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Angel of Death: (Reaper Series Book 1), Page 2

G.P. Burdon


  Peyton Paradisa quietly sipped her fresh cup of coffee as she sat at the nurse’s station in the hospital’s Emergency Room. She brushed a lock of shimmering golden hair back over her ear as she leaned forward to read the magazine she had flat on her desk. It was so late, it was early, and Peyton was silently counting down the seconds until her night shift was over and she could go home.

  Suddenly, the doors at the end of the ward crashed open and a pair of paramedics came running in, startling Peyton. The two paramedics were shouting at each other over the man lying prone on the gurney between them, but Peyton couldn’t hear a thing they were saying. The man was yelling at the top of his lungs, screaming in maniacal terror, spit flying from his mouth and blood streaming down his face as he shrieked and strained against his restraints.

  “The night!” the man was screaming. “The night! It was the night! Oh God, they’re dead, they’re all dead!”

  As Peyton leaped to her feet and rushed to help, she noticed the doctor on duty, the 46 year-old Chief-Resident Gary Voss, jog into the room and head toward the patient. He and Peyton arrived by his side at the same time.

  “The night!” the man on the gurney screamed at the paramedics. “The night! THE NIGHT TOOK THEM ALL!”

  “Nurse!” cried Voss. “30 milligrams of propofol!”

  Peyton was already on her way to the anesthesia station, but hesitated at the doctor’s orders.

  “Propofol?” she repeated. “Doctor, morphine might be-”

  “Now, Nurse!” he yelled, holding down the patient as he struggled and screamed.

  Peyton quickly grabbed the propofol and raced back to the gurney, drawing the sedative into a needle as she moved. Before administering the drug, however, she paused and looked up at the doctor.

  “Sir, this could be dangerous, we don’t know-”

  “Damn it, Nurse, give it to me!” the doctor yelled at her. “Hold down the patient, for God’s sake!”

  Peyton placed the drug in the doctor’s outstretched hand and replaced him in helping the paramedics to restrain the hysterical patient, who was still screaming incessantly. As Voss carefully lined up the needle with a vein in the man’s arm, the patient suddenly kicked wildly, catching everyone off guard and breaking free of their holds. Before anyone could react, the patient reached up and grabbed Peyton by the throat. She gasped as her airways closed under his tight grip, instinctively clawing at his hand to break free. The man pulled her close, sitting up and leaning in, and hissed in her ear.

  “Monster!” he whispered, uttering the word as though it took every ounce of strength he had to form the word. “It ate her… ”

  At that moment, one of the paramedics recovered his footing and grabbed the man’s arm, forcing it down and releasing Peyton from the sweaty grip. She staggered back, away from the gurney, choking and coughing as she drew in breath after breath. She looked up in time to see Voss administer the propofol. The patient stopped screaming all of a sudden, beginning to immediately drift into a dreamless sleep. The paramedics lowered him gently and carefully removed their hold, slowly stepping back and keeping their hands at the ready, as though they thought he might leap up again and attack them all.

  Before they could all calm their nerves, however, Doctor Voss roughly grabbed Peyton by her arm and forced her to face him.

  “The next time I tell you to do something,” he sneered through gritted teeth, his brow bent into an angry furrow, “I expect you to DO IT!”

  Peyton flinched as Voss screamed the last two words in her face, spit flying out of his mouth and landing on her cheek.

  “Whoa, dude…” one of the paramedics began to say.

  Peyton wasn’t fazed, however; she may not have been a nurse for long, she may have only graduated her nursing degree less than a year ago, but she knew that doctors often took out their frustrations on the nursing staff. She also knew that Doctor Voss was the most short-tempered person in the hospital. She also knew she was right.

  Refusing to let herself be bullied by anyone, least of all Doctor Voss, Peyton stopped massaging her throat and glared back at him with equal ferocity.

  “I’m sorry, sir, maybe next time I’ll ask your permission before I do my job.” Voss still had a tight grip on her arm, so she grabbed his wrist and roughly threw it off of her, almost knocking Voss off balance in the process. “And if you grab me like that again, I’ll report you to the board. Doctor.”

  Voss, it seemed, wasn’t done with her yet. He kept his hands to himself, but he compensated by standing uncomfortably close to Peyton, using the fact that he was taller than her to try and intimidate, pointing in her face as he continued to tell her off.

  “I don’t care how new you are, there is a chain of command that needs to be followed, girly, and you better obey it.”

  “Oh, you did not just tell me to obey! I don’t have to do a damn thing you say. I’m here to help and if I think you’re making a decision that could endanger someone’s life, I’m going to call you on it!”

  “What danger?” Voss cried. “It’s a sedative, we use it all the time!”

  “Yes, with patients whose medical history we know about. We don’t know anything about this man.”

  “He was hysterical, I needed to put him down fast before he hurt someone or himself. And look, he did hurt you!”

  “Oh, don’t pretend you’re concerned about me,” Peyton scoffed. “You made up your mind about him the second you saw him freaking out. What if he has drugs or alcohol in his system? What if you gave him too much? What if he has allergies? You just don’t know and you’ve put him at risk!”

  “Whatever,” Voss snapped. “I don’t need to explain myself to you, anyway.”

  Peyton crossed her arms over her chest and stared defiantly into Voss’ eyes. “You’re right, you don’t. But if that man dies tonight, you will have to explain to someone.”

  Voss’ lip curled and his hand twitched at his side. He looked as though he wanted to say something cutting, but instead he simply said, “Your shift’s over. Go home, Nurse.”

  Peyton noticed that Voss said ‘nurse’ as though it was a filthy word. “Gladly.”

  Before she left, Peyton stopped by the nurse’s station and quietly spoke to one of the other nurses on duty.

  “Hey, can you do me a favor? Just keep an eye on the psych-patient that Voss put under, could you?”

  “Sure thing, Peyton. Now go home and get some sleep, girl.”

  Peyton smiled. “Trust me, that’s exactly what I’ve got planned. All five hours of it before I’m right back here. Night!” As she left the ward, Peyton wondered if she should stay a bit longer, to keep an eye on the man who came in screaming. She hesitated at the door, looking back over her shoulder at the unconscious man in the bed. She nearly turned around and went back inside, but then she made eye contact with Voss, who was still lurking nearby. He was glaring at her with an unreadable expression that made her incredibly uncomfortable.

  I’ll just check on him tomorrow, she thought. She reminded herself that propofol was a short-term sedative and, despite the scandal around Michael Jackson’s death because of the drug, it was perfectly safe when used correctly. Then she quickly left and went home, hoping that the man would be alright.