Chapter 26, Part 1
Mason helped Mariah carry Kyle outside. They didn’t get very far on the gravel lot before Kyle’s legs buckled. They had no choice but to finish lowering him to the ground. He grabbed his wound and shut his eyes in a rapidly paling face.
“Hey!” Mariah shook him, fear welling inside her. “Hold on, we’ll find help.”
“Who’s going…to help…me?” Kyle asked. Mariah grabbed the wadded cloth of Mason’s uniform, refolding it and pressing it against Kyle’s stomach.
“Shut up!” she snapped. The sounds of gunfire were spaced further apart now and the shouting was infrequent. She could only hope that meant that Amelli’s forces were surrendering. Assuming of course that it was Cassie and her friends that had attacked. If not they might actually be in trouble.
“Mariah!” a shout echoed from somewhere above her. Mariah craned her head up but she couldn’t see past the bright floodlights that marked the gravel boundaries.
“Cassie?” she shouted.
There was a whoosh! and a draft of air billowed around her. Mason grabbed at his empty holster as Cassie landed beside them, gravel flying beneath her boots, golden wings spread wide.
“Cassie!” Mariah shrieked again, not sure if she was more surprised to see Cassie or at the fact that Cassie was flying and dressed in some sort of uniform.
“Are you okay?” she demanded, looking at Mason and Kyle.
“Yeah, he’s a friend.” Mariah jerked her head at Mason. “Cas, Kyle was shot. He needs help.”
But Cassie stared down at Kyle, recognition playing over her features. Her expression hardened.
“Cassie, please! He didn’t want to. Please! He’s my friend.” Mariah could feel the wetness of blood staining her hands.
“Mariah, just go.” Kyle’s voice was as weak as the hand he put on her arm.
“Not a chance, Sparky,” she growled.
Cassie stared for a moment more before she shook herself and put a hand to her left ear.
“Josh, get Luke over here right now. I’ve got Mariah, but someone’s hurt,” she said.
Before Mariah had a chance to question the unfamiliar names, there was another rush of wind and two young men appeared. The taller one faced Mason warily as the dark-skinned kid knelt by Kyle.
“What happened?” he asked Mariah.
“He got shot in the stomach. It’s bleeding pretty bad.” Her voice quavered despite her best efforts.
“Let me see.” He gently tugged her hands away and lifted the rough bandage. Kyle stifled a groan and she gripped his shoulder. He placed a hand on Kyle’s stomach around the wound.
“Can you help him?” Mariah demanded.
“Luke?” Cassie questioned when he didn’t answer. Luke looked up at her with wide eyes.
“It’s pretty bad. The bullet’s still inside and resting against a blood vessel. Intestines are punctured. It’s pretty torn up in there. I don’t know if I can…” he said.
Cassie crouched next to him. “Can you help him?” she asked.
“Yeah, a little, but I’m no surgeon. I don’t know if I can get the bullet out and he’s losing blood…”
“Luke.” Cassie laid a hand on his shoulder. “Can you stop the bleeding and fix some of the damage?”
“Good. Do that. We’ll call the medics and they’ll take over,” she said.
“Okay.” He took a deep breath and turned back to Kyle. “Sorry if this hurts, dude.” He placed his hands around the wound again and…nothing happened. At least that Mariah could see. But a bead of sweat trickled down Luke’s face and another low groan ripped from Kyle. She tightened her hold on him. She didn’t pay attention to Cassie talking to the other guy.
She only looked up when Luke finally sat back and wiped shaky hands across his forehead.
“Okay, I was able to get the worst patched up. I moved the bullet away from the artery,” he said.
“Will he be okay?” Mariah asked.
“Yeah. Maybe. He still needs some work,” Luke said.
Heavy boots crunched over the gravel towards them and two Army medics knelt beside Kyle. Luke gave them a more in depth description of the wound and what he had done. They loaded Kyle on a stretcher and hurried him away. Mariah stood and helplessly watched them disappear.