A Life Spared
I could hear the ripping sounds of fabric, as my husband, Joseph prepared Corrie for an appendectomy. "Making an incision in lower right abdomen", I announced, ignoring my husband's deep gaze. "Elizabeth…is that your answer? We're military doctors, not Gods! You know this might not work", Joseph's deep Irish accent hissed at me.
"It's not fair, she's still a child! She deserves better than a bullet through her appendix!", I huffed, my frustration bringing out my French accent. Oh, Lord! Why wont he understand?
"Located the appendix", Jo sighed in defeat. Oh! He does understand. Hallelujah!
"Preparing for appendectomy", I gripped firmly onto the 10 millimeter scalpel. Inside Corrie was a red jungle of muscle, tissue, blood and little fat. The smell of salt, iron and surgical spirits invaded my nasal cavities and clogged every inch of the room. I severed the useless organ from the rest of the tissue and the cecum. Joseph was right next to me to close the large intestine. The appendix looked like a long, bloody finger, boneless and flexible. Around the top was purple and darkening. A 5.56mm assault rifle bullet was lodged into it. "I can imagine her pain", I examined it in awe.
"I'm preparing to close", Joseph mumbled, my guess is that he was still in angst from earlier…
We were about to puncture skin, when the windows lit up. Roaring of truck engines and the methodical stomps of boots froze me to the spot. "What in the name of-"
"Patrolling soldiers!", I interrupted Kevin's rant. Joseph and I glanced at each other briefly before grabbing Kevin and diving under the dining table. "We can't leave Corrie exposed!", Kevin cried out. "Shut. Up", I growled lowly, leaving Kevin to gulp in fear. A few seconds later it all stopped.
"That was really close", Jo whispered….
I remember three days ago, my husband and I were hiding in the dense vegetation of the outback. Being military doctors and serving Australia in this invasion was like having a death sentence, fearing for our lives we grabbed as many medical supplies that could fit into our Rover and ran. We were camping for at least a week when we were found. A faded Jeep stopped nearby, a teenage boy hopped out and started whirling around as if looking for help. He spotted movement when Joseph came back with some twigs to start a fire. "Help! My girlfriend, she fell asleep and sh-she wont wake up!…she's lost a lot of blood". His first words shook me to my senses and willed me to help him. The boy's evaluation was correct though. Corrie, the girl, might not live to see morning. That night I tried nursing her as best as I could, Joseph started interrogating the boy, Kevin. He told us that there were eight of them and that they were the cause to the bombing of Heron Bridge, Corrie got shot in the process and he was planning on taking her to the fair grounds to be treated. What Kevin didn't know was, thanks to the stunt they pulled, anyone who gave themselves up now…were executed on the spot. Joseph and I couldn't perform the appendectomy in the dinky tent we lived in, so we were forced to relocate in a small cottage and hour away. I was desolated and camouflaged by the dry waist length grass. Once inside we spent 25 minutes setting up and looking for an appropriate place to work on Corrie. We decided on the dining room table, tying my strawberry blonde hair into a tight ponytail, my electric cobalt blue eyes searched the kitchen for any extra equipment. "This house works on gas. That's excellent", Joseph appeared in the door way. "That means that the appliances must be working…I'll heat the blood bags in a pot of warm water", I spoke hastily.
"I'll start setting her up", Joseph disappeared. Minutes later I entered with the lukewarm bags and gave it to Joseph. He plugged the crimson bags into the tubes, that were inserted in Corrie's pale and slender arms. Kevin began closing the window's curtains, then we began…
"Lizzy", Joseph cleared his throat, pulling me out of my thoughts.
"Yes?", I asked as I glanced at Corrie. She looked better, the color in her cheeks were coming back. "I think it'd be wise to lend her some clothes…", Joseph trailed off at my bewildered stare. Finally reality sunk it, "Yeah! I'll go get her something", I sighed. I replaced Corrie's sneakers, jeans and shirt with one of Joseph's oversized t-shirts and washed around her wound and the rest of herself. She looked so fragile, we gently moved her to the master bedroom. "Where's Kevin?", I realized he wasn't around. "I gave him 2 Lexotan pills…he needed it", Joseph gestured to the small guest room. I checked up on him, he was passed out diagonally over the single bed and snoring softly. Poor kid, he deserved the sleep.
Next thing I knew, I was struck by a disagreeable odor, burning flesh. "What are you doing?", I came up behind Jo and the fireplace. "Cleaning up", Jo pointed to the charcoaled piece of flesh. I retreated to the bathroom and looked up into the mirror, in return so did a stranger. She was sickly thin, dark purple circles decorated her eyes from the lack of sleep. Her vibrant eyes were dark pools of blue. Lifeless. Dull. Her once creamy ivory skin, now chalky pale and her dried crack lips sat in a permanent frown. "I did this to myself", I chuckled humorlessly at my reflection, shaking my head sadly. After a cold shower, I found myself in Corrie's presence, she looked better and Joseph said she'll pull through. I slumped into the rocking chair in the corner and felt the tugging of a long desired sleep. A small smile appeared on my lips, oh how I missed and craved this sensation as I let it pull me in. Seconds later I was in a dark oblivion.
"Lizzy…Elizabeth!", Joseph's voice pulled me from my dark and peaceful haven.
"What?", my voice sounded strange to me due to the lack of use. I gazed at my surrounding and it seems I'd been moved from the master bedroom to the room Kevin slept in. "I thought you were dead", Joseph smiled softly.
"Ha. Ha. How long was I asleep?", I began to sit up.
"Three days", Joseph whispered, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear. I sat up and stretched, listening to all my joints crack. "I don't believe you", I moaned with stiffness.
"Believe it. Corrie's awake", Joseph sat next to me and shoved a spoon into my mouth. I swallowed quickly, then began coughing hysterically. "What was that?. It tasted horrible", I grunted.
"It should. It's two day old broth", Jo smirked
"I can't believe you!", I scoffed, grabbing a pillow and started smacking him with it. I got up and decided a warm can of tomato soup never hurt no body. I met up with Kevin, Joseph and the conscious Corrie in the master bedroom. "Hey, Corrie. How are you?", I smiled warmly at her.
"Thanks to you…alive", she laughed half-heartedly.
"So what are you two planning to go?", Kevin asked.
"Honestly, we're just going to try and survive. Drift from place to place and help where we can…I'm guessing you two will head back to your friends", Joseph stated.
"Yeah…help where we can", Kevin smiled
Jo and I left later that day and we never saw them again. As I looked back at the house one thought remained. These band of kids will go down in history and Corrie shall be…a life spared.