Disclaimers: See Chapter One for full disclaimers. Short version: Mine, mine, oh, and did I mention?…mine; maybe, sometimes, and no. Part one posted May 4, 2005.
Sex/Love: Yes, please. I'll take the one with the green bow on her assssssets.
Language: I myself can be a potty mouth…so, yes, "strong" language is present.
Thanks: To even more people…Lisa, Em, Ariel, and Tiffany for their feedback and support. Special thanks to Jenn, my beta, again, for the help. Otherwise on my bad days you'll see "wirk" instead of "work". <G> A final thanks to Juan Valdez who supplies me with nummy coffee.
Please direct any pleasant questions, comments, or concerns to email@example.com
Any thing else, well, recycle it. <eg>
By Tara Cullen
Thankfully, we make it to Metropolitan Medical Center without any problems and park in the E/R ambulance bay. The parking area is like a courtyard, being surrounded on three sides by three tall separate wings of the hospital. Jeff backs the truck in the far left corner, parking so we are out of the way of any other ambulances, while I call dispatch and let them know of our location, that we are "10-2", or out of the vehicle, and that we have our portables and pagers on. The dispatcher acknowledges the message as Jeff and I enter the E/R from the parking lot through automatic, sliding glass doors. The elderly security officer waves to us and I wave back telling him thanks for "buzzing" us in. Hospital and EMS personnel normally have to punch in a numeric code on the keypad located right next to the sliding doors outside, but the guard must have recognized us from bringing in patients in the past. I guess the EMS uniforms help, too. Jeff jokes with the guard for a minute while I wander further into the Emergency Department. I don't want to seem rude, but I really don't know the guard well other than passing by his desk the few times I have worked a day shift. Jeff, on the other hand, seems to know the guy well. The E/R doesn't have a security guard at the desk at night. Normally, a city cop is stationed at the E/R during 3rd shift, because, quite frankly, it is true that the freaks come out at night. And the cop can be found sitting at the central nursing station, flirting with the nurses.
I recognize a few of the nurses and doctors that are on shift. A few from 3rd are still here being that is not quite 0730 yet. This is when the gossip is spread. The "official" shift report is given first, and then the "unofficial" reports are taken. That is why the off-going shift usually doesn't leave until about thirty minutes after their shift ended. Jeff and I got an early start today, so I get to watch the antics taking place between 3rd and 1st shift. I see Susan sitting in the back of the nurses' station in a cubby-hole like area, talking into a phone with a patient chart open in front of her. This is where the doctors dictate their notes to a recorder that is on the other end of the phone line. I watch as Susan lets out a sigh and hangs up the phone, indicating she is done with her dictation.
Dr. Susan Connelly is in her mid-forties, with shoulder length brown hair. She normally has it up in a ponytail when she works, but right now it is down and a little unruly. She stands at around 5'9, and has a long, lean, athletic build. I know I got goofy when I first saw her. It took me a while to be able to make eye contact with her pale blue eyes. Men and women alike follow her around like she is the pied piper.
Susan spots me as she gets up to exit the cubby- hole and gives me a wary smile. "That bad, huh?" I ask as she closes the chart in her hands and places it in the file rack next to the unit clerk.
"Yeah. Mostly walk-ins though. Hey, what are you doing here? What time is it?" Susan looks at her watch, then around the crowded nursing station as if to get her bearings on the time of day.
"I'm working half a day shift, filling in for a guy till he gets in. I didn't mean to scare ya there, doc." Susan sighs out of relief, shakes her head, and smiles at me.
"Don't scare me like that. You know how time flies when we're busy. It doesn't help that there are no windows here, either. I didn't get a chance to step outside for a breather, so I guess I lost total track of time." I smile back and promise I won't "scare" her like that again. We walk out from behind the nurse's station and head down one of the side hallways. Along the hall are exam rooms. Some have doors, while others have curtains toprovide privacy. At the end of the hall behind a wood door is the nurses' lounge. This is where EMS also hangs out. There are several round tables with chairs scattered about the room and a 17 inch color TV against the back wall on a small table. A soap opera is always playing on this TV whether or not anyone is watching it. Day or night. A kitchenette is located to the right as you enter the room. Susan walks over to the coffeemaker perched on the counter and pours coffee into two Styrofoam cups. She knows how I take my coffee, and hands me my cup then finishes preparing hers.
I sit at one of the tables, with Susan taking a chair to my right.
"You look tired, Evan. Emma keep you up all night?" She says this with a smirk on her face, and I can't help but laugh at her.
"No, she did not. I just didn't sleep well. I was kind of restless. It could be because I'm not used to working days." I finish my statement with a shrug of my shoulders and a sip of my coffee.
"I bet Em wasn't too happy with you this morning, now was she?" I shake my head "no" and continue to sip. A sharp pain radiates from my core and I try to hide the grimace that I know is on my face. Oh! Sweet Jesus!
I feel a hand on my shoulder and hear Susan asking me, "Evan? Are you alright? You got pale all of a sudden."
I open my eyes and briefly look into her concerned face before I drop my gaze into my coffee cup. "Yeah, I'm fine. I just need to feed myself." I stand up and go over to the sink to dump out the remainder of my coffee.
"Jeff and I are going to eat in the cafeteria. Let me go find him and I'll talk to you later, okay?" I walk out of the room, throwing the cup in the garbage on the way and close the door behind me with out waiting for a response from Susan. I walk back up the hall towards thenurses' station looking for Jeff. Damn, that boy can talk. I see him still chatting away with the guard. I lean over the high counter of thenurses' station and ask the unit clerk, Clara, if I can use the phone real quick. She smiles, winks at me, and says, "Sure". I smile the best I can and wink back. Reaching over the counter, I pick up the receiver and dial Josh's extension.
"Lab" is heard on the other end of the line in a whiny, female voice. I cringe at the woman's nasally tone and ask for Josh. Please still be there. Please still be there. I called Josh on my way to work this morning to let him know I was coming in. He works nights, too, but would stay after for a while to help me out. He has in the past.
"Josh speaking. How may I help you?"
A sigh of relief passes through my lips before I answer him. "Josh. It's Evan. Can I come down? It's bad Josh, real bad."
There is a pause, then, "Yeah, Ev, but hurry up. I'll send Cheryl out to do some errands while you're down here. I'll get the stuff ready for you."
I tell him thanks and hang up. I look over my shoulder to see Jeff coming towards me. Jeff and I walk in step down another long hall with exam rooms, but this one ends with large double doors that exit out into a main hallway of the hospital.
"Jeff, go on down to the caf and I'll meet ya there. I'm going to go and say a quick ‘hi' to friend of mine. I shouldn't be long. If we get a call in the meantime, I'll meet you at the truck. Okay?"
Jeff agrees to the plan and turns left, heading to the cafeteria. I take off in the opposite direction, and make a detour through a metal door leading to a stair well. Beingcareful not to trip, I run down the steps two at a time.At the next level down, I exit andmake a left down the hall, and peek through the window of the door for the lab.When Isee that only Josh is in the room, I knock and let myself in.
There are counters with machines and other gadgets all over the tops of them. Josh turns when he hears me enter and decides to comment on my appearance.
"Damn, Ev. You look like shit. Come on. I got it waiting for you in the back. We just finished up literally two minutes ago. They're still lying on the table as we speak."
I follow Josh to the next room. This room has chairs that look like school desks; the ones with the half desktop attached to the chair itself. On the far end of the room there are recliner- looking chairs and soft top tables. A young man is lying on one of these tables at the end of the row on his back, one arm bent up, while the other is slung over his eyes. Josh drags me into the restroom near the young man and hands me the bag. I can feel the warmth radiating from the bag in my hands. Fresh. I look at Josh, he nods, and ducks back out of the restroom. I can hear him through the door talking to the man on the table. My chest starts heaving as my respirations quicken. The pounding of my pulse echoes through my brain. As I stand in the middle of the one toilet bathroom, I turn my gaze towards the mirror. What I see scares me but excites me at the same time. My pupils are fully dilated, and the irises are auburn now, outlined with bright gold. I bring the bag to my nose and my eyes flutter shut at the scent. Even through the heavy plastic, I can smell it. I feel sharpness rubbing against the inside of my lips. I bring the bag to my mouth, lick my lips, and tear into the bag. I suck and drink the contents of the bag into my mouth, relishing the taste, texture, and heat as it glides down my throat. A rush of warmth starts in my middle then travels outward through my body, even down between my legs. A state of euphoria engulfs my body in a sensation similar to an orgasm. I open my eyes and look at my reflection again. The image of evil is reflected back. A blood covered snarl graces my face, my brows are protruding out further than normal and are furrowed. My left eyebrow rises up as I lick my lips with a tongue sticky with blood. My head whips around in the direction of the door as a soft tapping can be heard.
"Evan, are you alright? He's gone now."
A voice deeper than my normal tone, and heavy with an Irish brogue answers back, "I'm fine, Josh. Jus' gimme a minute to…uh…freshen up."
I start running the water and pull the stopper on the sink so it will fill up. Anchoring my hands on either side of the sink, I close my eyes, and tilt my head forward as I rein myself back under control. The sound of the running water soothes me, and also lets Josh know I will be out soon.
Josh Killian. He is my savior. He is the only thing that keeps me sane. As wellastame, for that matter. I can only imagine what my life would be like if he wasn't here for me. I know Josh through his family and have known him all his life, and he'slike a brother to me. He's 34 years old, 5'11, lanky, blonde, and an absolute sweetheart. I keep telling him to dye his hair red because of his name, and his usual response to that is a punch to my arm. We get teased by his family about how we look young for our age. We both look to be in our mid to late twenties. He shrugs it off, while I take it a bit further by thanking them profusely, for they know my real age. I have the body of a 32 year old woman, but in actuality…well, a woman never reveals her age.
I turn off the faucet and submerge my face into the cold water that is pooled in the sink. Scrubbing my face clean with wet paper towels, I then check my shirt to make surethere is nothing on it.How would I explain that? I haven't been on a call yet. Drying myself off and straightening up, I think of Josh. Josh comes from a family with a long history of "assisting" others like me. My kind has nicknamed families like his the "Otherworld Mafia". The Otherworld Mafia is a network of people, mostly of families, around the world that helpthose like me lead lives that are as normal as possible and blend in with society. The secrets of the Otherworld andits inhabitants are passed down from one generation to the next. The Killian family has been part of this network for hundreds of years. I have known generations of Killians, and have mourned the passing of hundreds of their ancestors. I met the Killians back when I was still in Ireland long ago, and came to America for the first time with some of the family when they immigrated. The Killians have been by far the most helpful family to me as of yet.
I have been around the world many times on my quest, and have met and been assisted by others involved in the network. But America is the hardest to get by in. Now, in the United States, you need ID for anything and everything. The U.S. is one of the most regulated countries I have been to. The Killian family provides me with birth certificates, social security numbers, school diplomas, and any other documentation I may need. I move around a lot, about every five to six years, to hide the fact that I am not aging. Josh has been great and has moved with me from city to city for the past several years, getting jobs at hospitals and such to assist in my need. Before Josh, his much older brother James assisted me. They have family all over the country. My kind, well, we are everywhere.
I come from a special breed of, for the lack of a better word, vampire. There are different types, societies, or breeds of vampires all over the globe. Not all of us are evil night stalkers. Some types don't even feed on the blood of the living. I am lucky. I am of the breed that can walk among the living, day or night. I do suffer from photosensitivity, but sunlight will not kill me. It just irritates the bloody hell out of me. The down side of my breed is that I do require the blood of the living. Thankfully, I do not require blood as my only food source but it is a necessity for me to thrive. I need it at least every few days to keep myself in check. It just depends, really, on the phases of the moon. And that is where Josh comes in. He is a lab tech and draws blood all day. This hospital also takes people in who want to donate blood, and like at most blood banks, they have food to offer you after you are done donating. People from all walks of life come here to donate, but the ones I wish to thank most of all are the poor who are desperate for their next meal. Their blood, most of the time, can't be used for the blood blank due to the different diseases or drugs that flow through their veins, which do not effect me. These are the people who give me sustenance. They are my next meal. As long as I get it fairly fresh, I'm fine. I bring a new meaning to the phrase "tossing back a pint."
I step out of the bathroom, looking like my "normal" self. Josh smiles at me and offers me a hug. He whispers in my ear, "That was close, wasn't it?"
Backing out of the embrace, I look at the floor and tell him about my morning and Emma. "Geez, Ev. I work again Wednesday night. You do too, don't you?"
Still looking down, I nod my answer to him.
"Okay. Good. Call me Wednesday night and we'll make plans. I should be able to hook you up with another pint or so Thursday morning at the end of your shift."
I look up at him and pull him in for another hug. "Thanks Josh. I gotta go. My partner probably thinks I'm dead."
Josh laughs and says, "If he only knew."
I roll my eyes at his joke and then jump when my pager goes off. As I run out ofthe lab, I tell Josh good-bye and head back up the stairs, through the E/R, and out towards the truck. I hear Jeff running up behind me as I acknowledge the call on my portable. Jeff gets in the driver's side and starts up the truck while I hop into the passenger seat and calldispatch on the radio:
"Dispatch…crew 406 is 10-3. Can I have that info again?"
A familiar female voice answers me back.
"10-4, unit 406. You are dispatched Code 1 to 1804 Spring St. for a 10-44. Cross streets are 18th and 19th Avenues. Dispatch is currently trying to get more info from the caller regarding nature of call and patient status. Dispatch will advise. Do you copy?"
While I write the information dictated to me on the notepad I pulled from my shirt breast pocket, I ask Jeff if he knows where to go. After he says "Yeah", he makes a left out of the parking lot, emergency lights flashing. We are about six blocks from the scene location.
"10-4, dispatch. Unit 406 10-7, Code 1 to 1806 Spring St."
"Unit 406 responding 0758 hours."
Even with the lights and sirens on, or Code 1, this morning's commuters are not very cooperative. From my left I hear Jeff saying repeatedly, "Dammit! Move, will ya?!" I giggle at Jeff, understanding his frustration, having been in his position thousands of times.
"We are one block out, Jeff. Take your next left. That will be our block, and it should be on the left."
"Got it, Ev. Thanks".
As the "co-pilot", my job is to also watch the road for stupid drivers and pedestrians who try to play chicken with us and make sure we are on the right course. Driving Code 1 takes a lot of concentration from the driver. Jeff makes the left onto Spring St. and we both look out for the numeric address. Jeff announces he found the house. I look past Jeff out his window at the brownstone row home,and see nothing. Usually when someone calls 911, you will see a person outside the location of the call doing what I have affectionately named the "ambulance dance"; arms are flailing all over and the person is jumping up and down, flagging down the responding units. I get quite a kick from it. Plus the dancer can give us some kind of idea as to what's going on with the situation, like what happened to the patient. But here, there is no dancer. And this being a 10-44, an "unknown" call, I startto get a little leery. Jeff seemed to hear my thoughts.
"I dunno, Evan. I got a bad feeling about this."
Mysentiments, exactly. I nodded my agreement to Jeff and grabbed the mic to the truck radio.
"Dispatch, 406 calling"
"Go ahead 406"
"406 is 10-5 at 1806 Spring St. Do have anymore info on this call?"
"Negative, unit 406. The caller hung up. Dispatch has been trying the call back number. You are on scene at 0802 hours."
I look at Jeff and his face seems to project how I feel. We both sigh, each of us grabbing a pair of latex gloves from the box situated between the driver and passenger seats.
"Dispatch, 406 calling."
"Go ahead, 406."
" We will be 10-2 at the Spring St. address. Can you have PD on stand-by incase assistance is needed at our location?"
"10-4 unit 406. You will be out of vehicle at Spring St. at 0803 hours. I'll advise PD of your request and location. I'll give you a 10 minute timer."
"Thank you, dispatch."
Jenn, the dispatcher, and part-time medic herself, must have heard the trepidation in my voice for offering a 10 minute timer. If she doesn't hear from either Jeff or myself after 10 minutes, she will try to contact us to make sure we are OK. If we don't answer her back, she'll send the Police Department after us. Sometimes you just can't get to your panic button on your portable radio. In some cases, like in high rises or the projects where the building structures have thick concrete walls, you might not even get a clear signal. You could call and press that panic button all you want, and dispatch won't hear you.
Jeff and I both exit the truck into the light rainy weather. I open the side patient compartment door as Jeff jogs around the front of the rig to meet me. He reaches in and hands me the medical equipment bag and takes the portable suction unit and stair-chair. I put the backpack style med bag on my back that contains the small oxygen tank and an assortment of supplies that go with it. The med bag also has bandages, IV supplies, and some meds that may be needed. It's easier to carry on your back, being that it's not a small bag, and I have no idea if I'm going to have to make an about face once entering the residence and run. I don't have to worry about getting hurt, really, but I have a partner to consider. Plus, it would not be easy to explain a knife or gunshot wound that heals on its own moments after it happens. Gotta love that "can't kill the already dead" clause in my vampire contract.
We stand at the base of the six steps that lead to the front door. Jeff starts to say something when I shush him. I close my eyes and let my sensitive hearing take over,concentrating and listening for anything out of the ordinary. I segregate sounds from each otherby tuning out the passing traffic noises. The falling rain fades out. I can hear some muffled voices coming from inside the townhouse, and some growling. Opening my eyes and turning to Jeff, I tell him there is a dog inside and the residents might be fighting. He looks at me and shakes his head.
"I don't know how you do it, Ev. I've heard Tom talk about you being able to do that. I'd like to see it for myself."
We start walking up the steps to the front door and Jeff pushes thedoorbell button. "EMS!" I yell at the closed door to announce our arrival. We wait a minute and Jeff rings the doorbell again. Both of us have our faces pressed against the door's beveled glass front. On the other side it looks as though it is a vestibule with yet another door on the far side across from us. Jeff starts banging on the door and I take a step back and look at the front windows. The curtains are closed but I see lights on. I hear foot steps approaching from inside the house.
Jeff turns his head and asks, "How do you know?"
I smirk as we watch the interior door open and see a blurred shape approach the outer front door. Jeff shakes his head as the door opens, revealing a harried looking middle aged woman.
Jeff steps back, startled. I hold my ground.
"EMS ma'am. Someone from this household called 911. Do you have an emergency?"
The woman blinks as though she has no idea what I'm talking about. She looks quickly over her shoulder and hesitantly says, "Come in."
I walk in first so Jeff is behind me. Don't want anything bad tohappen to the lad. The growling I heard earlier is louder and coming from the back of the home.
"It was probably my mother who called. My husband and I were arguing."
Her heart rate is up…she's sweating…she's not telling us everything. I take a step back, in turn nudging Jeff back a step towards the front door. "Ma'am…is everything OK here? Are you OK?"
She looks to the door at her right, my left. There is someone on the other side of thatdoor. This woman is scared. Fuck! Shrugging the med bag off my shoulders, I turn and look at Jeff.
"Take this back out to the truck. Let dispatch know we are 10-94. I'll be right out. Wait for me in the truck." As I tell Jeff this, his eyes got wide. His eyes dart around the hall we are currently standing in and then back to me. "Oh, and let Jenn know that 10-13 is a good idea."
He nods and backs out the way we came in. I pray to myself that Jeff remembers that 10-94 means the scene is unsafe, and that 10-13 means we need police assistance. Come on, Jeff. Please. Turning back around to the woman, I notice her hands are fidgeting and she keeps looking at the door beside us.
"Ma'am, is your mother here, now?"
She shakes her head and says her mother just left.
"How about your husband, is he still here?" Click? Was that a gun cocking? "Never mind that ma'am. I need you to come outside with me and sign a form saying that you don't need us. My partner took the clipboard outside with him."
"Um, OK, I guess."
"It will only take a second, ma'am."
We make it to the exterior doorway when I see a police car pull up behind the ambulance with only its lights on. Thank God you didn't use the siren. Don't need the guy knowingyou're here. Suddenly, the closed door in the hallway slams open. I can sense him before I can see him. I push the woman away from the doorway and spin around in time to grab the wrists of the man holding the gun with both his hands. We struggle for a moment and I'm able to point the barrel up towards the sky. The gun goes off. "Son of a bitch!" is heard as two police officers run towards us. One officer gets behind the gunman, the other tries to wrangle the gun free from his grasp. Being that I havethe assailant's wrists, I press against the insides of his wrists at pressure points that weaken one's hand grip. This is one strong mother. He still maintains his grip, and the gun fires again. OK, now I'm pissed. I make eye contact with the man. A low growl escapes from my chest. I can feel the beast with in me wanting to come out and play. For an instant, I let the gunman see the beast. Almost immediately, he releases the gun and steps away from me, backing into the arms of the officer behind him.
His eyes are wide as he stares at me yelling, "HOLY FUCK! HOLY FUCK!"
The two officers cuff the man who is no longergiving them a problem. He is practically begging them to take him. A third officer walks up beside me,and points to the gun in my hand.
"Hey, Evan. I'll take that."
"Oh, yeah, here. Thanks Judy."
Judy smiles, her dark eyes shining at me. "No, thank you. What did you do to him anyway?"
I look down at my boots and shrug. "I made a face at him."
A boisterous laugh comes from Judy. "That must have been one hell of a face."
I smile back, sticking my tongue out at her. Judy gets a gleam in her eyes.
"I hope that wasn't the face. The last thing I would do is run from that."
Now it is my turn to laugh. Judy and I have been flirting with each other since we met a little over two years ago. We probably would've hooked up with each other, if shehadn't had a girlfriend when we met. When her relationship ended with her ex, my relationship with Emma was just beginning. I bump shoulders with her and we both walk down the steps to the sidewalk. Judy stops near the rear of my ambulance. She has a serious look on her face. Her heart is beating double-time. Uh-oh.
"Um, Ev…" Her eyes are everywhere but on me.
"… I was wondering if you wanted to go out…sometime…with me."
She plays with her sandy colored ponytail. Uh-oh. "Ya know, for a drink or dinner or something like that."
This last part is said in a rush. Sighing, I look at her. "Judy. Please look at me."
Scanning the area for any curious eyes facing in our direction and not seeing any, I take her gently by the chin and make her look at my face. We are about the same in height. I caress her left cheek with my fingertips until her dark eyes finally meet mine.
"Judy, I can't. At least, not like that. Emma and I are just getting started and I want to give us a chance. I like you, Judy. A lot. But, I just couldn't do that to Emma. It wouldn't be right, or fair."
A tear starts down her left cheek. My thumb wipes it away as I offer her a soft smile. "But if we don't work out, believe me, you will be the first person I call."
This gets me a smile from her. She takes my right hand that is still on her cheek in her own and kisses the palm.
My smile widens. "I promise."
She kisses the hand she is holding one more time before releasing it. She sighs deeply, obviously trying to regain her composure. "Bad timing all around, huh?"
Smiling, I nod in agreement.
"I don't know what came over me, Ev. I'm sorry. But seeing that man come out at you with the gun, and the two of you struggling over it… then shots fired…" Judy shudders. I wrap my arms around her and whisper in her ear, letting her know I'm OK. As we separate after holding each other for a moment, I kiss her on the cheek.
"I can take care of myself, Judy. You know that. But thank you for watching out for me. It's nice to know you got my back."
That gets me yet another winning smile from her.
From over my shoulder I hear, "Sarg, the guy is in Rick's car. Rick will take him to the station after he finishes getting a statement from Evan. He got the wife's already."
Judy rolls her eyes. "OK. We'll be right there." Judy starts to giggle. "Come on hero, time to go back to work."
Now it's my turn to roll my eyes.
After giving Rick, the arresting officer, my statement, I climb back into passenger seat of the ambulance. I look at the clock on the dashboard. "Shit, it's only 0836? It feels like we'vebeen here forever."
Silence. I peer at Jeff. He is staring at me like I have grown another head or something. "What?"
He shakes his head. "Unfuckingbelievable."
I know my left eye brow is probably arched so high it's lost in my hair line. "Excuse me?"
Still shaking his head, "I can't believe what I've been through, or saw today. I'll be telling my grandchildren about this one."
My turn to look at him and shake my head. "Jeff, you need have sex with a woman first Then find one willing to bare your child." This earned me a punch to my arm. What is it with people punching me in the arm?
"How did you know, Ev? How did you know about the husband, let alone him having a gun?"
Staring out the windshield, I try to figure out what to say. I can't tell him about my hearing. I can't tell him about being able to smell sweat and fear on a person. I can't tell him about being able to hear a heart beat from several feet away or that I can feel a pulse when I'm near a person and not even touching them.
"Jeff, after doing this for a while, you develop a sense. A gut instinct. You felt it today. You told me you had a bad feeling about this call, and you were right. We both were. But I have been doing this job much longer than you have. My instincts are just better. Yours will get better, too. Just remember to follow them. Err on the side of safety."
With a nod and a serious face, Jeff responds, "Yes, Jedi Master. I am most fortunate to have you to instruct me in the ways of the force."
That earned him a punch in the arm. "Damn right, my young Padiwan. And don't you forget it."
To Be Continued in Chapter 3
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