Hank turned to Emily. She already had her jacket on and said, "Look, |
Hank, I know what you're thinking.
I know I am going to catch heck
myself, so we'll do this on two conditions."
"You will stay in your chair and you will tell me the second something
is wrong. I don't want you
to play Superman. John is like a son to me
The seasoned Captain swallowed hard. He
had expected to have to
fight for the right to go back to the hospital. "Oh god honey, how can
"Get better and then get our boys better."
"Well I'll do what I can for the
second one but I promise I will."
With that the Stanley's made the trek to their car. Hank had
manners on and behaved as well as he could. Although he hid it on the
insides were torn up. He dozed off only a minute as Emily
pulled up to the hospital. She wasn't surprised
to see Roy standing
Desoto sighed knowingly as he ran for the truck and helped Emily
Hank out and settled. Hank was matter of fact. "Has he said anything?"
"No, Cap, something
tells me it's going to be hard to get him to speak.
He wants to see Mike, but Brackett won't let
"Yeah he's not going to be happy with me, either, but I can't let you guys
The trio made their way inside. Before Dixie could say anything a blood
scream ripped through the hall from Johnny's room. As fast as
they could, Roy and Hank headed for
Kel looked up stunned. Hank put up his hand as if to say later doc. Kel
but didn't say a word. As Johnny started to thrash, Hank made
his way to the table and took one
hand. Roy instinctively took the other.
Hank's voice sounded like a worried father. "John, settle
down it's Hank
now look I need you to talk to me."
Before the younger man spoke he reached
for his Captain and held on
"Right here, pal."
"God, I'm sorry I should
have warned you."
"Warned me? How?"
"I...I could have...I should have..." Gage's voice
fell off unsure of how to
met Cap's eyes in full. "I saw something critical on the day
of the accident that I ended up dismissing,
that I should have reported to you
the minute I saw it."
Roy DeSoto snorted. "Would you stop
with the vague suppositions already?
You're giving me the willies." he said partially irritated,
very concerned. "What ever it
was you think you did, I probably did, too. I was with you that whole
day at work
doing chores, going on calls, cleaning up afterwards. Same as you, remember?
weird happened, I'm just as responsible for being so oblivious.
Now just what is or was so terrible?"
Gage lowered his head and fidgetted with his fingers. "Remember Mike was
doing some light maintenance
on the engine? He had all the tools out, and
the mechanics' creeper. Well, I... I... only noticed
because I didn't want to
trip over the d*mned thing like I always do so I kicked it out of the way
to chase.... and when I did, my eye fell on the fluid bottle tray. You know the one
everything's color coded? Well, uh.."
Cap got firm. "Just out with it, Gage. This is a little
stupid to agonize over it."
"Okay, okay.. I'm.. getting to it. I'm getting to the point. Uh,...
the label on the
engine's brake fluid, the orange one that's always there? Well it was... " Johnny
choked, his eyes beginning to fill with tears. "I noticed that it was.. was ...
seriously out of date."
"Oops. That's quite a gremlin. How long had it been bad?" Cap whispered.
Gage sighed and
finally couldn't meet the others' eyes. "About three and a half
months expired, Cap, if I read it
A shocked silence filled the room, just as a cloud floated by in front of the sun,
everybody into faded shadow from the window.
DeSoto was the first to discount the observation.
"Oh, well. Doesn't mean the stuff
wouldn't work if used. You know the manufacturers always add a
safety, with an
exaggerated expiration date time period. Just like the earlier dates on milk cartons."
Gage agreed, weakly. "Yeah, I guess that's true. We don't have any freezing in
worry about accelerating that end of life breakdown, right?" But his eyes
were still worried, haunted.
"But why is my gut feeling still there?"
"Because you have a tendency to snowball imaginary issues,
when you're under the weather physically. " Roy told him, tiredly, with a tinge
"Whoa, whoa, whoa..." Stanley said, holding up two hands from the chair he was
carefully in. "Stop it right now." Hank became decisive, very fast.
"Before we cry any kind of wolf
one iota, let's get our particular odd fact absolutely
straight here. I'm not a mechanic, but we
all know one who is. So, John, let's solve
that particular bad notion in your brain, right now."
Stanley picked up the phone and dialed the waiting room. "Hello, Dixie? Is Charlie still
I figured he was waiting for Mike to wake up so they could visit. Could you put him
on? We have a
departmental thing to handle that's probably not that important." he
emphasized, glaring at Gage
"Hello, Charlie? Could you come to 214. We've got a question
for the investigators that you might already know the answer to."
## Sure thing, Hank.
I'll be right up. I'll leave de missus with a magazine.##
The gang shifted nervously around Gage's
bed while they waited. Nobody said a word.
Finally, the door opened and the bent nosed, salt and
pepper haired fire department
jacketed mechanic entered. He was in a good mood, having heard Dixie's
about Chet, Marco and Mike directly a few hours ago. His smile immediately dropped
again when he saw who it was who was a patient in the bed. "Gage? What the h*ll? I
didn't know yous
was injured at all.."
"I'm not. Well,.."
"It's cumulative, Charlie. Nothing big." Roy said.
"Oh. Okay. So everything's still all right in my world. Cool."|
"Not so cool." Johnny sighed, looking
"Now I don't like the sound of that one bit." Charlie said, pulling up a chair. "So,
the beans. I'm all ears." he said, suddenly completely professional.
"It's nothing, Charlie."
said Hank. "Just an idea that's probably unfounded."
"So run it by me. I'm here, aren't I?" he
The others held their tongues. They knew to let Johnny finally go first as the
to ease his tortured conscience that had physically sickened him.
But Gage remained
Charlie guessed a reason for any reluctance. "Hey.. Johnny...
Do you see me yelling
and screaming my head off about Red? She's already bound
for the scrap yard on paper, after the investigators
are done reassembling and examining
her in that airport hanger. It was an accident, Gage. With purely
decided as the overriding cause."
"M-maybe not." Johnny whispered, swallowing
dryly. "Charlie, our brake fluid on the top
off cart got old on us without anyone noticing."
"How old is old? Old as me?" he joked.
The others laughed. But not Johnny.
months I think. I...I don't know. I only remember seeing part of the
markered date on the bottle."
"Oh, well that's easy to solve. Just call the station and have somebody go read it
shrugged. "I can do it from here." he said, reaching over and
snatching up the green phone receiver.
He dialed enthusiastically, his smile still
plastered on his face with effort to ease the gang. "Hello,
Brice? Thought you
might be there digging around the manuals to update them. Could yas do me a favor?
Go over to the top off trolley and read off the date on the brake fluid can. I know.
It's dumb, but
somebody over here's gotta know." he said. "Yeah, that's right. That's
the one. Now what does it say?
Charlie pursed his lips. "..Uh, huh.. Right. March 19, ... Nineteen Seventy Eight. Right.
a million. Solves a ton. See yas next week at Nine's." Click.
Johnny closed his eyes and sank
into his pillow. "Oh, thank G*d. That's next year."
"D*mned straight. Neither Mike nor I would
ever make a mistake like that, butthead.
Now are yous through with me? I wanna get back by Dixie downstairs
so I know the
moment Mike's ready to start receiving his visitors. Glad I helped clear out that utter
nonsense. Now get some sleep!" he said, bounding out of the room.
Gage sighed fully once the door was closed. "I feel stupid."|
"No, you feel relieved. Anyone wonders
about what else could have happened in bad
situations. Small things seem important if they're suddenly
different than they
should be and might be involved. That's normal the last time I checked." Hank
Johnny with a grin.
Roy started grinning when the pulse he felt in Johnny's wrist
suddenly slowed down
and a yawn cracked wide open on his partner's face. "Get some sleep. That bug
is gone. Charlie killed it."
"I am kind of tired." Johnny rasped.
"So am I."
Hank said. "Gimme one of your blankets. I'm sleeping right here. I promised
at last, Gage obliged, tossing over the beige wool cover spread deftly.
"I'll go see to Mike."
DeSoto said, flipping off the room's light and closing the blinds to
block out the now cloudy day.
"And I'll talk to Brackett. Just like I know we all want to
"I already did." mumbled
Hank sleepily from where he was already dozing.
"Oh, well in that case, I'll think of something
else to do to occupy myself.
Marco and Chet are probably bored out of their minds." Roy nodded, leaving
the two of them to nap.
Gage was already snoring.
Dr. Brackett sat in his office, alone with Joe, who sat in the arm
no mistake?" Early asked Kel.
"None, I'm afraid. The security cameras clearly show Sharon Walters
ordering that new orderly to the I.V. cabinet in Mike's pre-op room."
"What's going to happen
to him?" Joe asked. "It would be a shame if he got fired.
He barely knows any english."
up to the administrators, Joe. If he indeed misinterpretted Sharon's orders and
then read and took
in the wrong fluid, he can't be trusted, even though he meant well.
A patient's life was seriously
at stake because of his decision. Stoker's. It doesn't
matter that nobody wants to press charges.
That man's simply a risk we can't have
Early rubbed his lips. "But who hung that
I.V. Kel? The wrong one was picked, yes.
But only a nurse, a paramedic or doctor has the authority
to physically change it."
"That's a mystery we may never know, Joe. There are no cameras in the
Brackett sighed. "I'd say we just move on from here like the administrators are
and make sure that Mike Stoker gets home in one perfect piece and back to his family,
like we're in the business of doing. I'd say the Santa Ana winds have claimed enough for
don't you agree?"
Joe Early nodded. "Those poor firefighters. It'll be at least a month or longer
Station 51 gets a new engine and at least that much longer or more until the rest of them
are fit enough to return to duty. How will they cope in the meantime?"
"Like they always do, Joe.
By taking it one day at a time." Brackett smiled encouragingly.
"Doctors like us can only wait and
see what happens next."
Roy left Johnny and his Captain who were
both comfortably asleep, and headed
out into the hallway. Slowly he made his way to the ICU to see
On his way to the ICU, he bumped into an orderly who was mumbling
"Excuse me," Roy politley said to the young man, then added, "I shoulda been paying
better attention to where I was going."
The paramedic was taken aback when he was only met with
silence and an almost
menacing glare from the orderly. As the man walked away from him, Roy stood
for a few moments until he had disappeared around the corner. For some reason, the
on the back of Roy's neck started to stand up and he couldn't shake off the creepy
feeling that he
had started to feel.
Regaining his composure, Roy continued his way to the ICU to his seriously
As he approached Mike's room, he could see Mike's wife sitting in a chair beside her
husband, who was currently asleep.
Entering quietly, he smiled when she looked up at him.
"Hey,Liz. How's he doing?"
Getting up to greet the paramedic, Liz gave Roy a hug. "He's stable...but...Brackett
Early think that there may be some damage to his heart, among other organs. They
some tests later today."
"I'm sorry. How are *you* doing?"
"I'm holding up okay, Roy. It's
a heck of a thing to happen. How did you and Johnny
escape all of this?"
"Luck, I guess. Listen,
if there's anything you need...let me know...or if you want Joanne
to stay with you..."
Roy nodded and left the room. Out in the hallway, he decided that he'd pay Chet
Marco a visit.
Arriving at their room, he opened the door and peeked in. Seeing the two
awake, Roy entered.
Chet and Marco both looked up and
"How are you guys feeling?"
Gage?" asked a concerned Chet.
When Roy didn't answer right away, the two of them knew something
"He's okay, isn't he?"
Roy nodded his head. "Oh...it's nothing serious...a mild
case of food poisoning or
Chet continued to pump Roy for information. "Where is
"He's here at the hospital. I left him a little while ago, and he was sleeping comfortably.
Look, Johnny's fine...I came here to see how you guys were doing."
It was Marco's turn to
be concerned. "Roy, there's more to all of this than you're
telling us. What's going on?"
paramedic hesitated for a moment. He didn't want to upset his friends, but
understood that they wanted
to know about the whole situation. "Johnny's blaming
himself for the accident."
Chet and Marco
looked at each other briefly before turning their attention back
"Is Gage on something?
Why would he think that all of this was *his* fault?"
Roy sighed and went on to tell his friends
about Johnny's perceived mistake about
misreading the label on the brake fluid bottle, and Charlie's
response to all of it.
"Leave it to Gage. How are Mike and Cap doing?"
fact he's with Johnny now. I...I had no choice but to call him
when Johnny started to get really
agitated. Mike...he's stable but...I don't know
how it's gonna play out for him. His wife is pretty
The three friends continued to talk for another fifteen minutes.
"Have you heard
about what's going to happen to the station...the engine and
squad being totaled and all?"
Chet, I haven't. Charlie mentioned something about replacement vehicles,
but nothing else was said.
The important thing is that we get all you guys
back on your feet again."
"How about you,
amigo? As the last man of the shift still standing, you don't
exactly look so hot, either."
all right, Marco. Mostly just tired...the last few days have been pretty
stressful. Well, I should
get going...you two need your rest. I'll check back
with you later."
As Roy turned around
and started for the door, he was interupted by Chet.
"Hey...tell all the guys that me and Marco
are okay, and that we say hello."
"I will, Chet...take care."
As Roy left his friends'
room, he still couldn't shake the odd feeling he was
having about the strange orderly that he had
bumped into on his way to
"Think I'll pay Dr. Brackett a visit...see what he has
to say about it."
He started frowning when he saw that Johnny
Gage had snuck out
of his room to become his shadow. "Johnny, why aren't you in bed?!
they told you t--"
Roy DeSoto almost ran into more surprise visitors outside of Marco and Chet's
room. "Maximillion J. Lorentz?" he grinned, pleasantly surprised.
He smiled when he saw flowers in
Max's hands. "Those for the
guys?" he guessed, pointing, trying to recover some politeness.
said Max, then he gestured behind him. "Flowers,.. and him.
I figured it be best if I finally called..."
he said sheepishly. Dixie looked
frightened beside a new official looking man, wearing a gun.
Roy's face fell when he recognized the dark skinned Lt. Crockett
from the police department, replete
in his usual gray suit and power
tie with a clearly displaying belt badge.
"Wh-- what's going
on?" Roy asked.
Max pulled Roy back into Chet and Marco's room, uninvited,
shushing him. He
glanced over all of their shoulders, gesturing.
"Dixie, you've got to go find him. Fast!" he told
"In a minute. I want to know exactly what the trouble is so
I can go handle it, okay."
she said firmly.
"Max.." Roy asked again.
Maximillion ignored him, turning to the police
lieutenant who already
had a notebook and pen out after he had followed them inside.
Marco were moused into silence from the smiles they
had at the sight of the flowers arriving, at the
next words they
heard Mr. Lorentz say, as he finally told his tale to the police detective.
Mr. Lorentz lifted somber eyes wearily.|
"This is about Stoker, sir. I've.. got a grand nephew who
His mother was a Mexican dancer. About twenty years ago, she wed one
of my brothers.
You see, she thrilled to his wheeling and dealing
on the stock market. Remember my mattress stash,
"How can we forget.." Chet moaned.
"Well, she was a bit sore that she never saw
a dime after my
brother lost his whole portion of his inheritance on the stocks, and my
nephew, even more so. Why else do you think I would hide
mine besides my strong hate of banks? She
wanted my money,
yes, but he wanted it worse, especially after my brother died."
name, sir?" Crockett prompted.
"Uh, it's Mexican. He and his mother moved back across
border the minute they heard I survived that warehouse
fire and both of them swore to never speak
a word of English
to anyone, ever again."
"Until now?" Dixie guessed, thinking of the orderly.
Max just nodded, timidly, afraid.
"Sir, the name? We need to speak with this man." said Lt.
"It's Hector Santiago." Dixie told him.
Mr. Lorentz nodded, "And, there's more
I think I have to tell you."
"I don't understand.." Marco prompted, surprised.
fire was no accident. They started it."
"What?! Are you saying that building fire was a torch
"Yep. To get rid of me. You see, Hector and his mother thought
get my life insurance policy after I was dead." Max told him.
"Well why didn't you tell anyone
after we pulled you out of
there about all this?" Chet asked.
"Yeah, Or when you visited us
later at the station with your money?"
Max studied his scuffed shoes. "I thought
I could handle it by myself."
"Oh, boy, an arson job? Headquarters isn't gonna be happy
Cap's gonna haveta reopen that case again." Chet bemoaned.
Lt. Crockett still wasn't connecting
the dots. "I still don't see
a problem here at Rampart, Mr. Lorentz."
"Oh, don't you?" Max
started up. "My saved money and I made
the papers. Didn't you see the article on page seven metro
My picture and that mattress were all over it."
Chet blanched, "And so were we, guys,
The gang looked at Kelly.
"I....sort of saved it as a trophy clipping."
"Yep. And he hates you for it, Hector does. You boys got
some of my money."
"No, wait. Our charities did." Marco told him.
Max began to pace, running nervous fingers
through his hair.
"Hector doesn't know that. Doesn't matter where it ended up in
the end. Hector
sees it wholly as the fire department, aka, your shift,
as receiving undeserved gold." Max emphasized.
"And there's our motive.." Lt. Crockett sighed. "Neat as a pin."
Gage was indignant. "You
mean, Mike's crossed I.V. error was on
purpose?!" He couldn't quite wrap his brain around the idea
Lt. Crockett didn't horrify Johnny more, by physically replying.
He swiftly got on the phone on a patient nightstand. "I want officers posted
outside Johnny Gage,
Marco Lopez, Chet Kelly and Mike Stoker's
hospital rooms asap. And I want a pair of patrol cars sent
the Stanley and DeSoto households..." he paused while his
underlings took notes. Then he
exploded, "I don't know their
addresses, I didn't ask them! Call the fire department and use
sworn officer clout for the information you need." he growled,
slamming the phone down hard.
"I'll get security to start a sweep of the hospital." she told them all.
"If Hector's here, they'll
find him." Dixie shared, swiftly leaving the room.
Crockett got worried fast when five minutes
later, Dixie returned with word.
"Nobody's seen him. And the punch clock hasn't been used.
since last night when Mike was admitted."
"We'll find him." Crockett promised. "Now that we know
"Or he'll find us.." Roy swallowed, thinking of his family and friends,
Unknown to those in Chet and Marco's room,
Hector Santiago had returned to the
hospital. Quietly standing outside the door, Hector had heard
the entire conversation,
but hearing that Dixie was leaving the room, he quickly faded back into
Softly speaking, Hector said, "Damn it, that fireman is still alive...those Doctors,
...that stupid nurse gave me what I needed, but those Doctors, that's why I failed, but
*won't* fail again. So, they think they can catch me, with that cop and what they call security
in this place, that's a laugh. Well they better do it before the other firemen die...and this time,
they will...maybe along with that pretty little nurse. Maximillion...I *will* have my due, that
money is mine and I will have it."
Quietly, Hector slipped back into the darkness to plan his
next move and to decide who his
next victim would be.
Back in the hospital
room, Johnny looked over at his best friend, and softly said, "Oh Pally,
don't even think that way.
We've *all* been through enough."
Looking at the dark haired paramedic, Crockett replied, "Roy's
right Johnny, if what Mr. Lorentz
here says is true, each and every one of you guys are targets.
And this guy has proven that,
with Stoker. But, I'm hoping with the extra security, nothing further
will happen, but we aren't
going to take any chances. Mr. Lorentz, I think I'll give you some protection
as well, you could
be a target just as the firemen are."
Shaking his head, Max replied, "No
Lieutenant Crockett, if they wanted to do something to me,
they would have done it by now. No, no,
I want you to make sure that all of these fine, brave
young men, along with their families, are safe."
Johnny looked at the older man, and replied, "Mr. Lorentz, Lieutenant Crockett's right. Besides,
as you said, they already tried to kill you, in that warehouse fire. You need protection the same
as we do."
Again refusing, Max said, "No young man, I'm old and have lived a wonderful and
so whatever happens to me is not important. But you and the others...and your families...you
are important, so don't worry about me. Now, gentlemen, I hope you all get well soon but if
all will excuse me, I'll be going now."
Stepping in front of the door to block him from leaving,
Roy asked, "Ah, where are you gonna
Smiling, Max replied, "Just out young man...just
Stepping over beside Max, Lieutenant Crockett said, "Well, how 'bout if I go out with you.
I'm not taking no for an answer. Gentlemen, I'll be in touch."
With that, the two men
left the room, leaving the firemen to ponder all that had just transpired.
Johnny looked around
at his friends, and said, "Ya know...I think we could be in some trouble."
With the thought of something really serious possibly happening to Roy's family or
to any of
his other friends' families, Johnny awoke in a panic.
Opening his eyes, the first person Johnny
saw was Mike Stoker, who was looking
back at him with a concerned, but smiling face.
that you?" he asked the engineer uncertainly.
"Yep…it's me, Johnny. How are you feeling?"
Johnny lay in bed thinking for a few moments, before answering softly.
"How…how am *I* feeling?
How are YOU feeling? You…you almost
didn't make it, Mike."
The engineer looked over at his
friend with a confused expression.
"Hurting my shoulder is hardly `almost not making it'. What
are you talking
"The…the accident…the engine…and the squad…were totaled. You…you
went into cardiac arrest. Your wife was here."
"My wife? Johnny, I'm not even married. I should
get a doctor. I'll be right
Mike started to get up out of the chair, but the paramedic
reached out and
grabbed his hand. "No…no, I'm fine."
"No, you're not. You don't even remember
what happened yesterday. *You're*
the one who could have died…you and Roy."
"Roy? What happened to Roy? He…he was the only one who wasn't hurt."|
"I'm sorry to say…the whole
crew got banged up…you and Roy got the worst
of it." When Mike continued to see Johnny's confused
expression, he went on.
"Roy broke his wrist and hurt his knee. He was able to go home, but you've
been pretty out of it since yesterday morning."
"Where's everyone else?"
be coming to relieve me soon…we've all been taking turns sitting with
you. Like it or not, we've
been really worried about you. Marco and Chet were here
with you for most of yesterday…we've all
been pulled off duty until next shift. You
don't remember any of this?"
Johnny looked at his
friend…he was speechless.
"I…I don't know."
"That's okay. You have a real bad concussion…your
memory is probably a little off."
"It was so real…I…I thought…"
Coming into the room was
Captain Stanley and Dr. Early.
"Oh, you're awake. How do you feel, Johnny?" Joe asked the paramedic.
"I guess not too bad."
"How's your head? Any headache?"
nodded. "Yes…your head. You have a rather serious concussion, and
were in and out for the better
part of almost two days."
Johnny looked somewhat relieved at the doctor. "Well, then I guess that
it…it was only a dream."
Johnny Gage looked
at Joe Early with a partly fearful, worried
glance. Beside him, Mike Stoker took a chair by his bedside.
Gage asked. "Okay, I am having trouble deciding what
was real and what is fantasy, doc. So help
me out a little."
"Sure, Johnny. Dixie's been trying every vitals check to keep you
on things." Early shared, checking out Gage's pupils with
Gage winced. "Ouch.
So, Mike, spell it out for me. The engine
"All of us were injured?"
"The driver of the car who hit the squad died?"
"Yep. Accidental collision.
Nothing malicious." Cap shared.
Joe looked up from his examination of Johnny's neural status
grip strength. "Johnny, you're normal so far apart from
a little light sensitivity. Mike, you guys
had a fatality at the accident?"
"Yeah, doc. Roy said so." Mike told him. "A car couldn't stop
on the freeway to avoid the squad when they stopped in front
of the rolled over engine.
It was pretty windy and on a blind
Johnny looked partially relieved when his memory
with those early facts. "Okay, I recall that. Now, tell me like
a paramedic. What injuries
did I find.. I mean, whoever dug
us out, find on all of us?"
Right then, Dixie opened Johnny's
hospital door. "I can answer
that. I figured you'd want a little grounding now that you're back
the land of the living." In her arms were six hospital charts.
She flipped open the first one. "Johnny
shock. Probable concussion. Long boarded and collared. Mild
corrected with an oral airway and oxygen."
Johnny felt his throat for soreness but didn't find
Joe leaned in. "That was two days ago."
One by one McCall read off the initial call
reports on the gang from
their records that first started off the biophone transmissions of
accident. "Station 127, 24 and 9's were your responders on scene.
Let's see. Roy DeSoto. Conscious,
left wrist fracture. Bruised right
knee, ambulatory. Chet Kelly, unconscious due to shock and a
bleed. Stopped by direct pressure at the scene. Mike Stoker,
bruised shoulder, no rotator cuff damage
on initial nor any signs of
shock. Henry Stanley. Cracked ribs, no pulmonary compromise.
lip needing no minor surgery, just three stitches. Marco Lopez,
a broken right index finger found
following a correction of an obstructed
Johnny looked frightened. "Marco almost choked?"
"Never lost a pulse." Dixie countered calmly, levelly. "It was due
to some bitten tongue blood
and the fact that he was found on his back,
unconscious. He started breathing right away after a
few breaths on ambu
and some suction." She tossed the charts onto Johnny's bed so
he could pore
over them to his heart's content. "Johnny, everybody's fine,
and so are you." she said with exasperation
and finality. "So why fuss?
It's not amnesia, just a need for a little catching up. And now you
Gage wasn't comforted. "What did my x-rays show?"
"Absolutely negative for any cranial bleeding
or swelling. We kept you
sedated to allow healing time." Joe told him.
"So that's why I'm so
muzzy." Gage scoffed.
"It's temporary, just like I told you." Early said kindly.
added more. "Doc, he thought I was married and that
a psychopath was trying to kill me."
was probably a dream. As for the second part, there is a psychopath
trying to kill all of you." Joe
said matter of fact. "Every day so far."
Gage's musing expression fell into one of shock. "There
"Yep." Dixie said, chuckling. "It's called fire, Fireman Gage. I hear it's
in your profession."
Johnny beaned her with a pillow. "Thanks a lot."
"Just testing reactions."
Dixie laughed, neatly blocking it. "After all, why
wouldn't I want to see whether or not some friends
had survived what
they've started calling The Gale Force Nightmare in the news?"
some storm." Joe mused. "What? There was something like
a hundred injuries either directly or indirectly
caused by it that day that
trucked through our E.R. alone. Including your station's crashes."
Gage finally relaxed on the bed, stretched full out, burying his eyes.
"Yeah, well I'm really glad
it's finally all over."
"Is it?" Mike Stoker asked, gesturing to the window across the room.
Through the blinds, the sound of the Santa Ana winds picked up
speed, and started howling.
Click Rampart to |
return to the ETL.