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Knife + Kaolin

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Mac drew in a shuddering breath. He held his side tight, trying not to cause himself any more pain. It burned and throbbed; the pain rising and falling like a bloody wave. Beads of sweat stood out on his forehead, soaking the blonde strands that crossed it. He looked down at his fingers that were slowly dripping red. He closed his eyes tightly, and tried to remember what happened. 

It came in flashes. An angry face. And another.  They were saying something, shouting something. What was it?

Another jolt of pain brought him back, and he gagged. The white-hot burning torment clouded his vision as he tried to hold his breath to ease it. He needed help. Where was he?

He remembered a warehouse, or a factory, or something, maybe he was still there. He opened his eyes and tried to get a look at his surroundings. That was a mistake he thought as he blacked out for a moment and desperately tried to stop the sobs which he could scarcely hold back. They only increased his agony.

Stabbed. That's what had happened. He had been stabbed. He recalled the feeling, the coldness of the blade as it slid in and out of his side.
That memory triggered another. It all came rushing back; the mission to rescue that oil executive's children, err.. something like that, the false lead that had brought him here to what must have been an ambush, and the fight that had left him in this condition. Never bring fists to a knife fight, he thought ruefully.

The children! Were they here? If not maybe Jack had found them. He and Jack had decided to split up and check out both leads they had received. In hindsight it was a terrible idea, but they had been running out of time.

As pain eased temporarily, Mac considered his options. If he stayed where he was and waited for help he could wind up bleeding out. The alternative was to find himself help before his condition deteriorated further. Either way he had to find a way to slow the bleeding.

Upon closer inspection, his wound was already bleeding slowly. That was good news, the knife hadn't hit an artery. He still needed to try and stop it, so he could focus his efforts on moving. 

Another wave of pain hit, leaving him breathless and white with the agony. Sweat drenched his back.  Gritting his teeth he checked out his surroundings for something, anything that might help him out.

His free hand passed idly along the floor as he racked his brains for one of his ideas. He felt a powdery substance and began to crush the larger pieces between his fingers. Momentarily distracted by his discovery he inspected it closely. It was white, with a consistency reminiscent of chalk. He'd seen this before. What was it?
 
Kaolin. That's what it was called. Kaolin. A type of white clay, used in finishing paper among other things. He must be in a kaolin processing plant. It wasn't an oil exec whose children had been taken hostage, but the CEO of a mining company. It all made sense now. This all started over some disagreement over mining rights. Mac clenched his teeth as he rode out another wave of pain. He needed to come up with something now.

Upon further reflection he remembered another use for kaolin. The military had started to add it to trauma bandages some years back. It helped control bleeding. Maybe he could use it in a similar way.

A plan formed quickly. He eased himself from his outer-shirt, trying to ignore the pain shooting through him with each movement. Resting a moment, he began step two. He packed as much of the surrounding clay as he could find against his wound, then carefully wrapped his shirt around his waist. When he tightened it he almost blacked out again. Suppressing a scream he tied it as tight as he could manage. So far so good.

With the help of the barrel he had been leaning against, he pulled himself to his feet. This was no easy task. He rested a moment, doubled over the barrel and closed his eyes. He didn't know where help would be, or even which direction to head towards. Leaning against everything in his path he made it to one of the doors. Of course he was in he middle of nowhere. Nothing but trees and a dirt road. Outside the plant where various machines and a rusty pick up truck. That might work.

Mac hauled himself up into the drivers seat. He rested his head against the steering wheel, biting his lip to keep from screaming, which would only add to his torment. He had definitely made things worse moving around. After what felt like an eternity, he forced himself upright, suppressed a groan and hot-wired the truck. Still biting his lip he shifted gears and drove out of the lot. 
Exhaustion began to set in as the adrenaline wore off and he could barely focus on the road ahead. Each bump of the unpaved road sent another jolt of pain through his body, but he began to feel it less and less. He didn't notice his knife wound had begun to bleed again. Spots danced before his eyes and his foot slid off the gas pedal. The truck slowed and he began to sway in his seat, his surroundings swimming in and out.

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Jack was very happy with himself at that particular moment as he drove towards the processing plant. He had found the two children at his location and was looking forward to telling Mac all about it. Everyone was safe and sound with no injuries. All in all a successful mission. It was only after everything had been wrapped up that he began to wonder where Mac was. Surely he would have turned up by now. Maybe he had car trouble or something, and couldn't call for help because he used his phone on some experiment. No wait, that's what he uses my phone for, he thought, chuckling to himself. 

Coming up on the other side of the road was an old truck, half in the ditch and clearly still running. Jack pulled over and went to offer assistance. With an exclamation of surprise he recognized Mac. He had fallen against the window, his face pale and streaked with blood and sweat. Jack climbed in on the other side and tried to wake him, noting as he did so Mac's shallow breathing and rapid heart rate. All his efforts were in vain, Mac was out cold. He pulled out his phone and called for help. Matty assured him that a medevac was on the way and he placed the phone on the dash. Riley's worried voice tones only served to increase his anxiety.

"Come on Macgyver you can't do this to me again, I'm getting to old for this," he murmured as he pressed down hard on the wound. 

Mac stirred, his back arched and he groaned but remained unconscious. 

"I'm sorry kid, but I have to do this."
 
After what felt like hours Jack heard the sound of a chopper.

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"You're telling me that even though you were barely awake, you still managed to figure out you could use that weird clay to save your life." Bozer asked incredulously. 

"You really can Macgyver your way out of anything can't you?"

They all laughed, including Mac, who instantly regretted it. Even three weeks later the knife wound still hadn't quite healed. 

After the merriment subsided, Riley turned to Jack, "did we ever find out what those two guys who ambushed Mac were up to?"

"It was a setup. We were never supposed to get that second tip which was the real location," Jack answered, "they confessed to planning to blow us all up but when only Mac showed it ruined their plans. They figured it was easier to just kill him quickly and quietly."

"Well," said Mac with a grin, "they didn't."