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What can be said of Hell, when at its most quiet, I was most terrified? The explosions that had rocked every fiber of my being and made my bones feel like they could simply shatter like tempered glass still resonated. I looked over at the wounded, wondering if I had the same haunted look in my eyes, and thought I probably did. In this war, no one leaves. No one goes home... and everyone is a casualty of war. Unbelievable love set against unbearable challenges. I lived this novel. We need to learn, and to teach others, to study war no more.
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Primary Excerpt from “Lucky Thirteen” chapter Accept the Broken Heart by Robin Leigh Anderson © 2016)
I wandered back down the darkened hall and found a room with a wide gurney, which I climbed up on, then pulled a sheet over my head and closed my eyes. The winter monsoon rains outside whooshed against the window and I fell asleep to the gentle sound, but not for long. A metallic crash startled me and I sat straight up. Quietly and cautiously, I opened the door and peered out. Faint light came from the junction of the halls and the large red glowing emergency buttons on the wall every few feet along the corridor. I stepped into the hall and heard a scuffling noise behind me. I turned and tried to focus my bleary eyes. A silhouette in the window at the end of the hall raised an arm. GUN! I heard a loud crack and glimpsed a burst of light.
My body slammed against the wall, my hand jamming against the nearest red alarm button as I slid to the floor, a fiery pain in my leg. Unable to catch my breath, I struggled to focus on something, anything, through my tears. The siren howled as I heard another crash, loud voices, people running. My nostrils flared at the acrid odor of gunpowder.
“Oh, my God! Oh, God, no!” Patty gasped as she knelt beside me. I tried to understand her words as she barked orders, to whom I didn’t know. When she pressed down on my knee, I cried out in pain. “I know, sweetie,” Patty said in a soothing voice, “I know it hurts, but we’ve got to stop the bleeding.”
“Bleeding,” I panted, my voice gurgling with tears. “I…what…”
“You were shot, honey,” Patty said as strong hands lifted me up from the floor. She gripped my hand as the gurney raced down the hall. “Prep O.R. 2…now!” she demanded. “Where is that fucking doctor!”
“Right here!” a voice shouted back.
Though I tried, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Instead, I simply drifted here and there, in childhood I’d learned the trick of disconnecting, my mind strong enough to reject the searing hot pain. I felt hands undressing me, the sharp prick of a needle in the crook of my arm, the pressure of a mask against my face. I tasted metal.
“You’re not alone, little sister,” Patty’s voice said in my ear, “you’re never alone.”