And then I opened my eyes to a blinding light… A blinding flashlight, to be exact.

 

I could hear Hope’s voice before I could see anything. “Pupils are equal and reactive,” she said.

 

I sat up, but she pushed me back down. Another pair of hands joined hers, holding me in place, on my back. The metal ceiling was only a few feet above me. This room was small. There were shelves on either side with individually wrapped packages. The air smelled like a strange combination of sterility, dirt, and copper. 

 

Interesting, I thought. This is new. I’m in a whole new environment now.

 

I was prone on some kind of slab, with Hope standing to my left and, I just now realized, the detective to my right. They were both dressed in matching blue uniforms, with the snake-wrapped staff of Hermes emblem on their left breasts… I recognized it all too well as the symbol of a paramedic.

 

Hope had a syringe in her hands. Not for long, though. The detective may have been shushing me and whispering for me to calm down, but I had no intention of letting a needle come anywhere close to me. I bent my good leg as far as it would go and kicked Hope square in the face, sending her crashing onto the ground. (That sounds impressive, unless you know that I was actually aiming for the syringe.) The detective released me and raced to his partner as I sat up and looked out the open back doors of the ambulance.

 

We were parked on the side of a lonely country road. The sun was setting. Nearby, my Nissan was crumpled around an oak tree. The vehicle was utterly destroyed. The only part that wasn’t a twisted mangle was a small section on the passenger’s side. Blood spray decorated the hood and remaining bits of windshield. Between the ambulance and tree, two more paramedics stood by something shaped like a body, lying beneath a blanket.

 

The detective helped Hope to her feet, then turned to me and said, “Please, sir, calm down! We’re not here to hurt you. You’ve been in a terrible accident and suffered major head trauma. We’re trying to help you.”

 

I rolled my eyes. “Oh come on, dude. This is the worst one yet.”

 

“I’m not trying to trick you. When we arrived at the scene, you had already lost a lot of blood--”

 

“Skip intro!” I said, cutting him off. “I’ve actually been inside ambulances plenty of times, so I know this doesn’t look right. I mean, seriously, you guys aren’t even wearing gloves.” The detective and Hope shared a look. I waved my hand in the air and said, “Next!”

 

The ambulance vanished with a poof.