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The sound of sirens

What they mean to you may depend on where you are and what you're doing

By D-DonohoePublished about a year ago 3 min read
The sound of sirens
Photo by Nate Isaac on Unsplash

The sound of a siren can mean different things to different people.

For instance, a motorist that hears a siren coming from behind finds themselves filled with a sense of dread. Afraid that they’re going to get a ticket.

For someone doing CPR on a loved one who’s had a heart attack, the sound of a siren means that the paramedics are on their way and their life might be saved.

For a kid who’s watching their mom’s boyfriend beating them, a siren means that maybe their mom won’t die tonight. For the piece of shit beating their girlfriend, I always hope that it will terrify them to the point that they never hit a woman again. Sadly though, I’ve been to too many calls where the presence of police or even a period of incarceration isn’t enough to stop the behavior from reoccurring.

Tonight, as I sit in the passenger seat of this police car, the squeal of a siren emanating from under the bonnet elicits a different feeling in me than what it normally would. Being an unmarked car means that we don’t have roof lights. Instead, the discreetly mounted strobe on the dashboard shoots out alternating beams of red and blue light.

We get to a corner and Travis Malone spins the steering wheel at the last minute, his feet have only gently tapped on the brakes. The whole car spins as if it’s floating in mid-air, but the force smacks my head into the window with a thud.

Now I can hear Travis shouting, “Oh shit! Steve, are you ok? I’m sorry man.”

I smile, look over at him and nod. Right now, I can’t feel any pain in my head. I’m sure that it probably should be hurting but the adrenalin seems to have numbed every sense in my body.

Travis keeps one hand on the wheel and grabs the two-way radio. He yells into the receiver “One minute out, make sure they’re fucking ready for us”.

He lets go of the receiver and it bounces a couple of times on the console. I watch as it falls, but it doesn’t make a sound, at least not one that I can hear. I can hear other sirens now, but I don’t know where they are coming from. In front? Behind? Left? Right? I don’t know. I keep looking straight ahead, trying to see through the alternating red and blue lights.

That last minute seems to take forever. The streetlights, the cars, and the buildings are all a blur. There’s a lot going on in my brain right now, thinking about what just happened, and how I got here.

Then I hear Travis’ voice, “Steve, we’re here!” This time he slows the cars, we turn in the driveway, and I can see the giant letters that spell out “EMERGENCY”. White coats standing there, with a trolley, I guess that’s for me.

I don’t know how they got me out of the car, but the next thing I know I’m watching more lights turn into a blur as they wheel me along. I can hear different voices talking about me, not to me.

“His blood pressure is dropping”

“I can’t find an exit wound”

“O Positive, get me some O Positive”

Suddenly I realize where I am. I know this room. I remember being shown this room when I was a rookie. The words ring in my ear, “If you find yourself in this room, you’re in a pretty bad way”. Fear comes to me now, for the first time since I heard the shots.

I can hear other voices that I know. One of the voices is Toby, we went through the academy together, he’s a sergeant in uniform. They are talking about Linda, she’s on her way. But she’s not going to make it in time. I hope she is going to be ok.

I don’t know why those lights are so bright, it hurts my eyes, so I close them. My fear and pain are competing with my need to rest.

I take in a breath, but it hurts. I breathe out. It doesn’t hurt anymore.

Short Story

About the Creator


Amateur storyteller, LEGO fanatic, leader, ex-Detective and human. All sorts of stories: some funny, some sad, some a little risqué all of them told from the heart.

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  • Babs Iversonabout a year ago


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