Authors: Lona Scott
Until Time Stands Still
By: Lona Scott
Copyright © 2013
Blue Ribbon Books
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.
For questions and comments about this book, please contact us at [email protected]
The General stared at the doctor from the CDC, utterly stunned and speechless at what he was just told. The silence stretched out for an uncomfortably long time. The doctor shifted his weight and glanced down at his hands, not meeting the Generals eyes.
“Are you sure?” He finally croaked, hoarsely.
“Yes, Sir. Your wife is sick just like the others. The epidemic has spread to almost every woman in the country, possibly around the world. Some kind of announcement will be made to let the public know. I’m so sorry, Sir.” The doctor said softly. “We did everything we could for her, but we couldn’t save both of them.”
He closed his eyes briefly and nodded. “Is my wife ok?”
“Physically, she’s extremely weak from the blood loss, but she will survive.” The doctor hesitated. “We were forced to give her a mild sedative. She was hysterical. She’s calmer now. Resting.” The doctor said.
“I’m going in to see her now.” The General said, standing up.
“Of course, Sir. But if she gets upset again, you’ll have to leave.” The doctor said firmly.
He raised his eyebrow and gave the man a steely look. The doctor stood his ground. “My first priority is your wife…not your wishes, General.” He said firmly before opening the door to the private room.
Jemma was lying in the hospital bed, with several IV’s of fluids and blood going into her arms. She was paler than he had ever seen her, her eyes closed, her hair messy. She looked like a ghost of a person. She was too thin and frail, like so many other women. He sat in the chair and held her hand. She briefly opened her eyes, and upon seeing him, began to cry silently. “I’m so sorry Alex.” She whispered.
“Hush…don’t cry love.” He said, wiping away her tears gently. “I’m just glad you’re still here with me.” He said gently. He held her hand and gently rubbed his thumb over her knuckles.
“I killed our baby.” She sobbed.
“It’s not your fault, Jemma.” He said. He leaned over and kissed her softly. “I promise you, I don’t blame you. There was nothing any of us could do.” He said, choking back tears of his own. He climbed into the bed with her and put his arms around her as carefully as he could. He held her until she drifted off to sleep again, her frail body protected by his large frame. He had never felt so helpless in his life, and he didn’t like the feeling. One of the nurses came in and scolded him for being in the bed with her, but he sent her out of the room with one withering glare.
The next morning, while Jemma was still recovering, he gathered together the doctor he flew in for his wife, and a team of specialists, a geneticist, a fertility doctor and a biologist and several others, including Colonel Lukas Parker, Lt. Colonel Nathaniel Davis, Major Vince Ruiz and Captain Graham Winters. He shut the door and turned to the group.
“What I’m about to say to you is all top secret, and if anyone outside this room finds out, before I’m authorized to release the information, I will personally shoot every one of you.” He said. “We have been tasked by the White House to spearhead a rather unusual program.”
The musical sounds of laughter bubbled up and echoed through his head. There was always some sound that brought his consciousness back to him. He gritted his teeth and clamped his hands over his ears, writhing against the sounds vibrating through the floorboards of his tiny studio apartment and overloading his brain with waves of pain. His eyes felt like they were going to explode right out of his head. He moaned, long and low, waiting for the waves of nausea to pass and his trembling nerves to calm down. Eventually, the writhing stopped. The explosion in his brain became a dull ache and he relaxed his jaw. A door slammed, his neighbour Jackie, probably. He cursed as the sound sent a hot spike through his brain. He breathed through it, tears pooling in his eyes. Sounds were the worst of the backlash.
He lay on the floor, waiting until he regained the use of his shaking muscles. His arms and legs always felt like heavy, limp noodles. The arrow embedded in his arm didn’t help. He chuckled, thinking of the look on the old Chinese warrior’s face when he watched Mykel disappear right in front of him.
Slowly he sat up and opened his eyes. He had learned long ago to keep his apartment dark, just in case he was pulled out and sent back during daylight. Backlash was a thousand times worse than a hangover, and sunlight was killer for the first few days back. The blackout shades were pulled, and the only light filtering through his home came from the crack under the front door. Even that light seemed too bright and he closed his eyes against the glare.
It was a few minutes more before he felt strong enough to move, and remembered the wound that needed tending to. Mykel sighed and cautiously pulled himself to his feet. If he stood too fast, his legs would buckle and he would hit the floor again. His legs began the excruciating pins and needles as he dragged himself over to his kitchen. He was bleeding all over the place, and he discovered long ago it’s easier to clean blood off of tile than hardwood.
“This is going to suck.” He grumbled, gathering his med kit. Thankfully, the arrow had gone completely through, so at least he didn’t have to shove the arrow head the rest of the way through the back of his arm. It took two tries to tie off the tourniquet above the wound to slow the bleeding. He shoved an elastic band in his mouth and broke off the feathered end of the arrow and let it drop to the floor. With a sharp scalpel he made a small cut above and below the wound, to enlarge it, making room to wiggle the arrow loose. Sweat poured off his face, and a wave of nausea hit. He gagged and leaned over the sink, spitting.
When the room righted itself again, he took a few deep breaths and, as quickly as he could, shoved the piece of wood through his arm. He screamed, the waves of sharp burning pain shooting through his arm, shoulder and back. He bit into the rolled elastic and shoved again. The arrow end was flush with his skin. Slowly he lifted his arm, and grabbed the bloody pointed end. With a deep breath, he pulled the arrow the rest of the way out. He screamed again. Nausea hit again, and he leaned over the sink and vomited. Mykel rested his head against the cool surface of the counter top and waited for the shaking to stop. His arm hung limp. Hot blood poured down his arm and dripped onto his floor as his head swam.
He was fast approaching unconsciousness, when he heard a knock at the door.
“Aw, hell.” He groaned. There was no way he could make it to the door without passing out from the blood loss.
“COME IN!” He hollered. The effort it took to yell did him in. He tried to stand, and slumped to the floor, sinking into blessed unconsciousness. He fell with a thud.
“Get in there!” A raspy voice hissed. “We don’t have time to dawdle.”
“You got it, Colonel.” Graham said shortly. He motioned to one of the men standing beside him. Bryant, their explosives expert, knelt and picked the simple lock. It would have been more fun to blow it, but they were pressed for time. Ten seconds later, the four-man team swarmed through the door, rifles at the shoulder, tracking the small apartment. It was sparse, just a bed, a small couch, the kitchen table, and two bookshelves. The only decorations on the wall were various swords and other weapons.
“Nice toys!” Bryant whistled, low. “I like this guy already.”
“I smell blood.” Jacob announced, inhaling deeply. “Over here.” They found their target splayed out on the floor, slowly bleeding to death.
“Shit, his arms a mess.” Graham said, sighing. He keyed his mike. “He’s down, Colonel. We’ll need a medic to meet us. Looks like he tried to dig an arrow out of his arm by himself. He must have just come back from a jump.”
“Not anymore.” The Capitan said. “He told us to come in and must have passed out a few seconds later.”
“Just keep him alive until you get him back here.”
“Yes Sir.” Graham set his gun down. “You know the drill boys. Johnny, do your thing.” Their medic was already cleaning the wound and applying a pressure bandage.
“He actually didn’t do that bad a job, Graham. He just nicked the artery pulling the arrow out.” He cut away the man’s shirt, to check for other wounds. “Holy Mother…He’s covered in scars. How long has he been doing this?”
“Probably for as long as we have.” Graham said. “Maybe longer.”
“Without the injection?” Bryant Hollister knelt down next to Johnny. “That’s brutal. Hell, I wouldn’t do it.”
“Mad props to him.” Jacob said, grinning. “No wonder the General wants him on the team.”
“Let’s just go.” Graham said gruffly. “He needs a real doctor. Enough chit chat.”
The team carried him to the truck, ignoring the stares from the curious onlookers. Over the years, civilians had gotten used to seeing military personnel. No one got in their way anymore, not if they wanted food and water that week. They knew the drill and stayed back. They put Mykel in the back of the truck.
The team drove as fast as they could back to the base, where a medical team was waiting to take Mykel into surgery. Colonel Parker met him at the decontamination room.
“Is he alive?”
“Yep. He should be fine.” Johnny said, helping the medical team put the man on a gurney.
“He doesn’t look like much.” Colonel Parker said. “He’s scrawny.”
“He doesn’t eat well enough…no one out there does.” Graham said. “He’ll bulk up when we start feeding him right. The man’s got guts. I’ve never seen anyone do the things this man can do with a sword. The way he saved our asses in England was a miracle. He’s got what it takes to be one of us, or the General wouldn’t have sent us after him.”