A(nother) Year in Seattle – Week 31 – The Return Home Part II

A(nother) Year In Seattle

Sunday – January 25, 2060 – Rebirth of hope.

I had a hard time sleeping last night. I was haunted by the… lack of life in the people’s eyes– or the anger. I don’t know which is harder to deal with– but I know they’re both the faces of survival…

You either… become numb or you get angry. Two reactions– so different and yet they are the same. It’s just a question of where you direct the emotions. I was numb then.

I’m getting angry now… The corp-sec guys are still trying to run interference– to find a way back inside, to find someone insane enough to lead them in. They actually followed me to church.

I’m not sure what they were expecting– some big military strike force planning session posing as church services?

I may go to bingo just to drive them crazy!

After services, Monsignor drew me aside and handed me an envelope. It was full of untraceable currency– for Lee-Ann and the resistance.

At times like these–, I know there is hope.

Monday – January 26, 2060 – When you’re ready… you’re ready

I put in for my physical/mental evaluation for the bike. They think I’m pushing it– but if I don’t get back to what I do– I’m not really back. I can’t ‘get over’ this if I’m not allowed to get back to being who and what I am– and that is a motorcycle medic.

When I showed up– one of the shrinks just looked at me and all but kicked me out telling me to stop wasting their time. He’s sat on evaluation boards for me before. I heard him explaining it to one of the newer shrinks in Citywide’s employ…

“When she says she’s ready– she’s ready. Us telling her not to do something when she wants to is a monumental waste of time.”

The story of my life. I almost hugged the man. I did give him and the others a box of doughnuts.

It’s the least I could do.

I’m back on the bike tomorrow– and from what I’ve heard, a lot of money has passed hands on this. Ray, Dwight, and Smiley came off the winners. Everybody else figured I’d be with the truck for at least another week before they let me back out on the bike.

Tuesday – January 27, 2060 – Approaching storms

I showed up for work– to find a line of medics waiting for me. My helmet has now been embossed with a prayer to St. Jude. I couldn’t think of anything more fitting.

We didn’t have much time for silliness as the first calls came through. Three accidents and the threat of ice tomorrow morning…

That alone is enough to generate a mad panic and two or three collisions.

I had lunch in the underground– a nice little restaurant that knows how to cook Kielbasa…

I ‘tipped’ my waiter with the money from the church. I know it will get to Lee-Ann and her people.

Friday I should have more supplies for her. Between this, work and the inspection projects– we’re all stretched a little thin…. but it is good to be back.

Wednesday – January 28, 2060 – Bruised Dignity

I think there is nothing worse out there than an ice storm. Roads that look wet can be deadly and you never know if its water or ice out there until its too late. Bad enough we’ve got people sliding off the road or into each other, but add to that trying to a) get to the scene in one piece and b) avoid all the skidding and spinning vehicles.

Coming back into the station at the end of shift I was so proud. I’d managed to avoid hitting anything, and more importantly being hit. I maintained control I…

Fell flat on my butt as I headed towards my car after shift.

I was there, laying on the ice, feeling my muscles tighten up, and all I could do was laugh.

It just figures.

Smiley was there– his first call for the day.

Nothing serious– a bruised… dignity.

At least there was plenty of ice for my wrists.

Thursday – January 29, 2060 – First order of business

I got ‘called in’ this morning– one of the rescue parties had been attacked and they needed everybody they could muster in the infirmary. I wish we could just take them to the hospital– it would be so much better for them physically.

Emotionally, however– I know better. They just aren’t equipped to deal with the mental side. We’ve got emergency rooms for the physical, plans for disasters that we practice religiously… and yet– we have nothing to deal with the physical and mental damage that this disaster is inflicting… the only good thing from disaster management’s perspective is the fact that we’re only getting a few cases at a time.

Four here, twenty there…one hundred thousand estimated inside… it just doesn’t add up.

When we finally got the last person taken care of– the volunteers collapsed in the back corner of the office. All I can say is– we’re going to need more sedatives… and a lot better armor.

First order of business… take care of the injured, next: cut down on the injuries. Deus and its minions will continue to prey on those inside– that we can’t prevent… but we can see about providing the rescue parties with better gear.

They’re these people’s only chance.

I hope.

Friday – January 30, 2060 – Hypocrisy is where you find it.

The night was rather unsteady– we had a few people with real emergencies and a whole mess with waking nightmares. Let’s face the whole place is a waking nightmare… at least here they can scream in safety.

I had a long talk with one woman. I could see a lot of me in her– a lot of what I went through… only she didn’t get out in time, I did.

I think it helped a little– knowing that there were people there who understood. I don’t know. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t gotten out– if I hadn’t been picked up. Sometimes I wonder if I really did get out… that maybe this is all in my head and one day… they’ll unplug me and I’ll find out I’ve been with them all this time.

That’s a sobering thought.

When my patient finally fell asleep– I knew it was time to go. I had a job to do and our replacements were coming in. As I grabbed my stuff, I found myself cornered by ‘Dresden’– the angry survivor that had been here since last week.

He told me I was a hypocrite and that if I really wanted to help people– I’d go back in there and bring them out.

When I tried to talk to him he just sneered and walked away. He said something about not knowing what I was talking about. That I couldn’t understand even 1/10th of what these people had been through.

I’m not a hypocrite… I just know my limitations.

Saturday – January 31, 2060 – For a moment.

I spent the morning on Council Island– staring out into the water. Drifting for the most part– just relishing the feel of sunshine and fresh air. I don’t know if I can explain it to anyone. I think Case understands but–

I hate it– I hate the tunnels, I hate the underground. I hate the stifling feeling when I’m breathing recycled air. I hate the look people give me when they find out I’d been inside. I hate the feeling I get from people like Dresden– like I’m not really trying…

But when I watch the water hit the sand… when I feel the breeze in my hair– I can forget. I can forget the fear– I can forget the feeling of helplessness. I can forget that there even is anything to forget. I can exist– for one moment in time… just be in that moment.

For that one moment, there is no pain, no need, nothing but the sand and the sea… and the wind in my hair. And in that moment– I am so much bigger than any of these problems…

But– it is only for a moment…

Copyright 2001 M.T. Decker

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