Sunday, October 26, 2008


The dispatcher’s voice comes in staccato bursts interrupting the radio static. Noah snatches up the radio handset. He speaks softly into the small device, like he is sharing a secret. His partner drives and they’ve just started work. It’s typically quiet for a Monday. The rain has fallen all morning and the remains of a jam filled bun sit balled in plastic wrap on the dash, oozing a sticky river of red. 

Noah detects the concern in the dispatcher’s voice and flicks on the siren. The ambulance surges to life, weaving and wailing its way with astonishing speed. They respond to a call for assistance – a multiple vehicle MVA-fatalities already established on site. He braces himself for the worst he can possibly think of. Regardless, these wretched imaginings rarely protect him. What starts as a small taut knot in his gut, winds itself into the churning sensation of fear. Every time. 

They pull up at the scene and he is out of the car, assessing the mayhem, battling his way through the hordes that adhere to the edge of disaster; they are like globules of fat that cling to the edge of a pan - useless and idle, fulfilling no purpose other then to feed their own tedious life’s ravenous need for excitement. They enrage him and he barges through like they barely exist. 

He spots the first wreckage – it is unrecognisable and he figures the occupants probably match. The rain is beginning to soak through his clothes and the taste of that sweet sticky bun starts to sour in his mouth. Through a cluster of onlookers, he sees an officer hunched over a body, and he watches him rock back and forth in that slow rhythmic life saving motion. It is futile; the victim is already a corpse. 

As Noah moves closer, his most wretched imaginings pale in comparison to what he can now fully see. The corpse is his wife and beside her lays Jonah, his motionless son. The rain steadily falls, and the blood that spills from their wounds forms an oozing river  that runs to the tip of his shoes. Noah folds like a paper doll and the last thing he sees is that river of red rushing by.

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