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Time Heals Most Wounds · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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Bandaged Time
The first time I saw the medic, he was kneeling next to a man who had been shot in the Bataclan Theater in Paris. He looked more like a character from a video game than an actual nurse, dressed all in white, with red crosses adorning each of his shoulders. Voluminous robes covered him, and he constantly reached inside to pull outside the tools of his trade. Gauze, bandages, strange-smelling ointments – each was pulled out and applied in turn.

The air was filled with the sounds of the wounded and dying, but he seemed to ignore them as he worked. The moment he finished with one man, he immediately picked his way across the floor and began to kneel next to another, even as wounded men and women tried to grab at his baggy robes from the floor, begging for help.

I was the fifth person he helped. I’d been shot in the stomach when the terrorists opened fire, and trampled by the crowd as they tried to flee their automatic weapons, as if they could outrun bullets. It felt like I had wet my pants, but I knew that it was not urine that was soaking my pants.

I had called out to the medic a couple times after he appeared, striding out from behind the stage, but he hadn’t turned to help me; it was only when my vison had closed in around the edges that I felt something sharp press against my shoulder.

“Drink this,” he said as he pressed something against my lips. It was a tiny tube, and when I swallowed, the sweet, chalky liquid left an aftertaste like flat cherry Coke left in a car on a sunny day.

He didn’t say anything else before he got to work, pulling out another tube and pressing something cool out against my bare belly. His bloodied hands rose to spread the salve out over my flesh, but I couldn’t watch; just looking at myself made me feel sick.

“Why?” I finally asked when the pain in my middle began to subside enough for me to talk again.

“Because you matter,” he said, reaching into his robes to pull out a stapler that would be at home roofing my house and began to press it against my flesh; I could feel torn flesh stretching as he pulled it together, fixing it in place with a painful jolt.

“That hurts!” I snarled.

“You’ll live. That’s the point.”

I groaned as a third painful point of steel pressed into my skin. “Why didn’t you help me sooner? I almost died.”

“I needed to save the others first. You all survived.”


“You will survive, I mean,” the man said, his voice trembling slightly for the first time. Into his robes went his hands, which were quickly filled with gauze and bandage. Red pads soaked with blood found their way to the floor before he was finally satisfied, the gauze screeching as it was pulled from the roll and spread over my stomach.

I finally looked down; I couldn’t see the blood anymore, or the dark red hole that the bullet had made.

“Hold this,” he said, lifting one of my hands with his gloved hand before he rose back to his feet. “I have two more people to save.”

By the time the medics got to me, he had disappeared; dozens of unbandaged men and women lay in all directions on what had formerly been the dance floor, but for some reason, they chose me to load first. At the hospital, I asked about the medic, but they sad no one like that worked for them. The police thought I was hallucinating; no one could have entered or left that building without passing them.

The second time I saw the medic, I was trapped beneath a collapsed building in Kyushu.
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#1 · 2
· · >>axis_of_rotation >>Leo
Our narrator really does not have very good luck.

I'm not entirely sure who the medic is supposed to be. I think he's supposed to be a time traveler, based mostly on the prompt and his confusion of tenses, but that just leaves me wondering why he's doing this. I guess he just wants to save people. The only other option I can think of is that he's supposed to be some sort of guardian angel, which would explain most things about him, but then the connection to the prompt and the mistake with tenses don't make as much sense. But that would explain why the people were unbandaged when the other medics arrived, which the time traveler theory doesn't really do.

Anyway, I think that this is a very good story, and I quite enjoyed it. The only thing that I might change is that near the end, he tells the narrator to hold something, but you never say anything about what that something is. It's probably not something important, but because this is the type of story that encourages readers to look at every detail to try to piece everything together, I kept wondering what that thing was and if it was somehow important.
#2 · 1
· · >>The_Letter_J
I second >>The_Letter_J. I hadn't even thought of time travel until I read your review, J, but thinking about it now I definitely believe that's it. As for mentioning unbandaged people, I think those are ones the medic hadn't helped, probably because they were going to live anyway. The narrator says he's the fifth one helped by the medic, who when he's finished says there are two more to save, making seven in total. But we know there are dozens wounded.

My biggest critique of this story is possibly unfair: it uses a real atrocity as its framework, and this drew comparisons to the story's emotional accuracy. I guess I should be honest: I don't think it came close. I do not feel it did justice to the trauma of that attack, and that's what irks me.

Now this is unfair because had the story taken place on the titanic, I would be much more forgiving. I am used to tales of that disaster. So it's likely because the Paris attacks occured in my lifetime, and so recently, that I dislike any story touching on it which doesn't strive to respect and truly capture the horror of that night. Not that you meant any disrespect of course. I ought to be careful using that word anyway, because I had no friends or family involved, so perhaps i shouldnt assume indignation concerning an event I wasn't a part of.

Anyway, I like the creative twist on 'time heals wounds' here. ^.^
#3 ·
· · >>axis_of_rotation
You're probably right about the unbandaged people.The thing is, that opens up a major plot hole: how did the medics not notice that several people, including the narrator, were all bandaged and stitched up? That's why I thought that the line about the unbandaged people was trying to say that some sort of weird magic thing had happened and the bandages were just stabilizing people until the medics arrived, at which point they magically disappeared, or something.
#4 ·
· · >>The_Letter_J >>axis_of_rotation
I hadn't thought about it, but it makes sense when considering the title. Also, the medic says "because you matter", so I would assume that the narrator will play an important part in history that he knows about.

I think what happened with the bandaged is just that he just took care about the ones he knew wouldn't otherwise survive, and then, in the chaos of the situation, the real medics probably thought that one of them must have already tended to the bandaged ones.

What I can't stop asking myself is, what is this supposed to tell me? Especially with the ending. Whyever the protagonist is in Japan in the first place, there is no revelation in the last scene, or anything other than the information that the medic apparently got there as well. Why? What does that say? There is no apparent meaning or goal in this story.
#5 ·
I interpreted the "because you matter" part as more of a general "everyone matters" thing. Everyone's life is important, and he can save these people's lives, so he does. If he was there just to save the narrator, I would expect him to go to the narrator first, and then take care of those other less important important people who happen to be there afterwards.

It's possible that you're right about the bandages, except that still doesn't really explain the narrator, who was the first person loaded up and had clearly been helped already. Unless that was why they were first. But then I still think it's odd that no one realized that they'd been helped before the medics got there.

I agree with your last paragraph though. I interpreted it as trying to show that the medic appears after lots of disasters to help out, but it is very vague and open to speculation.
#6 ·
Sorry guys just noticed these >.<
That's a good point about the other medics not realizing seven victims had already received specialized aid. And you might be right leo, maybe they just didn't notice/figured it was obviously done by one of their own. It's hard to say. It might just be an oversight by the author, too. Personally, I'm stumped.

I didn't like the very end either, though I'm mostly sure why the author did it. I think it was a final attempt to show us the medic is inordinary. We already knew this though when the narrator speaks to the other doctors about the experience. And plus it kinda whiplashed me, coming out of nowhere and suddenly throwing these elements from one context into another.
#7 ·
I can't help but feel like this medic is actually supposed to be a personification of Time itself, which has somehow decided to start righting the wrongs in the world.

The 'survived/will survive' thing seems like a pretty clear indication, along with the Paris/Japan thing, that some sort of shenanigans are going down. Not to mention the robes; that hints at something more than 'secret time travel society'; it hints at mystery and tradition, somehow.

I dunno. I like it for the most part, though.

And man, I don't know if this character has good luck, to be saved by this time-traveler twice, or if he's got bad luck, to be caught in two disasters like that in his lifetime. :/

Overall, though, I'd say the biggest weakness in this story is a lack of theme. It's got a hint of mystery to it, but that's about all; no real message or meaning or mood otherwise, as far as I can see.

Mostly well-written and somewhat intriguing, but not very compelling.
#8 ·
I can't make this story any better.
#9 ·
· · >>Trick_Question
I'd be evaluating this story very differently if it weren't for that last line, which starts a second scene, transforming this from abbreviated-but-complete to stops-dead-in-the-middle.

I have to score it low as incomplete, but what's here is intriguing.

Tier: Needs Work
#10 ·
Heh, again we differ. I thought this was hooves-down the best story in the competition. The last line clinches it for me and makes it a complete story, because it confirms the theory.

EDIT: I'm so surprised by your rating (and by how amazingly good the story is) that I suspect you wrote this. But again, for Reasons, I am not author-guessing this time.