Archive for January 11th, 2012

11th January
written by amber

First Aid

Wendall went for a walk in the woods, hoping to come across someone who needed first aid. He’d just taken a course and he was anxious to try out his skills. The instructor had said that knowing basic first aid techniques would come in handy in a number of situations – wherever there were crowds, during sports events and, most especially, in the back country. But he’d gone to the Petersen County High School girls’ basketball playoff and the associated parade and hadn’t treated so much as a skinned knee.

He’d tried to help one of the basketball players who’d taken a particularly hard tumble and showed signs of incipient bruising, but the girl had shoved him aside, saying, “Don’t be stupid, I don’t need any ice, Wendy.” Wendall hated it when his classmates called him Wendy. He hated it when they called him stupid.

So he went for a long walk in the direction of a cross-country hiking trail. The local paper frequently reported incidents of hikers being hurt or lost on the trail. Unfortunately, Wendall got lost himself while trying to find the trail. He had a compass, of course, and used it to figure out how to find his way back to town. He could hear thunder in the distance and he didn’t want to be caught out in a storm. His mother was paranoid about lightning and she always worried if she didn’t know where he was during a thunderstorm.

He hadn’t gone very far when he stumbled into a clearing and saw a prone figure lying in the grass. At first, he thought it was a small child but when he knelt down beside the victim and announced, “My name is Wendall. I’m an experienced first aider. Can I assist you?” he saw that the person, though very small, had the appearance of a teenage girl – pretty hair, a heart-shaped face with no baby fat, breasts. Breasts like a woman’s, looking incongruous on her tiny frame.

The breasts rose and fell, causing him a twinge of disappointment. He would have loved to put his CPR mastery to the test. But she was unconscious! It was up to him to figure out why.

He examined her from head to toe, sliding his gloved hands behind her head, her arms, her torso, her legs, but aside from the black dirt beneath her, his gloves came back clean. He pulled back her eyelids and examined her pupils. They were equal, and the irises emerald green. He leaned near to smell her breath to diagnose a possible diabetic coma and that’s when he noticed the odor of burnt flesh. Not a nice odor for such a pretty girl.

Gently, he turned her into the recovery position, ensuring that she could breathe easily while he examined her back. She wore a green filmy dress, not really suitable for walking in the woods. At the back, the dress was smoldering rags, and her flesh looked like blackened welts.

Burn injuries … burn injuries. For a long moment, he could not remember what to do for burns. Cooling, that was right. He’d seen a small creek not far away, so he ran there, shedding his jacket as he ran, plunging in to his thighs as he soaked the garment, then returned to her side. He pressed the wet jacket against her back, realizing too late that he should have covered her with some sterile dressings first. Burns got infected easily. He pulled the jacket free, thankful that it wasn’t sticking to her and causing more trauma.

Some of the dirt came away with his jacket, revealing her wound more fully. The skin of her back was mostly untouched. The burns were on some sort of fleshy extension to her shoulder blades. Very thin flexible bones stuck out from the wounds, broken and charred on their ends. He knew that if these were embedded objects, he should not try to remove them. And if they weren’t embedded in her, if they were coming from her – he had no idea what that might mean.

Softly, she began to moan. He stroked her hair, soothing, “You’re all right now. I’ll take care of you.”

But she jumped up, her hair swinging free to reveal her tiny ears with their pixie points. “My wings!” she screeched, “What happened to my wings?”

“I don’t know. Maybe you got hit by lightning?”

“Stupid human boy!” She began to shrill out a call, a ululation nearly beyond his hearing range. He knew her people would soon arrive.

He trudged home and never told anyone about what he’d seen.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line or topic suggestions in the Comment section of any story. If you’d like me to use your name in a story, I’d be happy to do that.