Shifting Through The Ashes
CATEGORY: JC/PB Angst
SPOILERS: There are none, feel free to read!
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Warning this is an attempt at some serious angst. This is a short series to get some of this evil out of my system so I may return to my current project. Please read this for fun, I did do some real research for this, but I am not a doctor. Have fun! :)
Thanks- I want to thank Cathy for her wonderful editing!!
SUMMARY: Carter. Benton. A collapsed building. Angst is all that can be said.
There was a piercing sound of the rumbling earth, loud screeching
noises, chaos, and then silence. At first the resonance felt like a
bomb, or some kind of deafening explosion. At second thought it
seemed like the world was caving in on itself and it more ways then
one, it did. Darkness engulfed my vision and pain exploded
everywhere, my side, my chest, it was just an endless throbbing
sensation. After a while it was just numb, an alarming thing to
consider. Pain and terror can put the body in such a tailspin that it
has not idea how to process all the millions of synapses relaying
What could be more frightening then being trapped alone, under pounds
maybe tons of rumble and brick? The silence was more terrifying. In
some selfish way, I did not want to be alone. Now I regret ever
making that desperate plea to whatever angle would listen. I did not
want to die isolated, by myself, without the slightest consoling
voice, or warm touch. Sometimes wishes that come true, are more like
Soon after crying in the dark, a shimmer of light found its way to me
and a gentle more desperate voice shattered the silence and invaded
what I thought to be my tomb.
"Hello? Anyone down there?"
"I'm down here." I whimpered, my breath caught.
That's how it started.
That was an hour ago, practically an eternity for me. Now I beg God
that I was elsewhere, anywhere, but pinned beneath a wall, forced to
watch the unfolding drama in front of me. A black man, Dr. Benton, I
think, is trying to pry his leg out from a fallen beam. He's about a
foot away to by right side. I'm crushed against the floor the weight
of many bricks on top of my back, forcing my attention to the man
straight in front of me.
I twist my head as much as I'm allowed to and stare at the older
doctor, whose veins are popping along his head from the force of
extracting his limb from the fallen object. The beam will not budge.
He's laying on his right side, the beam along his left leg. The rest
of his body is free as he continues to claw at the ground, like some
desperate trapped animal.
I continue to look into his dark eyes and see only fear. He's
petrified, but not at his condition, but at the horrible prone figure
that I try not to look at.
"Carter, Carter!" He yells, trying to get his attention.
"I'm not going anywhere," is the sarcastic reply that seemed to be
created as an attempt at humor.
Benton scowls at him, his lips twitching into a frown, his eyebrows
scrunching in disapproval. He releases a harsh grunt as he wiggles
around some more.
"Dr. Benton, ...you're only going to aggravate any injuries,... by
doing that," Carter reprimands.
The expression the other doctor shoots towards him is priceless, like
he's not used to being lectured. "I don't think my leg's broken, its
just stuck under this damn pole."
"I'd lay still till help arrives," the younger doctor replies, then
coughs a little.
I hesitantly drag my gaze back at him. He's staring at me, unable to
say any words of encouragement. He is also pinned to the ground like
me, but instead of a wall, or rumble, a sharp pole has impaled him
through the left side of his back. It's not a very large rod, if it
were, then this bright younger man would be dead. But, its diameter
is about the size of a quarter and it has penetrated through him
above his left hip and has him pinned to the ground. The ceiling
scaffolding that it belongs to is still hanging above him. The only
thing supporting its massive weight is the small beam that has sliced
through my rescuer and secured by his body and the floor.
The other doctor is scared for him, I can tell. The truth be known,
so am I.
Carter is lying on his right arm, trapped beneath his own body. I
hear his breathing coming in and out in short bursts, as he crumples
his eyes from what I can understand to be massive pain. There's a
layer of sweat dotting his forehead, and from my vantage point, I can
see him trembling. With each passing second that the silence hangs in
the air, is an additional moment that I fear will be the last time I
hear this man's laborious fight. Blood stains the remains of his
dress shirt, and a pool has developed on the ground around him.
I stare at him now, my eyes filled with remorse for bringing him
here, to this death trap. But a little voice tells me that he and his
co-worker are just as much victims of circumstance and cruel reality
as I am. I choke back my plea for forgiveness when the younger man
interrupts my thoughts.
"How long has it been?" Carter rasps, looking at Benton.
The other doctor quits his fruitless struggles at freeing himself to
answer. "I don't know? About ten minutes since the roof collapsed
around us," he responds gruffly, unable to cease looking around at
our dismal surroundings.
Carter nods his head knowingly, frowning at his condition. "So, all I
have to worry about is the spleen, my liver, my..." He gasps out loud
and I think his breathing has become more difficult.
"Be quiet, Carter, and save your energy." Benton huffs as he pushes
at the heavy object on his leg. He grits his teeth so hard it's a
wonder he doesn't shatter a tooth.
I can hear the younger doctor struggle, his breaths coming in shaky
fits. I watch in horrid fascination as he takes his free hand and
places it to his neck. "I'm becoming tachy."
Benton becomes more agitated with every word, his fight with the beam
taking the brunt of his anger. Dr. Carter continues to speak even
though I too, think it is a good idea that he just be still. Maybe
he's trying to stay awake. If that is his goal, then I become more
guilt ridden at the implications.
"The beam could have partially transected my abdominal wall." His
eyes stare out into space as if he is describing someone else. He
squeezes his eyes shut against the pain and keeps speaking. "But, the
pole could be arresting any hemorrhaging if it dissected any
arteries, I guess."
The fire in the black doctor's eyes burns deep. The words of his
colleague fueling his need to be set free despite any pain the moving
around is causing his leg.
Benton grunts from the effort of pushing the beam and it budges just
a bit. As he continues to win an inch at a time he yells at his co-
worker. "Carter, you're talking which means your haven't lost your
abdominal wall integrity. Any movement you make only causes things to
get worse. The more you talk, move, squirm, means you could contract
the tissue around the wound and cause it to bleed out more. I'll beat
you with this damn beam, unless you shut the hell up!"
Benton's voice booms through our little cavern and it causes me to
flinch. The anger behind that voice is beyond normal concern. I
wonder how long these two have known each other. As I ponder these
things, I hear the older doctor let out a cry of pain as the beam is
finally moved off his tender leg. He moves his hands over his limb,
examining it for a moment or two.
I think he finds things somewhat satisfied and he crawls over to his
friend, his face betraying the discomfort of movement. He drags his
injured leg behind him as he reaches Carter. He places his hand on
the younger doctor's head briefly, then places his pointer finger
against his the artery of his neck.
"You're going to be fine, just fine." Benton whispers as he gently
pulls the dress shirt away from the deadly pole sticking through the
younger man. "There's not enough blood here to indicate a large
hemorrhage, that's good."
Carter weakly accepts the news and follows Benton's command by not
talking. I can see his pale face in the dim light that penetrates all
the debris down here. "I think the placement of the beam is too high
for your spleen, it seems close to your diaphragm, which might
explain why you're breathing so shallowly. I'll do a laboratory and
explore things thoroughly, man, no one else will touch you."
"Not on a broken leg, Dr. Benton." He replies. His voice is almost a
whisper his thin hold on the agony of being impaled and unable to
move consuming his strength. So, Dr. Benton is a surgeon, then my
rescuer is in good hands. A glimmer of hope, I think.
"Why don't...you...pull the ...pole out?" I ask weakly. Speaking
causes me more pain then I would have realized. I too, was given
strict orders to remain silent and motionless.
"We can't move this pole. It's acting like a plug and pulling it out
will only cause further injury," Benton responds not even glancing up
as he replies to my question. "When the EMT's get here, they'll cut
the top and it will stay in, until you reach the OR."
The surgeon rubs Carter's shoulder to add comfort, the gesture not
lost on the injured man. He actually looks more shocked at this small
display of concern then I have seen of him this entire time. Carter's
eyes widen in surprise his eyebrows raise just slightly. Benton
snatches his hand away as if he had been burned and fitfully looks
around for a way out.
To pre-occupy himself, the black doctor removes his shirt; he stares
at it in regret. The garment is dusty from the rubble. He shakes it,
and cleans it off as best he can. The he wraps it around the pole and
applies some pressure to the wound in Carter's back.
"God, that hurts!" Carter screams, his voice is full of pain. I sob
to myself as he hisses under the surgeon's care. Benton looks
regretful and stares at me to avoid looking at the agony he is
causing his co-worker.
"I'm sorry man." He murmurs, more to himself than to Carter.
I feel guilt under his gaze; I never wanted to be trapped here. The
surgeon does not look angry with me, just remorseful that he cannot
help me any further, as he continues to apply pressure to his friend.
When Carter worked on me and gave me encouragement, Benton also tried
to take care of me. Neither of them could move the wall that rests on
top of me. They injected me with something because my chest felt like
it had exploded inside. I found it so hard to breath, and both
doctors fought so hard for me; I felt the need to try to hold on for
them. Carter told me his name as I heard his co-worker yell that the
building was too unstable and that they needed to leave. I learned
the surgeon's name then when Carter yelled back at him several times.
Benton had told him it was impossible to free me, and that the rest
of the building was about to go. They argued for a while, then the
room exploded and the rest of the roof collapsed around my line of
vision. The nightmare had claimed two others.
I see none of the accusation I expected from the older doctor. It
looks as if he needs me to say something.
"Hold his hand," I whisper.
He blinked at my words. What I said surprised myself.
Instead he exhaled heavily and kept monitoring Carter's vitals as
best he could.
"I've got a fever," Carter said, his voice a mere whisper.
Benton looked down at him and placed his hand on Carter's sweat
stained brow. He faced furrowed as he tried to hide his fear. "You're
a bit warm, it's hot down here, with all this metal bearing down on
us," he explained calmly.
"I'm developing an infection." He coughed slightly.
"No, you're not." I could tell he was lying because he glanced at me
and bowed his head. Then without a word he slipped his hand on top of
Carter's and squeezed it reassuringly.
We were in so much trouble.