The Source Of All Good

January 5, 2009
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Cold Is The Source Of All Evil. Ray didn’t really believe this, but at the moment his most pressing worry was a friend dying on this icy winter morning. Ray was, in fact, a medic working with the Los Angeles Police Department Special Weapons And Tactics division, and really, really loved the job. The injuries were never boring, and there was no guesswork about what was to be done, no diagnosing or testing. Just the work he liked- save the man’s life, whatever it takes. No time for hesitation, no time to notice distractions, which left him free to work with his instincts and experience, a combination that had saved five lives over three years. He had pulled bullets from cops and cop-killers, stabilized suspects, rescued men from the very doorstep of death- but here, on this freezing winter day, all he could think was- Cold Is The Source Of All Evil. On the stretcher in from of him was an old buddy from SWAT. He had saved two of the man’s teammates in the past, which had earned him a long friendship with the unit and everyone in it- he wasn’t an outsider to them, some faceless medic with no name, he was a protector, someone they could count on, someone who understood the stakes and worked well under pressure, like them. He was the SWAT Doc. Internal Affairs liked him as well, chiefly because he put cops first but gave a damn about the suspects, too. Everyone was a person to him, and there was never a man or woman he refused aid to, from last month’s killer, who’s arterial bleeding he stabilized, to the innocent homeless man of a year ago, who was hit by a stray round and couldn’t be saved. But it had never been too late for a cop in his unit, not since he became the SWAT Doc. It’s Too Late For James Aldridge, Though. He’ll Be Gone By Morning. James…I Did All I Could For You, Buddy.
“He doesn’t have long, Ray.” Ray jerked his head away from his dying friend. Someone stood in the center of the room, as handsome as any big-screen star, as formidable as any of the men Ray worked with in SWAT, dressed in a dark, formal suit. Ray nodded down at James, whose bloody body was about to give up its long, hard fight. The newcomer bent over James as well, then looked at Ray. Ray sighed, preparing himself.
“Are you here for him?”
“I am.” Ray exhaled.
“I get torn between curiosity and sorrow every time you show up, Benjamin.” Ben smiled.
“Maybe someday I’ll come and we can just talk, Ray. The family is on here way here. But we both know he won’t last to see them.”
Ben stood up straight, then rolled his shoulders. Ray backed away from the stretcher. Ben reached for thin air, cradling a space of nothing over James’s body, then pushed upwards- the effect was instantaneous. The vital monitors shut down instantly, no alarms, no struggling final beats, just instant flat lines, all across every screen and monitor. Ray tore his eyes away from his friend’s lifeless body as he turned to watch Ben walk away- up into the air, striding towards the ceiling and what was far beyond it. Ray smiled in spite of himself.
“I’ll see you next time?”
“Next time.”
Ray smiled again. The SWAT team had every officer’s back, and he had every SWAT teammate’s back, but it was always good to see who had his back. James, Pal, Looks Like You Made It. The intercom buzzed.
“The Aldridges are here to see their son.” Ray sighed, crossed over to the intercom and spoke into it.
“Tell them…” He thought for a moment, lips pressed together, head resting on the wall.

“That they should be proud.”

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