1.2 The Cajun Prayer
I punched in the code on the keypad in the hall. The kitchen door swung open and we waited nearly a minute for the smoke to clear. There was still some irritant.
Our intruder was a big fellow but something in the shock of burgundy hair bespoke youth. He was doubled over the sink. His hands clattering blindly over unwashed dishes searching for the faucet handle.
“Looks like he’s found his way to the world’s shittiest eyewash station.” I chuckled between coughs.
We’d gone retro. Hell, this wasn’t even strictly legal and we should be wearing masks. It was my decision, I really hated trespassers, but I somewhat softened when that red, swollen face, turned round to try and look at me.
“It burns! It burns deep.” He said with a disturbing hoarseness.
“Jesus, Alan, Jesus, why did you pick CS, that kind… hell where did you get it?”
We’d run back out into the hall. It was horrid. I’d let zeal get the best of me.
“Hey, it was an option, I don’t ask questions, I wasn’t expecting to use this shit on civilians.”
“How do you know he’s a civ? And shit that doesn’t even make sense. Domestic enforcement only Alan.”
“He can’t be any more than twenty maybe twenty-one. His clothes reek of the hills. There’s a loophole somewhere…” I hoped. More awkward meetings with Thorton…
“Well, fuck, we don’t have masks, how are we gonna solve this shit.”
“There’s some saline in storage, we’ll grab that, but really the best thing is fresh air. It’s been about four minutes now with that door open…. Let’s take him outside. I doubt he’s gonna put up a fight.”
“He’s a big fucker.”
“Don’t be a pussy, Lucas. He’s a kid with a lungful of bees.”
The guy was retching now.
“Oh no no..buddy…this kitchen is messy enough…” I said putting a hand on his back and positioning my hips in case I had to slam the fucker.
He didn’t seem to put up any resistance. “Ok, kid, you’re gonna have to step out this door and get some fresh air.” I couldn’t help but cough myself. “My buddy here will wet a rag and then we’re gonna give you some saline and water for flushing.”
“My skin burns, everything burns….”
“Lucas go grab some of Graham’s clothes and that saline. Double time.”
He was gone.
The stranger just kept groaning and retching in the chill Kentucky air. The contrast was odd. Such serenity sat awkwardly against the loud and painful events of just moments ago.
I couldn’t help but wonder how in the hell he’d gone here. The nearest ‘road’ was fifty or so miles from here and the lake didn’t touch any property that was known to anyone save Uncle Sam, people tied up by NDA’s, and maybe a couple of venturesome hicks.
He was too young though.
I was impressed with Lucas efficiency. He was back with all the necessary things within the span of six minutes.
“Ok, I’m gonna need you to take off your top layers of clothing, and put on these.”
“I can’t see…I can’t breathe…”
A jacket, a flannel, and a beanie were tossed aside.
“Now here’s a jug of water. Flush your eyes with it.” I said making sure his hand found the handle.
“Not all at once. Try to keep your eyes open…”
He was pouring it too quickly but I didn’t blame him.
“Slow down a bit…ok good…”
He got the idea and applied the water to his eyes in measured doses.
“Ok, now take some of this saline and spray it in your nose,” I said handing him a pressurized can of the stuff.
“Ok, now dry off with that towel. I’m going to take you to our shower, you need to run that water hot, it’s not going to be pleasant, but right now you’re soaked and it’s below freezing, so…get inside…double time…”
Our intruder was somewhat recovered.
As we stepped back into the kitchen I saw his red half shut eyes give something like a look of recognition.
“Doc Pierce….?” He inquired with hoarse incredulity.