ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem was commissioned by [personal profile] dialecticdreamer.  It also fills the "septicemia / infected wounds" square in my 7-31-14 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo  fest.  It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.


"Pulling It Backward"

 


Chriselda Eberhardt slipped silently through the
German forest, her feet finding their way through
the leaf litter without ever snapping a twig.  She and
her father hunted for wild boar, though they got
separated earlier; surely they'd find each other soon.

As she traveled, Chriselda watched and listened for game,
her Absolute compound bow steady in her hand.
Wild boar were dangerous animals, not to mention
the other wildlife like wolves and lynxes; even the
red deer and roe deer could turn aggressive if provoked.

The dense beech trees, scattered with oaks
and the occasional spruce, made it difficult
for Chriselda to see where she was going
as she crept along the narrow, winding game trail.

She heard a grunt, momentary warning before
the huge boar charged out of the underbrush.

Chriselda had time to nock an arrow, pulling it backward
until the soft, colorful fletching passed her cheek
and then letting it fly to strike between the ears.

From the front, only a brain shot would kill;
the target was tiny and well-protected.
Her arrow went in but the boar did not go down.

The enraged beast ran her over, its massive weight
breaking her left leg under its hooves, the curved tusks
hooking into her belly as it tossed her to the ground.

Chriselda managed to grab a broadhead arrow and
stab the boar, shoving its snout away from her. 
It was so close that she could see the small tumors
lining its nostrils and smell its hot, fetid breath.

Then it snorted, pawed at the embedded arrows,
and trotted away from her to disappear in the brush.

The small first-aid kit she carried was no match
for injuries this severe, but it was better than nothing.
Chriselda cleaned the wounds as best she could
and covered them with gauze, but every time she moved,
the bleeding started up again, so there was no way
she could walk out of the forest like this.

She dragged herself to a fallen tree and piled up leaves
as a makeshift shelter before passing out from the pain.

Chriselda lost track of time, days passing in a haze
as her body broiled with fever.  The wounds
from the boar swelled and oozed and ached.

She expected to die, her whole life pulling itself backward
in preparation for release, but instead, a stranger came
to her rescue, flitting along the trail too fast to see
except when he paused to look around for signs.
His bold red-and-black uniform stood out against the trees.

"Help," Chriselda called, her voice rusty from disuse.

In a moment he was beside her, petite but wiry.
"I'm Blitzen," he said.  "I'm here to help you.
We found a wild boar with your arrows in him."

He had a first-aid kit that filled his backpack,
which was enough to clean the puffy, weeping wounds
and get Chriselda on her feet.  "There's a clearing nearby,"
Blitzen said.  "I'll walk you there to meet the chopper."

She had to lean on him to get there, but the promised chopper
arrived in a matter of minutes, allowing them both to climb in.
Blitzen talked with her, keeping Chriselda's mind off the mess
of injuries -- even in the hospital, until her parents arrived.

Despite the awful ordeal, he made her feel like everything 
would be all right, and after all, that's what superheroes are for.

* * *

Notes:

Blitzen -- Ferdinand Hirsch is a German superhero.  Like many runners, he has a very thin and wiry build.  He is 5'5" and weighs 125 lbs.  He has dark blond hair, hazel eyes, and fair skin.  He began as a rising star in the Olympics.  After he gained superpowers, he retired from competition to serve as a first responder for crimes and accidents.
Origin: During a field event, Ferdinand was struck by lightning.  His speed increased to super level, and he gained electrical powers.
Uniform: Nike Pro Turbospeed track uniform, primarily black with red and gold accents, the colors of the German flag.  A large red chevron over the chest has "Germany" written in gold across it.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Marathon Runner, Good (+2) First Responder, Good (+2) Knowledge of European Politics, Good (+2) Sports Endorsements
Poor (-2) Can't Swim
Powers: Expert (+4) Speed (Spin-Off Stunts: Run on Water, Speed Reading), Good (+2) Lighting Powers (Signature Stunt: Lightning Bolt, Spin-Off Stunt: Control Electricity)
Motivation: Get there in time to save the day.
Model: Khalid Khannouchi, marathon, 5'5" 125 lbs.

Boarskin (Chriselda Eberhardt) -- She has tawny-fair skin, blue eyes, and wavy blonde hair that falls just past her shoulders.  Her torso is slim, with flat breasts and narrow hips, but her thighs are thicker and her arms are enormous.  She is 17 years old.  Chriselda has a deep sense of family loyalty, is devastated by losing the connection with her birth family, and yearns for a replacement.  She feels protective of people she cares about.  For hunting, she uses various weapons, including an Absolute German compound bow.
 Her superpowers relate to her temper.  When berserk, she has Super-Strength, Toughness, Regeneration, and Enhanced Senses at Expert level.  The muscles of her arms and legs expand.  Chriselda can sustain a berserk rage for just over ten minutes, after which she collapses in exhaustion. Otherwise, her powers are only Average.  After joining the Marionettes, she studies judo.
Origin:  Chriselda and her father hunted wild boar to keep the animals from becoming a nuisance.  They got separated, and she was savaged by a radioactive boar.  She nearly died from the wounds before Blitzen found her.  Then Chriselda thought she was safe, but her muscles began to develop more.  About a month later, an argument turned violent and her superpowers manifested.  Because she injured her father, Chriselda's mother sold her to human traffickers willing to deal in soups.
Uniform: Street clothes.
Qualities: Good (+2) Determination, Good (+2) Huntress, Good (+2) Reading People, Good (+2) Traveler
Poor (+2) Volatile Temper
Powers: Expert (+4) Berserker
Motivation: Survival.

* * *

"An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great."
-- Unknown

Harz woods in Saxony, Germany is home to a wide variety of wildlife.

There is considerable argument over how much damage animals take from living near Chernobyl, but a variety of tumors, deformations, color changes, and other alterations have been observed.  Wild boar as far away as Germany have been found too radioactive to eat.

The best place to shoot a wild boar is from the side, just above the foreleg.  When the animal is charging, the only fatal target is the brain, a very small area centered between the eyes and ears.  They are usually hunted with guns, but some people still prefer archery.  Chriselda is packing chisel-tip broadheads capable of punching through bone and slicing internal organs.  Yes, a wild boar can still charge or run off after being shot.
 

Wilderness first aid covers such issues as broken bones and open wounds.  One challenge with serious injuries is that you often have a choice between staying put and not bleeding, or moving and bleeding.  The wrong choice either way can be fatal.

An effective shelter can be made from a fallen tree and leaves, or many other materials.  Know how to use what you have.

We need heroes not just to rescue people, but to give hope.

HAPPYDANCE!

Date: 2014-09-29 04:31 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
YES, Chriselda is /awesome/! She's safer, but I know she's not out of the woods, metaphorically speaking.

Blitzen... his superpower is awesome, but what I liked best is that he stayed with her, talked to her, and didn't leave until she had /other support/ at the hospital. That is an awesome, thoroughly underrated /gift/!

This really helped, after a crummy week-- Thank you!

(no subject)

Date: 2014-10-08 03:59 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Just got to read this. Good one!

There is, according to my hunter safety instructor, one other target on a charging boar:

If.. *if*... he lifts his head, you can go under his chin and hit at the base of the neck, which will drive deep into his vitals and drop him on the spot. Which is precisely what said instructor managed to do, after the first shot - from a .44 Magnum at reasonably close range - hit Puumba right between his beady eyes, rode up under his skin along the top of his skull, and exited the back, *making him mad* more than anything. Basically what happened to Chriselda, only the instructor had time for a second shot, and a lot of luck.

Hmmm. I'm remembering a different story told of an African villager who took a .22 to an elephant.... not actually trying to kill him, but just shoo him off... hit the eye, traveled up the optic nerve track, and dropped the pachyderm right in the potato patch. It took the village three days to butcher the beast... of course, only a soup could hit the beady eye of a charging boar, and Chriselda wasn't one yet....

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