Chet smirked, "Hey Cap, all the sudden you're|
a haunted house secret passageway expert on
of being a fire department captain?"
Stanley shot a look at Kelly. "Not even pretending,
Just guessing here. I'm remembering the weird
hidden revolving stone door we found in that
basement fire last month. Remember
that fire? Well I had a chance to talk with the restaurant
we rescued all about it while I bandaged up
burns he got on his hands trying to save that hundred
year old Cabernet Sauvignon wine bottle."
"Oh yeah. What a tragedy! A two thousand dollar
of bino. Poof. Up in smoke." Marco said.
Mike said. "I remember him, a real
know whether I was talking
to Frank Lloyd Wright or Stephen King."
Craig Brice interrupted
them. "Ah, gentleman.
We can talk about all this fascinating gothic
architecture and about the
old wine later, hmm?
We're here on a rescue call.
I suggest we stick to the matters at hand.
victim is expecting us to save him with all due haste."
Chet sniped back, "Yeah? Well Cap
gums, Brice, is to make sure we don't
end up dead before we can even get to the guy.
Patience. Strange thing with you saying that, Brice,
you usually know paramedic protocol
than any of us. Remember rule number one?
'First, secure the scene?' "
Craig didn't take offense.
"Indeed. Proceed all. I'll
get the gear set up." He laid out an EKG monitor
onto the rug, quickly
followed by the defibrillator case.
Cap said, "Ok, Marco, get that crow bar set.
Mike get ready
to jam your roof axe into the hinge
axel that'll expose itself once the bookshelf swings open.
should hold things long enough for us to get
Bentley out of there."
Roy pulled the pseudobook
There was a groan of stone and a loud bang which|
Chet recognized. "This is the right way..
remember that sound!"
He barely waited for Marco and Stoker
to wedge axe and crow bar into
the brick wall
gears before plunging into the darkness of the stair
his flashlight beam caught a
dim figure at the bottom of the landing.
The gang all shoved
into the narrow passageway.
Roy was quickly down the rock stairway, with
all the others close
on his heels. "Hey sir..! Can
you hear me?"
Kelly butted in front of him and
the figure's neck.
A large spider jumped out from around the
man's hairline in a defensive
Chet leaped backwards with a shout, crashing
Roy, Stoker and Cap behind him, and
all four fell onto their butts on the stone steps.
do you mind?" Cap said.
"Sorry Cap. I.. guess I'm more than a little jumpy."
Roy was already
at their victim's side, aiming
a flashlight towards his face.
"Hey Cap, look at this. It's a wax
All four guys crowded around Roy and looked.
"A fake body." Cap sighed. "I
should have known.
This house IS a working creepshow."
Chet had already overcome his fright.
gonna be bummed he took a fall over a dummy."
and the guys laughed.
a low moan attracted their attention. Every
one of them shot their flashlight beams into
room beyond the stair's landing.
Shushes abounded as everyone strained to
hear more. Cap held
up a glove for silence and he
shouted. "Norman Bentley! Shout if you can hear us!"
met with an eerie quiet.
"Ok, gang. Spread out. Search pattern. And stay
within eyesight at
all times. This place is a deathtrap
to the uninitiated."
"Seems like even the caretakers were
Brice shouted from where he was listening to the gang
at the top of the stairs, still waiting
in the library with an open
comm to Rampart.
"Unlucky them." Lopez groaned.
At the back
of the room, another figure startled them,
a huge looming, silver form standing in their light beams.
"Well, I'll be d*mned." Kelly whispered. "There IS an iron
maiden in the basement."
and Roy shot him a dirty look.
Another trickling moan met their ears, weaker
than the last,
followed by an echo which
sounded like hollow metal pinging.
They all paused in their tracks
trying to pin down
a place that would cause a moan to sound like
that. "Maybe Norman found the
Maiden, too." Lopez
said fearfully. "It's the only hollow thing down here."
"Come on!" Kelly
All the firemen hastened to open the heavy wrought
iron case. While they shouted for
Norman to answer
them, the faint, low moaning stopped.
It was almost a full two minutes more
firemen figured out the tricky old device's release
latches and freed their victim.
Out tumbled an older man bonelessly, comatose
and dusky blue. "Mr. Bentley?" Roy said, catching
They set him on the stone floor and DeSoto quickly
grabbed his head and listened
carefully over his
nose and mouth after tipping his chin back.
"Move it guys. He's quit breathing.."
and he firmly began mouth to mouth.
Mike Stoker began opening the man's shirt hastily
Chet rushed to the foot of the stairs and shouted.|
"Hey Brice! Toss down the resuscitator. On the
Craig did so, and Kelly caught the case as deftly as a
basketball. He rushed back
and together, Mike and
Chet got the unit turned on. They both swiftly fitted
the tubing and the
moulded face piece into place.
Roy tilted back Norman's head further on his
next breath, until
a better airway was secured.
Then he set the demand valve mask Kelly handed him over
the suffocated man's
face, and sent a set
of rapid ventilations of pure O2 deep into Norman's
chest with the thumb
Roy's free fingers found a beat just under the
man's jawline. He waved Mike off
hands-on-waiting for-word-to-go CPR position.
"Stoker, it's ok. He's still got a pulse.."
him. "It's weak, but there."
All the gang sighed and relaxed just a bit.
only a minute more supported O2,
the very lucky Norman roused and began
weakily shoved the ventilation mask
away with a confused mumble.
Cap attempted to get the
groggy man's attention.
"Mr. Bentley? It's ok. We're with the L.A. County Fire
got a call from your wife that
you were lost down here. How are you feeling?"
blearily made out Roy and all the gang's
faces. "Oh my, never.. shoulda gone exploring..Ohhh..
d*mned thing trapped me..." he said with a grimace
towards the Iron Maiden that had entombed him for
"How did you ever get in there?" Cap wanted to know.
Kelly helped the man sit against
the Maiden to ease
his breathing a little more, at Roy's unspoken nod to do
got a headache that won't quit.."
Norman groaned and gratefully took the mask Roy
still held against
his nose and mouth. He inhaled in
a few more shots of oxygen, then blinked his eyes
came slowly back. It arrived along
with a healthy sense of self consciousness the
thought about where he was
and what had happened to him. Finally, he sighed,
answering the tall
fire department captain.
"I....wanted to know what it was like being
inside one of them. Stupid
know there was no handle on the inside."
Chet sighed. "No kidding.. Didn't
think a torturing device
would have one."
Marco smacked Chet on the arm to keep him quiet.
Cap sighed, rubbing his sleep mussed hair and said,
"Well live and learn from this, Norman.
like no lasting harm done. But sir, I'm
afraid we've got some off news about your wife.
well,...panicked a bit when she didn't hear
you answer her calling your name and slipped
"Is Maggie ok?" Norman gasped. "Is she here?
Oh my goodness.."
sir. Relax. She's just getting an ice
pack for her head at Rampart Emergency, most likely,
a few precautionary X-rays. We'll be bringing
you to where she is in a few minutes." Cap said.
"Oh, bother.. Glad she's all right. Thank you boys,
for looking out for her," he sighed, "and me for
matter.." and took another pull off the mask, saying
more. "Margaret doesn't have the same
of adventure I do about her brother's house.
Me, I'm like a kid turned loose in a candy
and he started laughing to the point of coughing.
"Easy.." Roy said, "Just keep using
this oxygen here.
I'm afraid you're still as gray as she is...." he quipped,
patting the Iron
Maiden next to them.
That only brought more laughter from Norman
and he rapidly improved
Chet and Cap had already ruled out the need for
a stokes. Roy
agreed with them and he finished
putting away the positive pressure valve, trading it for a cannula.
enough to stand, Norman? " Roy asked
him. "We've got another paramedic with all of our
up the stairs here. If you'd let us,
we'd like to check ya out to make sure you
didn't come to
any permanent harm."
Roy asked him.
"You're so nice, all of you men. And for
the way over here just to get
me out of my bind." he said. "Yes. I do believe
I can. " and he let
himself be raised and
supported between Stoker and Marco until he
regained shaky feet. "Say fellas,
were searching for me, did you spot Reggie's
wetbar? I'm awful thirsty from being
in there all night. A brandy would
really hit the spot right about now..."
"Amen to that sir."
Chet nodded animatedly.
Cap glared at Kelly. "Just go get the gear, Kelly.
We're going upstairs."
Roy quickly diverted Mr. Bentley from the|
jibbing Captain Stanley to Chet Kelly exchange.
just start with a glass of water from
the kitchen, all right? " Roy told him with
a grin. "And
maybe we'll be asked to get
an IV or two going a bit later.." he said
IV? What's that? Anything like a V-O?"
Mr. Bentley asked with an innocent curiosity.
"I know about
those, Margaret says Reginald
likes to drink them while he bakes things in the
grinned and then began explaining in
detail about what would go on with Norman
and his prehospital
care and about what the
doctor on the other end of the biophone
would probably order, as they
made their way up the slate gray stones, step
On the way, and last
Chet snatched up Gage's helmet after making
very sure no new spiders were calling it
He was still unnerved by the bug he
had seen and Norman's close call, but
of humor was still completely
intact. So was his keen entrepreneurial instinct
that always seemed
to pop up after a crisis.
"Say, Mr. Bentley. Did you know you could probably
make a fortune opening
up this place to school kids
around Halloween time? You three might make
even more money then,
in one month,
than you do right now giving the studios kids
THEIR tours, all year. Reggie would
able to hand out his gingerbread cookies anytime
he feels like it. And I'm sure the
guys here with me
would love to help out this fall in costumes or
and Mike began to shake their heads
vehemently out of Norman's eyeshot but stopped
when the old man noticed them
doing something beyond helping him climb steps.
Chet got braver
as the gem of his idea, blossomed
in the wake of his spider fright.
"Yeah, now that I think about
it, my Cap would
make a GREAT Frankenstein."
"Really?" Norman chirped up, fiddling with the
cannula that had been set around his face
as he let his rescuers sit him into a
recliner by a roaring fireplace
that had somehow, mysteriously, lit itself.
Chet said sotto
"Oh yeah, sir. I know because he's a
regular holy terror whenever he goes without
or when any station wide inspection
date rolls around."
Kelly never saw the boot Cap connected
rear, sending him out the library door in an
unsubtle hint to tell the ambulance attendants
where to rendevous with them all.
A week later, the gang sat around the |
kitchen table eating lunch, without much
Mike looked quieter than usual.
Marco finally piped up, breaking the soft sounds
their forks were making as they each
half heartedly played with their food.
"Man, I'm really going
to miss the little guy."
"Yeah. And we just got the paint to dry on old
Henry's dog house too."
Mike Stoker agreed.
Stoker and Lopez both let out matching sighs.
Captain Stanley narrowed
his eyes at his men
from around his chilidog as he bit into it. He
chewed loudly and without apology.
"Come off it you two. You saw the way Reggie,
Maggie and Norman's eyes lit up when they saw
Bartholomew run up to them when they
came here to give us all gingerbread cookies to
thank us for
all we've done. It was
like twenty years of loneliness just rolled
right off their shoulders.
What else could I have
Chet groused. "You couldn't've found them
"As if I could've right at that moment, Kelly.
Hush, and eat your food before it gets cold."
Another two minutes of no one chewing,
Cap cleared his throat
and addressed his depressed
crew, "Now, Come on gang. We just all have to
get used to having a
station without a mascot again.
Won't be hard. Not at all. I mean we..we..we
managed to survive
after Henry left. Right?"
Everyone grudgingly agreed, until a voice rang out.
We didn't sleep for a week.
Remember?" Chet insisted morosely. "I don't know about
you, Cap. But
I missed him terribly. All but broke my heart.
Sort of like ..." and he lowered his voice.." the way..
I feel...." and he took a bite of biscuit to hide
what he was feeling."....right ...now..about Chester."
Captain Stanley shifted in his chair uncomfortably.
"Yeah, well, Kelly. uh... I know it's tough.
on all of us.. But, consider our giving Chester
away a good deed and let's leave it
Click the Defibrillator to|
Goto Page Nineteen :)