You could not hear a soul at two in the morning on Hammer Street. Lights were out in all houses and the street was barely illuminated by a few lamp posts and one or two stars that night clouds would not hide. An ambulance with its blinding red lights on, slowly cruised by the street. Its movements were erratic as it sometimes braked in front of a house while other times it lined up next to a sidewalk as if it were about to park only to steer back to the middle of the street and continue its unpredictable course.
The ambulance finally parked in front of house number D35 and it remained with its engine on while Nico got off the driver’s seat. Nico spit on the lawn in front of the house and tried to fix the white jacket that clearly did not fit him. He slowly tried to take control of his body, breathing heavily so the people in the house would not be aware of the drunken stupor that moved his legs in opposite directions. Meanwhile, Benny was still sitting on the passenger’s seat, struggling to unlock his seat belt with his left hand without letting go of his almost empty Jack Daniels in his other hand.
“Put that bottle away. They’re gonna see you,” Nico said to Benny, “…and come here.”
House number D35 was dark. The drunken paramedics called several times, “Good evening, you called an ambulance?!” However, they did not get an answer.
“Door’s open…” Benny declared with a suggestive tone as he played with the front door knob.
Nico and Benny were not really paramedics. A few hours before, they had walked out of a frat party with a small cooler and stumbled for a few blocks until they found the empty ambulance with its lights blinking and back doors open. So they stole it. They thought it would be funny to drive the van back to the party and give the other guys a scare. This was not their neighborhood, though, and they were not really sure where they were. They managed to drive the ambulance and turn a couple of corners until they heard a call in the CB radio. Dispatch had gotten a call from a woman on Hammer Street, house D35.
“I think that’s us” Benny mumbled, “Didn’t we just pass Hammer street?”
“No, shit, bro!” said Nico, “Man, let’s check it out!”
“D35… is that it? I think that’s- no, no, try the next one…”
Somewhere between their plastered state and the remote possibility that the person that called nine-one-one may have gone unconscious, the young men decided it was a good idea to enter the house.
After they turned the light on in the living room, Nico slumped on the couch.
“Something must’ve happened here” he theorized.
Benny was not listening. He was looking around in the kitchen.
“Nothing here. Not even a beer” he complained as he slammed the fridge door shut, “Where’s the bathroom?”
While Benny disappeared into the hallway, Nico lied down and stretched his legs. He was falling asleep. It was hard for him to keep his eyes open.
“This shit is soft” he thought as he dozed off.
Suddenly, he felt someone pushing his chest. He opened his eyes and saw Benny’s face dangerously close to his.
“Wake up, stupid!” Benny yelled, shaking him by the shoulders.
“What da fuck’s wrong witchoo?!” Nico asked angrily.
“There’s a – there’s a dead lady in the bathroom! Come see!”
Both men crossed the hallway until they reached the bathroom door. Benny did not dare to go in, so he leaned his back against the door frame to let Nico through. Nico turned on the light and saw a young naked black haired woman sitting on the toilet. She looked weak and skinny as her head hung from her neck. Her hands were drenched in blood stained. In fact the edges of the toilet seat and the bathroom walls were covered in dry blood finger shaped stains. Nico touched the woman’s neck and felt two small perforations. Then he felt her shallow breath.
“She’s not dead…” he concluded.
He placed his arms under her arm pits and tried to lift her up as he brought her closer to his chest. He felt a small resistance that impeded erecting her body completely, as if she got stuck with something.
“Gimme a hand here.” Nico told Benny.
“This whole thing was your idea. You figure it out” Benny replied, paralyzed.
Nico tried several times to yank the young female lose, but she was still jammed.
“You’re gonna tear her cord.” Benny finally declared.
“What cord? What the hell are you talking about?” Nico asked.
The drunk paramedic couldn't see it from where he was standing, but Benny could clearly see the umbilical cord that extended from the bloodied woman’s lower region into the toilet where a baby’s corpse was wedged under the edge of the seat.
At three in the morning, the whole world could have woken up with the loud wail of the ambulance siren. Nico drove it like a madman crossing red light after red light, as he tried to find a hospital. But between his stupor and not knowing where the hell he was, the driver crossed the streets unable to get out of the access controlled labyrinth.
The woman was unconscious, pale, and sweating as she lied on a stretcher at the back of the vehicle. Benny sat at her side, holding her hand while he finished his bud.
“If we hadn't entered that house, we wouldn't be in this mess.” he lamented.
“Shut the fuck up and just make sure she stays with us!” Nico yelled, staring at the rear view mirror.
“How the hell am I supposed to do that?” Benny complained.
Benny placed his empty beer bottle next to him and opened his cooler to take out another. The baby’s inert cold body was buried under ice chips and some Coors and Buds. He was a stillborn twirled in fetal position. After closing the cooler, Benny pretended to verify the woman’s pulse and continued drinking. Nico kept driving desperately, looking at both sides of the street.
“Shit. This is a one way.” He said, turning the wheel all the way to the side.
The ambulance shook, and Benny held on to the stretcher.
“Slow down, man!” he yelled at Nico.
He paid attention towards the unconscious woman and grabbed her forearm to fit her better in the stretcher. He felt her cold. He placed his hand under her nose and confirmed she wasn't breathing. He quickly opened her mouth and he placed his lips on hers to apply what he thought was mouth to mouth breathing, but in reality was just him blowing up her cheeks like a balloon. Then, he hit her chest repeatedly with savage strength.
The woman opened her eyes. She grabbed Benny by the neck and squeezed hard as she mumbled undecipherable gibberish. Benny tried to free himself from her grip. His face turned purple and he had trouble breathing. He tried to speak, but the woman’s grip on his neck only allowed him a few whimpers.
“What the fuck is going on back there?!” Nico yelled through the rear view mirror, “Tie her down!”
The woman let go of Benny’s neck and he fell, gasping for air. She quickly moved up front and fiercely attacked Nico, scratching his face and trying to bite his neck. Nico’s face was bloodied. He lost control of the vehicle and it began to spin around. Benny tried to separate the woman from his friend, but she buried her nails in his face and pushed him away from her.
In a matter of seconds the ambulance was turned upside down and then it rolled over its roof several times.
An hour passed before the woman opened her eyes and the world seemed to be upside down. She could not feel her body, but she felt a long thick cold cylinder crushing through her chest. Blood gushed from her dislocated jaw and the taste made her uncomfortable as she tried to scream her lungs out. But she could not hear her own voice. Both her arms were broken, and her body lied on a pool of her own blood. She was confused. She knew she was about to die. That much she knew. The young woman was not in pain, but she panicked as she fruitlessly tried to lift herself from that tar covered street she was spread all on.
She felt hunger. She twisted her tongue from side to side trying to get a taste of her leaked blood, but even that was a waste of time. If she would be able to move, she would have seen that the ambulance fell over an unfinished bridge. Most of the construction materials fell on top the ambulance, killing its passengers instantly while the woman, who was thrown a few meters away through the windshield, was stuck with a large metallic tube straight through her heart.
The woman saw a broken cooler a few feet in front of her. Ice cubes and broken beer bottles spilled from it. Her lifeless baby lied still next to the cooler, looking back at her, as everything around her slowly became a dark dream,