St. John’s Medical Ctr
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
“Doctor,” she said, “Can’t you do anything?” her voice interrupted the silence with brittle emotion. She grasped the small reddened hand of her dying infant. “He’s all I have!” Her muffled gasps echoed in the over sterile room, over the sound of the life-saving machinery. Her tears and moistened makeup had stained the bandages wrapped around her small son’s head.
Doctor Patel found no comfort in the darkened examining room. Not much usually got through the tough exterior he had crafted over the years to hide his emotions, and nothing in his five years as an ER doctor, here in rural Wyoming, had prepared him for what lay before him. They had really done all they could for the child, whose hand was held tightly by this woman. “Mrs. Hanson, we need to let Nature take its course. We have repaired Kyle as best we can. Please, let him breathe and heal.”
As he watched her release her son’s arm, he noticed the white impressions. He waited for them to pink up, but they didn’t. Rather, the skin began to change from a blotched purplish pattern to a uniform gray. “This child will die,” he said under his voice. That’s when the Heart monitor’s shrill alarm shattered the silence of the room.
There was a bit of motion behind the doctor. Thinking it was one of the ER crew, he called out for assistance. The child was now quite gray, so he pressed on the diminutive chest, compressing heart and lungs which forced out the old air. “Hurry!” he called again. Upon release, he heard a slight sucking sound. Kyle pinked up slightly and then rapidly went gray again. “I need a crash kit, stat!” he yelled at the person behind him.
It was not a nurse’s hand that reached from behind him and touched the infant’s head.
The hand, to the knuckles, was sheathed in what could only be described as a the sleeve of a medieval cloak, and the fingers reached out as if grabbing something, touched Kyle’s bandaged forehead and then closed. It looked as if the hand were pulling something unseen out of the baby’s head.
“Do you have it, Davic?” came a woman’s voice behind the doctor’s other side.
“Yes, I do,” said the voice of the hand, a man’s. The Doctor turned from his work on Kyle and saw two cloaked figures, a woman and a bearded man, holding and seeming to unravel whatever it was the man had captured. “If you want that baby to live, Doctor Patel, you’d better do more CPR.”
Patel swung his head back to the child and pushed “One, two, three, four . . .” on the chest. “Who are you and what are you doing in my ER?” He demanded, his voice rising in fear. “One, two, three, four . . .”
“Oh, look at the damage to his head,” gasped the woman, facing away from the child. Her attention and her gestures seemed to show that she was trying to sketch lines between the two but the doctor could see nothing.
“The biggest problem is with his loss of blood,” said the man gesturing to a small to an empty space between the woman’s hands.
“I can’t find his retro-pattern,” she complained. “He will die if I can’t find it.”
At that point, a crew of ER personnel barged into the room and surrounded the doctor. They didn’t notice the two hooded persons in the corner of the room. They were professionals and their voices and mannerisms showed it. They pulled a mask from the cart to place over Kyle’s face. Their work kept most of them busy, but one nurse backed away from the huddle of medics and approached the two strangers. “You will need to leave the room,” she said taking hold of their arms. The man placed his hand on a crystal on his chest and a ripple in the air itself came from under his palm. It pushed the nurse slightly away from them, keeping her at bay.
The woman looked shocked. To her perspective, the two had vanished and she had felt propelled away. She turned and rejoined the medics.
“Keep the mana ring between us and the Earth-bounds,” Retta said looking to the ring and golden webbing of mana light only the two mages could see.
“Of course,” snarled Davic. “The matter of the blood is more important than his retro-pattern, Retta!” he said with a hiss, ignoring the nurse’s further protestations. “Make an over-ride to fill up his blood. Here’s his blood pattern.” He plucked a golden bit of light out of the lit up frenzy between them and flipped it over to Retta.
“No!” she called. “The Professor said the fastest way is to find the ret . . .”
“I’ll do it myself then!” He seemed to stuff the golden webs between them into the spaces between his fingers as he held another filigré with his thumb and forefinger. Then with his right hand, he flipped a small, flimsy string of light back. He shoved his left hand toward Retta and said in a firm and hard voice. “Hold this pattern, both parts. If you lose it, Kyle will die.” After she took it, he manipulated the pattern around his right hand. It looked like he was drawing in the air with his finger. But the golden characters didn’t look like they could be letters of any kind. They looked like fish and rocks and shells and odd aliens with weird arms. He drew a circle around the pattern and then said “I’m done. Now I need a mana spike and I can pump up his blood.”
He stepped to the wall, his right hand holding onto his masterpiece while he raised his left hand into the air, his fingers pointing up at the ceiling. A ball of bright, golden light left his palm. He then lowered his arm so fast it looked as if he were throwing a baseball at the floor. Then with his face showing all his exertion, he raised his hand. He was now holding a staff of pure, intense light.
He stepped to the huddle of hushed medics. His hand was still holding onto his mana spike, but it was now long and bent, extending from his hand to the floor in the corner of the room. There was a space between two of the nurses; he took it.
He jammed the end of a tail of light, hanging down from his hand, into Kyle’ stomach. It didn’t disrupt the skin at all, but it did sink into it. Davic squeezed the spike in his left hand and a burst of mana flowed through his chest, down his right hand and through the pattern into the boy. The pattern glowed and slipped out of his grasp sinking into Kyle who began to glow with the same light.
As the mana light faded, it revealed a much pinker Kyle. “Have you found his retro-pattern yet?” He called over the babble of the medics.
“No,” called Retta. “You wrinkled the whole thing up all up! How can I possibly read any of it?”
“Bring it here. Let me look.”
“Never mind. Never mind!” she groused, pulling a smooth part of the pattern from the wrinkled mess of light. “I found it, no thanks to you. And it looks perfect. Here it is.” She stepped around the medics and held aloft a bright pattern the size and shape of the boy, a line portrait in golden, glowing light, that floated on its own accord. She handed it to Davic. He took it and jammed a tail of light into Kyle. Then, squeezing the mana spike again, the resulting light was blinding.