For a Second There…

Hide and Seek Chapter 35

It was getting harder and harder for Griff to keep down the bile rising up through his esophagus as blood seeped through Callahan’s vest and began to flow between Griff’s fingers. He desperately needed fresh air, but if there was one thing he knew about disgusting, bleeding wounds (or at least thought he knew), it was that they should have pressure applied to them. Didn’t they? Something like that… It was difficult to think straight right now.

Griff closed his eyes and tried to breathe through his mouth to cut down on the blood’s biting scent, but now he could almost taste its iron tang on his tongue. Fight through it, he ordered himself. Ignore how gross it is; just tune it out.

Something grabbed violently at Griff’s wrist, and he nearly fell over backwards. Somehow he managed to stay on his feet, though, and looking down, he saw Callahan’s shaking fingers, dyed red with his own blood, and Callahan’s wide, white eyes, displaying shock mingled with morbid fascination. For a split second, Griff was relieved to think that maybe the pain wasn’t registering yet.

Then the screaming started.

Before Griff could even begin to attempt to calm Callahan down, his plea for aid was answered by someone’s clattering arrival at the open end of the van. “Thank God,” said Griff, and turned to look straight down the barrel of a handgun into Francis’s fearsome, bloodshot eyes.

Griff felt suddenly that maybe he should raise his hands. But Francis’s hands wavered, her eyes narrowed, and she lowered the gun and stepped into the van.

“Holy crap, Francis,” muttered Griff. “For a second there, I thought you were going to shoot me!”

“For a second there,” said Francis, “so did I. I thought someone was trying to kill you in here! What’s going on?”

“This cop is hurt bad, but I think he’s still got a chance. The others are gone already.”

“Let me see.” Francis shouldered Griff out of the way and peeled Callahan’s vest back. A hiss escaped through her teeth as she saw the damage. “Looks like a knife wound,” she said. “Oh, ah… That’s bad.”

“What?”

“Hold his hands for me.”

Keeping his eyes turned away, Griff took Callahan’s wrists and held them back by the man’s head, out of the way. It took no small effort to keep them there, especially when Francis began probing at the wound with her fingers, making Callahan nearly convulse in pain.

“What are you doing!?” said Griff.

“Confirming,” said Francis, simply. “Yep: something’s stuck in there. Maybe the tip of the knife snapped off. Nothing I can really do about it.” She looked around for a moment before fixing her eyes on Griff’s chest. “T-shirt off, now.”

“I–”

“Do it.”

Griff released Callahan’s wrists and quickly pulled off his t-shirt, handing it to Francis, who folded it over and pressed it against the hole in Callahan’s side before reclosing the cop’s vest to secure it a little more tightly.

“Good,” said Francis. “That should slow the bleeding better for now. He’ll keep until the ambulance gets here. Probably.”

“They’re sending more cops, too, right?”

“Better be,” snarled Francis.

“Any chance they’ll be here in the next couple of minutes?”

Francis gave Griff a funny look. “Why?”

“Because I think…” Griff focused his senses for a moment. “Yeah, unless I’ve gotten confused somehow, a few of them are headed back this way.”

“Wait—have you been tracking them all along?”

“They, uh, didn’t go very far.”

A frightening grin tweaked the corners of Francis’s mouth. “Heh. Idiots. Great job, Griffin. Time for us to either fight or follow, then.” She stalked back towards the rear doors of the van, rolling forwards eagerly on the balls of her feet.

“But…” Griff shook his head. “I don’t get it. A couple of minutes ago I left you lying on the grass half-dead. How are you even doing this? Where are you getting your energy?”

“Energy?” said Francis over her shoulder. “This is pure adrenaline, Griffin. I’ll tell you when I’ve got my energy back…”

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