I heard the screech just in time to see the crunch of a jeep colliding with another car. I saw the bodies fly out of the jeep, no seatbelts. I start running towards the twisted metal and draining fluids. Calling on the radio for an ambulance as the bodies hit the pavement with an awful thud like watermelons thrown against concrete. I see them slide a short distance. They're only a few hundred feet away but it seems to take forever to get to them. It's a woman and a three or four year old boy.
The woman is lying on her back staring at the sky. Blood coming from the back of her head, her nose, her ears. Her mouth opens and closes trying to speak, her senses trying to comprehend the incomprehensible. Her legs and left arm bent into unnatural positions.
Her son landed head to head next to her. I didn't see any blood on the child beyond scrapes and scratches, but he doesn't move his body. Tiny tiny face contorted in pain. Crying. Yelling "MOMMY, MOMMY, MOMMY HELP! IT HURTS! IT HURTS SOOOOO BAD MOMMY!" He can't turn his head, so stares, pleading at me.
I try soooooo hard to console him. I put my large hand on his tiny, so small hand, not knowing if he can even feel the touch. "MOMMY IT HURTS SO BAD!" He keeps yelling, crocodile tears run down his cheeks and wet the concrete. He is the same age as my son and my heart is breaking. All I see laying there in pain is my son. Not a strangers child. My own.
Another officer was attending the woman as best he could. She was starting to come around but we all knew it was really bad. Comprehension began filling the woman's eyes. She heard her child calling and began to cry. She called out to the boy "it's okay, baby." Tears streaming down her blood stained face. "It's okay baby. Mommy's here." She tried to move her arm to reach out to her son but it didn't move. Tried to turn her head to see her son but it wouldn't turn. Although they were laying right next to each other they didn't know where the other was. She turned her eyes to us and said "I can't move. I can't move." I looked over and saw the other officer had very gently placed his hand on her arm and was telling her to be as still as she could. That the ambulance was on its way.
WHERE WAS THE GOD DAMN AMBULANCE ANYWAY my mind was screaming. We could hear the wailing siren in the near distance. It seemed like an hour had passed although my mind knew it had probably been far less than two minutes. The other officer was on the radio asking for the ambulance to PLEASE hurry.
I felt absolutely powerless. A group of onlookers had formed. The ambulance arrived and was able to cut a path through them.
I watched EMS get out of the ambulance and race toward us, carrying large gear bags and pushing stretchers. I stepped out of the way as the medics began busily treating and preparing the two for transport. I heard "SO BAD MOMMY!" as they were wheeled to and placed in the ambulances. Just before the rear door was closed I heard the woman yell one last time "I LOVE YOU BABY, MOMMY'S HERE. EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY!"
I don't know how things turned out for them but sometimes when my brain wants to randomly feed me this awful memory I wonder. The child would be sixteen now and I hope with all my heart that his mother's promise held true:
"Everything will be okay baby. Everything will be okay."