Disclaimer: The characters of the television show Emergency! are copyright of Mark VII Production and Universal Studios. No copyright infringement is intended, nor is any profit being made through this piece of fiction. All original characters and events are the property of the authors.
(Happy Halloween to All)
A Night Not Fit for Man
"Squad 51, Engine 51, unknown rescue. 175 Canyon Road. Caller advises to enter through rear of house."
Captain Hank Stanley raised the microphone to his mouth and acknowledged the instructions from L.A. Dispatch. Copying the directions onto a notepad, he handed a slip of paper to the waiting paramedics, and then headed to the engine. Mike Stoker pulled Big Red out of the bay, with the squad close behind.
"Why do I get the feeling this is going to be a long night?" Gage mumbled.
His partner, Roy Desoto, gave him a resigned look. "I don't know. Because it's Halloween. Because the latest "girl of your dreams" dumped you."
"She didn't dump me. We decided that, well…" Johnny took a moment to search for the correct words. "Okay, she dumped me."
Roy laughed quietly to himself. This was a scene he had played out with his partner many times before. The paramedics drove on in silence for the remainder of the trip, pulling in behind the engine, as it stopped at an old shack. A small-dilapidated, wooden building stood alone in a field. Shingles loosely clung to the roof as the front porch sagged under the weight of years passed.
"What the hell is this?" said Chet Kelly as he jumped down from the engine.
"I was thinking the same thing, pal," Stanley said. Waiting for Roy and Johnny to take their gear from the squad, Hank and Chet fell in step with the paramedics as they approached the house.
"Dispatch said in back, guys," Hank called out.
The firefighters reached the rear of the house and found the door fully open. The house consisted of a small sitting room, with a kitchen off to the left. A narrow hallway led to the front door. Stairs to the bedroom level spiralled to the right. Seeing no one, Johnny called out. "Hello? Fire department. Hello?" Not receiving a response, he turned to Stanley. "Dispatch say if someone was going to meet us? Maybe the address is wrong?"
"I'll check in. Keep searching the place. "
Placing the walkie-talkie in his turnout coat pocket, Stanley was startled by Roy's shout. "He's in here."
Racing up the stairs, Hank Stanley and Chet Kelly came to a halt as they reached a large empty room, which they assumed had been a bedroom at one time. The air, heavy with the fragrance of several oils, was overwhelming. Black candles, sitting in pools of wax from recent burnings, encircled a tall, lean man lying on the floor. The paramedics knelt on either side of the body. John Gage affixed an oxygen mask to his patient's face and adjusted the airflow.
Stanley walked over to a window, but found it was nailed shut. "Chet, go out to the engine and get something to break this glass." He turned to DeSoto, "What have we got, Roy?" he asked?
"Look at this place," Roy answered. "I don't even want to know."
Kelly soon reappeared with an axe and proceeded to shatter the window's glass. Each man welcomed the feel of the cool night air. Hank Stanley took another cursory look around the room. Pulling the walkie-talkie out once more, he contacted dispatch. "L.A., this is Engine 51. Respond an ambulance to our location as well as a police unit."
"Hey Cap, look at that!" Chet motioned. He pointed to the floor in front of them. A drawing of a skull and crossbones, a branch to either side, stared back at them. Kelly looked quizzically at Stanley. "Pirates?"
Hank gave Chet a derisive look and then turned his attention to the paramedics.
Johnny spoke quickly into the biophone. "Rampart, we have a male, approximately 28 years old. Patient is conscious but unable to communicate. There is abdominal tenderness and he has vomited. Breathing is shallow, and patient is cyanotic. The patient is also experiencing stiffness in his extremities with very limited mobility. We are administering oxygen and have started an IV. Vitals are BP, 90/60, Respirations 8, Pulse 60." Gage paused for instructions from the hospital. After several moments he again spoke,"10-4. We'll be sending a strip-lead two."
Johnny placed the phone down and leaned over the patient. "Look, you're going to be ok. We're talking to the hospital right now." The man stared back blankly, but held the paramedic's gaze. Gage tried to fight back a creeping sense of fear, as beads of perspiration slid down his forehead. The sound of the ambulance's siren broke the connection with the patient.
"Chet's gone to meet the ambulance," Cap reported. "The police should be here soon. I'll be much happier leaving this mess to them."
Readying the patient for transport, Roy Desoto took a seat next to the stretcher. Grateful to be out of the dilapidated shack, he eased back in the seat slightly. Though keeping a watchful eye over his patient, Roy's mind occasionally drifted to the scene and circumstances of the emergency. His thoughts were soon interrupted by severe tremors and convulsions exhibited by the man on the stretcher. Checking the victim's vital signs once more, DeSoto made contact with the hospital.
"Rampart, this is Squad 51. Patient is convulsing. Vitals are severely depressed. I can't get a reading. Starting C.P.R. E.T.A., 5 minutes."
Walking slowly to the nurse's station, Kel Bracket leaned heavily on the counter, and then turned to address Johnny and Roy. "I'm sorry guys, he didn't make it. We won't now what killed him until the autopsy. I'm guessing it's a poison of some kind, but that's as far as we can go without further tests." He grimaced. "We'll let you guys know when we've got something."
The basement at Rampart General consisted of a series of hallways. The hum of generators, which echoed through the emptiness, was soon joined by the whisper of footsteps. Three men proceeded farther down the corridor until they reached a door marked "Morgue". Finding the attendant's desk empty, the procession continued into the holding area where the bodies for autopsy were to be kept. They stopped at the first table, and pulled aback the sheet, revealing the body of the man from the shack. Sprinkling the body with oil, in particular, one called "Bend Over", they briefly stepped away from the table. The corpse's eyes flickered open for a moment, then closed once again in death's repose.
"Bocor, will we have time to finish the PETRO?"
"We must return him to hallowed ground. He belongs to me."
"Morning Doc," Gage greeted Bracket cheerfully. "Roy and I thought we'd come for a supply run and get some of that world famous Rampart General coffee."
Kel Bracket smiled. "Always an honour to see you both."
Roy rolled his eyes. "By the way, did they get to do the autopsy on that guy we brought in last night?
Taking a sip from his coffee, Brackett shook his head. "I meant to call you. We never got that far. The body disappeared last night."
"You're kidding us!" Gage exclaimed. "How could….."
"No one knows. And there's nothing on the security camera tapes. We've contacted the police and hope to hear something soon." Placing his cup on the table, Brackett turned towards the lounge door. "See ya, guys."
"Bye, Doc, try not to lose any more bodies." Gage looked over at his partner, opening his mouth to speak.
Raising a hand, Roy stopped him. "Remember I said I didn't want to know, well that still stands."
"But aren't you even curious?" Johnny questioned.
"Curiosity killed the cat."
"But satisfaction brought him back, " Johnny laughed. "Hey did I ever tell you about this movie I saw. "Night of the Living Dead" It's really cool. It's about…"
Roy glared at his partner. It was going to be a long day.
Author's Note: Bend Over, Bocor, and Petro are all terms taken from the Vodun (Voodoo) religion. The skull and crossbones design is known as Baron- la- Croix. These symbols and phrases have been borrowed for use in this story but any links to zombisim is purely fiction or at best, high speculative.
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