Before The Moon Rises Page 1

Chapter One

The radio squealed in her ear adding to the chaos of the busy emergency room at County General. Janet grabbed a pen from the pocket of her hot pink scrub top and poised it over the run sheet as she hit the talk button with her other hand. “This is County Base, come in 79.”

“We’re on scene with an approximate 35 year old male, about 185 pounds with an altered level of consciousness. He’s unresponsive with a GCS of 13. No visible signs of trauma. His glucose is 112.” The medic continued to ramble off normal vital signs, which Janet jotted down.

When the paramedic paused, she pushed the button on the radio and spoke into the mic. “79, is there any evidence of ETOH?”

“Negative. There’s no alcohol on scene, and I don’t smell any on his breath.”

Janet sat forward and gave her orders. “Try two milligrams of Narcan IV push, I’ll stand by.”

While she waited for the medic to carry out the order, she yelled over the nurse’s station at one of the Techs. “Hey Tom, can you have C-2 ready? 79’s coming in with a run.”

“County, are you there?”

“Go ahead, 79.”

“No response to the Narcan.”

She tilted her head toward the radio, trying in vain to block out the noise of the department. “Mitch, is there anything pointing to what we have?” The Paramedic on the other end was seasoned. He had seen almost everything in the last twenty years.

“I think he’s psych.”

“Based on what?”

“The man’s naked.”

Janet heard laughter in the background. The men on scene were obviously getting some levity out of this one.

She tossed her pen down and stopped worrying about giving the wrong orders. Following procedure, she rambled off a list of things to be done with the patient before he made it to the back door. She knew the medics had already completed most of them, making the exercise a waste.

Finished, she signed off and logged in the run.

It had been a bitch of a night. Janet glanced out the back doors of the ER where the sun started to rise. Unfortunately, day shift wasn’t due in for another hour. They couldn’t get here fast enough as far as she was concerned.

Patients had bombarded the ER nonstop since she arrived at 7:00 PM the day before. Graveyard sucked. Add a full moon to the equation, and it always proved to be a nightmare. So much so, she’d learned long ago to schedule her days off around it. As most good plans go however, she was stuck with a full moon shift when one of her fellow nurses ended up sick with the flu.

Now beat, she rubbed the back of her neck, urging the muscles to relax, and counted the minutes to when she could leave.

Less than five minutes later, Emergency Medical Technicians wheeled the patient-laden gurney into C-2 with the paramedics in tow. Janet nodded to them, grabbed a triage sheet and walked behind the curtain.

“Anything change?” she asked, then set the papers on the overcrowded crash cart.

“He’s responding to pain a little more. But he’s still completely out.” Mitch tore off his paperwork and handed it over.

Janet grasped a set of EKG patches and started placing them on the man’s chest. Lucky for him his torso was free of hair. Otherwise, she would have had to shave the unconscious man.

Surprisingly, the man was rather well-groomed considering he was most likely some psycho off his meds. His flawlessly shaped bronzed chest caught her attention and his arms appeared as if they lifted weights on a daily basis.

He wasn’t homeless. That was a given.

So why was he naked in the busy streets of LA? No matter, it didn’t change what she needed to do.

“Is LAPD coming in?” she asked the medic before he left.

“They were on scene and took a report. They’ll come by later for a follow up.” Mitch reached for his radio. A series of beeps told them both he had another run. “Man, tonight is never gonna end.”

“You can say that again,” Janet agreed.

“See ya in a few minutes.”

Janet watched as he high-tailed it out the doors.

With her attention back to her patient, she started pressing buttons on the monitor and studied the different leads on his EKG.

Normal.

Yanking the stethoscope off her neck, she quickly checked his lungs and heart.

Normal.

She placed a knuckle to his sternum and gave a deep turn. He grimaced but didn’t wake up.

Looking around first, Janet picked up his arm, placed it over his head and let it drop.

Down it went, right on his face.

Damn!

“Humph.” Janet studied the man’s face for the first time. He had deep-set features with a firm jaw. His five o’clock shadow was more like a 7:00 AM shadow, but hell, it was almost 7:00 AM. She opened his eyelids and checked his pupils. When she did, she found the deepest midnight blue eyes she had ever scene.

His dark hair, somewhat long, was well-kept. His even tan made her wonder if he spent most of his time on the beach.

No, he definitely wasn’t homeless.

Even his skin held the scent of some exotic cologne. It wasn’t something she could point out, but it certainly wasn’t ‘Eau de Street.’

After checking to make sure his IV ran freely, Janet went to find one of the ER doctors for a consult.

“Well, let’s start with a CT and a full set of labs. Drop a catheter in him and get a urine analysis and a serum drug screen. We’ll see what we get then.” Dr. Henry followed the same triage assessment she had done before sailing out the door.

Within minutes, the patient’s blood was on its way to the lab and radiology wheeled the man into CT before loaded him onto the x-ray table. Janet stood in the wings waiting for the test to finish.

Jack, the radiology tech, talked through the entire exam. “Damn, did you see the last guy?”

“Yeah, he was completely FUBAR,” Janet said while watching John Doe’s monitor.

“What’s FUBAR?”

Jack glanced over at his trainee and then started to laugh.

“Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition.”

The kid’s face went green with the memory. Janet had to admit, the scene was really grotesque. Right out of a horror novel.

“Do you think it was an animal attack?”

Janet glanced up from her paperwork and shook her head. “Had to be, but I’m not sure what kind of animal.”

“Looked like a dog to me. Probably a Pit.” Jack tapped buttons on the massive keyboard in front of him. Black and white images of John Doe’s skull appeared.

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