Then and Now

- An add in for Snakebite -


By Audrey W.




He didn’t know why she’d come to mind suddenly. He hadn’t even known her beyond a brief encounter on the golf course and ride in the ambulance, when he and his partner worked to save her life. At the moment, he couldn't even recall her name for sure.


. . .was it Finch? . . .Peggy. . .or Penny. . .Finch? . . .


John Gage opened his eyes to slits and peered at his surroundings. He was lying down on the hose bed of the engine as it moved along in a thin cloud of dust with the siren blaring, a coiled hose behind his upper body to keep him propped up. Chet Kelly was beside him, busy with a suctioning tool on his right calf.


Though it was possible, he didn’t think he’d passed out since they’d headed for the hospital via Engine 51. But he’d certainly lost track of time.


“Hang in there, Johnny.”


It was Chet’s voice. Chet’d probably noticed his eyes being slightly open again.


The stuff must've injected right into her vein or artery.


Those were his words, when he and his partner Roy DeSoto were on scene a couple of years earlier to treat the woman who’d been bitten by a rattler on a golf course.


Was that why he was thinking of her now? Since he wasn’t sure of how much time had passed, he could only surmise that with them still in transit to Rampart General Hospital, his condition seemed to be deteriorating awful fast. Just as hers did when she was bitten almost in the exact same location on her right leg.


John recalled the rattlesnake that latched onto his right calf, apparently giving him a hefty dose of venom when he returned to the wrecked car they'd rescued some teenagers from earlier.


They. . .Roy. . .


He wondered briefly if Roy had gotten the news about his predicament yet. . .and what he was thinking if so. Since his partner had to accompany the crash victims, he'd been left to treat himself, with the assistance of the engine crew. Now he could only assess his own symptoms.


The pain in his leg had increased, his face was becoming numb around the mouth and he seemed to feel groggier by the minute.


Must’ve gone. . . directly. . .to a vein or. . . artery. .


“Johnny?  C’mon, babe. Just about thirty minutes and we’ll be there.”


Chet again. He wasn't hiding the worry in his voice too well, nor on his face.


The sudden sound of a voice over the handie talkie in his possession had Gage focused enough to listen. The hospital was wanting an update on his condition.


John brought it up to beside his head, the face of it in the wrong direction. He immediately flipped the hand held device over,  then weakly depressed the transmit button and stated, “Patient is experiencing numbness around the mouth. . . and he’s somewhat drowsy.”


He must not have put enough pressure on the button, at least not for his entire response, because the reply was that he was breaking up and they didn’t get all the information to relay to Rampart. He’d have repeated it, but instead Gage’s eyes closed again as he lost the battle to keep them open. He felt himself slipping away to oblivion, his grip on the handie talkie relaxed as he laid it on his abdomen before bringing his right hand back up to his forehead.


He wasn’t aware that Captain Stanley repeated what he’d just said, using the radio inside the engine’s cab.


A short time later, Gage put his hand back on the radio to give another update as his condition grew worse. But he never had the full presence of mind to pick it up. His eyes still closed, his hand instead went back up to his sweat covered brow.


The victim on the golf course briefly came to thought again as the irony of then and now crossed John’s drowsy mind for a moment while he could still vaguely process it. She'd survived, they'd gotten her there just in time. Would he be as fortunate?


That was the last thought he had before losing his battle to stay conscious.





This was inspired by the episode 'Weird Wednesday'





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