* A continuance of the "Running Late " storyline with the same characters.
His first realization upon regaining consciousness was pain. The worst, most unimaginable pain he had ever experienced. He looked to his left, which seemed to be the source of the pain.
There was nothing there. No hand, no elbow, no arm. Just a big lump of white gauze that was slowly turning scarlet from the centre out. He groaned and instinctively moved to the right, away from the pain.
"Easy, easy, don't move around too much if you can help it. I've done what I can to stop the bleeding. I even put in a few emergency stitches. Stay still, I don't know what other injuries you might have. You could bleed out if there's a cut artery."
The man from the olive painted Jeep looked up at the woman that had just stolen his parking space. She had shoulder length sand coloured hair, and and kind, concerned blue eyes.
"What happened..?" He croaked through cracked and bleeding lips.
"The cafe blew up. We were a block away when it happened. Now we're three blocks away."
"I was on my way to work, I've got to call in."
"That's already been done, officer Lewis. " At his surprised look, She explained.
" I was buried in the rubble, and so were you. We were close to each other, and I heard your "walkie" talking. That's how I found you. I just followed the repeated squawking until I found it. Your precinct already knows that you won't be in to work today."
Officer Lewis lay back against the familiar olive drab fabric of his Jeep's front seat. He looked around, and all he could see was piles of debris surrounding him and the woman. The back end of her green sedan, without the front end, was on the other side of her. There was a big briefcase type first aid kit open on the seat.
She followed his line of sight, and explained.
"I just came from a first aid class. It's a good thing I put that kit in the trunk, and not on the front seat. I got it as first prize for getting 100 percent on the exam. I have a photographic memory, so I just memorized the manual. Is that cheating, I wonder?"
She finished conversationally as she tried to swab the deep gash on her right cheek. It was no more than a centimetre under her eye, and it was gushing blood.
"There are ambulances and rescue workers all over this area." She continued.
" I've already called in our exact location under all this debris. My cell phone has a UPS on it. They'll get to us when they can. We have to stay here till they find us."
He saw the big rear view mirror of a truck lying near his right hand. He held it up so she could see what she was doing. She smiled her thanks as she continued to treat her wound. Her clothes were a mess, and completely bloody. He didn't know if it was his blood or hers, probably both.
"That's going to leave a scar," He said apologetically, as though it was his fault.
" I'm not dead, and I'm not blind," She shrugged in a matter of fact way.
"What's your name? "He asked as she finished applying bandaging to her face.
"Wilma." She grinned as his eyebrows raised.
"I know, you don't hear that name much any more. It's an old name, my grandmother's in fact."
" Thanks for preventing me from backing out, officer Lewis. If you had just driven on, I would have parked and gone into the cafe. You saved my life."
Lewis considered this for a moment.
"I wanted a coffee badly. My alarm didn't go off, and I didn't have time to make any after my shower before I went to work. I thought I'd just grab a cup "to go" on my way. You stuck the rear end of your vehicle right in the way between me and my addiction. I was thoroughly p***ed off!"
"I could see that through my rear view mirror." She laughed. "If looks could kill!!"
Just then there was a sudden disturbance in the rubble. It came from somewhere on the other side of what was left of Wilma's car.
"Lewis.. Lewis.. Barry!!!"
They looked toward the voice that was being shouted through a bull horn.
A large muscular man in a blue police uniform followed the voice as it got closer to the couple.
"Mark, Mark, I'm over here!!" Barry Lewis yelled.
"That's my partner, Mark Durban. I knew he'd find me eventually, that man never gives up." He told Wilma.
Mark crawled around the end of Wilma's car with a team of three other men and a stretcher behind him.
"I told you that your coffee addiction would kill you some day," He told his partner with relief just to see Barry alive.
It took some time to get both Barry and Wilma out of the wreckage, but at least they made it out alive.
They were survivors.