Frowning, Griff pressed his fingers more firmly against the police officer’s throat, concentrating deeply. Yes, there it was again, the pulse of a faint heartbeat. Even though he could feel it, Griff could barely sense the man’s presence. Only the slightest hint of life was registering to him; Callahan was alive, but barely.
Why hadn’t Griff sensed it before? Maybe he’d just been distracted by everything else that was going on around him, and by following those two men in their getaway car… He could still sense them, actually. They weren’t hard to follow; inside Griff’s two-kilometre range, there were only a few other people on the road, so it wasn’t like they could get lost in a crowd.
The escapees were at the edge of his range; he had to focus directly on them to pick them up. They had slowed down, and were changing directions now, turning off the highway, maybe down a side road. Griff wasn’t sure, but he thought he could maybe sense a few others in the area, all standing still. What were they all doing there?
Not important right now. They’d all be long gone by the time Griff could do anything about it. But he could do something about the dying man lying right here in front of him.
Griff unbuckled Callahan’s helmet and took it off, then tilted the man’s head back a bit to open up his airway. That was the first step in basic First Aid, wasn’t it? He tried to remember back to those swimming lessons he’d taken years ago. What was that ABC mnemonic they’d taught him? Airway, then Breathing, right? He leaned down low over Callahan’s face and listened closely, but one of the other cars Griff had sensed was approaching now, and the sound of its engine made it difficult to hear any breathing. Griff got in a bit closer. Yes, there was a whisper of breath against his cheek.
A, B, C… Circulation. He’d already felt a pulse. All of the man’s essential functions seemed to be in order. So what came next? He felt like he was forgetting a step.
The car outside threw on its brakes, and Griff heard its door swing open and footsteps come running down the grass. A shudder ran up his spine. What if this was another bad guy, come to clean up the stragglers that the other two hadn’t been able to find?
Griff turned to look out the back doors of the van and saw a young woman run by, a cell phone pressed against her ear. But was she calling for help, or getting instructions from whoever had masterminded this morning’s deadly attack?
The woman’s excited voice rang out: “We need an ambulance on Highway 14, about halfway to Sooke! There’s been an accident with two police vehicles of some sort. There are dead birds everywhere! I’m helping one survivor; I don’t know if there are any others.”
Griff sighed in relief. Help was on its way… Maybe the danger was really past.
He turned his attention back to Callahan, whose eyes were still closed as if in sleep. Griff could sense him more easily now. His breathing was picking up a little bit; there was a visible rise and fall to his chest. Still, something was gnawing at the back of Griff’s mind, telling him he’d forgotten a step. Until it came to him, he figured he should focus on the steps he could remember, and make sure Callahan could breathe as easily as possible.
Griff grabbed a zipper to open up the man’s vest and allow his lungs a little more room to do their work. As he peeled the vest back, the fourth step he’d been taught about sloshed out into a puddle on the floor: A, B, C… D was for Deadly bleeding.
Blood had been pooling within the folds of the vest, seeping out from a small but deep wound just below Callahan’s ribs.
Griff’s gag reflex kicked in violently at the gruesome sight. He closed the vest again, took a deep breath, and applied pressure to the wound. He couldn’t handle this… Francis was a cop; she’d know what to do.
Choking back his nausea, he shouted, “Help!”