SEALs of Honor:Jackson(4)

By: Dale Mayer

While he was still musing, a big black Jeep Wrangler drove up. And there was Tanner. Jackson crossed the road, hopped into the passenger side and said, “Are you doing anything right now?”

Tanner raised an eyebrow and looked at him. “You mean, outside of picking you up?”

Jackson told him about the pickup truck that had shot at them and the military vehicle that had gone after the shooter but hadn’t returned. Before he’d finished speaking, Tanner had the Jeep heading down the road after the vehicles of interest.

“How long since the pickup drove by?”

“Twenty minutes, maybe thirty,” Jackson said, his voice dark. “I can’t imagine what the hell will be on up ahead.”

They found out soon enough. They went around a corner, followed by a hairpin turn and another corner. Off to the side of the road, the military vehicle was upside down in the ditch, its front wheels still spinning. Jackson and Tanner jumped out as soon as their vehicle stopped, raced down the hillside to find both men unconscious but alive.

Tanner made the necessary calls while Jackson removed the passenger from the vehicle, laid him out gently on the side of the road, checked him over and realized—outside of a goose egg already forming on his head and a badly broken leg and potentially some rib injuries—he didn’t appear to be critical. He went to check the driver, and this time he found one bullet had grazed alongside the man’s temple and another had gone through his shoulder.

Swearing lightly, Jackson checked for a pulse, cut the man’s seat belt and gently eased him from the vehicle. He didn’t appear to have any injuries to his arms or legs, but the bullet wounds were bad enough. Jackson ripped off a chunk of his T-shirt and wadded it up against the slowly welling blood coming from the man’s shoulder. He’d need another one to stop the bleeding on the man’s head.

Tanner raced down with his phone going back into his pocket. “Help is on the way.”

“Cut off more of my T-shirt. We need to stop the bleeding on his head.”

With the bulk of his T-shirt now in strips, they wadded it up and used light pressure on the driver’s head and shoulder to slow down the bleeding.

“My water bottle is in the Jeep, I should have brought it down with me,” Jackson said.

Just then the driver reached up and grabbed his hand. “Water,” he whispered.

Jackson patted him gently and said, “We’ll get you some. Hang on.”

Tanner shook his head, scrambled up the loose rocky terrain of the ravine to the Jeep. He pulled out the water and came back down. When he held the bottle to the man’s lips, Jackson lifted his head and gently helped the man get into a better position to drink.

Tanner joined the passenger on the other side of the vehicle.

When the driver had had enough water, Jackson asked him, “What happened?”

“Chasing a truck,” he whispered. “But they were waiting for us.”

“Did they run you off the road?”

“They shot at me first. I couldn’t control the vehicle at that point. We spun around and went over the edge. I was afraid they would come down here and put another bullet in me, then one in my buddy, killing us both.”

“But they just left you?”

The man didn’t answer.

Jackson asked him another question. “Did you see the men?”

“No, not clearly. I thought I heard footsteps, but they must have thought we were dead already.”

Jackson compared the wounds he could see now versus that first impression of when he’d approached the vehicle. They had looked dead if not mortally wounded. It would have been a risk to shoot them at that point, given their open position and the traffic that could come at any moment. “It sounds like you got lucky,” he said. “If nothing else, you’re safe now.”

“How badly hurt?”

“Hopefully you’ll be fine,” Jackson said quietly. “Better to not talk right now. Your buddy is unconscious with a possible head injury from the crash and has a broken leg. I’m not sure what else. You’ve been shot high in the shoulder and grazed by a bullet along your head. But I think you’ll recover just fine.”

At that the man’s head slipped to the side, and he fell back into unconsciousness. Jackson checked his breathing, finding it steady, rhythmical. “How is the other guy?” Jackson asked Tanner.

“Still unconscious and that’s probably the way he should be. His leg looks like a bitch.”

Another good five minutes passed before they heard a vehicle up above, and with it came two paramedics. Both injured men were quickly transferred to stretchers. It took the four of them to get the injured men up the hill. The ground was rough, and the gurneys bounced getting to the ambulances.

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