Don’t Mess With Her

#strongwomen #writer #author #entrepreneur #blog #blogger #canadian #alberta #chapter #romance #drama #novel #asaviourspath #excerpt #writing

She counted each breath expelled from his mangled body as if they were gold coins, bringing her mind back to the ritual when it wandered to deadly nights from her past. Explosions. Plane crashes. Beatings. Each time, she focused on Ben again. In. Out. Breathe.

Once again, he was the buoy keeping her above the depths of despair. Something he’d been doing inadvertently since she’d been eleven years old. Slowly, as she watched him, her death grip on his sheets loosened, along with the pressure in her chest. Not a lot, but enough that it wasn’t all-encompassing. She had to believe that each broken, halting breath he took was one more coin tipping the scale toward life. She wouldn’t let herself think of the possibility that the tables could turn suddenly and tragically at any second. She watched him breathe, and she mentally pictured that scale tipping further and further away from death.

They stopped over to refuel on the coast, and while the pilot worked, she called the Westvale to ensure they would have someone waiting on arrival. She had briefly considered taking him to Calgary or Edmonton, but Westvale in Kirkby was the newest and most state-of-the-art facility.

When her grandfather, from his palatial existence in Toronto, had decided to build a hospital for no reason in the middle of nowhere in his favorite settlement in Alberta, he’d stayed true to form and pulled out all the stops. When she’d lived with him, she’d asked him about it, but he’d kept to the same story about how unfair it was the most of the top ten hospitals in the country were in Toronto or Montreal. What about Western Canada? They had sick people, too.

She’d left it alone. There was only so much sinister intent that she could handle at one time, and even now, years later, she still welcomed the ignorance. As long as the supply lines stayed in working order, she didn’t look any further. She had enough family secrets to juggle as it was.   

Westvale told her to let them know when they were thirty minutes away. For a moment, she entertained the urge to unleash a tirade of superior fury on them, and remind them just why they had been able to build a hospital in the first place, and who paid their salaries. But then she realized that there really wasn’t much anyone could do until Ben actually got there. This put her in a mood. She hated being in a mood. Before Ben, she’d only had a couple of very manageable moods. Now, she was emoting all over the place.

Gritting her teeth, she stomped back onto the plane. They took off again, toward the west. Racing away from the rising sun and deeper into the jaws of the night. Jake glanced at her, then settled back to sleep after checking the alarms on the vitals machine and the bandage on his own head. “In situations like these, you have to sleep when you can, because you never know when you’ll get another chance.”

She ignored him. Instead, she sat. She watched Ben’s vitals. And she seethed.

In the wash of all the things she had seen, all the death, all the destruction, all of the horror, from years and years of being dragged from tragedy to tragedy in what was starting to feel like an endless loop, her rage flared. Even as her exhaustion pulled at her with unbearable insistency, she fumed. How dare someone blow up her warehouse? How dare someone hurt these men, who had only gone to Qalcad to help? How dare someone injure her to the point that she couldn’t even think straight?

This was the last straw. Even if it had nothing to do with them, she was tired of playing defense. She’d played it safe, constantly fighting Ben with all the crazy changes he wanted to make. Granted, he was mostly trying to make up for his supposed checkered past. Laughable, but maybe he had a point.

She couldn’t take this lying down. She wouldn’t. Later, when her brain could hold onto a thought for more than a minute, they would pay.

She railed at the unknown culprits. She railed at her grandfather, and at her father and mother and everyone else who had stood by while she’d been used, abused, and treated like nothing more than a toy in one twisted game after another. If it wasn’t for them, she wouldn’t be here, in pain and terrified after nearly getting blown to bits for the dozenth time. She was all alone.

Ben was unconscious. Jake was getting his beauty sleep. There was no one left to fight other than the Voice from her nightmares. She let loose an inner torrent, challenging it to come back when it had abandoned her in the road. You know I’m right, she seethed. People who do things like that should burn in hell.

In the quiet, the response was like a formless, wordless whisper coming from everywhere and nowhere in her mind. The the not-words weren’t even spoken in a language, they were as clear as the numbers on the vitals machine.

I agree. All of those things are disgusting, and deserve to be punished.

Closing her eyes, she blew out a breath, ruffling the hair around her face. Yeah? By who? It’s not like you’re doing anything. You very easily could have stopped this. All of it. She wiped a tear as she remembered how scared she’d been as a child, upwardly begging for help and receiving nothing but more pain in response.

What do you think I should do? What more?

It was an old argument. She forced her eyes open again. Strike down whoever started that fire! Anyone who hurts people!

Anyone who hurts people? Like those that took me, stripped my flesh, beat me, and watched me die a painful death? Those who reject me?

She angrily wiped a tear, and couldn’t answer for a minute. Yes, they thought you were a human. So, even them.

Even you?

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~ Romans 15:13

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