Noon. Hour 19 of a 38. Sixteen calls so far, long way to go. Adam and I are riding back to the station.
"The sun is hurting my eyes."
"That's because you lost your sunglasses."
"I think something far more sinister is going on."
Flashback: Seven hours ago…
0523hrs. Pre-dawn. Dispatched to a tenement house in South Providence for a suicidal, pregnant 20-year-old with arm lacerations.
I stand on the third floor landing listening to Oliver, one of the firefighters sent along with us just in case, talk to the girl and her boyfriend.
I can't get up the rest of the stairs. All forward progress has stopped; the guys from Engine 10 and two Providence police officers clog the narrow, dimly lit stairway. I'm quite happy to wait at the end of the line and listen.
"Did you try to hurt yourself?" asks Oliver.
"She cut her wrist with a broken crack pipe," a male voice from above declares.
"Were you smoking crack?"
"Not us, she's pregnant," says the voice.
The line turns toward me and heads down the stairs. I lead the march into the street and toward the rescue. A pretty, pale woman joins me in back.
"I'm all set," I say to the cops and firefighters, Adam goes in front to drive. My patient's cuts are superficial, scratches really. She stares intently at me as I begin my report.
"He was going to hurt me," she states in a regal voice, redolent of centuries past, "He planned to cut me and drink my blood."
I look over the edge of the paper and see her eyes focused intently on mine, not blinking, not moving, as if I'm prey.
"Why did he want to do that?"
"I stopped him by cutting myself," she replies, ignoring my question, still staring.
I'm a little unnerved. Her skin is translucent, even paler in the dim light of the rescue. Her bloodshot eyes bore through me. I can't wait to get to the hospital.
Thankfully the rescue slows, turns and backs into the rescue bay. I quickly stand and help my patient out the door. She clutches my arm with her wounded one, and some blood is transferred.
"Thank you, you've been very kind," she said. I wouldn't say she's smiling, but her face shows amusement, as if we're in on something together. She continues to stare, and as I leave, I look over my shoulder. She is still staring, still amused.
0730hrs. Dispatched to a methadone clinic for a man who can't walk…continue reading at EMS1