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Chapter 2
Course of Action

 

        "Hey, I need some help here!  Now!"  John Grissom yelled through the broken out window as he pulled the mask off of his grimey face.  "Hurry!  I've got a fireman down over here!  I don't think he's breathing!"

        The two paramedics that were dispatched to the fire scene heard John's call, rushing head-long from their post at the side of their ambulance to his aid.  John laid the limp fireman across the  window sill as the two paramedics grabbed the still form, helping pull Logan clear of the smothering house.  "Get his pack off!  Now!" Andy Cornell, one of the paramedics ordered Davey Johnson, the other.  They roughly pulled the appliance off the limp body.  "Go grab a backboard and the oxygen!" Andy again ordered.   Watching Davey turn for the ambulance, the paramedic began quickly unbuckling Logan's drenched bunker coat.  "It's Keohane!  How long's he been down?" Andy yelled worriedly at John.

        "I don't know, I just found him a minute ago.  I left him to bring out the old lady and was going back in to give him a hand.  Fortunately, I tripped over him just inside the window!" John squawked breathlessly.

        "He's not breathing and I can't get a pulse," Andy informed John, keeping as cool as possible.  He felt for the carotid artery on Logan?s neck.  "We've got to get CPR going now!  You breathe, I'll do compressions!"  They ripped off the rest of Logan's wet gear.  Stripping open his shirt, the two firefighters immediately began the resuscitation procedure.

        Davey returned with his assigned equipment, set it down and quickly turned back toward the ambulance for more.  "I'll get the Ambu-bag and paddles!" the second medic responded at the sight of the  two firemen performing CPR.

        John and Andy continued working on Logan's limp body until the rest of the equipment arrived and was set up.  "Get him on the backboard, I'll get the paddles ready!" Davey ordered frantically as he hurriedly placed everything beside Logan's lifeless body.  "Here's the Ambu-bag, give him a couple more shots of air!"  Andy took the breathing apparatus, fitted the plastic mask over Logan's nose and mouth, squeezing two quick bursts of fresh air into his limp body.

        Opening the hard, black case of the electrical cardiac stimulator, Davey flicked the power switch on.  The paramedic then jerked out the two flat electrical paddles, smearing a dab of gooey, clear gel between them.  The high-pitched whine of the machine announced its readiness.  "Clear!" he shouted, placing the flat electrodes against Logan's broad, bare chest.  The body jumped in response to the sudden jolt of current pumped through it.

        "Nothing yet!" Andy announced worriedly, feeling Logan's neck once more for a carotid pulse.  "Let me give him another breath, then hit him again!"  He replaced the clear mask,  squeezing two more shots of fresh air into Logan's lungs.

        "Okay, clear!" Davey ordered again, placing the paddles on his patient's chest.  "Come on, baby, get ticking," he mumbled.  The paramedic pushed the button on the side of the right paddle's handle, sending another bolt of current through Logan's body.

        "Hey, that's it!  He's got a rhythm!" Andy shouted jubilantly.  "Get him on a monitor and oxygen then let's load him up and ride!  We need to get this puppy to the ER, now!"
 
 
 

        Logan opened his eyes and blinked weakly several times, trying to clear the haziness from his vision.  Everything felt like an effort to him, even breathing.  His nose, sinuses and chest all felt as if they were still on fire with every breath that he drew into his raw lungs.  Fearing that he might get stuck in some awkward position, he simply refused to move.  "Where am I?" his brain rattled.  His disoriented mind wanted to roll over to find out.  However, it was physically impossible for him to move a muscle.  Hell, even focusing his eyes seemed to demand more energy than he was capable of generating.

        After repeated attempts, the groggy Irishman finally focused, finding himself lying in a soft bed with some sort of semi-clear plastic draped over him.  The air around him felt cool and damp against his face, but his searing pulmonary system screamed with each inhalation.  Memories of his recent ordeal flooded his mind, pulling at his sanity, recreating his fright until he moaned involuntarily.  Logan began to tremble uncontrollably causing every inch of his body to ache unmercifully.
"Logan?" a familiar voice called to him, easing his shaking.  A warm, soft hand gently enveloped his in a loving grasp.  "I'm here with you, Logan.  You're going to be all right, the doctor said you just need lots of rest and time to recuperate."

        The exhausted fireman looked blearily toward the voice to see the face of Morgan O'Malley, his girlfriend, smiling down at him.  She looked radiant, more so than he could ever remember.  Angelic was the word that passed through his weary mind.  Her fiery red hair seemed to glow through the translucent plastic.  But, where was he now?  Back in Ireland?  No, that was some other dream.

        A new-found spark of life and a washing of unexpected pride suddenly flowed into his tired mind, recharging him with visions of new life.  Though his body felt very foggy and distant, his essence recognized a new chance at life..  Joyously, Logan chose to live.  Heaven, for now, was holding his hand!

        He tried to answer her, but the sound failed to form in his tortured throat.  The weary patient quickly ceased his attempt.  "Shhh, hush," the angel softly whispered to him, "We'll have plenty of time to talk later.  Right now just close your eyes and rest.  The doctors gave you some medication to ease your sleep.  So, relax, I'll be right here.  I'm not going anywhere and neither are you."

        The connection and bond that he felt with her at that moment far belied the short five and a half months that he had known Morgan.  The music of her voice was like a ray of sunshine on a spring morning, rekindling his soul, bringing him back from the edge of darkness.  Her touch caressed him, reaching a part of him that had somehow just been reawakened.  Logan suddenly felt as if he were lying in a sea of down, almost too soft to feel, warm and hugging of his sore body.  Must be the medication, he thought, drifting into a restful sleep.
 
 
 

        Logan sat up curtly in his bed, propping himself up comfortably with several pillows.  "Hi, Morgan!  Jeez, you're looking hot today," he smiled as his girlfriend glided into his hospital room.  "Have you heard the news?  I'm getting out of here this afternoon!  Pretty amazing, huh?"

        "What?" Morgan questioned him, a bit surprised, "The docs said you'd probably be in here for at least ten days, this is only your sixth!  Are you sure that you heard right?"  The spry redhead gently placed two thick books on Logan?s rolling hospital tray.

        "Yeah, the doctor said it was pretty astonishing.  My respiratory tract has responded fantastically to the treatments.  I'm so rested that I'm about to go nuts."

        "Wonderful, Hon'!  It'll be fabulous to be with you again outside of a hospital room where  we won't be watched all of the time.  Know what I mean?" she teased him with a wink.

        "Do I ever!"  He looked up at her with a wry smile.  "It'll be a couple more weeks before I can work out again, but they're only talking about working out with the weights!  Everything else can be just like normal!?  Logan blushed lightly at the insinuation, looking quickly away from Morgan's pert gaze.  "One good point though,  is that it'll probably be at least a month before I can go back to work.  That'll give me plenty of time to catch up on my reading.  Kinda' strange, you know, this sudden fascination I have with ancient Irish religion and mythology.  I've always loved Ireland and Irish culture, being Irish and all, but, for some reason I just can't seem to get enough of the ancient stuff.  You know, gods and goddesses, heroes and castles, swords and battles, those kinds of things.  Thank you for finding more books for me.  I guess I'll have to continue them at home.

         Morgan moved to his bedside and gave him a warm kiss on his lips.  "You're welcome, hon'."  She smiled lovingly down at him.  "I figured that I'd best stay up on that sort of thing myself, since you are so focused on the subject, so I found a couple of books for myself on Ireland and ancient legends and that stuff.  My books are written from a woman's point of view.  How women in the old culture used to live, work, worship they're deities, all that stuff!  Did you know that it was common practice for some women to honor a completely different deity than the men they associated with?  Now I won't be lost for conversation with you!  Pretty cool, huh?"

        "Lovely!"  His eyes lit up even more brightly.  This is a woman after his own heart!  God, please make this relationship thing work with her!

        Logan looked up at her more seriously, motioning for her to join him on the bed.  "The doctor said that when they pulled me out of that house I didn't have a heartbeat and I wasn't breathing.  They didn't know how long I had been like that, only that they found me and brought me back to life.  Did they say anything to you about that?"

        "Yeah," Morgan answered quietly, looking at her hands as she turned them back and forth; palm up and palm down.  "It really scared me.  At first, I was afraid you were going to die and leave me.  It was like I had somehow experienced that very thing before.  But, there's never been anyone close to me who has died."  She looked over at Logan with a strange expression on her face.  "What was really strange was, I remember suddenly waking up and looking at the clock at the same time that they were supposedly pulling you out of the fire, and thought you were. . . felt you were. . . in the room with me.  I even called your name, expecting you to answer me.  But, you weren't there!"  The reminiscing woman shivered, pulling tightly up against him.  "I don't know what it is or how to explain it, but, it's like I've known you forever."

        Logan smiled warmly at her, "My only memory after going unconscious at that fire was waking up and seeing you next to my bed.  I thought you were an angel, literally."  She squirmed and giggled.  "Then I had the same feeling of knowing you for an eternity."

        They both fell silent, holding each other closely.  "I love you, Logan," Morgan said quietly and sweetly.
She had never said that to him before and frankly, it sort of frightened him.  Logan had already been through two short marriages and had now been single for four years.  All that in only thirty four short years.  Long-term relationships weren't his forté.  The sincere young man had acknowledged that fact to himself shortly after his second divorce.  Since then, his fear of falling into a new permanent commitment far outweighed his deep longing for a lasting love with a woman that he adored.  He just didn't know how to do it long term.
 
        His fearful resolve hadn't counted on Morgan showing up.  She had touched his soul, the deepest essence of himself where most people dare not venture.  No one else had ever even tried or come nearly that close to him.  He felt wonderfully comfortable with her.  Logan loved sharing his thoughts and his body with her.  The only problem was, his dread of emotional pain still frightened him.  The stumbling Irishman tried to voice his love back to her, however, "Me too," was all that would come out of his dry mouth.

        "You want to stay with me for a while?" she asked him suddenly in a much perkier voice.  "At least until you're getting around better.  I still have to go to work during the day, but I'll be home at night."  She looked at him lovingly, patting his thigh through the white hospital sheet.  "No commitments, I promise," she added with a knowing smile.

        "I'll think about it," was all that Logan could answer truthfully.  His mind wandered momentarily into the possibilities.  "Maybe it'd be better if you stayed at my place.  I think I'd be more comfortable there.  It's not much, still it's home.  You know?"  He smiled and kissed her rosey cheek.  "And what about your parents?  Won't they just shit bricks if they know you're sleeping with me?  They might come and drag you into a church and try to exorcize you or something!  I can tell they don't like me much anyway, good 'ole Catholic raised Irishman that I am!  At least at my place you could avoid the phone calls!"  Logan chuckled, thinking of the ramifications.

        "Oh, Logan, you silly!"  Morgan slapped him playfully across the arm.  "If I was worried about my parents I wouldn't have invited you in the first place!  You know I hardly even see them anymore.  Every time I go over there I'm preached to, told what a sinner I'm being!  No, you can stay at my place anytime!  Being with you is much more important to me than what they think of my actions.  Besides, I really can't align with their religious beliefs anymore at all!"

    Logan peskily tickled her ribs.  "Okay, Miss Sinner, could you get me some more ice water?  The doctor says I should take it easy and rest," he teased, glancing over at her out of the corner of his eyes.

        Morgan stood up, picked up his empty Styrofoam pitcher and walked across the room toward the exit.  Logan almost got chill bumps just watching her.  The lithe redhead was stunningly beautiful.  Her five foot, two inch frame was gracefully curved, filled out perfectly at all of the right places.  Flowing red hair draped her smooth shoulders like the rising sun, highlighting the glow of her radiant face.  Gentleness and grace exuded from her, permeating any space that she occupied.  Heads turned everywhere that Morgan walked.  Even more intoxicating was the way her soft, graceful demeanor captured the hearts of men and women alike.   The captivating lass had a natural sweetness, caring and generosity that flowed to everyone regardless of sex, race or other perceived difference.  My God, I'm in love with an angel, Logan beamed as the vibrant redhead swept out of his room, "So, why am I so afraid of her?"

        Morgan peeked playfully around his door, "Fear not!  For I shall return to your side, my love!" his sweetheart stated boldly as if she had heard his very thoughts.  She giggled and disappeared once more.
 
 
 

        Logan heard the deadbolt on his apartment door squeak open as he lifted his heavy eyelids from a restful nap.  Morgan slipped briskly through the door and spied him prone on the tweed couch in his small living room.  "Aren't you ready yet?" Morgan prodded, looking almost panicked.  "You knew we had dinner reservations at seven o'clock.  Hurry up and get your clothes on!"

        Logan sat up disconcertedly from his prone position on the comfortable couch.  "Oh Morgan, it's you!" he started sluggishly, "God, Morgan, you won?t believe the dream I just had!"

        Morgan looked impatiently at her boyfriend, prompting him to come a little quicker to coherency.  "Come on Logan, get up and get changed!  We're meeting my friend Sue and her husband for dinner!  I don't want to keep them waiting.  You agreed last week that we would do this, now hurry up and get up and get dressed!"

        "Okay, Okay!" Logan groaned, stretching deeply.  "This was just such a strange dream, and so vivid!  I just felt I needed to tell you about it.  Everything seemed so real, so. . . so alive.  Almost like a memory instead of a dream.  I don't know how else to describe it."  Logan slowly slid his legs off the couch, forcing himself into a sitting position.  He stretched again, yawning widely before efforting to move to a standing position.

        Impatiently, Morgan stood in front of Logan, reaching out her hand to aid him in his escape from the ensnaring sofa.  "Come on Logan, it's getting late and we still have a thirty minute drive to the restaurant.  You can tell me about it while you're getting dressed," she acquiesced.

        Logan stood up slowly, stretched once again, and headed to the bedroom to change clothes followed closely by Morgan.  "Yeah, you've got to hear this one!" he reiterated blankly with an odd tinge to his voice.  "It knocked my socks off.  Everything that happened seemed so real.  I mean, I can even still smell the flowers and stuff there!"

        "Okay, I know you're going to tell me anyway, so, what did you dream?" Morgan cajoled.

        Logan looked back at the redhead as he passed through the bedroom door.  "I dreamt that you and I were driving somewhere out in the country.  It was a beautiful little lane, lined with trees and fields and mossy stone fences.  The sun was shining and the day was just gorgeous.  We were laughing and just having a great time.  Then, all the sudden, everything changed."

        "Like what?" Morgan responded, suddenly more interested.

        "Everything."  Logan responded, pulling off his old faded jeans, slipping them roughly over his muscular hips.  "The sky suddenly got dark and stormy and I looked over at you to find you had changed.  You were still you.  You, but not you.  Understand?

        "You had a face that I didn?t recognize, and black hair.  I was stunned me first, but then it seemed like everything was just as it was supposed to be.?  Logan slipped his t-shirt over his head and stood in the deepening twilight looking into another world that still seemed somehow so real to him.  He wouldn't know how else to describe it.  This thing seemed much more than a mere play on his imagination.

        Bits and pieces of Logan's dream resurfaced, beginning to once again overwhelm him.  He wanted to relay every detail to Morgan.  Logan began speaking again, slowly at first, recanting as the memories sparked in his mind.  Suddenly, as if a deluge of consciousness engulfed him, he couldn't speak quickly enough to express his vision.  "Then the car disappeared.  We were sitting in the middle of a beautiful meadow.  A light rain was falling, streaking your hair down into your face.  God, you seemed so beautiful to me right then."  Logan paused, blushing slightly.  "I mean, you are always beautiful to me, but, I just meant that at that time I. . . uh, oh well, you know!"

        Morgan just smiled lovingly and shook her head knowingly.

        The fireman felt as if electrical currents were coursing his body.  His extremities tingled and his head was beginning to swim.  How could a dream make him feel this way, kind of giddy, almost lost in time or something?

        Logan took a long breath and continued, "Everything seemed so familiar, but it was all so different. There were just a few stone buildings on the edge of the meadow with a couple of people in ancient looking clothes moving around."  Logan reminisced longingly.  "You pulled me closer to you.  Lying back into the damp grass, you kissed me so wonderfully.  I felt I was in Heaven!  I couldn't let you go.  I wanted to touch so much more than your body.  I longed to touch your soul."

        Morgan was transfixed.  She didn't know what to think.  This wasn't like the Logan she knew.  He didn't think like this.  He didn't talk like this.  What on earth, or beyond, could possess him to have a dream like this?  Dinner could wait for a few minutes.  "Okay, tell me more," she prodded, keeping her voice in check so that she didn?t seem too excited.

        Logan looked through the deepening shadows at his girlfriend, "I'm not boring you am I?" he asked, grabbing for the slacks that were set out across the bed.

        "No honey, not at all.  This is intriguing.  Keep going, but get dressed while you talk!"

        "Okay, let's see," Logan began once again in a low voice.  He slowly slipped his right leg into his trousers, sinking down onto the edge of the mattress.  "I felt so wonderful lying there holding you.  We kissed again and I rolled onto my back, pulling you on top of me."  Logan became silent, staring into the distance.

        "Suddenly you cried out," he began slowly.  "I heard horses hooves galloping toward us.  I pushed you aside, rolling over to protect you.  I reached for a sword that was laying in the grass beside us.  Then, everything suddenly went black.  I didn't know where I was.  I didn't know where you were.  God, everything felt so strange.  Then you woke me up."  Logan shivered slightly.  "I still feel a little strange."

        Logan pulled his slacks mindlessly over his left foot, still staring into the deepening gloom.  Morgan watched and listened intently, still not quite sure what to say.  "What could it mean"  Do you think my mind was just entertaining itself?"
Morgan stared down at her beloved, still in shock at what she had just heard.  "Wow," she finally responded.  "I can almost feel what it was like to be in your dream.  I could see every scene as you told it to me.  Sometimes I even knew what was coming next."  The stunned redhead moved to the bed beside Logan.  Reaching out gently, she stroked his rusty colored hair.  "I don't know what it could mean, but it sure seems intense.  Wow."

        The fireman stood once again, pulling his pants over his firm hips.  "Oh well, it was just a dream I guess.  Probably doesn't mean anything."

        Reaching around Logan's waist, Morgan hugged her boyfriend tightly.  "Stay with me, Logan," she whispered.  "I don't know why I feel I need to say it, just don't leave me again."

        Logan quivered slightly.  "I'm right here with you, Lass." he responded softly.  "Right by your side."
 
 

       
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