Violent Things - Callie Hart

Chapter One

Sloane

You can’t tell someone not to die just because it’s Christmas Eve. I should know. I’ve tried twice already and it hasn’t worked either time. St. Peter’s has been non-stop since I started my shift thirty-six hours ago, and it doesn’t look like things are going to quiet down any time soon.

Zeth is going to kill me. I was supposed to be home nearly twelve hours ago, but the gunshot wound, alcohol poisoning and bar fight victims have kept on rolling in. Now, Mikey the intern and I are waiting on the tarmac outside the hospital for the second road traffic accident of the night and my body is humming. It’s close to midnight. I should be exhausted, but the adrenalin that’s helped me act fast and think quick on the trauma floor has me wired.

“You think it’ll stop snowing soon?” Mikey asks. “I’m supposed to drive out to Snoqualmie Pass after this. The roads are gonna be closed at this rate.”

“Hate to break it to you, buddy, but the roads are already closed.” I slap Mikey on the back, giving him my best consolatory look. I heard them read out the list of closures on the radio at the nurses’ station earlier in the night, waiting with bated breath to see if the access road up to my own house was still open. Thankfully it is. Unlucky for Mikey, though. He’s shit out of luck.

“Ahhh fuck, man. My whole family are up there already. I’m gonna be eating baked beans on toast for Christmas dinner tomorrow. Alone.”

“Better get used to it. Being a doctor generally means you don’t get Christmas. Or Easter. Or Thanksgiving. Or your birthday. Basically we don’t get anything.”

“Perfect.” Mikey sulks while we wait, the big fat flakes of snow falling silently all around us. It’s like we’re trapped inside a snow globe; everything is so still. That is until I see the flashing lights of the ambulance rig tearing up the road toward us.

“Here we go. Incoming.” I glance over my shoulder just as Oliver Massey runs out of the building behind me, huge clouds of fog billowing on his breath. He’s pulling on a set of rubber gloves, squinting up the road, searching for the ambo.

“Sorry, the kid I was closing up crashed. Took a while to stabilize. What we got?”

“Two patients,” Mikey says. “Woman, early thirties, with potential spinal injury and severe blood loss. Also, one of the firefighters who responded to the call. He was sliding in through the passenger window of the car the other patient was trapped inside of. The streetlight she hit fell down on top of the vehicle. He has a head injury, broken leg and possible internal bleed.

“Ah. Right, well I guess that explains the fire truck then,” Oliver says. Sure enough, there’s a fire truck bringing in the ambulance, full lights and sirens blaring out into the night. The two emergency service vehicles tear into the parking lot, the fire truck pulling up outside the unloading bay, while the ambo brakes right at the door.

Oliver and Mikey rush forward with a gurney while I hurry to talk to the female EMT who’s jumping down from the rig. “There should be another ambulance. Where’s our second patient?”

“On their way. The roads are crazy. We’re lucky we made it here in one piece.”

“Who have you got?”

“Alex Massey, lieutenant over at firehouse sixty-three. He was awake when we loaded him up, but he lost consciousness shortly after. He’s systolic. Blood pressure’s through the floor. We pushed dopamine en route.”

“Alright, we’d better move quickly then. We need to find out what’s going on inside.”

Oliver and Mikey are already rushing the gurney with the injured firefighter into St. Peter’s. Oliver’s face is ashen, white as a sheet. “I’m gonna need you to scrub in on this one, Sloane,” he tells me.

“I can’t, I’m point on trauma tonight. I need to oversee the emergency—”

“Sloane, you’re fucking scrubbing in. I need you. I need you.”

“Olly—”

“It’s my brother, Sloane. It’s my fucking brother.”

******

I get Dr. Tarney to take over trauma for me and I do scrub in. There’s no way Oliver should be operating on his own brother—it goes against every rule the hospital has—but there’s no stopping him. By the time the chief knows Alex Massey is in need of medical attention, he’s already receiving it.

We’re fighting to find the source of Alex’s extensive internal bleeding when the chief storms into the OR, a surgical mask covering her face. “Dr. Massey? Dr. Massey,