Ambulance Means Walking, Christmas Means Dead

📅 Published on December 15, 2021

“Ambulance Means Walking, Christmas Means Dead”

Written by Ron Riekki
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 5 minutes

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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My very first Halloween, I wasn’t on the schedule.  It was my first year as an EMT.  I had a calling, to attempt to resurrect the dead for minimum wage.  I was interested in the busy shifts, but apparently Halloween is one of those days when everybody wants to work.

I don’t believe in ghosts, but I do believe in drunk drivers and if you want to see something really horrifying, you want to have a graveyard Samhain shift where after the bars close everybody starts dying in the most imaginative ways.  I don’t mean to be gallows, but I wanted to see the worst so I could get hands-on training.  The more corpses you get through, the more lives you can save.  You only learn by pushing yourself, by working as many Saturdays as you can.  If you didn’t know, more people die on Saturday than any day of the week.

But the one day of the entire year with the most deaths?  That’s Christmas.

So I was thrilled when I saw my name listed on the schedule for December 25.

The reason why so many die on Christmas?  It’s debatable.  Some say people hold off their death until Christmas.  Others say it’s because that’s the day of the year where hospitals are the most understaffed.  Others say it’s because the air is filled with the supernatural.

Where you have angels, you have demons.

My partner that night was a demon named Arthur, a thirty-something-year-old grandfather whose entire identity was in the fantasy of his one day being a doctor.  Now he was a lowly EMT.  He was always angry, always quiet, always broken by the future.

We sat in a parking lot, looking at a closed pizza place, its hemoglobin lettering.

I couldn’t ask Arthur a question.  He’d just reply with a yes or no.  Or worse, a mere hand gesture.

So we sat in L.A.’s desert cold, the engine off.

I thought of hemoglobin, thought of blood goblins, of hemo-ghouls, of the way that the patient always puts us at risk, not only with their blood, but with their peritoneal fluid, their synovial fluid, amniotic fluid, pericardial fluid, cerebrospinal fluid—so much fluid that we are really bodies of water.  We’re walking rain.  We’re storm clouds on the horizon.

Arthur’s snoring felt like fingernails running down a chalkboard, no, like fingernails strolling down a chalkboard, taking its time, bradypnic.  I wondered if Arthur would be the first death of the night.  I was trapped in my mind for Christmas.  The mess of Christ that’s my life.  Being an EMT is a cross between a janitor, a chauffeur, and a very stupid doctor.  Being an EMT is a cross.  It’s a crucifix.

No one was dying.  Or they were dying, but alone, safe in hospital rooms with no nurses nearby—the nurses at home playing Santa, playing records, playing solitaire.

I thought of the origins of St. Nicholas.  On my phone, I did an internet search, finding out that back in the old days the European hills used to be filled with fires and wheels set ablaze.  Trials were postponed.  The criminal guilty would be hanged later.  They waited for their death throughout Christmas.  St. Nick was condemned as a devil in 1680, ruled to be in alignment with Satan, the view that he was taking the emphasis away from Christ.

I didn’t believe in anything except medicine.  And even with that, I had my skepticism.

My phone died, low on battery.

The black mirror of the sky reflected my insides.

We were close to midnight.  I went into the back to lie down.  The ambulance was the oldest one the company had.  The paramedics got the good ambulances.  The rite of passage was dealing with broken sphygmomanometers, bent gurneys, panels that refused to slide without force.

I wondered how many patients had died back here—years of useless cardiopulmonary resuscitation on corpses, decades of uncontrolled bleeding.  The blood must be up to my neck by now.  I’m drowning in patients.

The panic attack came on quickly.  It felt like trying to swallow my tongue.  FYI: it’s impossible to swallow your own tongue, the foolishness of people who think epileptics might do so.  But it felt like that.  An inability to breathe.  Just like the patients, so many who I’ve had.  The nasal cannula that does nothing.  The non-rebreather mask that does nothing.  The bag-valve mask that does nothing.  The nothing that seems to help, the relaxation that is death.

I don’t believe in ghosts.  On ghosts.  Under ghosts.  None of that.

To be even clearer, I don’t believe that you see ghosts.  I don’t believe ghosts are external.  I believe that ghosts are in our hearts.  They’re in lungs.  There are cold ghosts of the ossicles and the warm ghosts of chromosomes.  When you are truly haunted, the dead are in our blood.

I couldn’t see any ghosts.  You can never see any ghosts.  I could feel them.  There were footsteps inside me.  Wind-blasted.  A church collapsing internally.

Pavor nocturnus.  Night terrors.  But not memory.  The now.  The New Agers tell you to be in the now.  Except now.  Not when they—a long list of they—are crawling.  It’s a long lineage of grandmothers who took their last breaths while EMTs rapped along to metal lyrics blaring through static-alternating radio stations.  I’ve witnessed so much boredom with the dying.  You only put up a dramatic fight if the family is in the back of the ambulance.  Otherwise, you work with the intensity of plumbers.  We are librarians for human beings; we sort you to different hospitals and the Dewey Decimal System of the morgue.  We do what needs to be done and nothing more.  We are legally bound to stay within the confines of our training.  We cannot do magic.  We watch patients die and take thorough notes of their death.  There is no magic in that.  But there is voodoo in their return.  My skin is bubbling.  I wish I could tell you the story of my body, but it’s private.  It’s a haunted house.

One in five Americans suffers from mental illness, so maybe you know what I’m talking about—when the ghosts are in your attic, when the ghosts are in your attic.  All the windows are locked.  You’re having an in-your-body experience.  And then it’s her.  Or him.  I couldn’t tell the sex.  The person we transported who went through the windshield.  No seatbelt.  Landed on pavement and slid face down the length of a football field.  The shirt, the shorts, torn through.  The face was eradicated.  You don’t transport a patient like that prone.  You put them supine, so they’re staring at you.  Except the eyes were taken by road.  I see a face that’s not a face and that face is in my skull, frontal, cortical, limbic.  I can feel myself being suffocated by them.  All the patients who took last breaths.  Now, they want mine.  I’m about to die by the hands of the imaginary.  I can feel the past tense becoming present.  I can feel the gift of strangulation.  Hands inside the neck.

The radio comes on.

Someone has died.

Someone has died and saved me.

They run.  They hide.  They return.  The back of the ambulance once again smelling like bleach diluted in water.  The ambulance looked like a prison cell diluted in the hospital.

I go back up front, clawing, almost fully drained.

The hollow.

The fresh hollow of the living.

I take a breath and punch the radio button to take the call.

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by Ron Riekki
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Ron Riekki


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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