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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Dark · #1894878
Contest entry, a day of disaster, Include the line "It nearly destroyed me, but..."
The Day

The day started in typical television sitcom style; at approximately 4:30 AM, Andy felt a sharp pain in the middle of his back, followed by an ear piercing shriek as Amber thrashed back and forth, her hands clutching her swollen midsection, her elbows deadly weapons.

Andy knew that panic was exactly the wrong reaction. They had been through this scenario many times in the childbirth classes; Andy was to quickly dress, grab the small suitcase by the door, carefully escort a by now completely dressed, Amber, to the car, drive them both safely, but quickly to the hospital, only eight blocks away.

Sitcoms are funny; husbands always panic, wives scream and there is usually trouble with the car or the police along the way. Real life can be a lot like television, but seldom is it as humorous. Andy’s first reaction to the real event was exactly the wrong thing to do, panic swept through his vacant mind.

Where was the suitcase? Andy’s eyes darted around the room while he hopped with one leg in a pants leg and the other, not quite getting past the waistband. He spotted the suitcase right near the door where it was supposed to be just as he tripped over it. Lying on the floor made it easier to get his other leg into the pants and he was soon up on his feet again.

Hearing another shriek, Andy turned to the bed and saw that Amber was not up and dressed as the scenario was supposed to go, but rather still sitting up in the bed, her arms clutching her stomach.

“Honey,” Andy asked, “are you okay? Can I help...?”

As Andy bent over the bed to help her up, Amber let out another shriek and fell back. Andy drew the coverlet back and saw a red stain growing larger and brighter under Amber’s legs and back.

“Honey,” Andy’s voice rose, “HONEY, WHAT'S WRONG? There’s something wrong, my God, honey?”

Amber’s voice dropped into a deep groan, as she tried to sit upright, still clutching her midsection. Another harsh groan spat out of her before she flopped back, unconsciousness.

“Oh my God,” Andy cried, “Oh my God!” There was another sporadic bit of sitcom slapstick as Andy searched his pockets for the cell phone, while hopping up and down, calling his wife's name. His eyes darted around the room.

Spotting the phone on the nightstand on his side of the bed, Andy raced to it. Stabbing 9 -1 -1 as quickly as he could, Andy was relieved to hear a voice answer.

“Nine - one - one, “a strong female voice chirped. “What is your emergency?”

“Hello,” Andy cried, “hello, please help! My wife, there is blood everywhere! My wife,..please help, it’s my wife, she’s unconscious. Please God, please help!”

“Sir,” the 911 operator said. “Sir, try and stay calm. What is the matter with your wife?”

“She’s unconscious, there’s blood everywhere! She’s pregnant, oh God, oh God, please help!”

“Sir, please stay on the line, and try and stay as calm as you can, I’ve dispatched paramedics, what is your exact address?”

“Address…?” For just a minute the sitcom scenario tried to kick in as Andy’s mind drew a blank for a fraction of a second. “3110 Forester Street” Andy gasped. “Please, for God’s sake, please hurry!”

“Paramedics will be there in just a few minutes, Sir.” The dispatcher’s voice soothed. “Please try and remain calm and tell me what you can about her condition. Is she still unconscious? Can you rouse her?”

“Just a minute, I’ll see,” Andy answered. “Honey, can you hear me? Honey…?”

“No,” Andy screamed into the phone. “I can’t get her to wake up, she won’t answer.”

“Sir,” the dispatcher tried to remain calm. “Can you feel a pulse, is she breathing?”

Andy grabbed Amber’s arm and felt her wrist for a pulse, feeling nothing and fearing he wasn’t doing it right; Andy reached and felt Amber’s neck where he thought he should feel something. He remembered feeling that flutter of a pulse while her head rested against his arm or chest at night.

“Damn it,” Andy cried out into the phone. “I can’t feel anything, my God, I can’t feel anything! I can’t feel her breathing!”

Just then there was a hard knock at the front door and the door bell rang. Andy quickly ran to open the door and the paramedics rushed in.

Where,” one of the young men asked. “Where, is she?”

“There,” Andy gasped and pointed towards the bedroom.

The two men rushed in, one already on the phone with the hospital.

Andy stood transfixed with fear at the bedroom door as the men worked over his wife’s lifeless body. He caught the sudden intake of breath when the first paramedic saw the blood and the quick shake of his head before he quickly reached into the bag and pulled out a scalpel..

There was a lot of activity surrounding Andy and Amber’s bed for several long minutes, and then the two paramedics loaded Amber onto a stretcher and out of the house into an ambulance. Andy sat by her side all the way to the hospital tenderly holding her cold hand.

September, 11, 2001, a day of sadness for millions of people the world over; for Andy Cramer, the day HIS world ended.

“It nearly destroyed me,” Andy said later. “But baby Amber needed me.”

900 words
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