Lost in an Instant: Part 2
#2 of Lost in an instant.
Well, here it is. Better late than never. I just want to say that I'm sorry for the long wait, and I'm gonna try to lessen the time between parts. Enjoy!
Matt walked up to the open doors of the firehouse. He looked up at the large trucks and wondered if he made the right decision to come back so soon. But his thoughts were quickly interrupted by a familiar voice. He turned to see Susan walking over to him.
"Hey Matt, welcome back"
"Hey cap." He replied. "Sorry I'm late."
"No problem. Just get dressed out and get your gear on the squad."
"Wait, the squad? I thought I was gonna be back on the tower"
"Sorry, but command thinks you're not fit for duty on the truck yet.
"Come on, cant you let me work the truck?"
"Sorry Matt, it's not my choice. If it was then I'd have you on the truck, but you have to be on the squad. So get dressed out and get on the street."
Matt walked into the station and up to the locker room. After he put on his uniform he grabbed his turnout bag and walked back down to the garage. Once back he tossed his turnouts into one of the compartments and headed into the rec room.
"Hey, where's Dennis?" he asked.
One of the other firefighters pointed over towards a recliner where the border collie was fast asleep. Matt chuckled and grabbed a ball off the pool table. He tossed it and it bounced off his helmet, causing him to suddenly wake up, jump out of the chair and fall over an end table. Everyone in the room began laughing hysterically except for Dennis who lifted himself off the floor and looked at Matt. "What the hell man?" he asked
"Relax, it's not like I was aiming at a vital zone." He walked over and gave him a pat on the back "You alright?" he asked.
"I'm fine, what do you want"
"Cap says we need to get on the street."
"So why not wake me up like a normal person?"
Matt began cackling madly and shouted "Because I'm not normal"
"Whatever weirdo, lets get going"
The two walked back into the garage and over to the truck. "Who's driving?" Matt asked.
"I'll drive. I don't trust you"
Matt chuckled and climbed into the truck. Before he was even all the way in the dispatcher came on over the radio. "Squad 14, respond to an unknown type rescue on Walnut street. No additional information given and no answer on callback. Respond code 3. Timeout 1142"
Matt sighed and grabbed the radio. "Squad 14, 10-4." He then reached down and turned on the siren as they pulled out of the station.
"So, how have things been? Your kids doing Ok?" Dennis asked.
"Fine, the kids are doing better. Of all of them Jamie took it the hardest. He's still having nightmares. But then again so am I. He keeps coming into my room at night wanting to sleep in my bed. Luckily my parents are still here, there watching the kids today."
"Oh yeah? There still here?"
"Yeah, but not for long, there going back to Arizona next week, but my brother Kyle is going to come down from Toronto and stay with us for a few months."
"That's good. It'll be nice to see him again. I still have to get back at him for what he did last time I saw him."
"God, you're still on that? Let it go"
"He blew that soccer horn while I was sleeping, then when I bolted up screaming he threw that bucket of soda on me. I'm not just gonna let it go."
"Well, you did put itching powder in his body wash."
"After he nailed my shoes to the floor."
"Yeah, after you filled his underwear honey."
"After he shaved half the fur off my face."
"After you stole his tires!"
"After he put that mouse trap on my ear!"
"Fine, how do you plan to get him back?"
"I'm gonna fill his car with packing peanuts and baby powder."
"My God, you are just asking for trouble."
"Well, he started it."
Matt rolled his eyes and looked out the window and saw a tiger waving for them to pull over. The truck stopped and Matt got out as the tiger ran over. "What's the problem?" he asked
"There's someone stuck in the playground equipment behind the school." The tiger replied.
"Ok, we'll take care of it"
Matt got back into the truck and they headed to the back of the school. They pulled around the building and saw a small group of people. They stopped and headed over to the group to size up the situation. Once Matt got through the small crowd and saw what they were called for, he almost didn't believe it. He saw a cheetah stuck in-between the rungs of a small curved ladder. They both went over and were immediately greeted by a slightly panicked wolf.
"Thank god you're here" he said. "My boyfriend is stuck"
"I... see" Matt replied. "How'd it happen?"
"We were goofing around and I guess he slipped or something and got wedged in there."
"Ok, we'll see what we can do"
Matt and Dennis headed over to the ladder where he was stuck and got to work. Dennis began working on finding a way to get him out while Matt checked the cheetah for injuries.
"Hey, how you doing?" he asked.
"I'm fine except for the obvious." The cheetah replied.
"Ok" he said while checking his eyes. "Can you tell me your name?"
"I'm Matt. Are you feeling any pain any where Allen?"
"All over, but it's not to bad right now, Mostly just my wrist, I hit it pretty good when I fell."
"Did you hit your head at all?"
"No, I don't think so"
"Can you tell me how old you are?"
"I'm eighteen. Why do you need to know?"
"If you were under eighteen then we wouldn't be able to give you any treatment without parental consent. Luckily your old enough that we don't need to get them involved."
"Thank god." He said. "I never want to deal with them again."
"Why? Did some thing happen?"
"Let's just sat that they weren't too happy about my life style choice. After my parents found out that I was dating John they pretty much disowned me. Then a few days later my dad got shit faced drunk and tried to shoot us. That's how I got that scar on my arm."
"Wow, that's pretty bad. Luckily, like I said since your eighteen we don't need to get them involved."
Matt looked up and saw Dennis motioning for him to come over.
"Ok Allen, I'll be right back. I just got to go talk to my partner."
Matt stood up and walked over to Dennis
"I don't know how we're gonna cut him out of that thing." Dennis said "Because of the way he's stuck we can't use the K-12 or the torch without risking hurting him, and the pipe cutter will take way to long"
Matt looked back at Allen and then back at Dennis. "I guess we'll need the tower" he said "I'll go radio for it and a toolbox"
Dennis nodded and headed over to Allen while Matt headed back to the squad. He pulled out the radio and called dispatch.
"Central, this is squad 14, we're gonna need a light force and a rescue truck behind Memorial Elementary School for an extraction. We also need an ambulance at this location to."
"Squad 14, 10-4, backup is on its way"
Matt put the radio back into the truck then headed back to Dennis. He knelt down next to Allen. "Alright Allen, We got help coming to get you out of this thing"
"How long till they get here? This is starting to hurt really badly"
"They should be here soon, the station is pretty close."
Allen winced and let out a quiet sob "God, can't you give me something, this is really hurting now"
"Hold on, I'll radio the hospital and find out if I can give you anything" Matt and Dennis stood up and headed back to the squad. Matt and opened one of the compartments and pulled out and handed equipment to Dennis. He then opened another compartment and pulled out an oxygen tank. The two ran back to Allen and started to set up some of the equipment. "Dennis, call the hospital, I'll start him on O2."
As Dennis radioed the hospital, Matt started Allen on oxygen. "Ok Allen, I'm gonna put this on you and it's gonna help you breath a little easier"
Matt placed a mask around Allen's face and started the oxygen. He started to go through the drug box when he saw the backup pulling in. "Allen, I'll be right back, Ok?" Allen nodded as Matt got up and headed over to Susan.
"What do you got Matt?" she asked.
"We got an 18 year old male cheetah stuck in some playground equipment. He's wedged in there back first, and we can't cut him out without risking hurting him."
"Ok, let's see what's going on with him and then we'll figure this out."
They headed back to Allen and they started to check out how they could get him out. After a moment she looked back at Matt. "The only tools I think we can use with the least risk of hurting him would have to be the spreader, the cutters or the ram"
"We can't risk the ram or spreader. Because of the way he's stuck we can't rule out spinal cord damage. If we use those they might break it apart and he'll fall out and we risk paralyzing him."
"Well, then what do you suggest?"
"I think the only way to go is with the cutters. I'd give us the best chance of getting him out with the least chance of paralyzing him if there's cord damage."
"Ok, we'll go get it."
Matt headed back over to Allen. He knelt down and gave him a soft pat on the back. "Don't worry; you're almost out of this thing."
Allen pulled off his mask and looked up at Matt "I want John, Please, get him, I want him here."
"I'm sorry, we can't let him over here, were about to cut you out and if he's here he could get hurt. But I promise he can ride in the ambulance with you."
Allen nodded "Hey" he asked "Is it gonna hurt when they cut me out?"
"It might hurt a little but you have nothing to worry about. We do this kind of thing all the time."
Matt turned around and saw Susan and several other firefighters coming over with the equipment. "Ok Allen, There about to cut you out." Matt stood up and pulled off his turnout jacket and knelt back down. "I'm gonna put this over your head to give you a little protection. Once they start it's gonna get kind of loud, but you have nothing to worry about." Matt stood up and watched as they prepared to cut Allen free.
He stood back and leaned against a small wall and saw John sitting next to him, on the brink of tears. "Hey, don't worry, he's gonna be Ok, the guys getting him out are the best in the city."
"Are they really the best in the city or are you just saying that?"
"Five of the men from this department have the medal of valor, and three of them are helping to get him out."
"Sorry, I'm just scared. I already almost lost him twice."
"It's Ok, I know how you feel"
Matt looked up as he heard the sound of the cutter starting up and watched as they started to cut Allen out. He reached over and gave John a pat on the shoulder. "Don't worry; he's going to be ok. Believe me, I've seen much worse. Just try to take your mind off of it and before you know it everything will be Ok."
"How long have you been doing this?" John asked.
"About four years, but I've only been a paramedic for about six months. Why do you ask?"
"I'm just trying to keep my mind off of Allen."
"Ah. Well it's a good job, just really dangerous."
"I know. I saw on the news that some firefighter bought it a week ago in an apartment fire. I think his name was Johnny, Jerry, Something with a J"
"It was Jeremy." Matt replied.
"Yeah, that's it, now I remember. Did you know him?"
"Yeah, all my life, he was my mate."
"Oh god, I'm sorry."
"It's Ok, you didn't know."
Matt looked over and saw that they were cutting the last few parts and almost had Allen out.
"Hey, he's almost free. Wait here and I'll find out how he's doing"
The last part was cut and Allen fell out and onto the ground. Matt rushed over and pulled his turnout coat off of Allen. He winced and looked up at Matt. "Am I out?" he asked
"Yep, you're a free man." He looked up at the other firefighters. "I need a C-collar, a spine board and a wrist splint. And bring the ambulance over."
In moments they had Allen up on a stretcher and were loading him into the ambulance. "Are you coming with us?" Allen asked
"No, my partner is but I'll see you at the hospital."
Matt shut the doors and the ambulance drove off. He headed back to the squad but was stopped by Susan. "Hey Matt, I think your vic dropped this"
He went over to Susan and she handed him a bracelet. "Alright, I'm heading over to the hospital now. I'll get this back to him."
Matt went over to the squad and headed to the hospital. After a few minuets both the ambulance and the squad pulled into the ambulance bay. Matt climbed out of the squad and watched as the doctors wheeled Allen into the emergency room. Matt grabbed John as he tried to follow them into the treatment room. "Stay here, the doctors need room to work on him."
"If I can't go in there then where can I go?"
"Me and Dennis will take you to the doctor's lounge. You can wait there. I just need to tell the doctor where we'll be"
Matt turned around and opened the door "Hey doc, were taking the boyfriend to the lounge"
The three of them walked through the ER and led John into the lounge. Matt then sat him down at a table and took a seat across from him. "You think he's gonna be ok?" John asked.
"Of course" Matt replied. "Like I said back at the school, I've seen much worse. He's gonna be fine"
"What do you mean by much worse?"
"I've seen accidents where the trapped person just wasn't gonna make it. This is nothing"
"Like what? What was the worst?"
"Well, the worst I may have ever seen was about two years ago. We were called out to Franklin for a T train that partially derailed and took out a bridge. We got there and the chief assigned us to check for survivors on the train. We got into one of the cars and found a few people. Luckily it was late at night so the train wasn't full. It was just some bad cuts, broken bones, nothing too bad. Me and another firefighter were making a sweep through the train when we herd a moan. We pulled up a seat and found an otter trapped. His lower body was through the door under some debris, we couldn't pull him out, so we called for some equipment. While we were waiting I talked to him, and tried to keep him awake. He told me about his girlfriend back in Boston, who he was coming back from visiting. Told me about how he was going to Berkley next fall, told me about his family, friends, what he was gonna do after school, more about his girl. We spent a lifetime in the few minuets that they took to get the equipment."
"What was he gonna do after school?" John asked.
Matt chuckled and looked up at John. "He wanted to write and play music. That was it, just wanted to marry his girl and write and play music. Ryan was his name by the way, Ryan something or other. Something Irish, I don't really remember. He was only nineteen, had his whole life ahead of him, He knew what he wanted to do with his life, knew who he wanted to spend it with."
"So what happened?"
"They came in with the equipment, and started to cut him out. They were going along like normal, when they just suddenly stopped. They told Ryan that there was something wrong with the equipment and that they would be back to finish. Our captain pulled me away from him. She said that something didn't look right and she had to check something. After a few minuets she came back. She pulled me aside and..." Matt pulled the chair back and put his face into his hands. "She told me he had been cut him in half. Apparently a large piece of metal from the wheel or something just came up and sliced him in half. It turned out that a beam from the bridge had fallen on him and kept him from bleeding to death and his severed spine was keeping him from feeling the pain."
"So what did you guys do?"
"We did the only thing we could do. We got the medics to call the hospital to get permission to give him a lot of morphine, to make sure that he was comfortable. He looked up at me as they were injecting it into him... he didn't know what was wrong with him. We just couldn't tell him. That was something that he just couldn't know. I still remember the last thing he said before he died. The last thing he said was â€˜Hey, when you get me out, can you call my parents, and my girl? I want them to be at the hospital when I wake up.' I told him that I would do that. I held his hand as he passed out, and watched them pull the beam away. Then he... he just stopped breathing. And that was it. They pulled him out, tagged him, put him into a body bag, and that was it. By the time we got back to the station our shift was over, and I went home. When I got back, I just couldn't hold it in anymore. I was just able to make it up to my bedroom before I just lost it. I just grabbed onto Jeremy and cried, just cried all night."
Matt sat up and wiped a few tears off his face. The three of them were just quiet, after a while the doctor came into the room. "Good news doc?" Matt asked
"Great news, No spinal cord damage, no head trauma, no internal injures, just a broken wrist and a couple of cracked ribs. You can come see him."
John stood up and started to walk out. "Wait, hold on." Matt stood up and pulled the bracelet out of his pocket. "Here, I think he dropped this."
"Thanks, I'm sure he's wondering where it is."
Matt smiled and gave him a pat on the back. "Good luck with Allen. I hope you to have a good life."
John nodded and followed the doctor out of the room. Matt leaned up against a locker and looked up at the clock. "Hey, it's two, let's go get some lunch."
"Ok, you want to go back to the station?"
"That depends. Who's cooking?"
"It's Brian's turn this shift."
"Brian?" Matt asked. "Him... he's cooking?"
The two looked at each other for a moment. "Subway or Chinese?" Dennis asked.
"Chinese. We'll go to that buffet on Main."
They started for the door when the dispatcher came on over their radio. "Squad 14, Engine 5, ladder 1, Unit 4 respond to a possible Haz-Mat incident at South Main and Plain Street. timeout 1402, Respond code 3."
They ran out of the lounge and to the squad. Once in they pulled out of the ambulance bay and out onto the street. As they pulled into the intersection matt turned on the lights and siren. They only drove for a few minuets and pulled up to the scene. "Holy shit" Matt shouted. He looked out the window and saw a tanker truck jacked knifed with white foam pouring out. "Squad 14 to central, we have an emergency situation, we need a second and third alarm and a full Haz-mat response. We also need PD to begin an evacuation. Also notify all responding units to wear breathing equipment upon arrival."
They got out and pulled on their turnouts and masks. They walked over to the wreck and looked over the situation. As they were checking it out a lion stumbled out of the foam and walked over to them. "Hey! Stay there, Haz-Mat is on its way, just stay right there."
The lion gave them a confused look. "Why are you wearing that?" he asked. "And why is hazmat coming? It's only liquid soap."
"It's only what?"
"Its liquid soap, that's all" He handed them a clip board "See, Liquid soap."
Matt pulled off his mask and looked over the clipboard. He cursed quietly as he grabbed his radio "Squad 14 to central, cancel all responding haz-mat units and the second alarm. But keep engine 5 and ladder 1. Also cancel the PD evacuation, the cargo manifest shows that the truck is carrying liquid soap"
"Are you hurt anywhere?" Matt asked.
"Just my hand" the lion replied "I cut it on some glass getting out of the truck."
"Ok, come over to the squad and we'll get you fixed up."
Once back at the squad Matt pulled off his air tank and grabbed a first aid kit out of one of the compartments. They sat the lion down bandaged his hand. "Do you want us to take you to the hospital?" Dennis asked.
"No, I'll be fine. I'll go see my doctor later today or tomorrow."
"Ok, just stay here. The police are gonna want to talk to you."
Matt and Dennis walked to the back of the squad and pulled off their turnouts as the engine and ladder pulled up. "Hey, can you guys take it from here?" Matt asked. "There's no major injuries and the scene is secure"
"Yeah, we got it from here. You can get going."
Matt nodded and he and Dennis got back into the squad. "Are we still going out to eat?" Dennis asked.
"Nah, lets just get back to the station. Hopefully Susan came to her senses and kept Brian from cooking."
"Yeah, remember last time he cooked?"
"Oh god, what a disaster. I didn't even know that it was possible to set a pot of water on fire."
The two laughed for a while and headed back to the station. Once they backed into the garage and got out they were met with a familiar smell. "Damn. She still let him cook."
"I'm not hungry anymore. I'm gonna head up to the bunks." Matt said.
Dennis looked back at the kitchen and gave the air another smell. "I'll come with you. Maybe if were asleep then we wont have to eat it."
"Yeah, then all we have to worry about is the food coming to life and killing us."
They headed up to the bunks and Matt sat down on the edge of his bed and kicked off his shoes. He wasn't sure why, but he was tired. He laid down, and within minuets he fell asleep. Suddenly the lights clicked on and the alarm went off. Matt sat up and heard the dispatcher come on over the speakers. "Squad and Engine 14, Truck 51, Car 2, Engine 11, respond to Milford hospital for a pulled fire alarm. No additional information available. Respond code 3, timeout 2354"
Matt got up and pulled on his turnout pants, then slid down the pole into the garage where he pulled on his jacket, climbed into the squad. He was quickly followed by Dennis who climbed into the driver's seat and turned on the lights. They pulled out of the garage and were followed by the engine. "What time is it?" Matt asked. "I don't remember it being so dark when I fell asleep."
"It's midnight. You've been sleeping all day."
"Did I miss anything?" he asked
"Naw, all that happened while you were asleep was Brian's cooking and a thunder storm."
Matt nodded and looked out the window as they continued to the hospital. As they approached the scene several tones came on over the radio and the dispatcher came back on. "All units responding to Milford hospital cancel. Car 2 reports false alarm. Timeout 2357"
Matt cursed and turned off the lights and siren. "Why do most of our false alarms come at night?" he asked.
"Who knows, but look on the bright side. Our shift is almost over." Dennis replied
Matt was about to speak when the dispatcher again came on over the radio. "Squad 14, Engine 14, return to station for shift transfer. Timeout 2401"
They turned around and headed back to the station. Once back Matt pulled off his turnouts and headed up to the locker room where he changed out of his uniform and back into his regular clothes, then grabbed his turnout bag and walked out of the station and towards the parking lot. He tossed his bag into the back of his car, climbed in. He started it and pulled onto the street and started back home. After a short drive he pulled into the driveway and shut the car off. He grabbed his bag and walked into the house, and headed up to his room.
Once there he tossed his bag towards the closet then stripped down to his boxers and kicked the small pile of clothes towards the hamper, then headed towards his bed and laid down. He was exhausted but he had trouble getting to sleep, he rolled over and stared at the alarm clock. After a while he started to get tired, and almost fell asleep when he heard a familiar sound. He sat up and saw his youngest son, Jamie standing at the door. "What's up little man?" he asked. "Can't sleep?"
"I had a bad dream, can I sleep in here?"
Matt sighed and patted on the side of the bed. "Sure, come on up."
Jamie walked over and hopped onto the bed and laid down next to Matt. He put his arm around him and pulled the blanked up over them. Matt wrapped his arms around Jamie and cuddled up with him. "Do you want to talk about it?" he asked.
Jamie shook his head and nuzzled into Matt's neck, letting out a soft whine as he did. "Come on buddy, something is obviously troubling you. Tell me about it."
Jamie laid quietly for a moment and looked up at him. "Are you gonna die?" he asked.
Matt was a little shocked at the question. He wrapped his arms around and cradled him before he spoke. "Well, yeah. We all die at some point. Why do you ask?"
Jamie whined and buried his face into Matt's chest. "I don't want you to die."
Matt sighed and continued to cradle him. "How long have you been worrying about this?"
Jamie sobbed and looked up at him. "Since the other week... after you told us about the accident. I don't want you to leave me."
"Don't worry" he said softly, "I'm not gonna die for a very long time. And I'll never leave you."
Jamie sobbed again and laid back down on Matt. "Hey, how about I tell you a story, will that make you feel better?"
Jamie nodded and snuggled up next to him. "Ok buddy, how about I tell you a story my dad told me when I was little?" Matt sat and thought for a moment, and remembered a story his dad told him once. "Ok" he said. "My dad told me this one once...
A man found a cocoon of an emperor moth. He took it home so that he could watch the moth come out of the cocoon. On that day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the moth for several hours as the moth struggled to force the body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. It just seemed to be stuck. Then the man, in his kindness, decided to help the moth, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The moth then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the moth because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle needed for the moth to get through the tiny opening was the way of forcing fluid from the body of the moth into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Freedom and flight would only come after the struggle. By depriving the moth of a struggle, he deprived the moth of health. Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If we were to go through our life without any obstacles, we would be crippled. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. Do you understand what the story is about?"
Jamie smiled and nodded "Yeah, I get it."
Matt pulled him close and gave him a kiss on the head. "Remember, what I said before, I'm not going to die for a very long time, and I'm never gonna leave you."
Jamie cuddled up to Matt and quickly fell asleep. Matt looked down and gave him another kiss and hugged him before he also fell asleep.
End of Part 2
Characters Allen and John belong to Otter Miqmah. Both characters were used with permission.
Also the small story Matt tells is not mine. It belongs to who ever originally created it.