For those of you who are new: You are now reading an online serial pulp novel. If you didn’t start at the beginning, you may want to do so. Chapter 1:Â Down By The Bay. This serial is the sequel to my first novel, Oasis.
As always, I appreciate typo alerts.
Hopefully this chapter is worth the long wait.
Chapter 9 â€“ A Mass Loss Of Sanity
In the rear view mirror, I caught a glimpse of something silver in the sky.
It can’t be.
Before I could get a good look, the object was passing directly overhead. As it did, the Jeep dipped a little, like someone had just thrown a truckload of cinder blocks in the back seat. I felt a weight in my chest, constricting my breath. The noise of driving was dampened and the air felt thick. For a moment, I could have sworn there was Jello rather than blood coursing through my veins.
Just as quickly as the strange pressure had appeared, it was gone. The thing had passed over and come into full view.
At first I couldn’t believe my eyes, and then I just didn’t want to. The weight had lifted, but my stomach dropped just the same. And kept dropping.
It was a UFO.
Fear shot through me like lightning on a weather vane.
The craft was immense. At least a football field and a half long. It looked like a triangular bowl held upside-down in the air. The bottom was covered with large spikes that made it look like golf cleats. It had a silvery hue but didn’t reflect as much light as I thought it should have.
It had been moving very fast but seemed to be slowing down as it neared the city.
My hands trembled on the steering wheel. How in the world are we going to fight that?
Movement from the road ahead caught my eye. Several cars ahead, a little blue car with a large spoiler and fancy rims swerved across two lanes of traffic. I couldn’t see the moment of impact, but I did see the little blue car leap sideways into the air and roll a few times.
I touched the brakes.
That’s going to be ugly. Whoever’s in that car is going to be needing help, and fast.
The drivers directly behind the rolling vehicle slammed on their brakes. Everyone else must have been fixated on the UFO, as cars began to plow into them.
I jerked the wheel to the right and took the Jeep onto the shoulder.
The air was filled with a dozen screeching and crunching and honking sounds. Cars were piling up. Nobody was going anywhere for a while.
I pulled around a car that had spun sideways up to where I could see the grisly wreck and stopped.
The car had ended up wheels down and sideways. The freeway behind it was a mess of glass, steel and blood.
I pushed all thoughts of aliens and UFOs from my head. This was my turf now, and I had lives to save.
I could make out four victims from the blue car. One had been thrown about ten or twelve feet ahead and to the right. One was lying on the ground next to the driver’s door behind the car. It appeared that the car had rolled over him after he had been flung from it. Two had bounced around in, and were still trapped in the back of the car.
I glanced back to the pileup. There were an awful lot of bent fenders, but nothing that looked as bad as the roll over. There was movement coming from most of the cars, so I was hopeful there weren’t any more critical injuries.
I turned off the Jeep, jumped out, and ran to the victim that had been thrown far from the car.
I ran away from home when I was seventeen. The first thing I did was get into an EMT course, and then I worked as an EMT to put myself through nursing school. It had been a couple of years since I was the first responder at an accident, but the basic principles don’t change.
The hardest part of being at a serious accident is not the blood or the gore. The hardest part is choosing who to care for first. That choice can mean the difference between life and death.
As a nurse in the ER it was different. If multiple injuries come in, the doctor in charge just assigns or splits a team. Even when you get stretched, everybody in critical condition gets someone to help.
I might be the only one in a position to help these four. I knelt and looked over the first victim.
His right leg was mashed up under his body. His left leg took an unexpected turn in the shin- probably broken clean through. His head was bleeding somewhere in the back. The back of his head didn’t look right, either. Possible fractured skull. His chin was pushed way down toward his chest. Enough so that I doubted air could move through the windpipe.
I slid a hand under his neck and lifted as gently as I dared.
His head rolled back and a gurgle of air escaped, followed by a shallow breath.
I rested his head back against the pavement. Airway’s open and he’s breathing, just barely.
His heartbeat was faint but regular enough. Overall, there wasn’t much blood, only a bit around the head and then some seeping from scrapes. Any other injuries had to be internal.
Nothing else to do here.
From the pileup, I could hear a couple of car doors opening, and some yelling.
I stood up.
A girl with short red hair was walking toward me.
She looked pale as can be and was shaking. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to hit them. I didn’t- is there anything I can-”
I held up a hand. “It’s not your fault. Do you have a blanket or a coat or anything like that in your car?”
She shook her head.
“How are you with gross stuff?”
“Okay, then I want you to kneel or sit by this guy that I’ve just been helping. Hold his hand, but don’t move his arm around much. Tell him help is on the way and that things are going to be all right. He probably won’t respond, but it’s important to keep saying it anyway. Can you handle that?”
I touched her arm. “Thanks.”
I looked back again at the pileup.
Four guys with gold teeth, baggy pants and bandannas were getting out of a purple low-riding hoopdie.
I hate to be judgmental, but I got the distinct feeling they weren’t coming over to help.
There was no time to find out what they were up to. I went directly to the next victim.
It was not a scene for the faint of heart. His head had been crushed, with his face crumpled inward and the side of his skull cracked open. It’s contents were half on the pavement. His chest had a very unnatural shape to it and was ripped open in places. Blood was everywhere.
There was nothing to be done but leave the dead man there and move on.
“Hey, what’s a matter?”
I looked over at the four hoods.
The tallest one was doing the yelling. “Ain’t you going to help him? What’s a matter? Too white to help a brother?”
I almost laughed. My mother was originally from Spain, and I had inherited her Mediterranean skin. I had even been mistaken for an Arab several times in my life. This was the first time I had ever been called white.
I noticed he was wearing a black, puffy coat. Something inside said it wouldn’t do me any good to argue with a man dumb enough to wear a winter coat during the summer in San Antonio.
I ignored his questions walked around to the passenger door. “If one of you has a cell phone, dial 911 until you get through.”
“Hey, I’m talkin’ to you, boy.”
“Leave him alone, D. We should probably call. This ain’t his fault.”
The glass was broken out of all the blue car’s windows. The car had been mangled pretty good, but the door looked like it might still open.
I pulled on the handle and gave a yank.
The door wobbled and creaked, but it opened.
I hit the passenger seat lever and the seat folded and slid forward.
In the back seat were two women. The skinnier one was sitting with wide eyes, holding on to her knees and shaking violently.
The chubbier one was much more spread out and appeared conscious.
“Let’s get you out of here.”
I reached out a hand.
The skinny girl just stared at me.
“Come on, you’re going to be okay. Let’s just get you out of here.”
She let go of one of her knees and reached up. The right side of her face was covered in blood. The flying glass must have caught her. The wound didn’t look deep, though.
Outside, the hoodlums were arguing about something.
I backed up and helped her from the car.
“I want you to sit down, okay? Over here out of the way. Everything is going to be all right. Just sit down.”
From the other side of the car, I could hear vomiting. One of them had finally checked on their dead friend.
I helped the girl sit down then squatted next to her. “Are you in any pain?”
She nodded a little.
“Where does it hurt?”
She raised a shaking hand and put it near the right side of her face.
“Yeah, that does look like it hurts.”
It was a mess to be sure, and could possibly stand a couple of stitches, but it wasn’t life threatening.
She pulled up the left side of her shirt, opened her mouth and trembled out a “here.” Her side It was scraped up pretty bad and bleeding.
“This is your fault!”
The big guy was walking over to the red headed girl.
“You hit Tyrone! He’s dead!”
Crap. Why does everybody need to make things worse?
I stood up. “Hey, D! I need your coat!”
He spun on his heels and headed my way. “What?”
“I need your coat.”
“You have got to be kidding me, fool. I don’t think-”
“Oh shut up.” I pointed at the skinny girl. “She’s in shock. We’ve got to lie her down and keep her calm.”
He stormed on over to me. His coat arm and pants had a little vomit on them. His burst of anger was probably just to cover up his weak stomach.
I crouched back down and took a closer look at the girl’s side and saw a shard of brown glass protruding from the wound. I couldn’t tell how deep it went.
“What’s your name?”
The big guy handed me his wadded up coat.
“Okay, Courtney. Let’s have you lay down on this.”
The wound in her side was bleeding. As soon as I got her fully reclined, I looked at it closer.
It was probably a piece from a broken beer bottle.
I pulled gently at the skin around the wound it didn’t look deep. Still, sometimes you can’t tell. I didn’t have an IV ready with blood or plasma, nor did I even have any clotting agents close at hand. If I pulled the glass and it ended up being deep and started to bleed much, there wouldn’t be much I could do. Still, it wasn’t likely to stop if I just left the glass in, so I took the chance.
A little flow of dark blood started as soon as the glass was out.
I rolled up the bottom of her tank top a couple of times and pushed it down on the wound.
“Just what the hell to you think you’re doing?”
I glanced over my shoulder.
The big gangster was already back on his way toward the first victim and the red headed girl. “Trying to kill him, too?”
In the small of his back tucked into his baggy pants I could make out the handle of a revolver.
I looked through the wreckage of the car. The three who had gotten out of the other car were looking in at the last victim. “One of you three get over here.”
What is everyone else doing? Just sitting in their cars? I took a deep breath. There’d be time to be angry at the other drivers later.
One of D’s friends came running over.
“You too freaked out to help?”
He shook his head.
“I need you to push down right here where I’m pushing. Until the bleeding stops. If there gets to be too much blood, you pull off your shirt and jam it on top. Got it?”
He nodded. “Yeah.”
I stood and looked back in the car.
There was broken glass from more than a few shattered beer bottles. The other woman was still unconscious, but starting to move. Her left arm was jammed between the driver’s door and driver’s seat. It was most likely out of socket. Her nose was smashed and had bled all over her torso. But it seemed like it was too much blood to be from one smashed nose.
I half climbed in the car to get a better look.
Outside there was commotion. More yelling and more honking. I looked through the broken back window.
A little kid with red hair was charging D. “Don’t touch my sister!”
D backhanded the kid mid stride.
The kid crumpled to the ground.
I looked back at the last victim and saw where the extra blood was coming from.
A brown shard of glass protruded from the side of her neck. It didn’t look like it had severed the carotid artery yet-still not enough blood-but it had to be dangerously close. And wrong movement could push it through. And if she woke up, she would certainly freak out and make a wrong movement.
I’ve got to get her out of here.
Outside, people were yelling and getting out of their cars. D hitting the kid must have pushed them over the limit.
A UFO had passed over. The woman in front of me could very well bleed to death if nothing was done. The crowd outside was growing volatile. The entire world was going insane.
I’ve got to keep it together.
Keep Reading! Chapter 10 is here.