Authors: Cassia Brightmore
Stepping into the scrub room, Cian blew out a breath and pushed thoughts of his worthless father out of his mind. He had a patient on the table that actually meant more to him than just another case, and he’d be damned if he let his despicable father cloud his mind.
With his hands freshly scrubbed, he entered the OR and looked expectantly at the nurse for his gloves. He hated when it wasn’t his usual team in the OR, but with hospital cutbacks looming, things had been changing more than he liked. It was coming close to time for him to have another chat with the Chief of Surgery. When he was finally gloved, he approached the OR table and pulled his mask down under his chin, fixing a warm smile on his face.
“Henry. It’s good to see you, old friend.” Cian ignored the gray pallor of the older man’s complexion and the way his breathing was coming in shallow. The sooner they got the pacemaker in him, the better.
“What’s up, Doc?” Henry joked lamely, letting out a rough cough as he laughed. “I told you to get one of them young’uns to take care of my old ticker for me. You’ve got more important things to do than mess about with me.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. You’re a VIP around here, Henry.” The anesthesiologist, Dr. Reynolds, came around the other side of the table and started explaining the steps.
“I’ll put this mask on you and I want you to count backwards from ten when I tell you to, alright, Mr. Smalls? Do you think you can do that?”
“I’m old, not an imbecile,” Henry replied, giving him a weak glare. Cian chuckled and nodded at Reynolds, indicating they were ready to begin. Reynolds fitted the mask over Henry’s face and together they counted until he was sure he was out cold.
“Jenson,” Cian barked at Cameron Jenson, the intern hovering by his right elbow. The lanky boy’s body jerked once as he jumped at the sound of Cian’s voice.
“S—Sir,” he stuttered, almost cowering under the force of Cian’s direct stare. Dr. O’Reilly had the reputation of being brutal in his OR. If you screwed up even once, it could very well be career suicide and mean not seeing the inside of the OR for months. Just having the opportunity to be standing in the same room as him was an accomplishment as an intern, one Jenson knew he’d only earned as it was just a few days away from him writing his Residency exam. The new crop of interns would be descending on their hospital which made doctors like him seem like more of a better option for assistance on cases for the attendings’.
“You’ll be closing for me.” Cian gave the order simply and then nodded at the elderly scrub nurse indicating he was ready to start.
Cameron’s heart did three backflips before settling in his chest. Closing. He’d be closing on one of Dr. O’Reilly’s surgeries. Granted, it was only a simple pacemaker case, but no other intern in his class had been given the honor that he was aware of. Sweat formed on his brow as a tiny bit of panic set in. The overhead florescent lights burned down on him, making the room feel impossibly hot.
“Quit squirming, Jenson. It’s a few stitches—I’ll be the one doing the actual work, not you. If you can’t handle a few stitches on your own by now, you’re in the wrong damn profession.”
Thoroughly chastised, Cameron nodded once and took a breath to calm his nerves.
Man up, you fucktard. If you screw this up
, you’re finished
The entire procedure took less than thirty minutes and Cian was pleased with the result. Stepping away from the table, he motioned for Jenson to take his place. He’d never admit it to anyone, but he was one of the few interns in his group that actually showed promise of becoming a halfway decent surgeon.
Walking towards the door, he started to remove his gloves. Maybe he’d even consider taking the kid under his wing. It might be interesting to have a protégé. The sound of an alarm from one of the monitors had him spinning back. Henry was crashing.
“Fuck,” he swore, as she snapped on another pair of gloves and raced back to the table. Jenson had already started compressions and went flying to the left when Cian gave him a hard shove.
“Get him bagged,” he ordered one of the other interns, Kemp or whatever the fuck his name was. He pumped Henry’s chest hard, glaring holes into his skull. “Don’t you fucking die on me, old man.”
Cameron shifted from foot to foot, unsure of what to do. He’d barely touched him when the alarm had suddenly started going off and he’d gone into arrest.
“Dr. O’Reilly, I swear, I barely touched him. I’d just started the sutures when he coded. It must have been a flaw with the pacemaker, I—” Jenson broke off when Cian seared him to the spot with a scathing glance. He didn’t say a word, just kept his dark eyes that had turned as black as night trained on him as he kept up the compressions.
A chill ran down Cameron’s spine. The sheer brutality of Cian’s movements was enough to have him scared shitless, but coupled with the severe look of contempt that was now trained on him, was downright terrifying.
“Out.” Cian’s voice was cold hard steel. He spoke no louder than a whisper but it still had the effect of a gunshot hitting Cameron’s body. He stumbled backwards, stepping on the foot of someone—he didn’t bother to look who—and clumsily made his way to the sliding glass doors. Once safely in the scrub room, he yanked his mask from his face and gasped for breath as though he’d just completed a marathon run. Watching the flurry of activity from the windows overlooking the scrub sink, he had a quick flare of hope when the monitor showed a spike of life, only to have it crushed when Henry flat-lined.
Cian’s shouts to push epi could be heard through the walls. Several minutes later, all motion in the room came to a halt and one of the nurses subtly shut off the beeping monitor.
“Time of death 19:53.” Cian barked out. His footsteps resounded his fury with every step he took towards the doors. When he found Cameron frozen to the spot, his icy gaze sliced right through him; almost causing physical pain. He didn’t spare him a word, his snub speaking volumes. To him, Cameron was now irrelevant, invisible, replaceable. He was finished in Cardio and they both knew it. Regardless if it was his fault or not, Cian would blame this death on him, for the simple fact that he’d been the last person to touch Henry. Reynolds entered the room and his eyes held a touch of sympathy.
“I’m afraid he won’t let this one go, bud. Henry meant something to him. You’re fucked,” he told him.
“Yeah. Yeah, I know,” Cameron replied as they both watched Cian move down the hall, rage present in every step.
Cian didn’t stop moving until he was out of the hospital’s walls and had reached his car. Opening the sleek, silver Jaguar’s trunk, he removed a thick black leather folder; slamming the trunk shut. Sliding into the driver’s seat, he undid the zipper of the portfolio and thumbed through its contents. Stopping at a glossy color photo of an attractive middle-aged woman, he read over the typed context beneath her image.
Sally Pope, age 47
Address: 147 Hudson Street, Staten Island
Career: Foster Mother
Information: Arrested and tried on charges of child molestation, trafficking, one count of
suspicious death. All charges dropped before trial due to lack of sufficient evidence
Turning a few more pages revealed photos of several children and a few young teenage girls. Newspaper clippings were attached, detailing the arrest, investigation and subsequent dropping of all charges, which made Sally a free woman. An injustice Cian couldn’t stand for. He glanced back at one of the photos of a small girl, barely more than four years old, beaten so badly both of her eyes were swollen shut. She was a tiny thing and was still covered head to toe in bruises. A few baby teeth had been knocked out, causing swelling around her small mouth. The medical report revealed that she’d indeed been sexually abused in addition to the severe beating. Disgust was a bitter taste in his mouth at the thought that this cunt was walking free while this small child would have a long road of recovery from such a trauma, if she ever recovered fully from it at all.
His mind made up, he tossed the folder onto the passenger seat and keyed Sally’s home address into his GPS. It was time to hunt. Letting the anger flow through him, he turned up the classical music on his stereo to an ear-shattering decibel and let the car steer him in the direction of his prey. It was nights like this that he shed the exterior that anyone in his everyday life saw. Gone was the professional man with the better-than-God attitude and in his place was the monster that lived beneath the surface. The one that craved a hunt, the thrill, the feeling of warm, sticky blood dripping from his fingertips. The two sides of who he was warred with each other, one with the power to heal, the other with the power to end lives in torturous ways. Tonight, it was time to let the devil out to play. Sally may have escaped a nightmarish life sentence, but she was about the experience a hell unlike any she’d ever known.
His GPS led him to a row of condos and he pulled to a stop across the street from number 147. The information in his folder told him that Sally lived alone for the moment, but would be re-instated to her job as a foster mother within the next couple weeks. He had to act fast if he wanted to prevent her from getting near another child. Considering his next move, he grabbed his phone from the console when it dinged indicating an incoming message.
O’Reilly, what the fuck? You take off in the middle of shift?
It was Reynolds. The man was worse than a stage-five clinger of a woman at times.
Calm the fuck down. I’ll be back in 30. I’ll be right behind a delivery so make sure things are set
Satisfied that things were being handled back at the hospital, Cian put the phone back in his console tray and watched as one of the doors opened from the row of houses across the street. A woman emerged and with a quick glance back at his portfolio, he confirmed that it was the target; Sally.
“Fucking A,” he muttered. She climbed into a black mini-van parked a few doors down and pulled out into the traffic. Cian waited a few beats before following, ensuring to keep several cars between them. A few blocks away, she veered off into a supermarket parking lot and after finding a free space; headed inside.
Inspiration struck and finding a notepad on his backseat, he scribbled a quick note. Slipping from the car, he approached her van and slipped the note under her windshield wipers, keeping to the shadows so that any security cameras wouldn’t pick up his form.
Some twenty minutes later when Sally came back out, she placed her groceries in the trunk and then rounded the vehicle and paused before opening the driver’s side door. Grabbing the note from the windshield, she opened it and even from across the parking lot, Cian could feel her terror at reading the words. The paper slipped from her fingers and she started to run as Cian simultaneously pulled from his spot, angling his car in the perfect position. All it took was a few steps and she flew up over the hood of his car, landing with a solid thud on the pavement. Leaping from the car, Cian screamed for help while fighting to suppress his cold grin of glee.
Reaching her side, he felt for a pulse, overjoyed when he felt it strong and steady. Sally stared up at him, her eyes pleading for help. Blood trickled from her mouth and her right leg was bent at an odd angle underneath her.
Glancing over his shoulder he saw an employee from the supermarket rushing towards them. “Call 911!” he shouted. The young woman nodded, her red ponytail flying behind her as she dashed back inside the store to do as he instructed.
“I’m a doctor,” he told Sally as he turned his attention back to her. “Don’t worry. I’m going to make sure you get exactly where you need to be.” Adrenaline pumped through his veins as he mentally prepared for what was to come. He called forward the image of the abused children, the missing teenage girls and used those reminders to push himself forward with what he was about to do. This woman was a disgrace, a disgusting excuse for a human and needed to be punished—his way, since the judicial system had once again failed to do its job.
Hearing the sirens in the distance, he reacted swiftly and pulled a needle from his pocket. Removing the cap, he expertly slid the pre-filled dose of the perfect amount of potassium chloride into her skin and re-pocketed the needle before the young cashier joined them.
Sally’s mouth had formed an ‘O’ of surprise as she struggled to find the breath to shed light on what Cian had just done. “H—h—he,” she gurgled, trying and failing to lift an arm to point accusingly at him.
“Yes, ma’am, I know. It was me that hit you, but you came out of nowhere, tearing across the parking lot. I’m very sorry, but there was no way I could have stopped.” Cian interjected smoothly over top of Sally’s attempts to expose him.
“I saw, Mister. I saw from the window. She ran in front of the car,” the young girl’s green eyes were wide with excited fear.