Supernature by H.V.Lyons
As Brad shakes his head, laughing heartily, something catches Cliff’s eye through the passenger side of the patrol car. At first he thought it might be some rags strewn by the side of the road but as the vehicle approached, he knew it had to be a body. A small body. Could it be a child? Another kid?
He reaches over and nudges Brad’s muscular forearm, pointing. “Hey, hey, hold on a sec. Slow down partner.” The urgency in his voice causes Brad to sober up immediately.
Brad slows the vehicle and now they could both see a small framed figure lying on the ground about 200 yards off the side of the road partially obscured by some shrubs.
After slowing down the vehicle Brad leans over his partner to get a closer look while pulling the car off of the road.
“What is that? Is it a body?” asks Brad.
Cliff still squinting replies, “Jesus I think it is,” he swings open the door just as the car comes to a stop and jogs off toward the figure on the ground. Brad jumps out and follows. As the two men approach the figure they notice a bare-footed young woman in her early thirties lying on her stomach. She’s very pale with short dark hair, wearing a pair of badly torn jeans and a ripped tee shirt, both lightly splattered in blood. Her eyes are closed and the left side of her face is in the dirt. Parts of the woman’s face and arms are dark red, dry and clearly sun burnt. She is also covered in dozens of small cuts and scratches. As the two officers examine her they also notice that her feet are dirty, bleeding and blistered. On her right cheek and on her right forearm there are what appear to be large reddish swollen abscesses both about the size of golf balls. The abscesses are dry, peeling and slowly leaking a yellowish puss. Cliff looks down at the woman and softly calls out to her. “Miss, can you hear me? Miss?” There’s no response. The woman just lies there very still and breathing slowly, showing little sign of life. Cliff kneels down and checks her neck for a pulse with two expert fingers, “She’s alive! But just barely, better call it in.”
Brad unhooks his portable radio from his belt and calls the dispatcher as he briskly walks around the area looking through the bush, “Dispatch, this is car forty-nine, over.”
“Go ahead forty-nine,” the radio crackles back.
“Ah, we have an eleven forty-seven on route 377 about one mile south of Despain Ranch Road, requesting Medevac ASAP, over.”
“Ten-four forty-nine, requesting Medevac for eleven forty-seven, route 377, one mile south of Despain Ranch Road, there’s already a chopper in the area, ETA about twenty minutes, do you copy?”
“Ten-four Dispatch, twenty minutes.”
Brad walks back over to Cliff and the woman and hunkers down next to them, “Chopper will be here in twenty. What do you think happened to her?”
“I don’t know. Her breathing is very slow and she’s covered in all these cuts almost like she’s been in a fight with a cat.”
“Damn, she does look real tore up,” adds Brad.
Cliff looks at the wounds and twists his face, “Have you noticed that odor?”
“Yeah, smells like she was sprayed with vinegar,” Brad slowly scans the area around the woman, “strange, this is real strange. You hear me partner?”
Cliff looks up at him slowly, “I know what you mean.”
For fifteen minutes the two officers sit with the female while they wait for the medical helicopter to arrive. They check her back pockets for any signs of identification and repeatedly check her pulse and breathing. As Cliff kneels by the girl’s side Brad searches the surrounding area for any clues as to what might have happened. He follows some partial tracks from the woman leading south but only manages to find blood spattered foot prints in the sand. While kneeling down to study one print he stops and looks around slowly. The silence they noticed earlier seems especially oppressive now. “What could have happen out here?” He thinks to himself.
He begins to scan the area more intently. There’s nothing around, normally in this part of the forest there are birds over head, flies buzzing around, even the occasional scorpion scurrying by. But today there’s nothing but silence. The stillness unnerves Brad and he stands up and begins to make his way back towards Cliff and the woman. Just then Brad’s radio crackles to life, “Car forty-nine, Car forty-nine this is Medevac two, do you read?”
“Go ahead Medevac two this is forty-nine, what’s your ETA?”
“We are five minutes out forty-nine, Just thought you should know we just flew over a camper off the side of the road about two miles south of your position. Appears to be abandoned, could belong to your Vic.”
“Ten-four Medevac two, we’ll check it out as soon as you clear station.”
Brad approaches Cliff and kneels beside him, “Chopper will be here in five.”
“The chopper spotted a camper down the road. Could be where she’s from. We should check it out when we’re done.”
“How is she?”
“Still no response, no movement, nothing, and her breathing is getting even slower. You find anything?”
“Naw, no clues, but…I don’t know, it seems a little weird but remember I mentioned how quiet it is out here? Something’s not right.”
Cliff slowly looks around and scans the area then turns back to Brad, nodding, “Yeah it’s pretty quiet today isn’t it?”
“Yeah, a little too quiet if you ask me. It’s giving me the creeps.”
“I know exactly what you mean. Like, it’s kind of--”
“--Dead,” his partner finished.
In the background the low rumbling sound of the four bladed Bell 407 helicopter can be heard approaching. The sound steadily grows louder as the red and white chopper slowly appears overhead. The pilot hovers for a minute while he looks for a clearing to land. Brad covers his eyes and Cliff angles his broad, muscular frame in an effort to shield the young woman as the machine kicks up a cloud of dust. The skilled pilot softly lands the helicopter just in front of the officer’s patrol car on the side of the road. As the engine slows to an idle, two paramedics dressed in bright orange jump suits jump out, one carrying a medical kit and the other a portable gurney. Both wear pilot helmets and multi-pocketed vests loaded with bandages and other small medical tools. They run over to the two officers and their victim.
Dave, a short stocky seven-year veteran of the Medevac service, crouches beside the young woman on the ground. His partner Nancy, a thin light skinned young woman with freckles, quickly runs to the other side and applies the inflatable bag of a portable blood pressure machine onto the woman’s left arm.
Dave examines her body, being careful not to move her too much as the extent of her injuries are as yet unclear. While wearing protective gloves he examines the abscesses on her face and arm.
“Damn! I’ve never seen anything like this before. How long has she been like this?”
Scratching his head Brad responds, “Don’t know, we’ve been here for about twenty minutes. Don’t know how long she’s been lying here before that.”
While closely examining her burnt skin Dave then says, “Must have been at least an hour by the look of these sunburns.”
Cliff then jumps in, “Have you noticed the odor? Kind of like vinegar.”
Dave leans closer to the woman and sniffs, “Seems to be coming from these big sores.”
Suddenly a steady beeping emits from the blood pressure machine. Nancy checks the LED display and calls out its readings.
“Blood pressure’s 55 over 40!”
Dave looks up, “Not good, not good at all”
“Is that very bad?” asks Cliff with a look of concern.
“Yes it is, very low, probably due to dehydration. She could slip into a coma if we don’t get her some fluids and to a hospital ASAP!”
Nancy pulls an IV bag of clear fluid out of her medical kit and attaches it to the woman’s arm.
Dave pulls out a small light from his vest and shines it into the woman’s eyes as he pulls them open with his other hand, “Her eyes are dilated and her breathing is erratic and with the low blood pressure she’s in real bad shape. We have to get her out of here now. Come on, give us a hand.”
“Where’re you going to take her?” asks Brad.
“The trauma center at Lincoln Hospital in downtown Phoenix. We can be there in about thirty-five minutes.”
Dave gently lifts the woman over to one side as his partner Nancy slides the portable gurney under her back. The two officers assist the paramedics in lifting the woman up and carrying her to the waiting helicopter. After securing her inside of the copter the two officers back away and watch as it slowly rises into the air and speeds off.
Brad turns to Cliff and says,” I don’t know what’s going on but we need to check out that camper.”
“You’re right, let’s get a move on it. Someone has to know what happened to her.”