Saturday, February 26, 2011


I gave Ma a huge hug when I got home early, still wrapped in a blanket and smelling like smoke. I just held on tight for a while.
Ma patted my back and asked me what happened.
My partner, Jack, and I got called to a building fire, at least that was what the call said. They didn’t mention that a nutcase in flamey red spandex tossing fireballs caused the building fire. For once, I kinda wish we didn’t have the fastest response rate of any EMT team in town. We got there before any other ambulance team, and even beat the firemen for once.
The guy apparently robbed a jewelry store and when the cops showed up, he started flinging fire at them. There were two cops down with bad burns when we got there, and the fire guy had set the apartment complex across the street ablaze.  Fire trucks arrived while we ran to help the cops. They fought the building fire while cops and a couple of superheroes tried to subdue the robber.  His body was sealed in a kind of layer of intense shimmering heat that vaporized bullets before they could do anything to him.
TakeDown tried to fight Flame Guy. TakeDown is a local guy who Jack and I had seen before a time or two. He’s good people. He does a lot of the educational outreach stuff with kids, Stranger Danger, that kind of thing. It was pretty obvious that he could hold his own in a fight, but he's not fireproof, so he couldn't get near the robber without getting burned. All he could do was dodge fireballs, and draw fire away from the civilians. The other hero was actually one of the Protectors, a nationally famous hero that I’d only seen on TV, getting a medal for saving a bunch of kids in a wrecked bus. White Knight. 
That guy makes my jaws tighten . He dresses like a refugee from a Renaissance faire and has a sword and shield and silver scale armor, but what pisses me off is the image painted on his shield: a guy with one foot on the chest of a dying dragon, holding a spear through it.  Asshole. But that shield seemed to be a good defense against fire and heat. He would just duck behind it any time Flame Guy threw a fireball at him.

Jack and I helped the cops who were down while the heroes did their best to keep Flame Guy from hurting anyone else. One cop just had burns over his forearm. We cut away his uniform, laid some burn sheets over the worst of it, and sent him to sit in the passenger seat while we took care of his partner. The other cop was burnt bad over nearly 50% of his body, screaming in agony. The smell of it choked me, and made my stomach turn. Jack called it in, and got permission from the doc on duty to shoot him up with morphene. The cop went out like Jack had flipped a switch. The cop was in for a horrific few months in the hospital, and had a high probability of not making it. And even if he did, he’d be badly scarred and probably disabled for life.
I sent Jack back to the unit for more burn sheets, cleared my mind till all I felt was empathy for the cop’s pain, checked to make sure no one was looking our way amid the chaos, and bit him on his uninjured arm. I made sure the fang pierced the median vein, and gave him a full dose of venom.  My venom doesn’t heal instantly or anything, but it vastly accelerates and augments healing, even to the point of helping him regenerate burnt skin. The cop was going to make a miraculous recovery, and probably would be back on the streets in a week or two. In six months, he wouldn’t even have scars.
Jack and I got a drip going into him, got him on a gurney, and headed toward the unit. We were paying so much attention to the injured cop, we didn’t notice that the fight had come our way. In like a second, a bunch of stuff happened. The White Knight shouted a warning. Flame Guy was headed straight for Jack, and his body had flames licking all over it, and that wicked heat shimmer that made him look blurry. If he touched Jack, my partner would be in as bad a shape as the cop or worse. Instead of getting out of the way, Jack fumbled at his belt, trying to grab the tazer he always kept with him for emergencies. 

I jumped over the gurney longways from a standstill and landed in front of Flame Guy who ran into me instead of Jack. I stumbled backward into Jack. My uniform shirt caught fire instantly, and I shoved the burning man hard away from me with my scale-protected left arm. Right into the shield of the White Knight.  The force of my shove knocked the Knight down, and dazed the bad guy.
The flames flickered out for a second and Takedown put both gloved palms on the villain’s back. I heard electricity crackle even as smoke came up from TakeDown's gloves. The fire slinger, spasmed, jerked, then went limp. The White Knight yelped at the same time, and I have to admit, I chuckled. TakeDown’s tazer gloves took out the bad guy, but apparently the knight’s shield and scale armor conducted the electricity a little too well. Take that, big bad knight.
I wasn’t laughing long as I realized my uniform shirt was burning away, and the scales on my left arm and shoulder were showing. Yikes! I hunched over the arm, trying to cover it before anyone saw, jumped into the back of the unit, grabbed a blanket and threw it over myself. Jack was right behind me.
He kept asking how bad I was hurt and trying to pry away the blanket. We had what I can only describe as our first fight. I had to practically throw him off me to keep him from looking under the blanket. He kept saying things like, “This is no time for modesty,” and “It’s okay. It’s just me.” like I was being overly shy.  I told him I was fine, but he didn’t buy it. He wouldn’t leave it be until I reminded him we had two patients to get to the hospital. He wasn’t happy about it, but he drove.
I bailed on the rest of the shift, went home sick officially. Jack gave me a look as I was leaving, not like I expected. He didn’t look pissed. He just looked kind of disappointed, I guess. 
Ma worried a bit that someone might have seen my scales during the second or two that they were visible. Even with that, she said she was proud of me for saving Jack and the cop.
But I can’t shake this feeling, like I did something really wrong. I just can’t figure out what it is.
D Dragon

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