So Kit pretended he was asleep as the sweat continued to trickle down his face and neck, as the fear inside him built way past the danger level. He couldn't get his mind to rest, even for just a few minutes. He had to be on this plane.
He had to travel to Colorado.
It was all connected to August 9, wasn't it? Sure it was. That was when the stress disorder had begun. This was for Kim and for Tommy and for Michael --- little Mike the Tyke.
And oh yeah, it also happened to be hugely beneficial for just about everybody else on the planet. Very strange --- but that last outrageous bit was absolutely true, scarily true. In his opinion, nothing in history was more important than what he'd come here to investigate.
Unless he was crazy.
Which was a distinct possibility.
THE DAY started to go a little crazy when Keith Duffy and his young daughter brought that poor crushed doe to the Inn-Patient, as I call my small animal hospital in Bear Bluff, Colorado, about fifty minutes northwest of Boulder along the "Peak-to-Peak" highway.
Sheryl Crow was singing ever so raucously on the tape deck. I flipped saucy Sheryl off when I saw Duffy walk inside carrying that poor doe, standing like a dolt in front of Abstraction, White Rose II, my current favorite Georgia O'Keeffe poster.
I could see the badly injured doe was pregnant. She was wild-eyed and thrashing when Duffy hefted her onto the table. Half-thrashing, in truth, because I suspected her spine was broken at midpoint, where she'd been clipped by the Chevy 4x4 that Duffy drives.
The little girl was sobbing and her father looked miserable. I thought he was going to break down, too.
"Money's no object," he said.
And money was no object because I knew nothing was going to save the doe. The fawn, however, was a maybe. If the mother was close to term. If it hadn't been mashed too badly by the four-thousand-pound truck. And a few more ifs besides.
"I can't save the doe," I said to the girl's father. "I'm sorry."
Duffy nodded. He was a local builder, and also one of the local hunters. A real knucklehead, in my humble opinion. Thoughtless probably described him best, and maybe that was his best quality. I could only imagine how he must be feeling now, this man who usually bragged on his kill, with his little girl begging to save the animal's life. Among his other bad habits, Duffy occasionally stopped by and brazenly hit on me. A sticker on his 4x4 bumper read: Support Wildlife. Throw a Party.
"The fawn?" he asked.
"Maybe," I said. "Help me get her gassed down and we'll see."
I gently slid the mask over the doe's face. I kicked at the pedal and the halothane hissed through the tube. The doe's brown eyes showed terror, but also unimaginable sadness. She knew.
The little girl grabbed the doe around the belly and started crying her heart out. I liked the girl a lot. Her eyes showed spunk and character. Duffy had done at least one good thing in his life.
"Damn, damn," the father said. "I never saw her until she was on the hood. Do your best, Frannie," he said to me.
I gently peeled the little girl off the deer. I held on to her shoulders and made her face me. "What's your name, sweetie?"
"Angie," she sobbed out.
"Angie, now listen to me, sweetheart. The doe doesn't feel anything now, understand? It's painless for her. I promise you."
Angie pushed her face into my body and held me with all of her little-girl strength. I rubbed her back and told her that I would have to euthanatize the doe, but if its baby could be saved, there would be a lot of work to do.
"Please, please, please," said Angie.
Excerpted from When the Wind Blows, excerpted with permission of the publisher. Published by Little, Brown & Co. Copyright 1998 by James Patterson
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