Hey guys! And welcome to another whumpfest! There's not much plot to this one, just some good ol' team bonding!
All my love and thanks to the guys at Beta Branch for giving this the once over!
Disclaimer: My mission, is to make them mine...but until then...
Red light bounced from stone to stone, illuminating the landscape as it ran its fingers across the dust and dirt that lay undisturbed in the distance. White light joined the red, casting shadows that danced across the baron ground in a macabre display of entwined love. The two colours melting into one as a flare, held firm within the grip of a patrolman, passed in front of the beams of white light being shone onto the carnage that lay across the smooth blacktop, just beyond the curve of the winding road.
Flashes enlarged the shadows, sending them bouncing off the mountain that lay to the right, to settle on the floor of the desert to the left.
Wheels spun as if still attempting to finish the journey they'd started. Smoke rose, clinging to the soft wind that embraced the atmosphere, flecks of silver joined in for the ride creating the illusion of theatrics as if the stage were alive on the road beneath. The audience comprised of the ghosts that haunted the desert. Victims of crimes and accidents of the past. Unnoticed and unheeded. The air full of acrid burn caused those walking through the drama to take a second to wipe their noses of the smell. Cars parked everywhere at the crest of the bend. No pattern in their abandonment. Some with lights gracing the roofs, others less conspicuous but just as vital, bringing life saving equipment to the men and women gathered around a four door sedan. The side, caved in, bent and twisted as if the artist had been in the throes of an emotional breakdown. A larger vehicle, a truck of some description, lay on its side in front of the car, using the bonnet of the smaller vehicle as a pillow.
A man, trapped inside the smaller car, grappled for something tangible to hold onto; something that would anchor him to this world and keep him from slipping slowly into the next. His eyes darted in panic. All those around him were unknown, yet familiar in their uniforms. The darkness of the desert crept slowly toward the horror he was trapped within. Its icy tendrils reaching forward to envelop him in nothingness. To whisk him away from a redeemer who would come to liberate him from his prison. He closed his eyes, willing the reality to melt into something kinder, another dimension where he was safe and free, warm and comforted.
The journey should have been a routine, easy run, from one part of the desert to the city in the distance, its promise of safety held high above the landscape by the lights cast upward from its streets.
The twists and turns of the road were easily taken by the driver. For what was considered a local 'high traffic' area the car passed only a handful of vehicles as it made its way back toward the distant city. As the dusk settled, the driver had breathed a sigh of relief, the day's duties fulfilled, the evening held promise of relaxation amongst the company of friends. The equipment packed within the car had bounced innocently in the back. A few miles behind, another car travelled the same road, Its occupant also relaxing after a hard days work. On the opposite side of the road another vehicle travelled. It's driver less aware of the landscape as he drove recklessly toward the oncoming vehicles. His headlights neglected, his hand rested haphazardly on the wheel while the other hand raised a bottle of Jack to his lips. He drank greedily, the liquid burning as it made its way down his throat to his stomach, sending out numbing fingers to blind his mind from the burden of awareness. His troubles were all consuming as he coughed, spitting alcohol-soaked saliva onto the dash board. A grubby, rough hand wiped at his face. He closed his eyes as he drank what little remained in the bottle. The lack of headlights hid his vehicle from view as he swerved onto the wrong side of the road. The bottle fell from his grasp as his eyes opened to the headlights of the oncoming car. He would have screamed had he had time. He wrenched the steering wheel to the side, sending the truck into a spin that resulted in its rolling onto its side, trapping another car beneath its weight as the vehicles collided. The sound of scraping asphalt, groaning metal and breaking glass were the soundtrack to the collision. The symphony of carnage escalated as the truck continued on its slide, dragging its victim with it. Slowly, after what seemed an eternity, the two vehicles finished their dance and settled against the backdrop of the mountain. As the sun finally disappeared beyond the horizon the echoes of the accident finally drifted away on the wind.
Minutes passed without movement, the air still warm and humid from the day's sun. A tyre spun. Liquid dripped. A voice cried out in pain.
The driver of the truck came to with a start, the alcohol taking a backseat as the adrenalin surged within his body. He grappled with the seat belt, finally freeing himself to land painfully on his side against the passenger door. As his mind processed his situation he began to realise the full extent of the crash. Beyond the windscreen, cracked and splintered, lay the second vehicle. Unlike the truck, the car had stayed upright, its front smashed and bent, its back crushed and bleeding. He pulled himself up toward the drivers side door and the exit to freedom, falling heavily to the ground below . Unaware of the cars approaching the carnage, he stood, stumbled, and slipped his way forward, using the remains of the truck as his guide rail.
"No. NO NO NO NO!" He exclaimed as the gravity of the situation hit him full force, sending him off balance. As he fell back down to the dirty ground beneath he caught a glimpse, a brief reflection of the driver of the car, his face slack and unresponsive. Someone ran toward the fallen man, trying to check him for injuries. As they caught the smell of alcohol from his heavy exhales they backed off, and instead focused their attention on the other driver, the victim to the other man's lack of sobriety.
Police cars and ambulances arrived within minutes. The stretch of road that held the accident within its grasp was close enough to a small town for help to arrive quickly, the inhabitants of said town having dealt with many a collision along that stretch of road.
Beyond the mountain a car drew near. Its driver leaned forward, hands gripping tightly to the wheel as he rounded the bend, only to be met with a uniformed officer waving him past. He drove carefully, slowly, needing to see yet terrified to look. He recognised the car, recognised its inhabitant. His heart paused mid beat. His breath caught within his throat. He barely stopped his car before leaping out and running toward the grotesque twists of metal and glass. Ignoring the protests of the officers attempting to stop him he surged forward screaming a name as he ran. Hands stopped him so he turned the full force of his panic toward them, demanding to know what had happened, intent on letting those know who were preventing him from moving forward that the man inside the car was a friend, a brother, family. The officer drew back slightly, now fully understanding the other man's panic. He held his hands out in a placating manner as he explained, the full force of the situation rolling over the other man like the winds of a hurricane.
Inside the car the injured man heard a sound, a voice, familiar and comforting despite its tone. The voice was shouting, demanding to be allowed access. The voice was the anchor the injured man needed to bring him back from the darkness.
Brandt forced his eyes open once more, his hand reaching out toward his friend. A woman to his left tried to calm him, tried to speak words of comfort as her hands moved like razor blades across his body.
She shouted something to her colleague and seconds later the familiar, comforting voice crossed the distance to secure its place beside him.
"Hey," said the Englishman in false levity as he climbed carefully into the passenger seat.
"Hi," whispered Brandt, taking hold of Benji's outstretched hand and gripping tightly.
"They wouldn't let me near. Not until your little friend gave the nod. Thanks, by the way."
The woman to Brandt's left nodded, barely looking up at Benji as she continued her search of Will's body.
Benji swallowed, trying to not show his reaction outwardly to the situation. "So, you're in good hands. They'll have you out of here in no time."
"You ok?" asked Will with concern.
"Me? Yes, of course I am. I'm not the one who played chicken with the truck, remember?"
"Didn't know he was there."
"Well, driving at night without lights while drinking will hide a car from view. Don't worry about that now. You just concentrate on doing whatever it is the nice lady tells you to."
Benji nodded toward the young paramedic. She moved her hands carefully across Brandt's body and he sucked in a breath as her fingers brushed his left side. Benji watched as she ducked down, picking up a torch to get a closer look.
"What's wrong?" he asked as his hand gripped Will's tighter.
"Nothing you guys need to worry about," she assured as she threw a look to her colleague who came to kneel beside her.
Benji ignored the exchange of looks, instead focused on Brandt who'd squeezed his eyes shut in a poor attempt to block out the nightmare.
"How're you feeling?"
Will opened one eye to look at Benji.
"Right, of course, silly question," said the former technician apologetically. Benji's eyes roamed the destroyed carcass of the car. The passenger side door had been ripped free by the impact of the crash and the drivers side door had been cut off by the emergency responders. The dash board was a mess of wires and cracked plastic. Will's knees were caught under the steering wheel column, the damage to his legs hidden beneath the twisted metal that was once the intact front of the car. Benji swallowed, forced his mind to focus and pulled his thoughts away from the vivid images his imagination was conjuring up.
"Hurts," whispered Will bringing his friend out of his shocked daze.
"Excuse me?" Benji leaned forward, trying to catch the paramedic's eye.
"Marie," she offered.
"Marie, is there anything you can give him for the pain?"
"Not just yet I'm afraid," said Marie as she repositioned herself beside Will's head. She pulled out a small penlight and pried open his eyes. Will swallowed as the small pinprick of light escalated his headache.
"What's his name?" Marie directed her question to Benji.
"Ok, William? We're going to put a neck brace on you. Its just precaution and it'll help keep you nice and steady. Its going to feel a little tight though, like a badly fitting bow tie, ok?"
She was reward with a small smile as she reached around, fastening the brace around Will's neck.
"Ok, there we go. Better?" she was answered with a subtle nod.
Marie reached down into the case by her knees and pulled out an IV bag. She deftly inserted a needle into one of the prominent veins in Will's arm, securing the tube with tape she then hooked the IV bag onto the top of the broken door.
"Ok William, I need to ask you a few questions and then I can help deal with the pain. You allergic to any pain meds at all?"
Will frowned, his mind trying to process all the words that had just been said. His brain was foggy but he forced an arrow of focus into the mass of thoughts cascading through his skull.
"No. Don't think so."
"He's not," said Benji, confidently. "Read your file," he said in answer to Will's unspoken question.
"Ok, that's good. William? I need to know how your legs feel. Can you open your eyes? That's good, now look at me. How. Do. Your. Legs. Feel?"
Benji's heart spun as he watched Will force his mind to understand the question.
"Not sure," whispered the injured agent. "Can't tell. My head hurts, and my side. Can't feel any pain in my legs."
"You've got a concussion, and there's a puncture wound in your side. From what we can tell your legs are pinned by the engine block. Are you certain you can't feel any pain in them?"
Will shook his head again, licking dry lips as he looked from Benji to Marie.
"Bad?" he asked.
Marie smiled, the action both confident and reassuring. "Your pressure is good, so's your heart rate. That's a good sign. You're probably just pinned but we're going to need time to make certain, ok?"
"How much time?" asked Benji in a small voice.
"My friends here are going to cut away the car piece by piece. They can't go too fast as we don't know what's supporting what under that mess at the front yet. So for now, William," she glanced at Benji with her eyebrows raised.
"So for now William, its you, Benji and me hanging out and shooting the breeze."
"Sounds like fun," whispered Brandt.
"Well, I'm told I'm good company," said Marie as she adjusted the IV to Will's arm. "You keep still, keep that pain at bay. I'm going to give you a mild numbing agent around the wound in your side, it'll feel a little weird at first but then the pain should hopefully abate."
Benji sat next to his friend, mouth agape. Surely they could just cut him free, ship him off to the hospital and then Ethan and the team could break him free to look after him themselves. That was how this was supposed to work. Right? Not being trapped in a car for god knew how long with nothing but a terrified Englishman and way too false-calm a paramedic for company.
Will's hand gripped Benji's tighter as Marie applied pressure to the wound in his side before she began administering the numbing injections.
"Sorry," she apologised as she pressed harder. At first the wound had seemed superficial, but as she examined closer she could see bone, proving her fear that a rib had punctured the skin. Better outward than in. She'd take that small grace over anything right now. She ducked down again, one hand against the injured man's side, the other shining a light over his knees. Her partner, Mike, was at the front of the car, shining his own light into the crushed front of the car. So far, neither light had met. She looked up, catching his eye. Shaking her head she conveyed her fear. They had no idea the damage caused, or if the victim was loosing blood. So far his vital signs pointed to the positive, but Marie knew all too well how quickly those signs could fail.
Psst, see that little review button? Go on, ya know you want to!