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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Red (10/01/09)

TITLE: The Stains Of A Bad Day
By Linda Boulanger


Lindsey Walker veered right, taking the exit ramp that would lead her to the Red Dragon Emporium. It was the place to find the perfect accessories to go in her newly redecorated living room. She’d chosen a warm, earthy pallet for the designer to work with. She loved how it was coming together, but decided it needed a subtle pop to liven the tranquility; something simple like a red vase.

This part of town was foreign to her. She carefully navigated her candy apple Lexus according to her GPS. Left turn, then right. Rounding the corner she saw a grouping of emergency vehicles. The hypnotic lights all flashed in unison. Blue. Red. Blue. Red. A young police officer motioned her away but she stopped instead.

“I’m a doctor. Can I be of help?” There were several bodies lying around. Each appeared to be responding to care; all except a man somewhat apart from the others. He lay in a crimson pool of his own blood while a young EMT frantically tried to stop the red flow.

“We’ve got a bleeder. Can’t seem to stop it. He’s, uhm, he’s the gunman. Responsible for all these…” He waved his hand to indicate the victims.

Lindsey nodded. “Let me see what I can do, okay?”

The policeman nodded. Lindsey got her bag from the car. He escorted her to the EMT. The young man looked up at them. “I can’t save him. Can’t stop the bleeding or even slow it.”

“Let’s have a look, shall we?” Years of training and experience as a top-notch surgeon taught Lindsey to be calm in emergency situations. It helped to ease the tension of those around her as well.

She knelt beside the body, barely noticing the blood soaking through her Calvin Klein jeans. A brief exam led her to a few tricks of the trade, all of which proved useless.

Dr. Walker moved her hair from her face while listening to the EMT rattle off the man's vitals. He shook his head. “He's a goner, doc.”

But Lindsey refused to give up. She closed her eyes and placed her blood-soaked, gloved hands together. “Father,” she whispered, “Tell me what I need to do to save this man. He needs a second chance with You.” She lifted her hands to the heavens and spoke the words she’d heard others say in the hallways as they’d prayed for loved ones before surgery. “Guide my hands, Lord God.”

A feeling of peace and knowing washed over her. She knew exactly what to do. Pulling the gloves off, she ordered the EMT to douse her hands with the antibacterial spray from her bag. Bewildered, he did as ordered. She called out tools and he lifted them from her bag.

Lindsey made an incision in the man’s side just large enough for her hand to fit through. The others who had gathered around watched in utter shock.

Lindsey closed her eyes, envisioned the internal body, and felt for the bleeder. “There!” she said at last. “Clamp.” The EMT handed it to her as her hand emerged holding parts of the man’s innards. The gurgling of blood lessened and stopped. Lindsey packed around the open wound. “We need to transport him immediately. He needs more than what I can offer him here.” Heads nodded. Activity followed.

As they began to wheel the man away on the stretcher, Lindsey leaned down and whispered to him, “He saved your body. Now let Him save your spirit. His blood for yours.”

In a moment he was whisked away from the crime scene en route to Emmert Memorial Hospital.

The next day, Lindsey went to see the stranger she'd helped to save. She knew exactly who deserved the glory and she didn’t mind telling others as much. Alone she could never have saved him.

Through bandages and tubes he smiled at her weakly. “Thank you,” he whispered. Lindsey nodded, watching him try for more words. “I’m not a bad man. Just a…..bad day.”

“I know.” She replied as she sat close to the bed. Her compassion brought him to tears. “Will you let me tell you about real hope?” He nodded gratefully.

Taking his hand, Lindsey spoke of another doctor, the Great Physician, who died upon a cross that we might have life more abundantly; whose blood still cleans the stains from all of our bad days.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 10/08/09
I love the idea of God guiding the surgeon's hands. My only problem was with the title, and the line in the story that matches it; a "bad day" seems hardly adequate for a shooter with multiple victims, and that made this seem a bit too unrealistic.

Your character is marvelous, and your writing is flawlwss. Well done!
Sharon Laughter10/08/09
I agree. And I really enjoyed this story -kept me intrigued. Plus it is truly great Christian writing that is able to challenge a reader spiritually! Well done! I ESPECIALLY loved her saying "His blood for yours" - powerful!
Thought this was a very good piece. Well written and sequence of story events flowed beautifully. Loved the ending and message to readers of God's mercy and grace.
Allen Stark10/09/09
Excellent salvation-type story. The only thing that diminished the story for me was the man's words, "I'm not a bad man." At that moment, yes, he was.
c clemons10/10/09
Very good writing, the story was a good one, in parts not very believeable but it is a story of hope.