It was just like any other peaceful day spent hiking in God's country. He loved the chill in the morning that helped him to set a brisk pace as he set out. The air leaving his body in small dragon like smoke rings. The sun barely gracing the horizon, the deep colors of night trying to hold their ground against the bright colors of morning. The colors not even colors yet but more hues and shades of colors. Oh, how he loved the feeling of striking out across this almost desert like waste land.
Then there were the first signs of something going wrong. A slight twinge of pain near his heart, not his heart itself but an area close to it. He was in fine physical shape and could understand the cause of the pain. His pace slowed slightly as he tried to catch his breath. Maybe he had over done it this morning when breaking camp. That is when he heard it. Faint at first way off in the distance. So far off in fact it was impossible to tell which direction the sound was actually coming from, he tried to steady his breathing in order to get a clearer indication of where the sound was coming from, but that was useless.
The noise was closing in fast. It sounded like a thousand head of cattle but more menacing. It was a deeper sound, and just on the horizon to the west a dust cloud could be seen forming and it appeared to be moving towards him at an alarming rate. They appeared to be moving in a direct line towards him and he knew for a fact that the direction that they were heading from was not the easiest ground to be moving quickly over. Ravines and drop offs as well as miniature river beds created by the flash floods that plagued this area during the short rainy season made the going slow through here, normally. Not to mention that they were moving directly into the sun that was still hanging low on the horizon meant that they or it was moving at a suicidal pace.
There was that twinge again, this time a bit more pronounced, now it seemed to be in two places on his chest. Now he could taste fresh water and blood on his tongue. Though he knew that he hadn't bitten his tongue or taken a sip from his canteen. He wasn't sure what perplexed him more, the sudden tastes in his mouth or the sudden need to sit down. He also felt a sharp pain in his arm. It felt like a bug bite, but when he looked there was nothing that could be the culprit.
The sound was definitely drawing closer and he could now tell that it wasn't the sound of cattle. At least not any beast that he knew of to live in this area. The pain hit harder and sharper this time dropping him the rest of the way to the ground on his back. His pack cut into him uncomfortably. He shuddered slightly.
He heard some strange unknown voice calling his name. Other voices were speaking rapidly, over one another. It wasn't an argument as much as it was people trying to convey important information in milliseconds The sun was suddenly setting and the winds had picked up, sand was blowing all around him. The taste of fresh water and blood was thick in his mouth.
He coughed and sputtered heavily. The smell around him had changed from the light early morning desert smells to one of an old school left locked up over summer vacation, musty and dank. The sand pelted him now and he could hear the night critters scurrying, but instead of scurrying towards him they were fleeing him. His eyes flickered to try and keep the sand out of them. He almost felt water splash into them before he could fight them closed again.
The musty smell was replaced briefly by burning flesh and then was replaced again by the smell of rotting flesh. His stomach attempted to revolt against him. It lurched and he sputtered trying to keep the light breakfast down. The sounds were loud now, causing the ground to shake. He shuddered suddenly very cold and unable to move his limbs at all. He could feel himself sinking into the sand deeper and deeper. He could hear the larger beasts and vermin slithering, sliding and scurrying away from him now as the noise became almost deafening. Just when he was certain that he was able to be trampled the sound came to rest close by, and then briefly roared louder as a bull about to charge and then was suddenly quiet. Footsteps could be heard crushing the vegetation and sand as strides were taken towards him.
"CLEAR!" Was the shout that he heard, and the pain exploded into his chest as he gasped for air. His eyes fluttered wide wake and he attempted to bend in half at the waist. Water poured into his mouth from the darkened sky. Sounds assaulted his ears as he fought for consciousness.
"I have a pulse!" Someone was shouting as he fell back onto the mat that he had been laying on.
"Bag 'im!" Was the next command that he heard. Just as his eyes began to flutter closed again he felt some one pushing on his chest very hard and firmly.
As his head rolled back and forth he squinted up into the sky and felt the sand pelting his face again. The smell of meat long dead assaulted his nostrils again and he instantly knew the smell. He had tried so very hard to rid himself of that memory and the person responsible for it. The smell was getting stronger as the steps grew closer.
"Ed, come on son, is this the life ya really want?" The biker stated clearly into his brain.
"No!" It was barely audible and he gasped heavily from the effort of the word.
"You belong to us Ed. You are one of us now, but your time is not yet." With that the biker pushed heavily on his chest and he gasped for air again. Again trying to sit upright and bend in half.
Again his senses were assaulted. Bright lights flash all around him. Sirens squealed, people yelled, rain pounded hard into him. He laid back down this time and sighed deeply. He felt drained and completely spent. His head rolled to the side of the gurney that he was laying on trying to mentally make sense of what was transpiring.
There was a car sticking up from the bar ditch at an odd angle as if it had been set there standing on its front bumper straight into the night air. The flashing lights had an odd effect on the vehicle visually. To his minds horror it appeared that Animal was standing beside what should have been the underside of the car. Large rain drops fell hard upon him. They bounced off of him and through him at the same time. Ed knew that his brain was exhausted. He was obviously delusional. The things that he was seeing didn't make sense visually or logically. Ed prided himself on being very logical, and being able to think through things that most folks had a difficult time with. Yet, all the information that he was obtaining visually did not follow a logical path.
Lighting flashed illuminating the rainy night air. He clearly saw Animal now, mirrored shades firmly in place. He was watching Ed, insuring that all was well with the human. Ed shuddered lightly at the thought that Animal was there and in his dream at the same time. It didn't bode well for him, Ed thought to himself. He felt himself being moved and his eyes tried to focus on the people working on him and around him. He watched passively as he was loaded into an ambulance a few scant seconds later, the sirens blared to life and he knew that he was on the move to a hospital.
The paramedics tried talking to him, but it was difficult to answer them clearly with the oxygen mask on his face. He tried moving his head only to find out that someone had placed a collar on it to minimize the movement he guessed.
"Do you know what your name is?" The male paramedic asked him again.
He blinked his eyes and moved his slightly in a nodding fashion.
"Do you know what happened?" The paramedic questioned.
He slowly tried to shake his head no. This is what really bothered him. He wasn't sure what had transpired to get him into this latest ride to a hospital. He just hoped that he hadn't injured anyone or done something tremendously stupid.
"Ok, try to be as still as possible. You are a pretty remarkable guy is all I know." The paramedic checked the monitors that Ed was hooked to and made notes on a chart. "Do you care which hospital we take you to?"
Again, Ed tried to shake his head no, and felt the cushions push into the sides of his head.
"OK, just lay back and enjoy the ride, it took us a while to get you stabilized at the scene, but you are looking a lot better now. We should be at the hospital in a few minutes. Obviously, the police are going to want to talk to you about what happened. I know that the family that you helped are following us and are going to want to talk to you." The paramedic was trying to fill the travel time with small talk to keep Ed awake. He knew this from his time that he had dabbled with the thought of being a rescuer.
Shock registered clearly on Ed's face at the latest comment. He didn't recall helping any family tonight. He had simply been out on a nice evening cruise on his freshly rebuilt bike. That was the last thing he could truly recall.
"You really don't remember anything do you?" The 'medic asked, truly intrigued.
Ed again tried to move his head in a negative manner and felt the resistance yet again.
"Well, all I got was bit and pieces that I over heard from the others at the scene as they were explaining what happened. You are a pretty remarkable guy. I don't know that I could have done what you did. From what I was able to gather you saw a lady and a kid break down on the side of the road. Despite the fact that it was apparent that a pretty bad storm was moving in fast you stopped to help them. As you helped them change the flat tire the father arrived. Instead of simply letting him take over, you offered to finish changing the tire, refusing their repeated attempts to pay you for your time and effort." Here the paramedic paused to check the monitors again and to make more notes on Ed's chart.
The paramedic continued, "After loading everything back up, you headed back to your bike. The rain had started to fall at that time. So you started putting on your raingear. You seriously don't remember any of this?" The paramedic tried to jog Ed's memory for him.
Yet again Ed tried to answer in the negative, but couldn't get the full effect that he was hoping for.
"Well, apparently two cars were racing down the highway as the rain started to fall. You know those little street racer cars that look like they were driven right out of Too Fast Too Furious. Anyway, one of the drivers lost control of their car and started to spin across the highway. The other car basically t-boned it and both cars got airborne coming over the car of the family's whose tire you had just changed. They watched as the cars sailed over them and landed embedded in the now softened turf." Here the paramedic paused long enough to check the vital signs and to make a note on the chart.
"So anyway, once you saw what had transpired you ran back to the accident sight and started getting people cleared away from the wreckage. Apparently, there were two kids in each car. You did everything the right way to minimize the potential for them to incur life-threatening injuries. You instructed the other family as to what to do as you got everyone safe and waited for us to show up. As you were getting the final victim cleared, you collapsed. We still haven't figured out what the cause was, but the initial thought process was that you had a heart attack. We can't find where you could have cut your self to lose blood or anything. You just collapsed. Looking over your vitals now, I would be shocked to see that it was in fact a heart attack. You, sir, are an anomaly." He finished with a chuckle.
To be continued...