Oh wow! 7307 hits, 87 reviews, 43 alerts, and 29 favs! Thank y'all so much for reading Stranded! I hope you enjoy this next installment and I do apologize for the wait!
Disclaimer- I no own Predator. Sheila, her doggies, and BJ do own me and they do not wish to sell me to anyone else.
This chapter focuses mainly on Sheila with a few POV changes to BJ, just so you know.
This chapter has been not been beta'ed. I'll put up the edited chapter in a few days when I get it back ;-)
I'm also making note of the fact that a lot of readers have commented on how Sheila shouldn't be able to hear. I mistakenly left out a small segment in the 6th chapter that mentioned her going back to pick up her cochlear implant which allows her to hear. That error has been corrected. So to clarify things, Sheila can hear with her cochlear implant (which she has on in this chapter).
WARNING- This chapter contains blood, gore, cursing, and surgery scenes.
Trees flashed by around Sheila's running form, several branches coming dangerously close to snagging her clothes and scratching her tender skin. Ignoring the stupid implications of barreling around in the woods in the dark even with a flashlight as her guide, Sheila clutched Benny to her chest, determined not to lose him yet again. For the moment though, Benny seemed content to be held, probably knowing that to remain still right now was in his best interests lest his mistress actually follow up on her threats of keeping him a leash for the rest of his natural life. He'd lay low for a few days and let her forget about his mischief until the next time he went off on yet another adventure, thus starting yet another cycle.
When the house came into view, Sheila sagged slightly, relief coursing through her body briefly before once again, the horrific image of the impaled alien floated through her mind, sending a fresh wave of urgency though her mind. The sooner she could get him on the mend, the more likely it was that the creature would survive.
To be blunt though, Sheila didn't even know at this point if the alien would make it, so devastating were his injuries.
Jogging to the door, she carefully opened it, being certain that there weren't any dogs waiting on the other side to bolt out- she didn't need to be chasing anymore wannabe escape artists at this point. Gently depositing Benny on the ground, she gave a playful swat to his rump and watched fondly as Benny took off, probably to search for another playmate to torment-err... play with. A few rapid strides brought her over to a closet off to the side, and taking a hold of the knob, she flung it open and grabbed several pillows and 2 blankets. On the way from the ship, Sheila had gone over her options and quickly determined that it would be best if she could somehow transport the alien back to her house where Sheila could utilize all her medical supplies instead of toting a bag of supplies back to the ship and hoping that she had brought enough. A frown ceasing her brow, Sheila had to pause- just how the hell was she going to move the alien anyway? From what little she had glimpsed though the fog on the floor, the alien was massive and as such was sure to be more than 6 times heavier than the simple 50 lbs bags she was used to lifting.
Sudden inspiration struck her, and with a bang of the closet door, Sheila was bounding out of the living room, through the kitchen and finally bursting into the garage. Despite coming precariously close to dropping the pillows and blankets she clasped to her chest, Sheila automatically reached to her left to flick the lights on. Taking a split second for her eyes to adjust to the bright fluorescent lights that decorated the ceiling of her large garage, she hurriedly moved forward, picking her way around the free standing shelves that held a medley of medicinal supplies until she reached the middle.
Sitting to the right of the large garage in a space especially created for it was her pride and joy, a massive black GMC Topkick she had named 'Hide in honor of her favorite transformer from the movie. While not completely identical to the movie version of the Transformers' Topkick, the gigantic truck nonetheless was impressive in its own right, gleaming brightly, a byproduct of the long hours of careful buffing and polishing Sheila had applied to it. Not really concerned with how immaculate her truck looked at the moment (although a small part of her did preen at her hard work), Sheila practically leapt across the space separating her from the Topkick before snatching open the door and diving into its interior. Tossing the abused pillows and quilts into the back without any care for where the soft things laid, she barely waited long enough for the garage door to creak open, before stomping on the gas pedal. Resolutely ignoring the black skid marks being left on her floor as the tires scrabbled for purchase, she muttered softly even as the Topkick lurched forward with a mechanical roar, hitting 70 miles per hour in 12 seconds flat.
Within seconds, the house was gone from her review mirror but Sheila wasn't paying attention, instead focusing on remembering where the ship had landed. She would have to follow its trajectory as it landed because 'Hide simply was too large and clunky to navigate through the denser parts of the woods, and injured alien or not, there was no way in hell that she was risking 'Hide getting stuck in a swamp because she was in a hurry and got lost even though she did know the land like the back of her hand.
Finding the trail was easy enough though; just following the smoke wisping up into the sky soon led her to the downed swath of trees where the ship had come to rest, and once again Sheila had to silently marvel at the power and strength of the ship. To have landed as badly as it had and come though relatively unscathed was nothing short of a miracle.
The sun was sliding behind the tallest trees and the blue sky was beginning to deepen in color in preparation for the oncoming night by the time Sheila positioned the truck in front of the ship's single opening, and using the winch, tugged loose a good two hundred feet of cable and the blue tarp that she had tossed into the back of the truck prior to leaving her house. Armed with the cable, tarp, and two blankets, Sheila faced the entrance of the ship. Taking a slightly shaky breath in fear of what she might find, Sheila made her way back into the dimly lit interior, relying on her gut feeling and vaguely familiar landmarks to guide her back to the downed alien.
The instant she stepped into the room, she could feel the heavy stare of the alien on her. Heart thudding fearfully against her ribcage, the woman nonetheless forced herself to move across the room until she was just standing out of reach of these immensely powerful arms and sharp talons. "Hey," She spoke quietly even as her hands moved, forming the signs for the words. "I'm back…"
Her hands, she noted with no small amount of irritation and trepidation, was trembling even as she contemplated the alien in front of her. "Look, I'm going to have to tie you into this tarp so when I hook the cable to the…" She trailed off and bit her lip as a menacing growl rolled out of the alien's throat. "I'm trying my best to help you! This is hard enough to do!"
When a minute passed, and the pale colored entity didn't do anything else, she approached him cautiously. It took every ounce of courage she possessed to take that one step that put her firmly back into his reach should it occur to him that he wanted her legs off in a bloody way.
Bti Jfl could smell her fear even with his mask on, and his sensitive hearing detected the frantic beat of her heart. There was terror in her body language, in her voice, and still she came to him. Dimly, he knew the pain was making him weak and quickly made the decision to remain still in an effort to conserve his rapidly diminishing strength regardless of what the female did. He did have to give her some respect- grudging as it was- no other ooman or yautja for that matter would have approached him when he was in such a dangerous state and yet here was this tiny female who was attempting to save him.
Slowly, trying to avoid alarming him, Sheila padded the area around the stake with one of the blankets, carefully folded and wrapped around the metal pole that protruded from the white belly. Fervently, she hoped that moving him wouldn't kill him outright. Shaking out the remaining blanket, she used it to cover his lower body before spreading the tarp out on the mist laden ground. This, she decided, was going to be one of the harder and riskier parts of the rescue as there was no way she would be able to lift him onto the tarp nor could she risk rolling him onto it lest she jolt the stake and cause more bleeding. Even as she pondered the problem, she could still feel the creature's eyes, hidden behind the foreboding mask, on her. She knew with the same certainty that a rabbit knows it's being stalked by a dangerous predator that it was coiled up and ready to strike out at her if needed.
After a minute in which it seemed to be studying her intently, the alien made a gesture that while unfamiliar to the deaf woman, still held a unmistakable note of imperious command. Before Sheila had a chance to figure out what the alien wanted, it moved. With a grunt of barely suppressed agony, it shifted its massive body onto the tarp, the one shard encrusted arm bulging with the strain and causing a fresh wave of fluorescent green blood to gush forth from beneath the largest shard in its upper arm. Sheila knew her eyes were nearly popping out of her head at such an act and abruptly, she had to take several deep breaths in order to quell the sudden tears that threatened to flood her eyes. Nobody or anything deserved to undergo the sort of suffering this creature had so obviously gone through and yet here it was, still fighting to live at the cost of even more pain.
Resolutely gritting her teeth, Sheila bent down to fix the hook of the cable through the metal rungs lining the edge of the tarp before checking over the alien again. Aside from the fresh wave of blood and a more rapid breathing rate, it seemed in the same condition as before and reluctantly, Sheila forced herself to stand back up again and move back toward the exit where 'Hide sat. Before she went, Sheila signed to the quiet alien, "Don't worry… I'll be back. I'm just going to use my truck to pull you out of here and then I'll take you back to my house. I'll get you all fixed up the best I can…"
Not bothering to wait for a response, Sheila turned around and walked away, murmuring softly to herself as she did so, "I hope I can still help you..."
Navigating the corridors of the ship was a little easier this time and in no time, she was back at the truck, pressing the button that started the winch to winding up the cable. For a heartbeat, Sheila thought that the winch was going to refuse to cooperate as it whined and hummed under the stress and sheer weight of the alien but it smoothed out after a few seconds once the tarp containing the alien began moving and gained some momentum.
As the alien finally emerged from the bowels of the ship, Sheila got her first full glimpse of it in lighting conditions more suited to her eyes, even though the lights shining from the truck didn't fully illuminate the clearing.
After all the murky lights and mists in the ship had pretty much obstructed her view but now… now the alien was fully visible. She was gaping at it, she knew, but she couldn't help it. Even lying prone, the thing was positive huge, and if the thing had been standing, it would have reached a good eight feet in height if not more. Clearly defined muscles rippled beneath smooth white hairless skin, or at least the few clean spots she could see that was still free of the alien's green blood. For such an apparently advanced creature, it had surprisingly little on it by way of clothing with the exception of the loincloth (of which Sheila was suddenly thankful for), and several leather-like straps that seemed to serve as the creature's version of belts, crisscrossing across its thickly built hips. The grayish mask, of which she was already well familiar with, seemed to glare at her, blank eyes seemingly following her every move.
Wrapping her arms protectively around herself, she watched silently as with a final creaking groan, the winch finished pulling the alien up onto the bed of the truck, courtesy of the wooden slab that served as a ramp. Shutting the tailgate with as little force as needed in order to minimize jarring the wounded alien, Sheila steadfastly refused to look at the creature even as she scurried around to the driver's side and hoisted herself in. Listening to and taking comfort from the normal sounds of a well oiled machine rumbling alive with a purr, she took a deep breath once again. "You can do this girl. Just focus."
The drive back to her house took longer than it normally would have, what with her driving extra slow and making a conscious effort to avoid every rock and bump in the dirt track. As it was, even with four wheel drive, the alien's massive weight logging down the 'Hide's backend and the rough terrain made for rough going. Sheila was cursing softly under her breath by the time she carefully backed the truck into the garage. "Please, please, don't grab me and kill me," she chanted softly, a litany or prayer.
Lowering the tailgate down, she paused momentarily as a sudden thought struck her. She had been able to wrestle the alien onto the bed of the truck thanks to the heavy duty winch and tarp but there was no way for her to move the alien off. For that matter, she was fairly certain that something that caused the incredibly sturdy 'Hide to sag down on its suspension frame was going to simply flatten any of the tables she had scattered around the garage. Rubbing her tongue along the ridge of her upper teeth thoughtfully, the deaf woman gazed around the garage briefly before making her decision- if the alien couldn't be moved in a safe manner, then it would have to just stay in the bed of the truck while she treated its injuries, never mind that she probably was going to need the truck in the near future.
Sheila, by this point, was exhausted, her neck and shoulders aching as stress tightened muscles protested. After suffering from one fright right after the other, sprinting around the forest in pursuit of Benny, and then sprinting back to the house, Sheila was understandably forced to take a moment to rest which she did by leaning against the side of the black truck. As tired sapphire eyes regarded the silent entity resting in the back of her vehicle, she could feel its eyes studying her in a similar manner. Shoving down the small prickle of resentment that threatened to stir within her- it wasn't the alien's fault that this had all happened- Sheila sighed once again before squaring her shoulders resolutely. If she was going to save its life, she would need to get moving on treating its wounds, namely removing the large pole that jutted out of the scantily clothed alien's belly and stitching the resultant hole shut.
Gawd… she could only hope that the alien's anatomy would be somewhat similar to a human's own otherwise the alien was fucked one way or the other.
Leaning to her right, she yanked open a drawer containing a medley of medical supplies, all neatly organized according to their purposes. With quick controlled movements, she grabbed a pair of scissors, a multitude of clamps, a needle, and about a hundred yards of catgut thread. After some thought, she grabbed a pair of sterile gloves- it was possible the alien could be carrying germs that were beneficial to its systems, but if the said germs were passed to her via bare skin contact, it could potentially kill her or confine her to bed for a long time just because her immune system had never been exposed to these kinds of germs.
As she was looking at the labels of the drugs she had stowed in the next drawer, something occurred to her- there was no way she could give him something that could knock him out or numb the areas she needed to work on. For all she knew, any medicine that was safe to administer to a human could cause the alien to go into cardiac arrest. Grimacing, Sheila shut the drawer gently, mindful of the fragile glass bottles. If it came down to it, she supposed she could use a hammer and knock the creature around the head until it passed out.
Carefully setting down her supplies next to the enormous feet (which she belatedly realized possessed blunt looking claws on the toes), she hoisted herself up onto the bed of the truck with a small grunt, trying to ignore how the muscles of one lower leg was larger than the circumference of her head altogether. Remaining on her knees, she lifted her hands and began to sign her intentions, "I hope you can understand this but I have to stitch together these injuries. I don't have anything that I can give you to help with the pain or even put you under…"
Conclusively swallowing as a rattling growl suddenly echoed around the garage, Sheila continued on, doggedly laying out the cold facts "If I can't stitch you up, the bleeding's going to continue and you will die. However, it won't be quick and you'll linger for hours in agony. It's your choice."
Silence ensued for a split second before the white skinned entity made its answer, again using just one taloned hand to make its short response. "Do it."
Scooting forward until she knelt beside the gore covered belly, she reached behind her and pulled the supplies forward until it sat beside her, waiting to be used. Eyeing the jagged edges of the pole warily, Sheila leant forward and carefully unwrapped the fluorescent blood soaked towel from around the base before tossing it off to the side. Gingerly wrapping one of her gloved hands around the pole, she tugged slightly, holding her breath.
The pole didn't budge one centimeter and around it, abdominal muscles flexed, the only indication of the alien's fresh agony.
Suddenly frustrated, Sheila sat back and spoke angrily even as her hands flashed though the appropriate signs, "Dammit! I can't do this with you awake. It is goi-…"
Abruptly the alien moved, and to Sheila's stunned horror, a freakishly large hand wrapped around the stake and yanked it out. Immediately, the deaf woman had to yank off her cochlear implant to cut off her hearing as a blood curdling roar of pain reverberated from within the bull like chest. As waves of blood erupted from severed vessels and torn muscles jiggled, the alien fell limp, seemingly unconscious. The lax hand compulsively opened, allowing the stake to roll away from the duo until it clunked against the side of the truck with a hollow thud.
For a split second, Sheila was frozen before her training kicked in and she was scrambling like a woman possessed, beginning the long process of clamping off the bleeders and stitching like the dogs of hell were breathing on her heels.
And so ends the ninth chapter of Stranded. ...I do wonder if BJ is going to make it. :-S Even I don't know since the muse is in control of this story and I'm only a tool used to input the words into the computer.
I have already begun chapter 10 and will post it as soon as I have it done. Please tell me what you think!