I step out of the psychiatrists office to see Riley's beautiful eyes waiting for me. He walked me back to his car then he asked it.

"what did the doctor say?"

"I've been diagnosed with... PTSD... Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It's common in soldiers."

"oh." he replied as he started the car. While he drove, I tried to take off my cast. I pulled out my knife and cut it off. My leg felt better. I felt it all over. It felt like it was not a full break. Perhaps a hairline fracture. When we pulled back into the fire station, he noticed that I took it off. I got out of the car and I could walk! That means I can get back to work.

"I don't need you anymore. I can walk. Thanks for your help Riley." and I kissed him lightly before we went back in. I brought my stuff upstairs And the Radio blew up.

"we got a real problem down here! We need fire, 2 ambulances and a SWAT team right now!! 31 east 54th street!" an officer screamed.

"let's go boys!" Riley screamed to everyone. I ran down the stairs and my leg hurt again. I fought through the pain and suited up. We climbed into the trucks and they started with a slow rumble. I missed that sound. The doors opened and the trucks moved all at once, almost like an army. The trucks roared down the streets with the police cars in front and behind us.

I wasn't driving, I was in the back. We were 30 blocks away. It would take us 15 minutes to get there, and that was too long. People could die in that time. But I remembered that we are in the lead truck. The other trucks follow us.

"Joe! Take the next right onto the highway! We can get there in 8 minutes time!" I screamed over the siren, horn and roaring engine.

"got it!"

He veered off to the right and the other trucks and remaining cop cars followed. I got up and looked at the speedometer, and it read 96 MPH. I never knew a truck could go so fast. We soon arrived at the address. It was a high school. We climbed out as the SWAT team rushed in. We could hear gunfire and then it suddenly stopped.

"we need fire and EMTs in here. 5 people in need of help."

I went in with Joe and Riley. We walked through the schools hallways and saw people on the ground, hiding behind overturned desks, and just sitting there staring at the door. 

"help..." I heard a guy say. I walked around the corner and saw a 17 year old boy who was shot on the ground. I ran to his side.

"my names Jesse. I'm a firefighter. Can you tell me where your hurt?"

"my chest."

I gently rolled his body over and saw a bullet hole right in his lung. His breathing was shallow and uneven. I knew he was going to die right there.

"I feel cold." he said. I gave him a blanket.

"am I going... To... D-d-d-die? I don't want to....." he was slipping. I checked his pulse. 

"I need EMTs outside room 5 in the west side of the building now!" I said into the radio. I started CPR.

"come on man! Come on! Stay with me dude!" I kept performing CPR until the EMTs got there. They checked his pulse. Nothing. I kept pumping his heart.

"Mac. He's gone."

I kept going. I couldn't listen to them. She grabbed my hand.

"Jesse. Stop." I stopped performing CPR and looked at his lifeless eyes. I hung my head. I covered him in the blanket and got up and walked away. I walked into other hallways and rooms. All of the students have been accounted for. 2565 students. 3 dead. 2 injured. We stuck around to see if any gas lines were punctured and clean up this attack. We finished it and climbed back into the trucks. We pulled away and are heading back to the station.

The truck was quiet and it seemed like an eternity before we got back. We pulled into the station and filled up the truck with gas. We cleaned up the trucks and went to bed early. I was glad because I was exhausted. As soon as I hit the mattress, I fell asleep. And what seemed like a few seconds, the intercom went off.

"industrial fire by the docks."

My eyes shot open and got up once again. 

Everything leading up to the fire was a blur. We fly into the building. 

I was about to kick open one of the doors, and I screamed:

"Matt I need a vent." I said before kicking it in. He cut open a vent with a saw. He ducked down and flames rushed out.

"let's go!" I said kicking the door in. We rushed around the rooms and found survivors. We rushed them out and I asked:

"what does the plant produce?"


I rushed back in and ran up the stairs. There was still one man left but i couldn't get to him. I ran back down stairs and told the fire marshal that there is one man left.

"your not going in there! It's too dangerous."

"give me one minute. I can get him out."

I started hack in and Riley grabbed my arm tenderly.

"Jesse. Don't go."

"I have to. There's still-"

BOOM!!!! the plant explodes. I watch as the building falls to the ground.

"I could have saved him."

"you would have been dead." Riley said. I look in horror as the building continues to burn. We brought the truck around and hooked it up to the hydrant.

"let's get some water on this bitch!" Bugsy screamed. We let rip with everything we had for 4 hours. The flames started to die and before we knew it, it was out. We moved in to find out what caused the fire. We noticed that the burn marks weren't consistent with an electrical fire. This was planned. This was arson.

The fire department sent Riley and I back to the scene to conduct further investigation. When we arrived, there was a black car with two guys dressed in Italian suits that were scuffling through the rubble. I approached them.

"this Is a crime scene. You can't be here. You need to leave."

"oh and I assume Freddy the firefighter is going to make us?" one of the guys said turning around to face us. I was offended by it.

"look buddy you gotta-" he pulled a pistol out at me and shoved it under my chin. I hear the hammer cock into position. I completely froze. Was I going to die?

"look, buddy." he said mocking me. "get out of here. And don't say nothing to nobody. Unless you don't need your head no more, back off!" he screamed in anger.

"ok." I said. I turned around and Riley followed. This could be very bad. I opened my car door and climbed inside. Riley got in as well. I turned over the engine and pulled out of the parking lot. We continued down the road and Riley asked: "what the fuck was that!?!?"

"that was Vincent Gambini. We just stumbled on a mob hit... We just caught the mob covering their tracks for something!!! Riley their going to kill us! Were going to die!!" I couldn't stop screaming in fear. Guys like Gambini don't fuck around. If he wanted to kill you, he'd do it. If you beat him with fists, he comes back with a bat.

If you beat him with a bat, he comes back with a knife. You beat him with a knife, he comes back with a gun. And if you beat him with a gun, you better kill him. Because he'll keep coming back and back until one of us is dead. I was now legitimately frightened for my life. I don't know what to do. We got back to the station and I quickly ran back up to the bunkroom. I was terrified. I decided to get some sleep. My cell phone went off. I answered.


"MacTavish right?"

"uh... Yeah..."

"good. Guess what, your our new man in the F.D. if you don't want to, we understand. But you gotta understand that if your little fag boy ends up face-down in lake Michigan, don't blame us."

"what do you need me to do?"

"if you suspect something in the fire rubble, there's nothing there. Got it? And if you Are a good little firefighter, you may get a piece of the action."


He hangs up. What the fuck did we get ourselves into???

"hey baby." I hear Riley say.

"oh... Hey." I started to think of the sight of Riley dead in lake Michigan. I started to cry.

"don't cry baby!" he said walking over to comfort me.

"i know how hard that was last night. Seeing that building explode."

"yeah.... That's what it must be..."

Ever since the run in with Vincent Gambini, I've been preoccupied, constantly looking over my shoulder. So much so that Riley was starting to get worried about me.

"baby, are you sure your ok?" Riley said quietly as we sat in the red rover diner. 

"yeah, I'm fine. Don't worry about it."

"I wasn't. I was worrying about you. You know how much I love you Jesse." he said leaning over the table a little bit.

"I know. And I love you too, babe. I'm just.... Preoccupied." 

"with what?" he asked leaning over his lunch.

"nothing." I replied quickly.

"babe, if its about the crazy guy that pulled a gun on you, it's ok now. I'll protect you." Riley said with love in his eyes.

"well... Yeah it is about that. I got a call from... Someone." I turned around to see if anyone was near. "they wanted me to-" I quickly silenced as Vinny Gambini walked into the diner. My eyes widened and Riley started to turn around.

"no!" I said quietly.

Riley turned back at me when I stopped him. 

I looked back at Vinny and he notices that I'm there. He winked at me in complete arrogance. My eyes remained locked on the well- dressed man as he moved through the diner and finally sat at the counter. One of  Gambini's goons walked over to our table.

"Mac. Come here. NOW." he said.

"babe, what's going on?" 

"SHUT UP." he screamed at Riley as I stood up.

"Carmine, bring them both." Vinny said as Riley stood up. We walked over to the large italian man.

"outside." he demanded. We followed the goons outside and proceeded to walk around the building. We made it to a secluded alley and one of the goons grabbed Riley and brought a gun to his head. The bigger goon grabbed me and held me in place.

"NO! DONT HURT HIM!" I said pleading with the mob boss.

"you wanna see him alive? Tell me everything about the warehouse case."

"fire marshal McDonald found that it was an arson. And he's writing a police report and he's sending it out today. The burn marks on the electrical outlets reveal Molotov cocktails were used. That's all I know I swear!!" I said watching Riley. The fear in his eyes was immense.

"please..." I said in a shaky voice.

"cut 'em loose." he said and we watched as they walked away. Riley was so scared, he was crying. I held him close.


Josh Volland

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