Feels good to be back! And look, I seem to have stepped in yet another serial! I guess I can’t keep away from stretching my words a bit more.
This may be a good place to announce a long planned and kept only for my eyes serial called Mac Ensyl: Private Eye. It will be posted soon! I’ve wanted to give it light months ago, but never felt the time was right. As if the time has ever been right… Anyways, by the looks of it August is going to be one month of serials and short drabbles in between. I hope all of you will stay tunned.
Now I leave you to meet the:
John felt his stomach turn when chief of staff called him in his office too early before his shift was due to begin.
“Now John, doctor Lewis wanted to approach the matter personally, but his presence was required elsewhere today, and for that he apologizes. He asked me to bring you the news myself.”
“I’m getting fired” John’s own voice rang in his head, but he remained still, hoping he wasn’t displaying some desperate expression. His palms were starting to sweat, and his heartbeat was increasing. “I am so getting fired”.
Chief of staff Alan Miller took out a tin folder with John’s name and photograph on the front page, pulled out the last piece of paper and pushed it over to John.
“You’ve been transferred to the night shift at St. Ann’s Memorial Hospital. They are short on personnel there at the moment and as one of our most capable paramedics we recommended you for the duty. After observing your record St. Ann’s chief of staff which is a dear friend of mine and of course doctor Brown, one of the most renowned surgeons in the city by my opinion, were more than happy and thankful for our “donation” if I may say. Now if you just only sign here your transfer will be completed.”
John wasn’t entirely sure whether to be happy or not, but fact is he was baffled as to why no one asked for his opinion for this sudden transfer from the hospital he had been a member to for seven years now. The long and slim finger of Alan Miller was pointing at the empty line next to the word SIGNATURE. John was going to call Lewis later and ask him what the hell was going on. But for now, refusal was not an option as the deal was already done, so John took the offered pencil and scribbled his signature with one rapid move.
“I’m sure you’ll find extremely cooperative and skillful colleges there John. Oh almost forgot. You can have the rest of the day off. You will be expected at eight tonight for an introduction and then you’ll begin.”
Alan Miller graced John with his cheesy smile then put his file back in the drawer.
* * *
Working the day shift had never been much of a weight for John. Sure they had death or nearly dying, blood and injured people. But somehow it felt easier to comprehend all of that in the daylight. It went away faster, disappearing into the roaring traffic, hiding within the crowds. The worst was gone, and if it had affected John at the time being, after a while he could no longer find it in his mind. He had learned how to block those rushing in human feelings.
Whereas the night shift… From what John had encountered in his rare meetings with the paramedics, the night had done them no good. It was merciless to them. They looked like ghosts climbing up stairs, driving ambulances, talking with the living people. Their existence was between life and death, and they were the ones learning how to survive and continue to wake up every morning while working with the dying in the night. They were the city’s patrol of angels, speeding under the sound of that dreadful siren, flying down the fast lane to save someone they never knew or will remember or to pay respects to those anonymous even in death.
John was amazed by their commitment and will, yet had this uncertain feeling, awkwardly tickling his senses. Might it be fear?
He pushed the doors to St. Ann’s Memorial Hospital and asked the security to direct him to Dr. Brown’s office.
The face to face conversation was brief and consisted of basically a hand shake and repeating Alan Millers words but in reverse form. The hospital was indeed happy for the help. Now John was to head outside where the ambulances are parked and meet with his “team of two” other member.
John wandered around for a few moments waiting for the members of the night shift to come around. He needed ambulance number 3. The spot for it was still empty.
“You John Walker?”
John turned around to face a tall young man with slick black hair and eyes even blacker, dressed in dark blue clothing with an embroidered red cross upon his heart. He was holding a fading cigarette in one hand and his phone in the other.
“Yes” replayed John and stretched his hand over to the stranger.
“I’m Sam, your night shift buddy” Sam took his hand and shook it with a strong grip. “Sorry for the confusion. I had to take the van from the mechanics; there was a glitch in the GPS again today and the boys from the day shift left it to be fixed before they went home. I’ve parked at the gate. Care to drive?”
Sam tossed the keys to John and the they headed for the ambulance.
“So how long have you been working as a paramedic?” Sam was scrolling down on his smartphone.
“Seven years. Day shifts only.” John was driving fast but the sirens were off.
Just a second ago there was a call came from the dispatcher reporting of a woman, aged 57, feeling strong dizziness, inability to walk or stand and urges to vomit resulting from a burning sensation in her abdomen. Her nephew who made the call had worries it might be some sort of virus.
“How come they send you over to our humble hospital then?” Sam asked this time typing a message.
“Don’t really know” Dr. Lewis hadn’t pick up his phone all day. “Something about me being very efficient and you being shorthanded here”
“Bullshit man. We’ve been doing crazy nights true. The dispatcher was literally spilling address after address at one point. But we were never really short-staffed. I usually work with a nice guy called Eddie, but he got sick two days ago. In bigger emergencies we take Tony with us, he’s the driver. My guess paw is they were full in your place and when an opportunity appeared, just one spot free, they send you here”
“Yeah, you might be right” John bit his bottom lip. Bastards.
He pulled off before the building in which their patient lived. John went in, but left all the work to Sam. It turned out to be a case of unhealthy feeding, not enough liquids and limited movement for a significant amount of time.
Not long after the two were back on the streets.
“And you Sam, how long have you been saving the night?”
“Feels like centuries if you ask me. Ever heard of the tale that when night falls time goes astray and the darkness prolongs, harboring more of the dead then the living? It does have a sparkle of truth in it. You’ll soon see.” Sam gave John an eerie look. “Hey stop here. I’m out of cigarettes. You want something?”
“I’m fine thanks. Maybe a coffee would be good”
Sam ran across the street to a 24-hour “Day’n’night” shop.
John found he likes this guy. He was easy to speak to, and didn’t overdo the talk. Plus he worked carefully with patients. So far they were going along well.
Still though, the night was far from over.
A buzzing sound came from the radio. John turned the volume up.
Dispatcher to team 3. You have a 10-33 at location: 3rd Ave. and Sanctum St.
John didn’t respond for a second. There was no such street crossing with 3rd avenue.
“Dispatch can you repeat that?”
The woman gave John the same coordinates.
The radio went dead.
John added them into the GPS. “Wrong coordinates” blinked on the small screen.
Sam got back in the ambulance with two coffees.
“An emergency call just came in. Have you heard of a Sanctum street on 3rd Ave?”
“Nope. Sure that’s what the dispatcher said?” Sam was puzzled too.
“Yes. Check the log”
And Sam did. There was no info regarding the call. No 10-33, no Sanctum street.
“Dispatch this is team 3. Have you just delivered us an emergency code?”
“This is dispatch. No, no calls were transferred to you boys. Must be something with your radio. Better fix it.”
The radio went dead again.
“Yeah it may have picked some other call, police or fire department. Will have to take a look at it”
“You do that…” mumbled John.
“She said team 3” he thought, starting the engine again. He was absolutely sure his mind wasn’t playing tricks on him.
But then, why did the dispatcher lie about not giving him that emergency code? And where was this Sanctum street John had never heard of nor was to be found with the GPS? There was something going on here, in which John had no desire taking part in. Then again he had to know.
To be continued….