New Species series
“Didn’t you used to work for a veterinarian, Trisha?”
Trisha frowned, taking a sip of her iced coffee. Her body tensed when she heard the man’s voice. Dr. Dennis Channer was a prick. He always tried to go out of his way to harass her by any means possible. The guy just had it in for her.
It was difficult for people to get to know her, she’d come to grips with that, but it still hurt her feelings sometimes. She’d graduated high school at the young age of fourteen and by the time she was twenty-four, she’d finished medical school, had completed her residency, and spent a few years in the trenches of some of the toughest hospitals known for incoming trauma victims. At twenty-eight she had landed her dream job at one of the top-rated hospitals within the U.S.
Most people were either intimidated by her or believed she had to be pretty conceited. She wasn’t a snob, didn’t think she was better than anyone else, and she definitely wasn’t a cold fish. Her social skills just sucked. She had always been a bit shy, led a busy life that hadn’t allowed her friendships for the most part, and then there was the fact that few people were friendly to her. It wasn’t easy to warm up to people who gave her the cold shoulder.
Dennis Channer was her boss and he resented the hell out of her. He’d been in his thirties, a full decade older than Trisha, when he’d come to work at Mercy Hospital. He thought her too pretty and he hadn’t hidden his opinion that her looks had landed the job rather than her skill. She’d worked her ass off to get where she had. She’d sacrificed having a personal life for her career.
“Yes, I did. I worked at an emergency veterinarian hospital through med school.”
“No scholarship?” He sneered at her.
She counted to ten silently. “No.”
“You’re up next.” His lined face appeared highly amused, too pleased to suit Trisha. “We have an incoming that is right up your alley.” He laughed, obviously making some private joke, targeting her.
Her teeth clenched to prevent her from saying something she’d regret. She dumped her iced coffee and the rest of her sandwich into the trash can before following Dennis down the hallway from the lounge. It will probably be another unfortunate soul, Trisha guessed. Dennis loved to toss drunks, vagrants, or gang members her way. Since he’d mentioned alley, a homeless person came to mind.
An image of a highly smelly, unwashed body that would knock her back with its stench flashed through her brain. It might even be one of the crazy ones who would yell about how aliens from Mars were going to kidnap them all. Trisha had dealt with many of them, unfortunately. A lot of them tended to wrap foil around various body parts to prevent aliens from supposedly scanning them. Removing the stuff to evaluate their injuries usually resulted in at least four of the staff having to hold them down.
Trisha passed Sally, a nurse she had become friends with, as she moved quickly toward the emergency doors. The frightened, grim expression on other woman’s face made Trisha tense more. Whatever was coming in had to be pretty ominous since the woman was one tough cookie, having seen a lot of horrendous things in her fifteen years working the emergency room.
Trisha started to worry. There wasn’t much that scared Sally. The nurse hadn’t even flinched when two weeks before a gang member had been brought in with three gunshot wounds to the back. While they’d been working on the young man, a rival gang had sent one of their members into the emergency room to finish him off. Sally had calmly helped Trisha wheel the unconscious man into a closet to hide him while security cleared the building to locate the armed thug.
Dennis turned, smiling smugly at Trisha. “We have an incoming half man, half dog.”
“That’s not funny.” Trisha sighed. “I dumped my dinner for this? Grow up, Dennis.”
He lifted his hands, still smiling. “I wish this were a joke but I’m serious. He’s been rescued from some Frankenstein research facility for a drug company. We have incoming to different hospitals to the tune of about sixty-five patients. We’re the nearest trauma center and they are flying him to us because he’s the worst of the victims. The onsite paramedics and the life-flight crew have confirmed that this man is human with doggy parts.” Dennis appeared downright gleeful. “And he’s all yours since you know your dogs.”
Trisha put her hands on her hips. “You should have saved this one for April Fools’ Day. What is the real story? Are they bringing in a victim wearing a dog suit? Is he a character actor who tripped at some kid’s birthday party while playing a mutt?”
“It’s true,” Sally intervened softly. “It’s on every major channel.” She didn’t play practical jokes on Trisha. Her dark eyes looked anxious. “The cops busted some research facility and they are pulling survivors from the building, saying they are part animal and part people. We do have an incoming life flight with one of them onboard. We called an emergency vet to back us up but he’s twenty minutes out.”
Shock rippled through Trisha as she struggled to take in the ramifications of what she’d heard. She spun around to stride quickly to the nurses’ station to peer up at the television mounted to the wall. Two nurses were already watching, their eyes glued to the set. A news helicopter circled a building while filming ambulances, police, fire and SWAT vehicles on the ground. Bold lettering scrolled across the screen. She read enough to cause her to spin back around.
“Time?” Trisha shouted.
Cory, the male nurse who did incoming control, spoke from his tucked-away position behind a desk at the entrance. “They are three minutes out. He’s stable so far.”
“Crap,” Trisha ground out. Her gaze flew to Dennis and she gave him a grim nod. “What do we know so far?”
“Shaky details at best.” Dennis still smiled. “He’s got blood loss, he’s in shock, and they don’t know what is wrong with Dog Boy. They just scooped him and ran when his vitals crashed. Maybe you can give him a doggy treat and he can bark out his injuries.”
“You’re amused?” Trisha glared at him with disgust. “God, you’re a bastard. This is someone’s life.” She turned her back on him and focused on Sally. “Prep an OR just in case since we don’t know what we’ll be dealing with. Get everyone woken up. We’ll have to cross and match his blood type and I want full panels. We—”