We spent the day trying to take it easy, but scenarios just seemed to be brewing in our minds. A few times we forgot that the terror was there, but when she started repeating us, Case warned me to stop.
Bri spent the next half an hour happily repeating her version of her father's warning: "Ixnays on the alls cays."
It's the thought that counts.
We ended up spending a quiet day at home, just being a family- at least until we put the rug-rat to bed. Then it was back to problem solving.
We didn't get any further with the cause, but we did have a way of dealing with the effect. Until we figure things out- Star and Citywide dispatchers will be confirming each other's calls. It doesn't mean we don't go out on suspected ghost calls- but we go out knowing it could be a false alarm.
At least its something.
Since I was working on something that required my full concentration, I left Bri with Mario. I swear between him and 'mom' Walker, she's going to be one spoiled little girl.
Ray showed up around 10:00 and we went over everything Case and I had come up with. It wasn't much, but we really didn't expect much. It's just been too weird and too random to predict or explain.
I don't think we're going to figure this out without an investigative team responding to the suspicious calls. At least that's the general consensus.
Around noon, the chief of Citywide Ops dropped by to see if we'd come up with anything. He took our news rather well, considering the fact that we still had absolutely no idea what was going on.
As a matter of fact the only thing I learned all weekend is "Don't discuss private matters in front of a toddler."
Some days should really come with a reset button.
The day started off nice and normal like- just the way I like it, but as the evening progressed, so did the weirdness- and the desire for a reset button.
There was a brawl down in the Ork underground. I responded as did Dwight and Huey. Moving through the crowd was interesting. The only reason I got anywhere was because Dwight and Huey led the way. I still nearly got myself clobbered when a rather belligerent patient decided that I wasn't showing the proper amount of... respect (read fear).
"Wadda you looking at!?" His speech was slurred from alcohol and a swollen jaw.
"I'm trying to look at your jaw," I told him.
"Not scared of you!"
"Good," I answered. The last thing I want is a patient to be scared of me, and I told him as much.
"Jus 'who you think you are?"
Yeah, we were having a lovely conversation and for every step forward I made, he'd forget it and go back to sulking.
It's a good thing I can move relatively quickly, and that the was too drunk to be coordinated. Otherwise I would have been the one we dragged out on the stretcher.
I should have been able to control the scene better. Sometimes being smaller- and a woman helps. They did research on it a long time ago- something about people reacting better to women cops in some circumstances... I guess 'cause its hard to feel threatened by someone smaller than you are. I guess sometimes the Neanderthal behavior has its benefits... that protect the small thing kicking in...
Too bad its pretty much ancient history. Cyber and bio has done a lot to make people paranoid- and informed enough to know that no body's completely harmless anymore...
On the bright side, the trouble in the Underground meant I missed our latest ghost call. Case told me all a little bit about it when I got in.
I'm glad I was busy.
I had trouble sleeping today-- go figure. It was really frustrating- Case knew the full score of what happened last night, but he refused to give me the whole story until I'd at least taken a nap.
Yeah, here I am 'Director of Rapid Medical Response services' (or some equally ridiculous acronym hatching name) and I have to take a nap before he'll tell me everything. Man's been taking care of Bri too long.
I don't know which was more frustrating- him all but demanding I take a nap, or the fact that I really needed one if I was going to function.
I think he knows me too well...
Anyway- I tossed and turned in bed for the required amount of time, then got up and asked for the details. He just shook his head and sent me back to bed. I did finally get to sleep- for about an hour before it was time to get up and get ready for work.
When I got up, Mario was there, reporting in for sitting duty. As he settled in for the evening, Case finally filled me in on the details.
There was a call at about 2:45 AM this morning: Star received the call as a hit and run on the North End of Kobe Terrace Park- Citywide got a call of an accident with injuries on the west side of the park. Units were dispatched, along with investigators. The Star didn't see anything, but they felt it.
His description sent chills down my spine. It was too close to what I'd already experienced.:
A wind came rolling through the area, almost like a freight train. Debris was scattered in front of it, but when it was finished- there was no other sign that it had been there. None of the recording gear picked up anything. It was almost as if it were all in their heads. Almost...
The mages with the responding investigative team were almost in shock over the whole thing. When asked about it, neither of them would say a word.
West side didn't fair much better- or they did, I guess it all depends on your point of view. They got the full light show: the glowing semi- the air horn. They also saw a young man with long hair walking towards them, his hand outstretched- glowing with the same unearthly shade of blue the semi had radiated.
There wasn't much more detail- only the fact that the 'visions' are getting worse- more aggressive.
I don't know what to make of it. None of us do, and I'm about to go right back out into it.
After last night's shift, and another set of 'occurrences', we were no closer to solving this thing. None of the recording equipment picked up anything- or if they did, all they recorded was static.
'Occurrences.' Doesn't that sound so much better that 'Freaky late night weirdness that makes you question your sanity' ?
The mages still aren't talking, which worries more than anything else.
I ended up checking in with PC on the way home this morning. I asked him if there was a way for me to record what I see in my journal. He thought about if for a minute and told me he'd get back to me on it. It almost sounded as if he were blowing me off, but when I turned to leave, I saw the look in his eyes. I swear I could see the gears turning.
I just don't know if it will help us or not. I guess it couldn't hurt.
At least I did manage to sleep this morning. Good thing too- we got a full moon for tonight's shift, and that brings its own inherent weirdness.
Where do I begin? We had more than our usual 'weird calls' last night. A lot more. And just when I thought it couldn't get any weirder- it did.
The evening started out with a pair of jumpers, downtown. We almost lost one of them- but there was a mage there to catch the one that actually followed through.
I didn't even have time to catch my breath before I was off again- this time it was a homeless man. He'd walked into the middle of traffic and somehow actually managed to keep from getting hit.
He did manage to tie up traffic in a rather spectacular manner.
He also did a great job of keeping the Star at bay. They didn't want to hurt him so they just corralled him until we could get someone to transport him. I showed up first- actually got close to the man.
The terror in his eyes was almost palpable.
Just when I thought we'd have to tranq him, he looked at me and told me that 'the storm is coming-- beware.' Then he passed out.
I didn't know what he was talking about, until much later. Let's just say, I think our ghost calls are over- at least for a while.
The storm he spoke of- if I'm right was what I saw as a semi, what the mages saw as something far more horrifying: a force fed by anger, rage- and fear.
At least that's what Case says about it now- I have to take his word for it. I really didn't see all that much once everything started happening. But I'm getting ahead of myself again.
It all started when another ghost call came in. This time I was the responding medic.
It was Kobe Terrace Park again. But this time, I saw the man with long hair. He was there standing to the side. His expression one of long suffering silence, like a child who doesn't know why things are happening, just that they are a condition of his life.
I don't know why, perhaps because of the old man's warning, or just- something in the apparition's eyes. I followed him. I thought I was fully alert, but people from the investigative team that had arrived just after me said I walked away from the call as if in a trance.
I was following the figure, they followed me.
My God, what we found there... I can only remember it in flashes. Scattered food boxes with half eaten meals- children, caged like animals- all at different corners of an elaborate diagram.
It must have taken weeks to draw- to draw the symbols on the floor, and to draw the energy from the children.
I only had a moment to absorb it all and react. I was reaching for one of the children when I felt the energy gathering behind me. The mage who had set this whole hellish nightmare into action. He reacted instinctively... I was an interloper, about to undo everything he had worked on.
Fortunately- I wasn't alone.
As he moved in on me...his eyes... I remember his eyes. They glowed with hatred. As he raised his hand, I felt a familiar rush of power and wind- the horn. I saw his expression shift from one of rage to smug satisfaction... and then
Then I felt an echoing surge from behind me- the investigating team's mage.
Its hard to put it all into words. I saw the determination in his eyes as my attacker tried to propel me into the center of his diagram... I looked up and saw the figure that had led me there- his expression sad, as if he'd led me to certain death. Sad, and yet determined...almost encouraging.
I fought then. I fought with everything I had. I was still fighting when one of the team pulled me into his arms and held me. He was calling to me- calling me by name, trying to bring me back to reality. It was Case.
Even now I don't know everything that happened. I wouldn't leave the scene until the children were seen to. Only then did I let Case take me home.
I called in sick today- got Ray to cover my shift. I think the boss'll understand. Case stayed home as well.
I pretty much slept myself out yesterday. After everything that had happened- I was surprised I could. Sometimes I think that's the mind's way of coping though, just shut yourself down for a while and when you wake up: things will look better.
It didn't really look better, but it did look like it was over...
Two of the children we'd found had been on the missing person's list for almost three weeks. From the looks of things, they were the only ones with family. Lord knows how long the others had been there... probably as long as there'd been ghost calls.
The Doctors wanted to make the other three wards of the State, test them out- figure out who had managed to create the ghost calls and how. If it indeed had been one of the kids. There's no telling for sure now: they managed to slip away from the hospital last night.
Case told me that they tried questioning all the kids, but none of them seemed willing or able to talk about it. Case said that after the two missing children's parent's were contacted, corporate security swarmed all over them and spirited the kids away- supposedly taking them to their parents.
I hope that's the case- they've been through more than enough for kids that age. As for the other three: according to reports they refused to talk to anyone.
The three of them would look at each other and then just nod as if they'd had a lengthy conversation and then just move away. I ended up watching the tapes. It almost hurt to see them behave like that- until at one point one of them looked directly at the camera, gave a slight smile and nodded.
It was almost... almost as if he was saying that everything was going to be fine. I don't know, I really don't. Maybe I'm trying to convince myself that they've gone someplace where they're better off.
Maybe it was what he was trying to say, I don't know. I can tell you this much though, his expression was the same as the ghostly figure that had led me to them in the first place.
Copyright 2000 M.T. Decker