Chapter Twenty-Three

Wednesday, July 3, 12:17 PM

Tom obviously wasn't convinced. "Lynette, you're not even supposed to be here. Much less touching a patient or countermanding orders—"

"Trust me, Tom. Do you have a cyanide kit on board?"

"Top shelf," he said. He sniffed near Mary's mouth. "Are you sure about this Doc?"

She opened the kit, "It all makes sense. Normal oxygen level but her breathings getting worse, normal EKG, that smell, and when's the last time you saw veins that red in a patient with a PE or MI?"

"We really should follow protocol. I can't ignore orders."

"I'm giving you new orders." Lynette said, opening a vial of drugs.

"Right. You're not even officially here. We'll lose our licenses and you'll never work again. If Wilson gets his way, you could end up in jail." Tom seemed angry. "What if you're wrong? What if she's really having a heart attack?"

Lynette looked from Tom to Mary. The patient was oblivious.

"I'm not wrong. Trust me." Lynette said.

Tom looked at the patient. She was having more trouble breathing. It was a losing battle for her. Brenner turned from the front seat and looked at Tom. He nodded showing his approval of Lynette's actions.

"Fine," Tom said.

Lynette pushed the drugs, hoping they weren't too late. Mary opened her eyes. Her breathing was slowly improving and she looked less anxious.

The rig pulled into the ambulance bay of the ER. They hauled the gurney out and pushed it down the hallway to the trauma room.

"Mary, did you eat or drink anything this morning?" Lynette asked while transferring the patient to a hospital bed.

"Just two glasses of lemonade." Mary answered. "At the church."

"Is this our chest pain?" Adam Mayfair asked, entering the room. He looked at the monitor with the patients vitals. "Looks good. I guess the nitro helped." He bent over to face the patient. "How do you feel?"

Tom opened his mouth but Lynette spoke up first. She wouldn't let him get in trouble again. Not this time.

"We think she was a victim of cyanide poisoning. She responded to five grams of hydroxocobalamin and a hundred percent O2." Lynette started getting a little nervous as she spoke those words.

Adam looked up, looking mad. "You did what? I ordered MI protocol!"

Brenner rushed into the room clutching the biohazard bag. "Thought you might need this."

"He'll explain everything." Lynette said, hurrying out of the room.

Tom followed right behind her.

"It was the lemonade." Lynette said.

"I'll call dispatch; have them send another ambulance along with the police." Tom replied.

"Have them call the church, warn them." Lynette responded with before racing to the drug lock up. She punched in her access code. Thank god Adam hadn't cancelled her code yet. She grabbed four cyanide kits and rushed back to the nursing station with them.

Tom hung up the phone. "No luck. There's a fire that everyone's tied up with."

"Hey!" They heard a voice behind them. Lynette turned around and saw Gabrielle standing behind her. "What are you doing? Dr. Lindquist, you can't take those."

Lynette tightly clutched the kits. "Ask Adam. Better yet, call the pharmacy and get more of these. Fast."

Tom drove as fast as he could, going over the speed limit and speeding through intersections, not bothering about the traffic.

"How long do we have?" He shouted over the blaring siren.

"If they drank any before we came to pick up Mary—"

"We might be too late." Tom finished. Finally, after a few obstacles Tom pulled up in front of the church.

Lynette jumped out before the vehicle had come to a complete stop. She ran into the church. She was so scared, her palms were sweating. Inside the door she stopped. Inside the church were four motionless bodies. Her footsteps echoed around the church as she ran to the first women. No pulse. She swallowed and refused to give up. She went over to the second victim. Also dead.

Tom entered the church, his hands full of equipment, "My God."

Tom rushed over to another victim who was lying face down in a pile of vomit. "She's dead. Jesus, are they all dead?"

"Those two are gone," Lynette replied, trying to stay calm. Her hands were trembling as she reached for the last victim. Tina, the young girl who had helped with Mary. She was also dead.

"Where's the last one?" Lynette asked, her eyes scanning the church. "There were five."

"Maybe she went for help, maybe she's okay." Tom said, jumping to his feet.

"You look through the pews, I saw an office in the back, I'll check there." Lynette said.

Tom frantically ran up and down the pews while Lynette went into the tiny office in the back of the church. No one there but it led to another room which was a change room for the choir. The last women lay in a heap on the floor there. Her cell phone near her head.

Lynette kneeled next to her hoping for a pulse but knowing she wouldn't have one. She frantically searched but there wasn't one. Lynette stopped being a professional and let the tears that had been building in her eyes fall.

Why? Who had done this and why?

Tom ran into the room, "I can find—Oh." He sunk to the ground next to Lynette. Lynette managed to regain her composure after a few minutes. "We better call the police."

Tom nodded but didn't move. Instead he reached for Lynette and pulled her close to him. He wasn't crying but he was shaking. Lynette thought that coming from a guy who was so used to being in control, which was worse than tears.

Lynette held onto him for a while until finally they both calmed down a little. "I'll make the call. You stay here."

Lynette waited until she was outside of the church before pulling her cell phone out. It was boiling hot out. One of those really humid summer days. Lynette could see heat waves coming from the sidewalk, yet she couldn't stop shivering. She dialed 911 and after explaining it wasn't a true emergency, she requested to speak with Mike Delfino. She was put on hold.

After what seemed like forever Mike finally answered. She explained what had happened to him.

"Don't touch anything," he ordered, "We're on our way."

Lynette hung up and shook her head before going back into the church. Tom was sitting in a pew in the front row praying.

The police finally arrived and escorted them outside. "Don't go anywhere." The officer in uniform told them. "Not until the detectives say it's okay."

They sat on the back bumper of the ambulance and watched two more police cars pull up. A few unmarked cars came and finally two medical examiner vans showed up.

There was crime-scene tape all around the church.

Forty minutes later an older man arrived. Lynette figured it was the pastor. He was escorted inside. When he emerged he was visibly shaken. One of the officers let him sit in his squad car as he talked on a cell phone.

"Next-of-kin notification," Tom said.

Lynette just nodded. She had no energy to speak. She'd been at crime scenes before, had been in the midst of chaos during a disaster, but this was different. She had talked to these women moments before their death.

The whole thing just gave her the creeps.

TBC