"Le génie humain a des bornes, Mais la sottise n'en a pas"~ Alexandre Dumas
("Human genius has its limits, but stupidity does not.")
They're supposed to be the most intelligent people on Earth. They were the ones that solved world problems from the safety of a lab and then turn around to host black-tie dinners where politics and social ethics dominated the discussion. Geniuses were raised in rolling villas with private tutors and access to the best education available.
They had mothers who said things like 'tighten your cravat, darling' or 'I'll see you for Sunday brunch after the polo match' and 'don't you think the use of the Oxford comma is pretentious, dearie?'
Geniuses didn't rush into burning buildings. Geniuses didn't jump in front of bullets, even while wearing Kevlar. And they didn't, under any circumstance, even with the pain of death looming, sacrifice their taste-buds for a sip of piping hot coffee.
More simply put: Geniuses didn't do anything that would cause harm to themselves.
Geniuses are idiots, Jack had decided.
Exhibit A was currently sitting in the back of an ambulance, wiggling around when a rookie EMT attempted to shine a light in her eyes.
Jack paced in front of the open ambulance, raking his hands through his hair. He already accepted the fact he was going to go bald-it was only a matter of time- especially if he spent any more time in the immediate vicinity of that infuriating doctor.
After going a bloody round of fist-a-cuffs with a man twice her size, she had jumped right up and demanded he call off the paramedics. She grumbled more over the loss of her knife than the blood trickling down her neck.
Still. He couldn't shake the feeling of dread.
When he had first seen her, his heart froze.
Pure ice. Fragmenting into cold shards.
But after a few moments of head lulling and unfocused eyes, Dr. Coldwater seemed to regain equilibrium and pushed away his hand with her own bloody palm.
Now she was verbally berating a shaking EMT responder on the protocol for closing head lacerations.
Now she cares about protocol.
"For the last time, if you don't hold that mirror straight, I'm going to bash your head in with it."
V.C. yanked the sterile thread through her eyebrow and looped it around again.
"Ma'am. Maybe I should do that..." The squeak that came from behind the mirror sounded like it belonged to a mouse, rather than a man.
"Ha! So you can make me look like Frankenstein's monster? No, thanks, I'll take a hard pass on that one."
Her voice was raspy, rust on copper, sand in the desert.
Jack figured the ligature marks on her neck were responsible.
Deciding to end the poor EMT's suffering, he stopped his flustered pacing and hoisted himself up into the ambulance. Nodding the nervous man away, Jack took his place and the mirror. He settled onto the padded bench across from V.C., contemplating her over the glass.
"You know, it would be easier if someone else did that..."
V.C. shrugged, leaning closer to her reflection. The blood on her face had dried and crusted, staining her pale skin a light pink.
YOU ARE READING
Eridanus Flooding (WATTY 2018 WINNER)Mystery / Thriller
Commander Jack Rhodes is a retired Navy Seal. Well. Retired isn't what he would call it. More like fired. Yes. Fired would be the correct choice of word. No one retires at the age of 32. When a mission went wrong, leaving Jack as the only survivor...