Cissie ran down the entry hall throwing the doors wide open. As paramedics burst into the hall firing questions at her, she shrank back against the staircase, shaking and crying.
“How soon did you start CPR?” the tall one pulled equipment from packs they’d carried into the house.
“Did he have a pulse?” The short one pulled the shirt open, exposing Scott’s chest.
“I started right away. I couldn’t find a pulse, but it was my first time,’ she wrung her hands to still the trembling. “Please, help him.”
The paramedics knelt on either side of Scott’s chest. The tall one placed pads and switched on the AED monitor. Cissie watched as the machine went through its motion, assessing, evaluating, calculating. Finally the tinny command came from the small black box,”Stand clear”. “No Pulse detected. Stand Clear, delivering shock.”
It won’t do any good. He’s gone.
“Will this help him?” Cissie moved restlessly shifting her weight from foot to foot.
“Maam, we’re doing the best we can, just give us a chance.” The machine whirred again, “Begin CPR”.
He’s gone. He’ll never bother you again.
“Cal, please.” Cissie muttered half to herself.
“Is Cal your husband?” The short one was placing an airway while the tall on worked on Scott’s chest compressions.
He was weak. He was greedy. He was not worthy of you, or your concern.
“Cal, it’s just not right. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. No one deserves to die like this, before their time.”
“Switch”, the two paramedics traded positions after the last life saving breath was pushed into Scott’s chest. The machine sat, lights blinking at the side of the scene.
Life was wasted on him. He did not appreciate what he had, or all he could have. Sad. Stupid.
“Cal please, not now.”
The paramedics sent furtive glances in her direction. They’d been working on Scott for a very long time. The storm had begun to abate, and the clouds pushed off onto the horizon. he lights flickered and then the electricity cam back on with a surge. The lights were strong and they could see the burn marks along the electrical outlet in the wall. Black streaks smeared Scott’s cheeks and his hair stood out at odd angles all over his head. The two paramedics sat back on their heels. “Time to call it. There’s nothing more we can do.”
The short one glanced down at his watch, “7:06 p.m., code ended.”
A fierce wind whipped through Cissie as the doors flew open at the front of the house. Icy dread slipped down her spine, making her tremble anew. She pulled herself closer to the wall, wrapping her arms around her waist. The last gush of air raced past them out the front door and the doors slammed glass rattling while the key turned in the lock. The two men and Cissie gaped at one another.
Scott’s chest heaved as he drew in a huge gulp of air. A croaking sound came from his mouth as he tried to sit upright. The paramedics drew away at first, then snapped into action. Re-attaching the pads to his chest they let the monitor make its assessment. The short one grabbed a flashlight to check Scott’s pupils. No reaction, the eyes were dark, almost black . “Normal sinus rhythm, no CPR required,”the machine announced .
“You need to lie still, sir.” The tall one jumped to his feet, grabbing the equipment as he he raced for the front door. “I’ll get the gurney.”
“No, wait.” Scott’s voice was hoarse. It didn’t sound like him at all, at least not to Cissies’ ears.
“I don’t need to go to the hospital.” He lifted a hand to his temple and shook his head. “I’m fine, really.” He looked over at Cissie and winked.
“Maam?”, the tall paramedic waited for Cissie’s response. The short one slowly rose to his feet, head turning to watch the exchange bouncing around the other three in the hallway. He stumbled back, away from Scott. Cissie wanted to do the same. Put as much distance between herself and the man slowly getting to his feet from the floor.
“I’ll be fine here. This house belongs to me.” He reached out a hand and slid cold fingers down Cissies’s cheek, “Home at last.”
She looked into his eyes but all she could see was darkness.
Be careful what you ask for. She could hear Scott’s voice in her head.