MY HEART BEATS FOR YOU
Trust your hunches. They're usually based on facts filed away just below the conscious level. ~Joyce Brothers
These good fellows don't belong to me but I promise when I'm done to pick um up, dust um off and with a kiss on the cheek return them safely home.
A/N: And thus another journey begins. Thank you for those who choose to join me. Let me know what you think, thanks!
Some say that there is a palpable electricity that permeates the air around you when something is about to happen. It's not something you can touch, taste, or even smell, but still ... you know it's there.
The on duty firemen of Station 51 A shift moved around the station completing assigned tasks that had been handed out by Captain Hank Stanley. Anyone not familiar with this particular crew would have painted them as surly, unfriendly, on edge, and most likely downright cranky. But Hank did know his crew. Better than the back of his hand most would say. Working alongside these men for a few years now he could predict almost to the tee how each would react in almost any situation they encountered.
That is until today.
He walked through the bay as John Gage, paramedic and fireman, mopped then onto the Dorm where Chet Kelly and Marco Lopez, linemen cleaned up and scrubbed the bathrooms. Propelling forward he found Mike Stoker, engineer, making a grocery list for dinner as Roy DeSoto, paramedic, swept the day room floor and cleaned off the table.
To the untrained observer one would see men going about their jobs, quietly and without disruption. For Hank it was alarming. There was something in the air today, he could feel it and by the way they were acting, so could they. Its tangible presence seemed to thicken the space and bring along an edginess that was making Hank dread the rest of the day.
They watched him, but no one happily greeted him. It was more of a somber or anxious 'morning Cap' that he would receive and he was sure his wife would accuse him of acting like a mother hen counting her chicks if she saw what he was doing. But he felt uneasy too as if one of them would vanish if he blinked too long.
"He's making me nervous," Johnny mumbled to Roy as they met by the squad storage doors.
Roy looked up and listened until the footsteps had returned to his office and closed the door, for the third time since the shift had begun. He shook his head with his own feeling of restlessness as they began sorting through the trauma and medicine boxes' making sure everything was accounted for.
"Just give him his space. He feels it too."
Closing the last box in front of him and locking the clasp into place he slid it into the side compartment of the squad and reached down for Roy's. "What is it with today anyway? Feel like we're just waiting for something really bad to happen." An involuntary shudder went through his body and his next glance found Roy eyeing him as if he was the one about to disappear.
"What?" Johnny exclaimed.
A chuckle erupted along with a smile. "Nothing Junior. You ready for a run to Rampart for the supplies?"
"Anything to get out of here for a little while." Johnny said as he tried again to shake the heavy feeling off his shoulders.
Roy had already followed the footsteps back into the kitchen and after securing the last box he headed into the living area to find Hank.
Chet was now lounging on the couch with Henry draped across his legs as he held the remote and flipped channels though he was seemingly oblivious to what he was passing by on each one. Mike was sitting at the table reading the paper yet keeping an eye on his Captain who was circling the table with a nervous energy that he wasn't even aware of.
"Cap, Johnny and I are going to run to Rampart for supplies." Roy called out to him.
Hank nodded and then very uncharacteristically he added, "Be careful".
Even Mike looked up at him.
Roy smirked and bit his tongue to keep the "yes mother" from erupting from his lips. His eyes reflected back his understanding of where his leader was coming from and that yes, it was appreciated.
Dixie McCall, RN slammed the clipboard on the desk as she approached it causing Johnny to literally jump back seeing how he was in the line of fire. She looked up with apology in her eyes.
"Sorry Johnny, it's a bad day."
"Well, hate to tell you Dix but the day is just starting." Johnny replied trying to keep the conversation light.
Roy rolled his eyes knowing that was not what she wanted to hear. A quick glance in her direction and she instantly revealed that she was not in the mood for humor.
She paused with her hands on her hips. "Well you know what Johnny that really helps a lot. Since you seem to have so much free time on your hands why don't you go find some more patients for us then?"
Instantly she regretted the sarcasm as she watched his face fall like an admonished child. Taking a deep breath she tried to take back her harsh words. "I'm sorry Johnny. I can't explain it, but today is just, I don't know… weird."
His eyebrows shot up. "You guys too?"
Roy stepped in to attempt and smooth things over. "We're having a very," he paused to find the right word, "uneasy start to the day too."
Dr. Kelly Brackett walked up behind them and handed a chart to Dixie. "There's a first time for everything," he said shaking his head with disbelief.
"What's that doc?" Johnny asked.
"Lady got into her shower this morning and in the middle of it the water turned boiling hot on her. Gave her third degree burns on forty percent of her body."
Roy's jaw dropped. "Do they know what happened?"
He shook his head. "No explanation at all. Brice and Dwyer ran the call. When they checked the shower the water was normal."
This time the shiver went through Dixie. "This day needs to just get finished. I have a really bad feeling about it."
Roy picked up the supplies. "I'll agree with that one Dix." With a tug on his partners' arm they moved down the hallway back to the squad. Pulling away from the parking lot they began working their way back to the station.
"Why would that have happened?"
Roy sighed. He knew Johnny would over think it and regretted standing at the desk long enough to be caught up in the discussion.
"It was just a freak accident, nothing more."
Before the conversation could continue Roy caught the glimpse of a child run in front of the squad and he slammed on the breaks causing the tires to squeal and the rear to slightly fishtail.
When they came to a stop his hand went to his head where he hit the steering wheel, Johnny was shouting something, but at least he knew he was unharmed as he recoiled from the front dash, and Roy's other hand went for the squad door.
"You okay?" He exclaimed as he opened the door.
"What the hell happened?" Johnny said as he tried to catch his breath again.
Roy jumped out of the squad and with a heavy dread in his heart he ran to the front of the vehicle fully expecting to find a body under the tires.
But there was nothing there. Not a single sign of the kid that he had caught in the corner of his vision. His eyes darted around the area, searching along the sidewalks and parking lots for any sign of his existence.
By now Johnny had joined him as he tried to figure out what happened. "What is it Roy?" His voice was now laden with concern seeing the panic in his partners' eyes.
Roy shook his head. "A child, I saw a child run into the street." He kept pushing his head from one end of the street to the other. "I swear there was a child."
He reached up and wiped the sweat off his forehead grimacing with the action. His eyes met Johnny's and the younger medic knew there was no arguing with what Roy thought he saw.
"Geez Roy, you're bleeding."
Roy pulled is hand down and now was feeling the sting of sweat in the laceration on his forehead. "I'm okay."
Johnny pointed at him. "Don't move."
Moving to the side doors he unlocked them and pulled out the first aid kit. Returning to Roy he pulled out some four by fours and reached up to wipe the blood away in an effort to see how bad the cut was. Roy's efforts to swipe him away were met with equal resistance as Johnny did a brief assessment. At least as much as Roy would give in to.
"Well, you need stitches. Do you want to drive or me?"
Roy glared at him. He felt like he was losing his mind and Johnny was worried about a little cut.
"I don't understand it. There was a kid." He turned in another circle looking.
Johnny didn't doubt what Roy had seen, but at the moment they were alone.
"Don't look at me like that," Roy said in a low voice.
Johnny threw up his arms. "Look Roy, I never said you were crazy or that you didn't see a kid. But he dodged us or we missed him. Either way, the only one hurt is you. So let's go get it taken care of."
With a resigned sigh Roy climbed into the passenger side of the squad since by now his head was pounding. Johnny tried to hide the smile as he gripped the steering wheel in his hand knowing it was a rare occurrence that put him in this position. Then the smile disappeared knowing that it usually was because Roy was sick or hurt. Both prospects bothered him, especially now as Roy put his hand to his head again.
"Hold on Pally, we'll be there in two minutes."
"Thank God it's only a couple of stitches Roy and nothing worse," Dixie said as she cleaned the wound and applied the bandage so he could return to work. "You know I was just kidding about bringing more patients, right?" She smiled at him reflecting how much she did care about him.
He nodded his head.
"Roy, how are you feeling now?" Brackett stood back from the exam table, his arms crossed, concern in his tone.
"Better, the headache is fading." He reached down and pulled his shirt back on from where they had done a chest x-ray to make sure the bruises to his chest were only bruises and not an underlying complication.
"Well, everything checks out so you can return to work, but come right back here if you have a worsening headache or any chest pain."
He sat up and buttoned up his shirt. "And Johnny's okay?"
Kelly smiled knowing that of course that would be his only concern. The two men had been paramedic and fireman partners for several years now and were as close as any two brothers could be.
"He's just as stubborn as you, thank goodness. He's just fine."
Roy let out a breath. "Good." He still couldn't explain what had happened or what he had seen, but they were okay and the squad was fine at least. "Sure hope this day gets better."
"Amen pally," Johnny said as he came in the room. "Unusual doesn't even begin to describe it."
Roy sat at the kitchen table and filled out the accident report then slid it over to Hank who had hardly taken his worried eyes off him. "Here Cap."
"You're sure you're okay?"
"I'm fine. Feel a bit ridiculous though."
They both looked over to see Chet leaning on the kitchen table toward them. Hank rolled his eyes knowing the conversation was going to go downhill fast now.
Chet shook his finger at them. "I'm telling you this creepy feeling in the air, the shower, the mysteriously disappearing boy, it's the paranormal."
Johnny held his coffee cup and scoffed at him. "Chet your imagination is enough to stock the Twilight Zone staff for the next ten years."
Marco chuckled from the couch.
Chet stood back up. "I'm telling ya. Today's not right and you know I speak the truth Gage." He bit into an apple that he held only to immediately spit it back out, all over the table. "Aaackkkk!"
Hank had to jump up in order to dodge the spew, "KELLY!"
Sputtering and spitting out all the remains Chet felt nauseated at the taste in his mouth. He looked up at Mike. "Geez Mike, you trying to kill me or something?"
Mikes eyebrows went up at the accusation. "Sorry Chet. There fresh, I just got them this morning."
Marco reached down and picked up one of the worms that still wiggled on the table. "Your eating habits are disgusting Chet."
Chet was truly ready to hurl at this point.
Johnny pushed back the feeling of dread he'd been carrying since he stepped into the bay this morning. "Add that to your paranormal list Chet." Then he shook his head. "We've had weird days happen before; we'll survive this one too."
Silence permeated the kitchen as everyone looked to him as if prophetic words had been spoken.
Mike closed the refrigerator door and put some fresh oranges in the bowl that resided on the table. "I wouldn't test that theory Johnny, at least not today."
Before anyone else could speak the tones sounded.
STATION 51, TRAFFIC ACCIDENT …