"Medic 8, respond to the 1600 block of Norwood Road, cross streets of Fernhill and Walbrook Ave., for the report of a female down, covered in blood. Await police arrival."
That's how my Friday morning started. 7 AM, and I haven't even had any coffee yet. In hindsight, it turns out that I wouldn't need coffee.
I never liked that address. It was a creepy looking compound. Perhaps you want to call it a lot or a property, but it was always a compound to me. Somewhere where bad things happened, they were just really good at keeping them inside.
We left the station and made our way ten minutes west. It was on the outskirts of the city, and the sirens tore through the only road leading there. As we pulled up, we saw a female with black hair, matted with blood and in a white gown. She was lying face down, and we should've stayed in the medic. We were told to wait for police, but during shift change... that could take forever. She could be dead by then. We strapped on gloves, threw our trauma bag over our shoulder and made our way to our patient. The first thing that hit me was the twitching. She was twitching her fingers and toes. I saw the hair curled up in small concentrated spots in her hair. It wasn't until we got closer that we realized why they were curled up; they were twisted by a drill bit.
We rolled her over, wondering what sick fuck got a hold of her, but the other side was worse. She had been crushed, but evenly crushed. It was as if it was done by a machine. She was flat as a piece of three-quarter inch plywood.
Well, she was dead and there was nothing we could do about it. "Injuries incompatible with life" was what our protocols stated. That means that we didn't even have to try, because trying was futile. We sprinted back to the medic and looked around. Nothing. We couldn't even see the patient.
Then it hit me. We couldn't see the patient from the road. There was nothing even slightly resembling a pedestrian around here, and we couldn't see her from the road.
"GET IN THE UNIT, GET IN THE UNIT!" My partner was wheeling and I was healing, but my screams of concern weren't loud enough or fast enough. He yelled, and I saw something that I'll never forget coming out of those woods. They were everywhere, and they were surrounding us. Their teeth were sharp, they were covered in blood, and they looked like some sort of hybrid between a little girl and a black hole. We ran, but the only place to run was through the open gate.
We hit our little red Mayday button on our radios, which opened up the channel of our lapel mics.
"Medic 8, signal 40. Medic 8, signal 40."
"SIGNAL 40, SIGNAL 40! WE ARE UNDER DIRECT PHYSICAL ASSAULT! THIS IS NOT AN ACCIDENTAL BUTTON PRESS!"
"Medic 8, we are sending back-up. Are you under fire, how many assailants?"
"I DON'T KNOW. SEND HELP!"
At least Communications knows, but we were forced inside. As we ran in, the gate closed. This is not how I wanted to start my Friday morning.
My partner and I looked at each other with the look of fear that I typically see reserved for the folks in the back of my medic who know that they don’t have much time left.
“What in the hell just happened?”
“I don’t know, but at least those things are out there and not in here.”
“Medic 8, do you have an update”, my radio squawked and I realized that I was going to have one hell of a time explaining this one.
It was about that time that we noticed the eyes peering through the windows. An old four-story former asylum, now in disrepair and abandon, had eyes at every window. They were just staring at us, and I wanted to tell my partner, but the only thing that came out of my mouth was a sound resembling that of a person who has just suffered a stroke. Since I couldn't speak, I just pointed.
The girls were inside the gate. The same girls from last time, and we were surrounded. The front door swung open and it was the only way out from the circle of black hole girls that was slowly closing in on us. A rock and a hard place indeed.
“Fuck that, there’s eyes at every window.”
“Well, I’ll take my chances. Come on!”
We ran into the front door, which proceeded to close lightly and click discreetly. We didn't even realize that it had closed.
“Medic 8, what’s your status? Are you OK?”
We heard the police sirens, lots of them. Although it had only been four minutes, it seemed like an eternity since we called for help and we heard the saints coming.
“Medic 8, we are inside of the building at 1606 Norwood, and we can’t get out. The doors won’t open, and the windows have bars.”
“Who is chasing you, and are they armed?”
“I can’t explain it at the moment. They almost weren't human, and they weren't armed.”
“Medic 8, please repeat.”
“Not human, not armed.”
“Medic 8, did I just hear that your attackers were not human?”
“Noted Medic 8.”
The sirens drew closer, and we heard footsteps inside. We looked and saw one of the black hole girls walking towards a room in the rear of the facility. She motioned for us, and at the same time, two more of them appeared between us and the front door.
“I guess that means we’re going deeper in.”
“No. Fuck them. We’re not going anywhere.”
I guess whatever these things were, they understood English; we were lifted up off of the ground by what felt like a rising floor and moved towards the motioning black hole girl. We couldn't run, we couldn't jump…we were stuck. For some reason, this made me long for those old Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books. At least I felt like I had a choice.
We started walking towards our pre-ordained path and we felt the floor drop back down to where it was supposed to be. Easy way or the hard way. Easy, it is.
We heard the sirens shut off out front, and we weren't sure what was going to happen next. We followed the black hole girl into the next room, and we found a .45 caliber handgun, a can of gasoline, and a Zippo light. She motioned for us to take them. My partner has never fired a gun before, so that was my task. He flicked the lighter and put it in his pocket, grabbed the gas can and we looked at each other, unsure of what came next.
We heard footsteps upstairs, and the black hole girl pointed at the staircase.
“Medic 8, we can’t open the door. We are dispatching a SWAT truck with a ram, so hold tight. Are you OK?”
So, locked and loaded…we made our ascent. As we reached the top of the stairs, we saw the backside of a man proceed into a side hallway. Figuring that as fucked up as this situation was, he was the one that I should be pointing the gun at. I slowly moved to the hallway and saw him turn to go into another room. The hallway was dark, and the whole second floor was devoid of furniture and such. We went towards the room and as we turned the corner, we saw something we’ll never forget.
Bodies. More bodies than I could count. Little dark haired girls in various stages of decay, and the man was in the corner. The look on his face was one of both surprise and disappointment. The red and blue lights were flashing through the cracks between the plywood and the window frame, and he had to have known that he was done for. He was holding a knife and he decided that now was as good a time as any to use it.
He charged, and I fired. It was instinctive, like eating or walking. He fell, and that was it…except it wasn’t, because one of the black hole girls whispered from behind us.
“Thank you. Now burn it. The world doesn’t need to know this evil.”
Had I thought about it more, I would’ve worried more about closure for the families, but I guess that it didn’t matter at that point, because he was dead and so were they.
“Medic 8, are you intact?” We threw the gasoline and lit the lighter. It was time for this chapter to close.
We didn’t know the man or the girls, but we knew that the world would be better tomorrow for what we did today. We lit the fire and ran like hell. All obstacles were gone, and the front door flew open as we bolted through it. We were greeted by some of our city's finest, in full tactical uniform with carbines ready. We were taken to our Lieutenant and given the rest of the tour off. When they asked what happened, we simply stated that it seemed a blur. This was our secret, and would never be anything but.
It wasn’t until our next tour that we had to drive out there again, for a girl down. This time, there was no compound, just a pile of rubble with dark haired girls standing there, with black hole eyes and tattered rags for clothes. We’ve never driven by there and not seen them from that night on. They wave now and seem happy. They seem... at peace.