
Fiona, returning from the house with an armful of supplies, gasped in shock. Jack turned, hair standing on the back of his neck as he locked eyes with the now conscious terrorist fighter. The man’s beady eyes were fixed on him, his gaze oozing with hatred.
“My brothers will come,” the man said, his voice weak but full of menace.
“And then, by Allah, you will all die.”