Silence Of The Wolf Page 12
Tom moved closer to where she rested on her back against a mogul, the wind whipping the snow about. The white fake-fur-trimmed hood surrounded her face. A black half balaclava covered her mouth and nose, making her appear ninja-like. Her eyes were narrowed at him, her ski goggles pushed up onto her ski hat.
’’What happened?’’ Tom asked, crouching down to speak with her.
She pulled the balaclava down with her right hand.
’’I\ll be all right,’’ she said breathily, as if she was having a hard time breathing or the pain was affecting her.
She might be all right, but Tom\s heart pumped way too fast. ’’Kemp said you probably have a mild wrist sprain.’’
’’Yeah.’’ Her breathing was shallow.
Tom thought maybe she wasn\ used to the thinner air and was suffering from hypoxia, or altitude sickness. Or possibly she had a broken rib that had collapsed a lung.
’’Do you need oxygen? Having trouble breathing?’’ Tom asked. ’’Ribs hurt?’’
He didn\ trust the patient completely. He\d seen a case a week ago where a twenty-three-year-old hot dog had claimed he was okay, but his vitals had deteriorated rapidly. Tom had him medevaced out only to learn later that the skier had ruptured his spleen. Another was the case of a forty-five-year-old man who looked unsteady after he said a snowboarder had run him over. He swore he just had to catch his breath, but when he couldn\ , Tom had the ambulance take the man down to the hospital. Tom heard later from Doc Weber that the patient had suffered a mild heart attack.
’’Vital signs?’’ Tom asked Kemp.
’’Her signs are good,’’ Kemp said.
’’I found her camera,’’ Minx said. Tom looked that way, surprised that the teenaged girl was here, too. Not that he should be, since she was friends with the boys. She must have been in the woods next to the expert trail, searching for the camera. A couple of pine needles clung to her bright green ski hat, the pink and white pom-poms swinging from the ties as she tried to make her way down the steep incline to reach them. Snow clung to the camera.
’’You were taking pictures when it happened?’’ Tom asked Elizabeth. When he\d learned she was on this slope, he had assumed she must be an expert skier.
’’Yes.’’ She gritted her teeth, trying to mask that she hurt.
’’Was anybody with her at the time?’’ Tom asked.
’’No, she was alone,’’ Kemp said.
’’Did anyone see what happened?’’
She gave Tom an irritated look. She must have had her back to the skier and couldn\ see what had occurred.
’’Two panting males saw her,’’ Kemp said, a lighthearted tone to his voice.
Anthony and Cody chuckled.
Tom liked Kemp because he always had a sense of humor. It also meant that Elizabeth must be in good shape, no really bad injuries, or he would be ultraserious.
As a lupus garou, she\d heal well on her own. Unless she had spinal injuries or bleeding that couldn\ be stemmed, she should be all right.
Kemp moved over to allow Tom to get closer. Kemp\s twin brother, Radcliff, skied down with the toboggan. He had darker blond hair than Kemp, and his eyes were a lighter amber. Both men were in great shape because they served on the ski patrol regularly each season and had all the women swooning when they shared smiles with them.
Tom checked over Elizabeth\s vital signs himself. They looked good.
’’I\m fine,’’ she said, still frowning at him. ’’Go help someone who really needs your assistance.’’
’’It\s noon and I\m off the clock. We still have that lunch date.’’ Tom could imagine the boys taking notes on how to court a wolf. ’’You\ e going down by toboggan. We have several other patrollers at the resort, so no problem there.’’
’’Except that you should have heard the flurry of \I\m coming,\ no matter how far away the other patrollers were stationed,’’ Kemp said, grinning.
Tom could imagine, even if they were joking.
’’Fine. Get me down to the base so that the whole slope isn\ crowded with onlookers. I can\ believe you\ e making that big a deal of this,’’ Elizabeth groused.
She didn\ know how much so until they placed a neck collar on her, strapped her to a board, and clamped an oxygen mask in place. She didn\ have to say a word for Tom to know she was pissed. He wasn\ taking a chance on her being injured further.
Peter Jorgenson, their local sheriff and a good friend of Tom\s, skied up behind them, and Tom wondered what he was doing up here.
’’Okay, guys, move back and give us some room.’’ Tom meant Cody and Anthony, but when they didn\ budge, he said a little sterner this time, ’’Cody, Anthony, move.’’
The wolves shuffled carefully away, avoiding sliding down the sharp embankment.
’’So, Peter, what are you doing up here?’’ Tom asked as the sheriff motioned for the teens to shift further out of the way.
Peter seemed just as intrigued with the she-wolf and didn\ move to vacate the area himself. The slope was treacherously sheer here, and they all stood on the sides of the moguls to keep from sliding down the icier sections.
’’Took a breather while it\s quiet in town. Deputy Sheriff Trevor\s holding down the fort.’’ Peter tilted his Stetson back, his dark sunglasses hiding his dark eyes, his forehead creased in a frown.
Kemp had pressed ice against Elizabeth\s wrist. Tom brought out an elastic bandage and wrapped it around her wrist to prevent swelling. He made a sling to keep her arm close to her body, her wrist elevated and protected. ’’Were you holding on to your ski poles when you fell?’’ Kemp asked.