Read Along: Paradise Palms: Chapter 39
Sam shrugged the gun off his shoulder, letting it clatter to the ground — it was out of ammunition anyway so there was no risk of a misfire — and laid Tiger Lily as gently as he could onto the bed. She grunted a little when he put her down.
“Someone get the medical kit! Doc said it had everything we’d need in there and we need everything!”
No one answered and Sam didn’t want to leave her alone. “You’re going to be alright, Tiger Lily.” He ran a hand over her forehead. She was definitely in shock, and he couldn’t blame her. She was almost dragged off to her death. Hell, he’d probably be in shock if he’d been in that position. He couldn’t blame her for freaking out.
He unwrapped the t-shirt from her arm and looked at the cuts. There were more tears in the skin and a little into the flesh, but with a few stitches and several days, she’d be fine. He’d just need to make sure to disinfect everything. Lizards have nasty mouths and if he didn’t, she could get a terrible infection that could kill her.
“Where are you? I need help here!”
Sam re-wrapped the blood-soaked t-shirt on her arm to try and stem the slow ooze. Girlfriend came down the ladder first, followed by the topless Lin. Sam looked away. He had seen her with her shirt off, but didn’t want to make an issue of it. She was, after all, only a little girl. She was what? Seventeen at the most. He tried to shake the vision out of his mind. There were more important things to think about right now. Like how to field dress a wound.
“I need that med kit. Quickly. I’ve got to stitch her up and while she’s in shock, she might not feel anything.”
“I’m on it, Sam,” Girlfriend answered.
Girlfriend ran to the back of the car. Lin covered her chest with her arms and followed Girlfriend. She looked at the floor the whole way. Sam felt bad for her. Her friend was hurt and she was surely embarrassed. Sam wanted to do something for her, but now wasn’t the time.
Girlfriend screamed from the back and then yelled angrily.
“What’s going on?” Sam yelled.
“Don’t worry about it,” Girlfriend shouted back.
Sam rolled his eyes. He hated it when she did that. If it was nothing, why’d she scream? He looked at Tiger Lily and thought about leaving her to go find out, but Girlfriend arrived with the sizeable medical kit and Lin followed, backing out from the back and shaking her head. She’d put on a white shirt and blood had already stained it.
“What’s going on?”
“You just take care of Tiger Lily. She needs your help right now.”
“Fine. I need you and Lin, Lin come over here. I need you two to hold her down. Cleaning this out is going to hurt like a bitch, but I need to really clean it. Okay?”
They both nodded.
“I suggest you don’t watch if you’ve got a weak stomach.”
Girlfriend held Tiger Lily down by the arms while Lin straddled her hips.
Once he had the hydrogen peroxide, Sam pulled off the soaked t-shirt and poured the solution onto Tiger Lily’s arm. She gnashed her teeth and pulled. Sam held her wrist tight and the struggle stopped quickly. The peroxide bubbled and foamed. He knew it had to hurt.
With his free hand, he took off his belt and handed it to Girlfriend. “Put this in her mouth. If she gnashes her teeth like that again, she could break a tooth. I’m sure she won’t remember any of this because of the shock, so don’t worry about hurting her right now. We need to get this stitched up. Lin, hold her arm while I get the needle and thread ready. Lin? Are you alright?”
Lin sucked in a breath. “I’m fine.”
She wasn’t fine. She was pale and looked sick. Regardless, he let her take Tiger Lily’s arm and got the needle and thread prepared.
Something thudded into the side of the car.
“What was that?” Girlfriend asked.
“Probably one of those things is still hungry. They can’t get up here. That’s not important right now. Hold her down.”
Sam, as neatly as he could, stitched up the four long gashes in Tiger Lily’s arm. Girlfriend held one end of the arm while Sam held the wrist and worked the needle in and out and pulled the cuts closed. When he finished he cleaned everything up with peroxide again and bandaged the wound.
“This is probably going to need to be changed in an hour or two, but I want us to get going again. I’m sorry I stopped. I really thought everything would be alright.”
Sam looked around.
“What? Where is she?”
“She’s in the back,” Girlfriend said not hiding the tone of disappointment.
She got up and led Sam to the back of the car. What? So Myra was hiding. What was the big deal in that? Again something thudded into the side of the car. Sam flinched as did Girlfriend. They had to get underway. They didn’t have time to deal with this. He didn’t want to get stuck umpty million years in the past. Why had he agreed to allow them all to come? He should have stuck to his guns and gone by himself to find Clive. No sightseeing, just out and back.
Sure he was fascinated with everything around them. It was amazing to see dinosaurs in action, but not when they’re eating the people you’re with.
Girlfriend pointed to Myra, huddled in the corner with something in her arms. She was covered in a bloody, mucousy gore. And in her arms she held one of the babies.
Sam thought his head was going to explode.
“What the hell is that?” He demanded. He couldn’t keep from yelling. “You put Tiger Lily’s life at risk to bring one of those damn things inside? Are you insane? We all risked our lives to save you and this is how you thank us? By putting us at risk like that? What were you thinking?”
Girlfriend put her hand on his arm, but he shrugged her off and stalked around the table in the middle of the room to stand over Myra.
“I’ve got it in my mind to throw you and that damn thing off this car and let you fend for yourself. What’s going to happen the next time we find something cute you want to take home? Are you really going to let someone die? Don’t you understand…”
Girlfriend pulled hard on his arm. He turned and glared at her. “What?”
“Shut up. Can’t you see she’s sorry?”
Sam looked down at her and snarled. She was a crying mess. He didn’t care. Tiger Lily, someone Sam barely knew but Lin cared for her, had almost died because Myra wanted to save one of the stupid dinosaurs. It was going to die anyway. They all died. None of them made it. So what difference did it make to save one? It was downright stupid.
Another thump came, but this one from inside. Lin shrieked. Sam didn’t waste any more time on Myra. She’d have to live with herself and her decision. Without thinking, he pushed Girlfriend out of the way. She clutched onto his shirt to keep her balance.
Sam froze for only an instant. At the base of the ladder into the car stood one of those damn things and it was looking where Lin and Tiger Lily were. Sam screamed and charged it. He wasn’t going to let one of the girls get hurt again and his rage at Myra could be put to good use.
The thing’s head tilted to the side like a curious dog as it looked at Sam. When it saw him running, it crouched and leapt at him. It wasn’t that big, maybe a hundred pounds, but Sam wasn’t able to dodge the claws in time. He caught it in mid-air and the claws raked his leg. As he tried to crush the slippery-skinned devil, Sam felt teeth dig into his shoulder.
Sam started to lose his balance, but twisted and drove the head of the beast into the bulkhead of the car. It let go, stunned, and Sam took its head in one hand and smashed it again and again into the wall until its blood and brains stained the wall. He let the limp body drop to the ground.
With his adrenaline still pumping through his veins, he tore off his shirt and looked at his shoulder. The bite was about as bad as Tiger Lily’s and damn, it hurt. He didn’t even want to look at his leg.
“Girlfriend,” he said weakly as he fell on top of his attacker.
“Close it. Close the hatch,” said Sam through gritted teeth as he passed out.