Phantoms

“Medic 9 with Ambulance 9, respond for the reported shooting.”

It’s 0730 on a Sunday morning. What the heck are people thinking? Go to church!

We roll into one of the sketchier areas of our small city, asking for a status on the police units. The last thing I want is to stumble into a hot scene. Fire Alarm tells us, “They’re still looking for the patient.”

Hmm. No mention of the shooter. . .

We wander into the neighborhood and pull up beside the first cruiser we see. The radio crackles, “Units on the shooting, PD is requesting you stage clear of the scene.” That would be great if A) we knew where the scene was, and B) you’d mentioned it 6 minutes ago. The officer tells us they’re not sure where the patient might be and asks us to stage in the next block. We happily comply as numerous units descend on the area.

It looks like the whole duty shift of our small city has converged on these four square blocks. One of the officers tells us that they had a single phone call, but the caller is not at that location anymore. They scour the neighborhood with no luck. We wait patiently.

After an exhaustive search the neighborhood remains quiet and patient-free, and we move on with our day.

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“Medic 9, respond in front of St. Vacant’s for the unresponsive party.”

St. Vacant’s may be right downtown, but it’s been abandoned for years. It’s located on the edge of an interesting neighborhood, and its steps often play host to an assortment of sinners.

We arrive to find three police units and a fire engine but no obvious patients. The flashlights come out and we all go to work. The steps are clear; the bushes are empty; the alleys are vacant; and everyone in the park across the street is verified to be vertical. No one has seen anything. The giant carved crucifix on the front of St Vacant’s towers fifty feet above us, but there is no one to save here.

We move on. The night is still young in our city of ghosts.

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