Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: CHILL (10/27/16)
TITLE: An Ounce of Warmth
By Ken Grant
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"I've never been so cold, " he muttered to himself as he vainly attempted to press his threadbare coat against his thin frame and prevent what little bodily warmth he had available from leaking out.
The dampness of the night was oppressive, but the cacophony of hell around him was so much worse. The firefight had broken out about an hour ago and the shooting from both sides had been non-stop ever since. He wasn't shooting because his weapon was not that of war but of healing. His tools were in a knapsack a few feet away. He had just finished doing what he could for three soldiers who had been part of the first wave; he didn't hold out much hope for any of them.
"What am I doing here? I'm useless."
People were dying around him and he felt so helpless. The air crackled with sorrow and his brittle bones shook in response. The universe pressed down on him so hard that he struggled to breathe.
The cry jogged Frederick out of his reverie. The sick sound meant that another human being had been shot and was most likely dying right in front of him.
"Not this time."
Frederick jumped to his feet and looked around. Suddenly he was not afraid. Suddenly all that mattered was that a human being was in danger and he was the only one that could prevent that death. He spotted the wounded man and raced toward him. The hellish cacophony went on but he was oblivious to it.
"Where are you hit?" He asked as he knelt down next to the man while holding on to the knapsack with a death grip.
"It hurts so bad." The man replied through gritted teeth.
Frederick searched the man's body and quickly identified the wound. His first response was despair, but he refused to give in.
"Am I going to die?" The wounded man asked.
"No. You are going to live."
Frederick saw the man's eyes brighten; if only just a little. He set to work on the injury. It was horrific but his hands worked with extraordinary speed. The world about disappeared as his performance continued until the bleeding had ceased and the man began to breathe just a slight bit more easily.
"Am I going to make it?" The man rasped.
Before Frederick could respond men approached from behind. He turned to see two men rushing toward him. Their eyes grew wide as they saw him kneeling over the man.
"What are you doing here, doc?" One of the men asked. That guy is gone.
"He's going to live," Frederick replied.
The two men went over to the wounded man nearly knocking Frederick to the ground. They examined him quickly before placing him on a stretcher.
"You performed a miracle, doc." The other man said.
"I did what I could, " Frederick replied.
The two nodded and carried the man away. The cold continued to descend like a shroud, but it no longer had teeth. Frederick felt a warmth from deep inside his soul. He wasn't useless. This place wasn't a complete hell. Hope just might have a chance to prevail amid the destruction.
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