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"Black Jim"

By Kellyanne Lynch

* Please e-mail with questions, comments, theories, complaints, or words of wisdom.


Chapter 8:
Thursday, 6:04 P.M.

Steve felt his arm restraints loosen, and his wrists separate. He waited for Jesse to remove the rest of the ropes, the blindfold, and the gag. He waited in vain.

Steve finally pulled his wrists away from one another and the ropes fell to the ground. He moved his hands behind his head, and pain stabbed his injured shoulder. Clenching his eyes shut, Steve growled. He glanced at his bleeding left shoulder, which pressed into the ground. He mustered the strength to roll onto his back, to sit up and remove his blindfold. Squinting in the darkness, focusing his neglected sight, he scanned the shoreline. Beside him lay a figure, slumped in a heap.

Steve's eyes widened.

"Mmm!" he exclaimed through the gag. His right hand reached behind his head, unfastened the gag, and threw it aside.

"Jess!" Steve slid his right hand under Jesse's neck.

Jesse opened his eyes. "Steve!" he whispered with a toothy smile. His eyes fluttered shut, and Steve shook his friend's shoulder.

"Jesse?" His eyes drew to Jesse's hemorrhaging midsection. Furrowing his brow, Steve leaned in closer to examine the wound.

"Is that glass?" Steve asked as he moved his hand toward Jesse's stomach. The young doctor's eyes flew open, and he lifted his hand a few inches off the ground.

"No, Steve!" he wheezed. "Don't touch it! It's" His eyelids closed and his body went limp.

"Jess! Jesse!" Steve called. His friend didn't move. His eyes scanned the scene for something, anything, that he could use to help Jesse. Steve looked at Jesse and noticed his coat. If it hadn't been caked with dirt, it would have been an appropriate dressing for the wound. Glancing at his own body, he saw the flannel shirttail flapping in the breeze. He reached down and tore off the excess fabric.

As he laid it over Jesse's wound, Steve looked around for something else.

"Cell phone," he muttered. He slipped his hands into one coat pocket and retrieved a power bar wrapper and a movie stub for The Little Mermaid. Steve smirked and immediately felt guilty. With his healthy arm, Steve rolled Jesse onto his back and checked the other pocket. A Community General Hospital lapel ID

And a cell phone.

Steve hit the on button. The telephone beeped three times.

"Low batt!" Steve exclaimed and threw the phone aside. Shaking his head, he hissed through his teeth. His eyes fell upon Jesse who was losing facial colour, whose breathing became more difficult with every second.

With his right hand, Steve applied pressure to Jesse's stomach. He felt a wet, sticky sensation on his palm. Bringing his hand away from Jesse, Steve drew it to his eyes. Jesse's blood had seeped through the flannel. Steve stared at it, then glanced up the embankment. His eyes returned to Jesse, who coughed and weakened with every passing moment.

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