Tales of the First – Disaster Part Two

March 22nd, 2019  |  Published in Tales of the First  |  3 Comments

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“Thanks!” Wendy threw a grateful look as she raced to Lucy who was still gasping for breath. “It looks like anaphylaxis. It’s got to be this fog,” she said. “We need either to get her out of it or above it.” She looked around irritably. “Where are the ambulances? This has to be a major incident, so they should be arriving by now.”

“I called 999,” one of the baristas said. “They say help’s on the way.”

“How do we get her above it?” Charlotte asked.

“I don’t know,” Wendy said. “It’s already over head height and still rising. Even if we carry her upstairs somewhere it’s no guarantee it won’t reach us again before help does.”

“In that case we need to get her out of it.” Sienna looked around and spotted a policewoman making her way among the injured. She was checking on them before mumbling into her radio. Sienna ran over to her.

“Excuse me, is help coming?” she asked. “This fog is doing something to my friend. She can’t breathe.”

The policewoman frowned and bit her lip. “They’re waiting for protective equipment because of this gas. Apart from the allergic reactions it doesn’t seem dangerous but they can’t be sure so they’re being cautious.” She gave a smile that was obviously meant to be reassuring but wasn’t quite convincing enough. “On the upside it’s definitely not radioactive,” she showed Sienna the dosimeter all police carried as standard these days, “and if it was a nerve agent we would already be showing symptoms.”

“Uh.” Sienna understood the logic behind the delay, the paramedics had to consider their own safety first, but that didn’t help Lucy. “Would we be allowed to carry her out to where help is?”

“I-” the policewoman frowned. “Let me ask.” She mumbled into her radio again and listened to the response. “Yes, though they recommend staying where you are. If you do go you’ll be quarantined at the edge of the affected area in case this stuff is some kind of biological agent but if you get her there your friend will get treatment. Fortunately it’s fairly self contained.” She pointed back along the high street. “If you insist on going your best bet is about a mile that way as you’ll meet the ambulances if they are released before you get there. Do you think you can make it that far with her?”

“I don’t know,” Sienna said. “But I think she’ll die if we don’t get her there so we’ll have to try.” She went back to the others and told them what she’d learned. Lucy was still slumped against Charlotte and gasping for breath but she was still breathing at least.

“We don’t have a stretcher, how do we carry her?” Charlotte asked.

“Lu, can you walk if we help you?” Wendy asked.

“There was a long pause and Sienna wasn’t even sure if Lucy was conscious enough to understand the question but then she shook her head slowly.

“I’ve got an idea! Wait here.” Sienna raced down the street to where there was a small mobility aid shop. The owner was standing outside staring at the shattered windows.

“Excuse me!” she said. “We need to get my friend to the edge of this fog.” She pointed to where Lucy and the others were just visible. “She can’t breathe! Can we borrow a wheelchair, please? I promise I’ll make sure that you get it back.”

The man scowled at her. “Well at least you’re asking, but you should wait for the paramedics.”

“I know, but I don’t think Lu has time for that,” She said and told him what the policewoman had said.

His annoyed scowl collapsed into a more thoughtful frown and he sighed. “Okay but I want your name and a contact number. If I don’t get it back you’ll have to pay for it.” He disappeared into the shop as Sienna scrawled her name and her mobile number on a piece of paper, after a moment she added her father’s number as well. He returned a moment later with a small, folding wheelchair. “This should do the job.” His expression softened slightly as she handed him the piece of paper. “Don’t worry if it gets damaged. Just don’t steal it.”

“Good thinking!” Wendy said when she saw it. She and Charlotte helped Lucy into it . “Sienna, you go in front. We’re going to have to navigate around the glass and rubble. Charlotte you push the chair. I’ll stay alongside and keep a eye on Luce.”

“How is she?” Sienna asked as they set out.

Wendy hummed thoughtfully. “She’s still conscious and is able to understand questions and respond as long as she doesn’t have to speak both of which are good as they mean oxygen is reaching her brain. But she still can’t speak more than two words and is gasping for breath which is a really bad sign. She needs help urgently.”

“Perhaps we should try the Walk in Centre first,” Charlotte said. “It’s on the way and they might have some oxygen.”

“Ooh! Yes!” Wendy said. “I should have thought of that. I suspect they’ll be swamped but it’s worth a try.”

“Okay, let’s go.” Sienna rubbed at her head. A strange headache was creeping into her skull and she hoped it was just the stress and not the fog.

She walked ahead of the chair kicking small bits of rubble out of the way and grabbing and either lifting or pushing the larger chunks away. Fortunately none of them too large for her to move but they were large enough for her to worry about just how much damage had been done to the town.

What was harder was when their path was blocked by an injured person. Sienna couldn’t bring herself to push someone who was unconscious or worse out of the way – she might hurt them worse then they already were – so she guided the others around them.

On a normal day it would have taken less than five minutes to walk from Costa to the Walk-in Centre but in the chaos it took closer to fifteen and by the time they reached it Sienna’s stomach was roiling. This was taking too long. What if Lucy was already dead or too far gone to save.”

“It doesn’t look like we will find any help here,” Charlotte said as the rounded a bend and spotted the clinic ahead.

She was right, Sienna realised. The front of the Primary Care Centre had been blown out too. Which hadn’t stopped the doctors there from trying to help. There was a basic first aid and triage centre set up outside but they were definitely swamped by people who had got there first. As they wheeled Lucy towards them a harried looking nurse ran up. He took one look at Lucy and called for some Oxygen.

“I’m afraid that we only have enough to give it her for a few minutes before we have to give it to someone else.” He knelt down and took her pulse. “She’s holding in there. Hopefully help will arrive soon. What’s taking so long?”

“They’re waiting for protective gear,” Wendy said. “And we’ll carry on once we have to pass the Oxygen on. We were told we can get help if we reach the perimeter.”

“You probably can,” he said. “But you’d be better staying here where we can keep an eye on her in case her condition worsens.”

The three girls looked at each other and then at Lucy who did seem a bit better on the Oxygen. At least her breathing wasn’t as laboured and her colour looked better,

“What do you want to do, Lu?” Wendy asked.

“Carry… on..” Lucy managed to gasp out after a few moments. “This.. stuff… horrible…”

“Okay, I guess that’s what we’ll do then,” Wendy said. “Let’s wait until they need the oxygen again and then go.”

Lucy didn’t try to speak again instead she nodded tremulously and nodded. The nurse brought a blanket and tucked it around her.

“At least let a doctor have a look at you first. There may be something else they can give you to help.”

Lucy nodded again and the nurse hurried off to fetch one. A few moments later he returned with a young black doctor who knelt beside the wheelchair, He examined Lucy thoroughly and listened to her breathing then fetched a syringe.

“Are you allergic to any medication?” he asked and smiled when Lucy shook her head, “Good I’m going to give you an injection of a drug called Prednisolone, it should help you brea…” He broke off as Lucy flapped her hands at him.

“A-athlete,” she panted.

“Hmm… well I doubt you’ll be competing anywhere after this for at least a few weeks, but if you need a TUI I’ll give evidence.”

Lucy frowned before nodding and letting him give her the injection.

“You can have the oxygen for another breath or two but we’ll need it back soon. We’ve had a few cases like yours and we don’t have enough tanks to go around.”

Lucy nodded and sucked in another lungful of Oxygen before handing the mask back to the nurse.

The doctor squeezed her hand and handed her a note with the dosage of the injection he’d given her on it. “Good Luck.”

“Thanks!” Sienna led their group on towards where they’d been told they’d find help outside the fog covered area. It was only about five more minutes before she realised that visibility had improved slightly and there was less masonry in their path. She breathed a sigh pf relief and motioned them to speed up slightly though it was still slow going. As the fog became mist Lucy’s breathing eased noticeably. Sienna just wished that her head would stop aching as well.

“Go back!” A woman came running out of the mist ahead She was barefoot and had a panicked look on her face. “He’s gone crazy!” She cast a fearful look over shoulder and darted past them with one more frightened “Run away!” before disappearing into the fog again.

“What the-” Sienna began but stopped as a man appeared from the same direction the woman had come from. He had a strange shambling gait like a zombie from a movie but she could see him breathing. As he approached she could see that he was drooling and his face was fallen on one side. The woman had said something about a crazy guy but if this was him then Sienna rather though he looked more like he was having a stroke. She was wondering when the woman had been terrified of him when he suddenly roared incoherently and charged at them.

Sienna didn’t even pause to think before she leapt between him and her friends. She had no odea what she was doing so she followed her instincts and twisted around digging her elbow into his solar plexus, He grunted and fell backwards. He scrabbled around on the ground for a moment before regaining his feet and roaring again.

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3 Responses to “Tales of the First – Disaster Part Two”

  1. torvawk says:

    Becca,

    What the heck is going on?

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