The General had instantly grabbed his mobile out of his pocket after the fatal shot, shouting some orders in the device. That man couldn’t escape with the tapes or everything would be in vain. But his second order was for one of his soldiers. ‘Get the men of the ambulance that’s waiting up here as fast as possible.’

            Katarina, meanwhile, had gotten on her knees on the side of Jean-Pierre. Without worrying about the blood, she listened with her head on the chest of her friend. ‘He’s alive, but his heartbeat is weak and irregular. Please, do something.’ The tears were running along her face. In her eyes, you saw the panic, but also the love for the man who had saved her life. The gangster had wanted to gun her down and Jean-Pierre had thrown himself before the bullet. ‘L’histoire se répète’, history is repeating itself, Katarina thought, when she remembered her mother saved by her new man. He too had paid with his death. She couldn’t consider the fact that Jean-Pierre wouldn’t make it.

            ‘Katarina, in a few minutes the emergency services will be here. I’m going downstairs to intercept them and give instructions about Jean-Pierre and where they can find him. Look for his pulse, control his heartbeat. If it’s necessary, do you know CPR?’

            Katarina looked up at the General and he had to repeat his question again before it got through to her. She nodded and took his hand in her lap and felt his pulse. Her face turned pale. There was no heartbeat anymore. ‘I feel nothing!’

            ‘Start the reanimation, Katarina, I advise the guys from the emergency service.’ General de Tavernier hurried down while Katarina tried to remember her lessons in First Aid. Panic wasn’t a good adviser in this situation, she had to regain control of herself. She put a hand on his forehead and tilted it carefully a bit backward. At the same time, she lifted Jean-Pierre’s chin with two fingers. Afterward, she put her two hands in the midst of his chest and started with the chest compressions. Thirty compressions alternate with two breathings. That’s how she had learned it.

            She heard Jean-Pierre’s ribs cracking under her hands, but she didn’t really pay attention to it. When she arrived at thirty, she saw there was not change in the situation and started the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. She tilted the head again and made the chin lift, closed his nose with two fingers and put her mouth on his mouth blowing her breath in him. She looked at his chest rising and let him exhale. After that, she blew her breath of life again in his mouth.

            When she was halfway of the second series of compressions, she heard sounds on the ground floor. The emergency services had arrived. Without looking up, while she heard the stumbling sound on the stairs she continued the reanimation.

            Three men entered the room. One of them took the lead and was probably the doctor. ‘Okay, Miss, please move, we’ll take it from here. How many series have you done already?’

            Katarina showed two fingers at the doctor, she simply couldn’t pass any words over her lips. The fear to loose Jean-Pierre was squeezing her throat.

            ‘Everybody a bit backward if you please, give us the room to do our work.’ He had taken the pulse in the meantime and nodded negatively to the other to first-aid helpers. Meanwhile, they had put a large bag on the ground and were getting a portable defibrillator out of this material bag. The doctor was cutting Jean-Pierre’s clothing open. The two electrodes were put on the chest of Katarina’s friend while she was looking with her hand in front of her mouth. One of the electrodes was positioned on the right side under the collar-bone, the other just under the left nipple. One of the helpers charged the machine and gave a warning before he administered the shock.

            It was quiet as a mouse in the room when everybody looked at the screen of the defibrillator. The doctor gave an order to the one who served the machine. He readjusted the device again and gave a warning after the charging. The shock followed. Still no response.

            The doctor gave further instructions and again the machine was handled by the first-aid helper. Katarina had seen that he furrowed his brow and looked worried. Or was she wrong? Katarina desperately bit her fingernails. Was there no luck left for them both? Would this be the end of their relationship. Through her tears, she heard the warning: Clear!’   


© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere







The End

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