Who are our heroes? Some people consider our men and women in the military as heroes. I can agree with that, they do make a lot of sacrifices in their lives. I spent 4 years in the military and made some of those sacrifices myself. Some people I consider heroes are the men and women who deal with our wounded soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen.
Meet Second Lieutenant Holly Winters. Holly is a registered nurse in the United States Air Force. She works in the combat ward of a small hospital in Germany. Wounded military members are sent to the small hospital until they are stabilized and then they are moved on to somewhere else with better medical facilities, usually back in the United States.
Holly loves her job. She loves medicine, and people, and spends her time doing what she can to make all the patients she deals with feel as comfortable and happy as she can. The “official policy” she’s supposed to follow is to use only her rank and last name with patients. That helps with not getting personally involved with someone who may have to leave soon. Holly almost never follows this policy though, and just uses her first name with patients.
Holly is a tender hearted woman. She really cares about the people around her, but does her best to hide her feelings like she’s supposed to. But she’s about to see the dark side of combat injuries. She’s about to get a crash course in post traumatic stress disorder and survivor guilt.
A recently blinded air force patient named Robert has just been transferred to her hospital ward. Holly is drawn to Robert. He brings out extreme feelings in her, and since his arrival at the hospital she’s held his hand and done her best to soothe his pain. She’s even found herself kissing Robert.
Holly also has another friend in the ward, an army sergeant who has just had his right arm amputated. Holly has snuck candy bars into sergeant Henry Moore. She’s become very close, even helping him eat his meals when she can.
Before reading this excerpt from Kiss the Darkness, know that Holly is strong. She would never turn her back on a patient, or a friend. And after what you read happens, she does go back to the hospital, and back to Robert. She does help him through the darkness. She truly is the hero in this story.
Excerpt from Kiss the Darkness:
Her thoughts were with Robert as she picked up a tray of food and started to walk past the nurse’s station on a different floor, towards another room. Particularly, the kiss. After his initial surprise, he had relaxed into it with her. She was still thinking about it as she was passing the nurse’s station and an orderly tried to stop her.
“Oh hey, lieutenant! You don’t need to do that!”
“It’s not problem, I’m just going to make sure Sergeant Moore eats. Sometimes he has trouble using his left arm since the amputation.”
The orderly stood in front of her and tried to stop her from going towards the rooms. “Lieutenant, wait!”
Holly pushed past him. “He needs to eat.” She walked down the hallway and into one of the rooms. She found an empty bed. She looked around the room, confused. Had the orderlies moved him, like they had Robert? She turned and walked back out of the room to the nurse’s station.
“Where is Sergeant Moore? Did you move him?”
“He…we had to do it this morning, ma’am. That’s what I was trying to tell you.”
“Where is he?” Holly demanded.
“Uh…Lieutenant Cross said that…uh, she wanted…uh.”
“Where?” Holly asked again, sternly. “I am getting so sick of you guys moving patients around without permission!”
“He’s in the morgue.” the orderly said simply.
“The morgue. Why would you move him down there?”
“He’s dead. He had some kind of aneurism, or something and died during the night.”
“What are you talking about? He was fine yesterday! People don’t just die!”
Another nurse approached the nurse’s station. “Hi Holly.” She looked closely at Holly’s face. “What’s wrong?”
Holly looked at the other nurse, as if she could explain things better than the orderly. “Sergeant Moore died?”
The nurse glared at the orderly. “You son of a bitch, I told you to let me tell her! What is wrong with you!”
“I tried to stop her from going into the room, but she’s an officer! She asked me, I had to tell her!”
“Holly, honey…look, I’m sorry. It was just one of those things. He didn’t feel any pain.”
Holly gasped and dropped the tray of food onto the floor in front of her. She felt her lip quiver a bit, but steeled herself. After barely getting control of her emotions, Holly looked back at the other nurse. “I guess that happens. And at least he didn’t feel any pain.”
“I’m fine.” She swallowed hard. “I…I have other things I need to take care of, okay? I’ll see you later.” Holly turned and walked towards the elevator. Part of her needed to see Robert.
* * * *
“Lunch time, sergeant!” a happy voice said. “It looks like we have some applesauce, some eggs, and some jello for desert. For now, I need to feed you.”
Robert sat up in his bed. “I’m not hungry. I don’t want to eat.”
“Look, you need to start getting some solid food into your stomach so we can remove the IV. Just sit back, and we’ll get your belly full before you know it.”
“I said no!” Robert yelled.
“Look, will you at least smell it? Maybe that’ll make you hungry?” The orderly held the tray up near Robert’s nose. Robert swung his arm violently and knocked the tray out of the orderly’s hands.
“Okay, that’s it! I’m going to the lieutenant! You’re going back in restraints!” The orderly stomped out of the hospital room and back towards the nurse’s station.
Holly arrived at the nurse’s station at the same time as the orderly.
“Lieutenant! That blind guy is getting violent again, we need to put him back in restraints!”
“Why is he getting violent?” Holly asked.
“I don’t know. I took his food in there and was going to feed him, and he knocked the tray out of my hands! He’s refusing to eat!”
“I’ll take care of this.” Holly quickly had another tray of food made, and walked towards Robert’s room.
“Robert, it’s Holly.”
“Hi, sweetie. I understand you talked to some lieutenant to have me moved. I thought you were going to some colonel,” he muttered bitterly.
Holly sighed. “I’m a lieutenant, Robert.”
Robert let out a small laugh. “Wow, an officer, huh? How nice for you!”
“I’ve brought your lunch. Now sit up and eat it.”
“I don’t want lunch. I told your other flunkie that. Take it away, I’m not hungry.”
Holly closed her eyes, part of her still thinking about Sergeant Moore. “Listen to me, you need to start eating solid food. Now sit up and I’ll feed you. But for your next meal, you need to let the orderly feed you, okay?”
“Just go the fuck away! Where’s Franklin, huh? He’s dead, isn’t he? He didn’t wear his vest, and I was dumb enough to let him walk out into the compound without it! Why didn’t I tell him to put it on? He’s dead, isn’t he? That’s why nobody will tell me anything about him.”
“Listen, right now you need to worry about eating, not some other guy.” Holly could feel her emotions about to boil over.
“Oh, who fucking cares, huh? I’m useless now. I should have left my vest behind, too. Then I’d be dead just like Franklin. Just let me die! You people should have left me there in the compound next to him!”
Holly dropped the tray of food onto the floor and leaned over Robert. She slapped him across the face as hard as she could. “You selfish son of a bitch! Is that what you want? You want to die? No one cares about you, do they? Poor, poor blind sergeant! Some of these men won’t get to go home at all, do you realize that? Some of them…” She let out a loud sob. “Some…they’ll never…you want to die, then die you fucking asshole!”
Holly turned and ran from the room.
Robert lay there for a few minutes, not saying a word. Finally, he turned his head towards Corporal Baker’s bed.
“Jeff, are you there?”
“Yeah, I’m here, bro.”
“Am I selfish?”
“We all are, bro.”
Robert let out a long breath. “Shit.”
Take an emotional journey with Holly, Robert, and a few others in the book Kiss the Darkness. Find the books at any of these links:
Secret Cravings Publishing:
Amazon.com for the Kindle:
Amazon UK for the Kindle:
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