EXTENDED EXCERPT FROM

Book 2

Tuesday, July 9th


Dr. Elizabeth Reed walked into the depart‐ ment of medical records. For privacy reasons, non-active files could not be accessed via computer. "Hello, may I see these files, please?"


Naomi Sanchez took the list from her. "There are quite a few listed. Why do you need them?"


Digging her shoe into the linoleum floor, her expression matched a little girl caught playing with her mom's makeup. "Shh, don't tell anybody; I forgot to include my admission summary in a few charts. The bigwigs mailed me an admo‐ nition. I want to make sure I didn't miss any more."

The real reason for her review she kept private. The cases pertained to transports from the Silverton Jail. She suspected abuse by the jailers.


"Okay. The third office on the left is empty."


Papers in hand, Elizabeth closed and secured the door behind her. A shiver ran through her body as she read each operative report. Pictures showed similar patterns of hemor‐ rhage. After photographing several pages, she composed herself and returned the folders with a wave. "Thank you. Have a nice day."



Martin "Farmer" Bailey spent his morning weeding the flower beds of the Falls Church, Virginia, foreclosure he bought on Lake Barcroft. The six-bedroom lake‐ front home was a haven from his job as Chief Executive Officer for the restructured Chase Security International. The shower sprayed away a layer of dirt and perspiration. Humming, he remembered working on his family farm as a kid. Thoughts turned to a cherished woman from his youth—Elizabeth.


As he was toweling off, Mercutio, his clownish coon cat, meowed, his magical yellow eyes glowing. "What? Are you thinking of Queen Mab?" Then he quoted from Romeo and Juliet, "She gallops night by night through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love." With a sigh, he put the past where it deserved to be and proceeded to the office.



The words on the phone prompted disbelief. Grabbing her lab coat, Elizabeth ran for the pediatric emer‐ gency room. Calling an adult practitioner for a child was rare. "Lou, what's coming in?"


Louella Miranda, the ER attending, acknowledged her and the approaching contingent.


"Where's Kat Archer?" Elizabeth inquired about the hospital’s pediatric trauma surgeon.


"In the OR. The cops are coming in on their own with a

little kid found on the side of the road. Severe injuries are all the dispatcher said.”


“For those of you who haven't met me, my name is Beth Reed. If you cannot perform the job I ask from you, speak up."


Silverton Police Lieutenant Shaun Murray came running through the doors with the small victim wrapped in a blue wool cloak. Shaun, ashen and sweating, placed the child atop the stretcher. "Help..." Assessing eyes focused on the task and never took notice of the cop about to become ill as his gaze darted between the table and her. "A farmer repairing an irrigation canal. My God....never in my life... How could someone do this?"


"Beth, got this?" Dr. Miranda guided the lieutenant from the room.


"Let's go. Which OR?" Inside the green tiled room, two fellows, the group's senior members, looked at her with shocked eyes floating above their masks. The intonation of her voice snapped them to attention. "One bleed at a time. Life, limb, eyesight." The war zone mantra she mastered volunteering with the UN in Gaza served her well.


The youngster on her table was almost ripped in two with the left leg crushed beyond repair. She was unable to tell the sex of the child; it was necessary to extend the abdominal incision. "Focus, our job is to save...save this little girl."


Removing the little girl's limb was the least complicated part. The staff applied the wealth of their anatomy knowl‐ edge, and Beth used all her skills. Four painstaking hours later, she thanked everyone for their hard work. By the conclusion, she learned everyone's name. "Dr. Ryan, please check in with Dr. Archer. Keep a close eye on our Jane Doe."


"Dr. Reed, is she gonna make it?" the young fellow asked.


"There’s a possibility. Now, a combination of luck, skill and hope, with a solid need for God's help takes over."


Shaun Murray was pacing the corridor when Elizabeth left the OR. "Dr. Reed?"


"Lieutenant."


"Um, I brought in the child. Did...?" His voice wavered. "The little girl survived the procedure." Elizabeth kept walking.


"Did you find anything to identify her?" Eyes heavy with grief greeted hers.


"Sorry, I wish. Maybe if she wakes up." She picked up her pace.


A hand on her shoulder slowed her down. "How can you be so cold? You saw what happened to her."


A purple clog squeaked as she turned. "Of course, I spent the last four hours putting her back together. Lieu‐ tenant, would you ask that question of a male surgeon? Now, if you’ll excuse me."


With her office in sight, she hurried to it before unlocking the door and pressing her back against it. As she slid to the floor, tears started to fall. The image of the little girl she operated on played over in her head.


A screaming alert gave her little time to work through her emotions.


Copyright © R.L. Dunn