For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers this week, I’m cheating a little. Most know that I’m doing NanoCamp this month and am thus focused on a larger work of fiction. That said, and if y’all will forgive me, I’ll share the scene that I wrote from this picture. It’s way over 100 words, but if I cut it down it just wouldn’t work. Sooooo, short story long, I hope you enjoy it!
WELCOME TO FRIDAY FICTIONEERS.
As always, writers are encouraged to be as innovative as possible with the prompt and 100 word constraints.
Henry David Thoreau said it best.
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
Excerpted scene from my current WIP “Make it a Double”…
Nicaragua, a year later…
The International Health Services team transported out of Nicaragua, two people less than when they’d come. An elite extrication team specially trained for high-risk rescues had rescued the remainder of their team. They’d been traveling overland through the jungle for hours, headed in the direction of the primitive airport. The team was torn, tattered, and exhausted by the time they reached the small airfield.
The extrication team leader waited for the signal that would let him know it was safe to break the cover of the jungle. Two hundred yards away a plane was landing on the grassy strip of land that served as a runway. The plane came to a halt and the side door opened. Armed soldiers jumped, and fanned out to offer a line of protection.
‘Go! Go! Go!’ The team leader shouted as he pushed the I.H.S. team members out into the open.
‘Come on, Louie! Go!’ She heard a male voice shout in her ear as she ran, tripped, fell, and was jerked back up to her feet.
They were in the open, now, to stop could be suicide. No one knew if there were snipers in the area, only that they could be there. That was enough to push them forward as fast as they could run.
A hundred or so yards from the plane, gunfire erupted around them. Breanna dove to the ground instinctively. The soldier behind her dove on top of her, knocking the wind out of her lungs momentarily. Then, he was yanking on her arm, pulling her along with him as he ran towards the aircraft.
‘GO! Don’t Stop!’ The team leader’s voice yelled above the din of gunfire and shouts.
Breanna felt someone else grab her arm and yank her up into the plane. She was pushed towards the rear of the cabin area. She crumpled against the rear wall near a small window, terrified, shaking and out of breath.
She drew her knees up protectively and tried to make herself as small of a target as was possible. The cabin filled with noise as each member of the I.H.S. Team and the Extrication team piled into the confined space.
Breanna remained where she was, curled into a tight fetal position and silent. She shook with fear as she felt the plane begin to roar down the grassy runway and lift off. It wasn’t until she felt the wheels lift off the ground that she grew brave enough to look out the window. Breanna stared out, watching the land fall away until the jungles looked like bread mold. For a moment, she felt the lump rise into her throat, and reluctantly gave way to tears.
‘Damn!’ She wept in anger and grief. ‘Damn it, Jacque! This is all your fault. They told us to leave. They told you there was going to be violence. You didn’t listen! Damn you!’
After some time, Breanna looked around her and saw the gathering of black uniformed officers and breathed a quick prayer of thanksgiving. She only faintly remembered placing the emergency call that activated the elite extrication team. They had come within hours, almost as if they had been expecting the call.
Tears threatened to fall anew as she thought about the chaos of the last week. Her Commander and friend, Major Jacque Williams had been caught in the crossfire just a short two days ago. He’d been fatally wounded. Jacque had died lying in the street and no one, absolutely no one could get to him to help. A corpsman tried, and had been shot through the head while he was pulling Jacque off the street. After that, no one even dared.
Breanna began to shake uncontrollably in shock as she remembered what it had been like to watch him writhing in pain. Breanna had wanted to run out into the street, but had been held back by the others on the team. She had fought them until they’d drug her back inside the ruins of the church that had served as their clinic.
The small plane suddenly jostled in turbulence and she unconsciously cried out in pain. She hadn’t realized just how much she hurt – physically hurt. She didn’t care. She stayed curled up, staring out the window to the land so far below.
‘Ma’am, are you hurt?’ One of the members of the extrication team asked as he reached out to touch her shoulder.
Breanna jerked back and tried to move farther into the corner, yelping with pain.
‘Ma’am, you’re safe, now.’ He tried to reassure her. ‘Are you hurt?’
Breanna stared at him with tears streaming down her face. Her jaw moved, but no sound came out of her mouth.
‘Medic?’ The officer spoke into his radio, then waited for the medic to crawl back to join him. ‘Would you check the Lieutenant out?’
‘Sure thing.’ The medic smiled at her. ‘Okay, Lieutenant O’Malley. I’m Sergeant Major Ewers. Show me where you’re injured.’
Breanna stared at him as tears glazed her eyes and fell unheeded. She held tightly to her shoulders in a hug. She felt only the pain, but couldn’t respond enough to tell him where she was hurting. She just stared up into his eyes, hoping he could understand.
Ewers saw the telltale staining on the shoulder beneath her hand. He also saw the raw fear and shock in her eyes. He’d have to move slowly.
‘Let me take a look at that shoulder, Ma’am… Now, I’m going to take your shirt off nice and easy like.’ He spoke in a gentle, soothing voice that sounded to Breanna like the voice of her dead commander as he talked to a frightened child. He slowly, gently reached up and began to unbutton her dirty and torn uniform top.
Breanna focused her mind on getting back to the United States instead of on being undressed in front of a plane full of men. She refused to give into either humiliation, or embarrassment as the medic scanned her shoulder and bandaged it. Then, he scanned the rest of her body for injuries. His hands, though large and rough, were gentle as he cleaned and bandaged the many cuts and scrapes. She’s seen him frown as he’d noted the old scars and the new, growing bruises.
‘Don’t worry, Ma’am. You’ll be home soon.’ He tried to reassure her again and again. ‘I don’t see any breaks, but we’ll do a couple of x-rays when we get into Panama base. For now, just try to sit comfortably.’