Chapter 9

Written by: Sumanda Maritz

We’re being rescued! I was so sure we were going to die, that just lying here next to Artie in the first aid tent seems surreal. Benson, the poacher lies handcuffed and moaning in a corner.


For the first time the travel insurance that I always insist Artie take out will be used. The helicopter is on its way to airlift us to the closest hospital. I’m so completely turned around I can’t even figure out which hospital it will be. And right now I just don’t care enough to ask.


The only thing I can focus on is Artie’s breathing. His head and body are immobilised on a brace board with a pressure bandage around his head. A small pipe gives a feeble whistle with each breath where it has been inserted next to the broken rib. The rangers are worried that his lung will collapse.


“Sue?” I almost pass out from relief as I hear Artie whispering my name. I lean over and take his cold hand. His face is pale and clammy with a slight bluish tint around his mouth.


“Oh Artie, you gave me such a fright!”


I touch his face and he reaches up with the one hand that’s not strapped down to wipe a tear from my cheek. But more tears follow and run down the uneven scar tissue on my face.


“You’re such a girl” he breathes and pink foam bubbles up with each word. His hand slips down as if he can’t hold it up anymore.


My heart almost stops as his breath hitches. His eyes close and I’m sure that he’s about to die. “Artie!” I can’t stop myself from crying, “don’t you dare leave me!”  His eyes flutter open before closing again.


For a terrible moment I don’t know if Artie will make it to the hospital or not. I’m not sure I can live without him.  Who else will drag me out of my apartment when I’m feeling shy? Who else will touch the scars without flinching? That’s why I love him.  The scars have never disgusted him, not even that first day. What’s going to happen if he dies? I’ve got to tell him how I feel.


“Sue, promise me something,” I didn’t notice his eyes opening again, but I hear the urgency in his voice. Before I can tell him that I would do anything for him, the rangers storm into the tent and pick up the board that Artie is lying on. The sound of the rotating helicopter blades explains the haste.


I hobble after them as they carry Artie towards the waiting helicopter.  I can see Artie’s lips moving, but it’s difficult to make out what he’s saying above the noise. Bits and pieces come to me as I struggle to get close enough to hear what he’s saying.


“…my son…” I hear the words, but it doesn’t make sense. Artie doesn’t have a son. He can't!


Sumanda Maritz (SA)


Great work, Sumanda! Bringing it all back around, tying in the fire and why Susan would care for the oaf. I almost like him. It felt like you got so much in with only 500 words. And what a cliffhannger for the last author. But did he really say "son"?
Nice wrap up Sumanda. I don't know about cliffhanger at the end but certainly a mystery that adds some spice to be resolved. I like the factual description of pink bubbles from the lung injury too. Great chapter.
I hope so because he's annoying and Sue is just as annoying so maybe they both go. 
Now wouldn't that be a dramatic ending? Death by fire with the jerk you love?
That is a nice one.  Well done.  I really liked the reference to her scars and that he saw past the physical, even perhaps found them beautiful, to see and know her.  Just by his brief words I feel like Artie still hasn't learned his lesson about being conservative or mature!  His son?  Oh, boy!  Does he have a son?  Or does he want her to give her a son?  Or is teh sun in his eyes....haha. It seems that many people here don't like Artie.  I have to admit, I'm not to fond of him either. Nice chapter indeed.
Sorry about the typos in my comment.  I suppose that chapter got me excited and rushing to comment.