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I Want To Write My Random Thoughts And Feelings

Help ladies. This is an excerpt from a new book, a departure from my normal writing in this is my first female lead character. Female characters are more complex and I could use feedback from female writers as I go.


By Edward York

Copyright 2019 by Edward York
All rights reserved


Chapter one:

The night was cold and rainy, with fog so thick you could barely see the road ahead. Carissa was taking things really slow maneuvering her older SUV around each curve of the two lane highway. She had spent the holidays with friends but was headed back to her empty country home. She had taken two weeks off from her job at the hospital where she worked the night shift as a trauma nurse. Carissa kept moving forward, slow and steady, with her low beams and fog lights attempting to light a path for her. Her fear was always a deer running across the road because she had seen the results of that in the emergency room enough times.

Driving slow paid off as she saw something across the highway just ahead. She slowed and then stopped as she got close enough to get out and investigate. It appeared to be a body and that became more obvious when she got close enough to see it. She ran to it and checked the pulse first thing, which she found present but weak. She had been a nurse for a lot of years and knew how to move bodies but she had never moved one out of the highway before. She couldn't call 911, she knew the highway would have areas underwater with this storm. It happened every time they had a significant rain.

She went back to her vehicle to set out road flares, even though she knew there would be no traffic in this weather. Most of the people who lived in this area would already be blocked off by the flooding waters. She eased her SUV beside the body and opened the back door next to the soaking wet man. She managed to get his head and upper torso into the back seat. She ran to the opposite door and pulled holding under his shoulders inch by inch until she had him all the way into the seat.
She didn't find any signs of a vehicle in sight. It appeared that for some reason his body was dumped here and left for dead. But she knew enough that she intended to prevent the dead part. She slowly completed her journey to the house she had inherited from her parents. The SUV was perfect for going through some deeper areas that she shouldn't have tried but she made it through. The next problem was getting the man inside her house. She had a wheel chair available from when she cared for her father in this house and some things for managing handicapped people but nothing that gave her any ideas on how to get the man into the wheel chair.
She brought the wheel chair closer to the car seat and pushed it against the car before locking the brakes on the chair. She grabbed the man under his shoulders again where she had been successful moving him before. She pulled inch by inch and then began lifting his shoulders upward till his head was resting at the top of the chair back, then she pulled him by the waist to get him seated into the chair. She managed to get it done, even though it was the longest forty five minutes of her life. She was soaked from the rain as was the man and the chair. The man still had his legs on the car seat, so Carissa unlocked the brakes and pulled back on the chair allowing the man's legs to fall down and bend at the knees. She pulled the chair back enough to get the door closed and then made her way inside the house.
She pushed the chair up the ramp she had used so many times with her dad and got him inside out of the rain. She wanted to get him in a bed so she could begin to analyze his injuries. She had the wide handicap belts she used to move her dad around and she put it on this man and used all her strength to get him on the bed. First across it and finally she got him turned and into position. She had to rest and catch her breath before continuing to try to find out what injuries had been sustained. His clothes looked dirty and blood stain and needed to be removed. Once she got him undressed she began the cleanup process.
She discovered what looked like stab wounds and bruising that indicated he had been punched or kicked multiple times. She had to think to herself that someone had been really pissed at him for some reason. She put antibiotic cream over all of the stab wounds after cleaning them out and then she wrapped him with gauze. It looked like the bleeding had stopped and she hope that a little rest in a dry place would work wonders for his well being. Once the swelling goes down she could tell more what he looked like and maybe try to find out who might know him. She couldn't get any cell service this far out but she had a CB radio she left on to see if any announcements came through about someone missing.
She couldn't imagine why someone would do such a thing to another human. She check the pants she took off of the man and there was a wallet, apparently intact. It had money, cards and a driver's license. She thought to herself that robbery wasn't the motive. His license said his name was Paul Daniels and he was thirty eight. It was an out of state license but at least she knew a name and address. She should be able to track down family from that information. She would take the information to town when the weather and roads cleared and see if the sheriff had any information about him, but for now she would just try to nurse him back to health.
It had been a long day and it was time to get some sleep. She checked on her patient one more time before turning in and found him breathing easy though a bit shallow. She thought she would let him rest and check again in the morning. When she got to her room, she locked her bedroom door and laid her nine millimeter pistol on the nightstand next to her bed. It was just a precaution since she knew nothing about her patient. In time she hoped to know more but for now she would simply play it safe. She really didn't think he was in any condition to create any harm for the moment.
Carissa didn't have much experience with pistols, she had fired at paper targets a few times but she still felt more secure with the gun handy. It had been a gift from her father when he was a patrol officer with the police department. He told her since she lived alone, he would feel better if she kept it handy. She usually travelled to and from work with it because of working the night shift. It was somewhat ironic that her father gave her the pistol, since it was a pistol that made him disabled. It was his last traffic stop; he was shot before he ever made it to the car window. They never caught the driver; he sped off before her father Carl, ever got a license number and his memory of the incident was as faded as the jeans he wore when off duty.
As was often the case after getting into bed she could feel her dry mouth begging for her to quench its thirst. She got back up to get a drink of water from the dispenser on her refrigerator. She stood in the kitchen without any light except the moonlight that filtered through the window. She noticed the rectangle shapes illuminating her pajama top as she sipped the liquid from the plastic cup she grabbed from the counter. The storm had moved on and the flood waters should be lower by morning. You could actually see the stars in the night sky, reflecting on the puddles that scattered through the landscape.
Before she settled into sleep, she decided to put out one call on the CB to see if anyone knew of a missing person. Her CB had been quiet and she knew most people had them in vehicles and there was just a slim chance anyone was listening. She picked up the microphone and said, "Breaker, Breaker, This is 'Sassy Lassie", I have an injured man at my house and I am looking to see if anyone out in CB land has reported a missing person. Anyone interested in adoption can just reimburse me for the gauze and he can be yours." She added the adoption portion just as a joke, since she was known for her humor. Unfortunately, she knew a few women in the area that would have paid extra if they knew it was a young attractive man.
The CB remained silent, not even a crackle came through. She figured as much but she had to try. She left the radio on and walked back to her room, but made a quick stop to check on the patient. The movement of his chest told her he was at least still alive. She was going to try once more to get some rest. She didn't know what shape her guest would be in by morning She was back in bed and went through her checklist before she dozed off. Door locked, check. Pistol ready, check. Cover pulled up, double checked.
She knew she wouldn't fall asleep immediately, she never did. Her mind was always busy going through the things that needed to be done, worrying about what didn't get done and wondering what she forgot to put on her list. She usually took a PM pain medication to help her find Mr. Sandman. She was a little excited about whether her patient would be any better by morning. She finally got groggy enough to fall all the way to sleep and the morning sun shining through her window told her she had slept through the night. She got out of bed and made her bathroom run and then with the pistol discretely in the pocket of her robe, she went into the room where her patient still lay breathing quietly. She checked his pulse and it seemed to be stronger than the night before and that was good news.
She went back into the kitchen to make some breakfast but she first got back on the CB to try again to see if any missing persons had been reported. This time however there was an answer back. She heard a reply, "This is sheriff Thomas, what do you have up there?" She started giving information about the man. Paul Daniels, thirty eight years old from Cedar Rapids. The sheriff came back on, "I will take that information and check it out. The main bridge to town is washed out so it will be a few days before anyone can come up there. Since you are a nurse it is probably better for you to take care of him instead of moving him anyway."

Chapter two:
Carissa made a quick breakfast and grabbed a quick shower before she paid another visit to Paul Daniels. She checked his vital signs and they were good. She was believing now that he was going to be okay. She worked on leaning the wounds and applying a fresh coat of antibiotics before wrapping a new layer of gauze around him. She grabbed a book and sat in a chair in the room with her patient. She kept running it over in her mind, "Who is Paul Daniels?" She couldn't get to work with the bridge out so she would have plenty of time to ponder who her guest was.
She had barely read through two chapters of the book she really wasn't interested in, when she heard the crackle of her CB in her office, right off the kitchen. She made a dash for the radio and responded, "Sassy Lassie here, go ahead." The answer was a bit garbled so she asked that it be repeated. It came back in a much clearer tone, "This is sheriff Thomas, the only Paul Daniels matching that description, died in an auto accident over a year ago. I don't know what you have there but be careful"
Now Carissa had some new things to think about. Is her patient using false identification and more importantly why. She stopped for a cup of coffee before returning to the care room of her guest. Not much change in his condition, but at least he had clean bandages. She wanted to get some fluids down him but until he wakes that wasn't possible, since she didn't have any IV equipment. She needed to be patient, not a natural trait for her.
She sat, read and waited, with no sounds in the room but the rhythmic breathing of her guest. She cast an occasional glance in his direction but detected no movement aside from his chest's expansion and contraction as she waited to see if there was any movement of his limbs. She had so many questions now, she couldn't wait to get some answers. She noticed bruising on his head and worried about concussions or even a brain bleed, but she hadn't seen any indication of that yet.
She sat, ate, read and lost track of time waiting for things to change. Her impatient nature was being taxed and she sat waiting for something to happen. She finally began to hear some new sounds. There were occasional moans now escaping the lips of her guest. That was a good sign, it meant he was becoming aware now and most likely about to wake. By becoming aware he would be able to feel the pain that was obviously contained within his body. The sounds were followed by some movement of arms and legs and those movements were always followed by more moans.
Her guest was stirring and she was hopeful that he would gain consciousness soon. She watched carefully and waited as patiently as she was capable of. She kept records of his vital signs, so they would be available for medical professionals if her guest was transferred to another's care soon. Her diligence finally paid off and she was looking at him when she saw his eyes flutter. She knew now that it was going to happen, he was going to wake, she just had to be ready when it happened.
She wasn't sure what she expected when he did wake. Would he be combative, appreciative, happy or rude. She wasn't sure what she would say either but most preplanned responses never work as well as the plan. Her ears perked up when she heard him say, "Where......where am I?" She thought, "That is easy enough to answer." She responded, "You are in my home, I found you in the middle of the road on my way home. I got you loaded in my SUV and by some miracle got you out and into the house." Paul asked, "Who undressed me?" Carissa replied, "I have to confess that I did, your clothes were muddy, bloody and soaked. How did you get in the middle of the road to begin with?" Paul answered, "To be honest, I can't remember. I don't remember much of anything." Carissa replied, "That doesn't surprise me, you have had some pretty heavy trauma to your head and the rest of your body."
Paul said, "My arms and shoulders hurt and I do have a headache." Carissa responded, "Your arms and shoulders may hurt from me pulling on you to get you loaded and unloaded in my SUV. You had some stab wounds too. Any idea how they got there?" Paul replied, "I have no memory of any of that. I seem to remember things that happened as a child but not much else." Carissa asked, "Do you know who you are?" Paul shrugged his shoulder but that proved to be painful and he just replied, "I am sorry, I really don't have a clue who I am." Your license says you are Paul Daniels, from Cedar Rapids, but our sheriff checked and the only Paul Daniels from Cedar Rapids he could find, died in an auto accident over a year ago."
Paul responded, "I have no memory of any name and that one doesn't have any meaning to me." Carissa replied, "You have had enough head trauma to explain any memory loss, but indications are that it should heal itself over time. I am going to call you Paul for a lack of any other names to use." Paul replied, "That works for me and if I have any great lumps of memory coming back, I will let you know about those as well." Carissa had a lot to figure out. Paul kept complaining about his shoulders and so she tried putting them back in place but not without some pain and screams. She felt the shoulders slip back into the joints and knew things should get better for Paul. Carissa had some over the counter pain medications that she gave Paul, but she couldn't do much else.
Paul asked for help to go to the bathroom, but Carissa was worried he wouldn't have enough strength to stand. She said, "I have a handicapped portable potty I can scoot over by the bed that you could slide onto, I will help you move to it and then give you some privacy." After she helped Paul, she left the room and waited. After a few minutes had passed, she heard Paul say, "Okay." She came back in and Paul was safely back in bed. She said, "You seemed to have managed well enough." Paul replied, "I did better than I thought I would." Carissa replied, "I need to get some food and liquid down you, that will do as much to build your strength as anything else."
Carissa brought Paul a glass of orange juice and said, "Let's get some beneficial liquids down you. I am working on some chicken soup, a hearty version with things in it you can chew." Paul replied, "That sounds pretty good, I am not as hungry as I think I should be." Carissa replied, "Your body had been pretty dormant for a while. It was just trying to maintain." Carissa was trying to be pleasant but cautious. She still had some concerns about the phony identification Paul had. She wasn't quick to trust people, a trait her father had taught her from many years as a cop.
Carissa had relationships in the past that hadn't done anything to change her trust issues either. She didn't have trouble trusting other women, but the men in her life had all let her down. She had been engaged for two years until she discovered her fiancé had found a new companion to keep company with on the nights she worked. So she devoted herself to work and volunteering in the community.

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