The Wreck by Michael Reyneke 

We get the 911 call at 17:23.

Gail, our dispatcher, signals to Gary and me to get ready while she scribbles the details. Gail uses a note pad to pass on instructions and record the calls. She puts down the phone, glides her wheel-chair across to where we stand ready with our emergence gear.

“Car and motorcycle collision on Zig-Zag road. Caller panicking, shouting dead people,” Gail says and passes me the note. Zig-Zag road is notorious for blind bends and accidents.

“Gary, drive with care when we get there,” I say, and switch on the siren and flashers as we leave the hospital grounds. “You take the bike, I’ll take the car?” I ask.

We arrive at the scene and park the ambulance close but not blocking the road. A quick look around; I see chaos. A motorcycle smashed head-on into a small car. I move to the driver’s side of the wreck. The door is hanging open, where a young woman is crushed in the front seat. Her head, shoulder, and one hand are all I can see.

“Hi, my name is Tracey. I’m the paramedic come to help you,” I say, but can’t smile. I look at her, my heart pounds in my throat. I try, “What is your name?”

She doesn’t answer, her dark eyes stare at me. I study her face. In contrast to her now pale complexion, her lips are bright red. Her lipstick applied to perfection. The look is symmetrical and beautiful.

She talks to me.

“Please pass my mobile. I must call my friend.” I cannot find her phone, I pass her mine. Her red lips tremble. She cannot make the call.

She whispers, “Hold me.” There’s no space, so I rest my hand on her shoulder. I’m with her in death.