Short Stories, Stort Stories, Writing

Stort Story: A Sucking Wound

The door was locked. Axel jiggled the handle again anyway.

“What? Still no luck? Imagine that.” Martis’s rasping voice, dripping with more sarcasm than blood, was an ever unwelcome intrusion.

“Piss off.” Axel kicked the door for the umpteenth time before turning around and scanning the dimly lit broom-closet of a room. 

The cramped space was made smaller by the ever invasive sound of Martis’s strangled breathing. 

Axel watched the man. The punk was smirking without a care, as though he wasn’t sitting in a pool of his own blood. 

Axel frowned. The bleeding should have slowed by now.

He knelt besides Martis and rechecked the wound dressing. The bleeding had slowed, but with a chest wound, blood loss was the last thing Axel was worried about. Especially with the difficulty Martis was having breathing and the blood he’d sputter out occasionally.

On cue, Martis coughed up more of the red stuff. Though that wasn’t even enough to stop his stupid smirk and smart-ass comments. “Bet you wish… you hadn’t waited for me.”

Axel grimaced and readjusted the bandaging, jerking it tighter than he needed to and ignoring Martis flinch. 

“I’ll be damned if I left a man behind for a reason so weak as hating him.” Axel’s annoyance at the idea wasn’t enough to stop the punk from continuing with his stupid smirk.

“Come on. You coulda ignored me. The team wouldn’t even have known, but no. You—”

“If you shut up for once, you’d live longer.” Axel growled as he stood and moved a step away, willing the punk to stay quiet long enough for Axel to think of a way out. He started checking through the junk boxed up in the small room. Useless junk, as it turned out.

Martis mocked his efforts, as though his life wasn’t in the balance of their escaping. Axel gritted his teeth not to say anything.

Of all the people in the unit, I’m stuck with this dip-shit. Axel shook his head at the thought. He wasn’t special in that regard. Everyone in the unit despised the know-it-all punk. If their leader wasn’t so insistent on giving the newbie a chance, Axel would have kicked him out long ago.

Axel clenched his fist and focused on his breathing, pulling his thoughts back to the present. There was no good to come of that line of thought. He could hate Martis all day, and he usually did, but that wasn’t getting them out of this room.

He frowned, back in the present, something had changed. He turned to Martis. The man’s breathing was more strangled and sporadic. Panic flooded the punk’s usually impassive features as his pleading eyes were glued to Axel.

“Told you not to talk.” Axel growled on reflex as he jumped to the man’s side and checked his pulse. He pulled Marits into the recovery position, hoping the change in position would help his breathing.

Martis gagged more, throwing a wild punch at Axel as he struggled to sit up again.

Axel didn’t pause to shake the stars out of his head from the punch. He pulled against Martis on instinct before memory of his training stopped him. The patient was supposed to stay in whatever position was most comfortable, his mind supplied, even if it wasn’t the medically dictated best.

He shifted to helping Martis move however was comfortable, by a loose definition of the word. It ended with Martis half sitting against the wall, curled on his side.

Axel hovered by him until Martis was smirking again. Martis waved a halfhearted hand at Axel’s face. “Oops.”

The taste of blood in his mouth spiked Axel’s annoyance. He wiped the back of his hand across his face. Martis had split his lip.

“Asshole.” He growled. He turned and spat out blood. In the half second he’d looked away, Martis already had the panicked look back and a weak hand grasping at Axel’s shirt. 

“Shit!” Axel ignored the strangled breathing this time and moved to reexamine the wound. It was sucking air.

Axel clapped his hands over the wound, trying to create a seal from the air and filling the room with every curse he could think of. 

It wasn’t sucking air before… Why’d it start? Cause I moved him? 

“Damn it!” Axel directed his swearing to himself in between barking at Martis. “Marits, breathe out.”

A pathetic excuse for a breath and more gurgling was the response.

“You’re so damn excited to talk all the time, why don’t you do that now. Exhale!”

“…Asshole… can’t…”

Axel swore at that too. 

Just seal the wound. His medical training came back as a quiet voice of reason.

Rummaging through all of his pockets while keeping one hand tight over Martis’s side turned into more of a dexterity challenge than Axel was used to. He could only reach about half his pocket and still couldn’t find anything useful. 

Martis still had a hand gripping at Axel’s shirt. It was getting in the way. 

“Martis, let go! I’m right here.” Axel spared a quick glance at his patient. The look of panic and desperation in Martis’s eyes hadn’t dissipated.

Axel frowned as he continued searching. He was going to have to work around the hand then. 

The grip on his shirt loosened and fell away. All of Axel’s attention snapped back to Martis. The man was as he’d never been before. 

Silent.

Axel jumped into action, jerking Martis out of his ‘comfortable’ position so he was flat on the floor before starting CPR. Axel made it through five chest compression before something sickening snapped in the body under him. More blood flowed from the wound.

“Damnit!” Axel released a slew of cusses in the time it took him to maneuver to a position to start mouth-to-mouth. 

“Don’t you dare, you bastard! Know-it-all, punk!” Axel began throwing every nickname he’d had for Martis at him as he still couldn’t force air passed all the blood into the man’s lungs.

Axel listened to his own heartbeat as everything else was tuned out.  

Could drain the blood. Axel pulled out his knife at the thought.

Won’t work. Knife’s too big. Axel ignored that thought and stabbed the knife into Martis’s side anyway.

Blood flowed, but he still couldn’t force air into Martis’s lungs.

A hand on Axel’s shoulder pulled him from his tunnel vision to see his team pouring in through a broken door. He watched unmoving as his team leader knelt besides Martis and started CPR.

Another hand tried to pull Axel away, but he wouldn’t budge as he watched.

A minute longer. His mind roamed for an answer to where he’d gone wrong. What he should have done. If I’d kept him alive for a minute longer…

Someone shaking him slowly drew his attention. His team leader had moved in front of him, saying something Axel couldn’t hear.

“Why’d you stop?!” Axel tried to lurch towards Martis, but he was held in place by multiple hands.

“Axel, listen to me.”

He pulled his focus to the calm blue eyes in front of him. 

“He’s gone, Axel. You did everything you could…”

Axel tuned the words out again as his gaze shifted back to Martis’s body.

Punk looks so damn peaceful, I hate him. The thought floated through his mind. He let his body sag. Shouldn’t have moved him.

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