Disclaimer: The characters from Emergency belong to Universal and Mark VII. I’m just having a little more Halloween fun.
This is a sequel to The Night Visitor.
The Visitor Returns
By: Vanessa Sgroi
Mike Stoker savored his first cup of coffee of the morning. It was strong and hot, and he sipped the brew slowly. He purposely avoided thinking about the night that had just passed. Still clad in his boxers and a t-shirt, Mike glanced at the kitchen clock and decided it was time to hop into the shower.
Twenty minutes later, Stoker was dressed in uniform and heading out to his truck. As he pulled the driver’s side door shut, he suddenly remembered he had to pick up donut holes for the children’s party at the station later that day. Looking at his watch, he was pleased to see he had plenty of time to stop at the store.
* * *
Stoker arrived at the station shortly after Captain Stanley. His other shift mates had yet to arrive. He hid the donut treats in his locker, knowing they’d never survive otherwise. That done, he walked to the station’s kitchen, hoping there was fresh coffee. Luck was with him, and Mike poured himself a cup.
“Anyone else?” Mike lifted the pot and asked the outgoing guys from C-shift. A chorus of “no’s” greeted him so he returned the coffee pot to the stove. He sat down next to Hank at the table.
It wasn’t long before the rest of the A-shift arrived. After exchanging a few more minutes of conversation with Captain Cole, Hank announced role call.
After a few minor pieces of business, Stanley said, “As you all know, the station will stand down this afternoon from 12:45 to 3:15 p.m. for the Halloween Open House. I picked up our costumes this morning. They’re in my office. Joanne DeSoto and my wife will be here at 12:30 p.m. to help set up.”
Mike bit back an involuntary groan. He’d forgotten they were wearing costumes today. Worse yet, he’d forgotten that HIS costume was The Invisible Man.
Why didn’t I pick Dracula instead of letting Johnny get it.
The engineer thought back to the planning they’d done a couple of shifts ago. They had all decided to dress as classic monsters. Cap had insisted he’d be Frankenstein. Johnny had immediately snatched up Dracula while Roy reluctantly agreed to be the Wolfman. Mike picked The Invisible Man. For a time, Chet and Marco fought over the Mummy with Lopez ultimately winning the fight. This left Chet with the choice between Bride of Frankenstein and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. He was leaning toward the Bride of Frankenstein, but a fierce glare from Hank had quickly changed his mind.
“Stoker, are you with me here?”
Mike’s attention returned to the present, and he saw his captain frowning at him.
“Uh, yes, Sir.”
“Good. Now, as I was saying—did you bring the donut holes?”
“Great! Then we have all the snacks we need. I have the candy to pass out to the kids.”
Those plans settled, Captain Stanley handed out duty assignments and dismissed his crew. As they were all walking away, Johnny stumbled.
“Chet! What are you trying to trip me for?” he glared at his nemesis.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Gage. I didn’t trip anyone!”
“Well, keep your big feet outta the way.”
“I said I . . .”
“Gentlemen,” interrupted Cap, “let’s have some peace around here. Or I’ll take away latrine duty from Stoker and reassign it to you two.”
Stanley’s threat effectively ended the brewing argument. Johnny and Roy headed for the squad to do a supply inspection.
“Man, can you believe him? He trips me—trips me—then denies it!” Johnny grumbled.
“I didn’t see him trip you.” Roy regretted the words as soon as they left his mouth.
“Roy . . .”
DeSoto held up his hand interrupting the inevitable protest.
“I didn’t see anyone close enough to you to trip you. Maybe it was your shoelace or something.”
Unwilling to concede, Gage growled, “Well, it FELT like someone tripped me.”
* * *
A short while later, the two paramedics joined the rest of the crew in the kitchen. After helping themselves to coffee, they sat down at the table. The conversation turned to the coming open house.
Johnny jumped up and walked to the counter. With a cry of success he grabbed the last two cookies in the bottom of the cookie jar. Returning to the table, he sat down and reached for his coffee. His hand met air. Looking down, he saw his cup was now about a foot away from where he’d set it down.
“Not funny, Chet.” Johnny said as he grabbed the cup back.
“I didn’t do anything, Gage. I was talking to Marco. I wasn’t even looking that way.”
“He’s right, Johnny, he was talking to me.”
The dark-haired paramedic looked around the table in suspicion but didn’t say anything else.
After a few minutes, Roy stood and said, “I’m gonna go change the bunks.”
About halfway through his task, the klaxons sounded. Roy ran from the dorm room to the apparatus bay, but stopped short when the call was for Engine 51 only. Taking a deep breath, he let it out slowly and walked back to the sleep quarters to finish.
“What the heck?” Roy exclaimed. All the bunks he’d made before the tones sounded were now unmade. A cold chill traveled down his spine.
Something really weird is going on here.
Unwilling to say anything to his partner or anyone else, Roy quickly re-made the bunks and left the room.
* * *
The rest of the morning passed fairly quietly, with only one call for the squad. Just before 12:15 p.m., Mike walked into the locker room to retrieve the donut holes. Every locker door was standing wide open. This was the most recent of a long line of strange incidents that had occurred that morning. Roy had eventually mentioned the incident in the dorm room, his face tinted slightly red in embarrassment. In addition to Johnny’s mishaps that morning, Captain Stanley’s office floor had been littered with pens. Every pen in or on his desk had ended up on the floor. Marco kept insisting that someone was poking him. And Chet, poor Chet, every trick the Phantom had attempted to set up today had backfired.
Now seeing the locker doors wide open, Mike looked around to be sure no one else was there before he said, “What are you doing these things to us?” Mike was self-conscious about talking to thin air, but he couldn’t take it anymore.
“My good man, I’m just having a little fun.”
“So it IS you!”
“But, of course. Did you think it was a ghost?” a soft chuckle filled the room.
“It does indeed pay to be invisible, does it not? I’m having quite a good time.”
“Why? Why did you follow me to work?”
“I don’t know. Sheer mischievousness on my part, I suppose.”
“I thought you were just looking for your . . . bandages and clothes last night.”
“Indeed I was. Yet you intrigued me. I couldn’t resist following you today. By the by, you have a superb vehicle. It was a comfortable ride.”
“You were in my truck?”
“My good sir, how else was I to follow you?”
Shaking his head at the sheer craziness of this whole situation, Mike decided enough was enough.
“You need to stop. Your tricks are making the guys jumpy,” as Mike spoke he closed all the locker doors.
“I should ruin my amusement?”
“Yes! I think you should move on.”
At that moment, Roy pushed open the locker room door, “Hey, Mike, where are those donut holes? Joanne's waiting on them.”
“Uh—they’re coming. I . . . I was just getting them.”
Roy nodded and left the room.
“Are you going to leave now?” Mike asked.
There was no answer.
Oh, man, this is nuts!
Stoker grabbed the needed treats from his locker and left the room.
* * *
Just shy of three hours later, the open house was almost over and the entire crew from the A-Shift of Station 51 was extremely happy about that fact. Their costumes were itching like mad. And though most of the children who’d come were well-behaved, there was a small group of them who had wreaked havoc. They had purposely spilled punch all over the floor and to add insult to injury, they dropped chips, cookies, and donut holes on the floor and stomped all over them. Joanne and Ellie were both looking a little frazzled.
Mike and his shift mates watched as Frankenstein escorted the last of their visitors to the door. They all gave a final wave to the little boy dressed as G.I. Joe and then sighed in relief when the door snapped shut.
The entire crew started to straighten up the bay so the engine and squad could be pulled back inside.
Ellie Stanley called out to them.
“Why don’t you all go get those costumes off and get cleaned up? Joanne and I will take care of this mess out here.”
The six men rushed for the locker room, all of them grateful. They emerged several long minutes later, feeling much better.
Before they could approach the women to help finish with the clean up, the tones sounded.
“Station 51. Engine 12. Structure fire. 3944 Tenbrooke Lane. Cross street Winston. 3-9-4-4 Tenbrooke Lane. Cross street Winston. Time out: 15:25.”
Their arrival at the scene showed a two-story house with flames and smoke showing. Several neighbors rushed to Captain Stanley to report that the owner was likely trapped inside.
“Gage. DeSoto. We have someone trapped.”
Needing no further prompting the paramedics geared up to go in on the rescue mission. Once inside the door, the heavy smoke made it nearly impossible to see.
“Fire Department! Hello? Anyone here?”
Johnny and Roy rapidly searched the ground floor without success. Johnny pointed his finger to indicate they should try upstairs, and his partner nodded in agreement. They ascended the steps as quickly as possible and again started calling out.
Johnny turned left at the top of the stairs. Just a few steps along the hallway, he heard a loud groaning sound above him. Glancing up, he saw part of the ceiling sagging before suddenly giving way. Before he had a chance to react, he felt a mighty push to his upper back that sent him flying forward. Hitting the ground hard, he heard parts of the ceiling crashing down behind him. Shaking his head to clear the ringing in his ears, he stood and turned around.
“Johnny! Johnny, are you all right?” Roy’s worried yell sounded over the crackle of flame.
“Roy, I’m fine. I’m fine.”
The paramedic hurried forward to the bedroom. No one was inside. Exiting the room, he yelled to his partner, “No one’s there. Let’s try the other side.”
Roy turned and headed toward the bathroom and bedroom at the other end of the hall. Johnny scrambled over the debris from the fallen ceiling and followed. They found the middle-aged owner of the house in the second bedroom. He was barely conscious and breathing shallowly.
Gage helped Roy position the victim on his shoulders, and they rushed for the stairs. Both paramedics had the sense that their time was running out. The gloom had deepened, and finding the front door took some time. Finally, they found the door and stumbled through into the sunlight. Hurrying to the squad, they laid the homeowner down on the ground.
As Roy and Johnny shrugged out of their gear, Johnny called to Mike and asked him to grab the oxygen off the squad.
The paramedics started to examine their patient while Mike placed the oxygen next to Gage. Other than some smoke inhalation, the owner appeared unhurt. He was lucky. Mike looked over at the house which was now completely involved and was a total loss.
As Roy adjusted the oxygen mask, Johnny set up the biophone.
“Hey, Roy, thanks for pushing me out of the way up there. Man, when that ceiling started to come down, I . . .” Johnny stopped speaking and just shook his head.
“I didn’t push you out of the way.”
“What? What do you mean? Of course you did. Right in the upper back. I went flying.”
Mike’s head snapped around as he listened to this conversation.
“It wasn’t me, Johnny. I wasn’t close enough. I thought you dived out of the way.”
Mike walked away and moved back to the control panel on Big Red. He cast a furtive glance around before mumbling quietly, “Was it you? Did you push him out of the way?”
“It was me. I couldn’t let him get hurt. I’ve grown rather fond of you and your friends.”
“I don’t know what to say except for ‘thank you’. He could have been killed.”
“My dear man, a ‘thank you’ is more than enough.”
* * * The End * * *
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Stories by Vanessa Halloween Stories