Jared the Paramedic II ~ The Family Gathers

Chapter 33: Voices of Darkness

My editor is a very smart man and asked me about the next couple of chapters in relation to the events which have been happening throughout the world, and the potential impact upon the readers. Since this story was originally written, there have been numerous tragedies seeming to be almost weekly of multiple people being killed in cold blood by gunmen. The Pulse nightclub, public malls, schools, workplaces and churches have all been targeted to kill people of all genders, orientations, colours, and faiths. The next two chapters need to be read together as the first chapter focuses on the incident and the subsequent one focuses on the healing. We can't control what happens, but we can control how we are affected by it. This quote best summarizes the next two chapters:

"The pain does go away, you just have to find the person that loves you to help you fight it." -unknown.








In each campsite, the young men slept in much later than they normally would the morning following the spirit quest.  Next to each of them was a cup of tea left during the night for them to drink when they woke.  After drinking the tea, each one sat in their individual campsites and began to chant and meditate.  They had been meditating for a few hours when they suddenly all stood, picked up their furs and started to walk back to the cabin.  As they were walking, each of them began to become fully conscious and cognitive.  They also began to be excited the journey was over.  Grandfather MathewGrandfather Mathew ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Mathew Bear (Grandfather)<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li style=\"text-align: left;\"><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 98<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li style=\"text-align: left;\"><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Jared and Melanie (grandchildren), Liam, Tyler, Troy, Darren, Josh, Jesse, Zane, Conner, Mark, Adam, Patrick (adopted grandchildren)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li style=\"text-align: left;\"><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Titles: Most Sacred Medicine Man of the People, &#160;Shaman of the People, &#160;Most Elder of the People, &#160;Most Respected Elder in the Tribal Council of the Entire Western Region, &#160;Primary Messenger of the Sacred White Buffalo<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li style=\"text-align: left;\"><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Nickname: Running Elk<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li style=\"text-align: left;\"><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 12 &lt;- Jared, Chapter 8 (astral) &lt;-&#160;Jared, Chapter 2 (mentioned)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">") had been in control of the young men during their meditation, and he had been the one to "wake" them up.  During that time, he and the young men had been visiting the middle world and sitting together in a circle talking about life, expectations, their roles, and anything else which came up.  He did carefully manipulate the conversation at times to address some repressed fears in each of them.  This was the time to face and resolve their fears.  When he was done with his grandchildren, he had them start returning to the cabin where a feast awaited them after a cleansing in the water of the river.

Before they ate, Grandfather TomGrandfather Tom ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Tom<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li style=\"text-align: left;\"><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 75<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li style=\"text-align: left;\"><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Owner and Operator of Tom's Marina<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li style=\"text-align: left;\"><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Adam (grandson)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li style=\"text-align: left;\"><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 17<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">") chanted a prayer for the family:

"Great Spirit, Creator of all that we
see, hear, smell, taste, and all that we touch.

Mother Earth, Make Ina, Womb of all beings,
Provider of all our needs.

Keeper of the West, Home of the Thunder People,
place where Grandfather Sun sleeps at night.

Keeper of the North, Home of the Great White Giant,
from where fresh breezes blow.

Keeper of the East, Land of the Rising Sun,
Home to the Big Red Mountain.

Keeper of the South, Land that we always face,
from where the Growing Warmth comes.

I pray to the Stone Peoples, the Green Peoples, the Winged Peoples,
I pray to the Four-legged Peoples, the Swimming Peoples,
the Crawling Peoples, and to the Star Peoples.
I pray to ALL who give us food, clothing, medicine, dwellings, and designs.

To the Ancestors of All The Peoples,
I pray for their Help in Keeping Us in Balance and
Teaching us the ways of the Creator and Mother Earth.

To the Star Peoples, Grandfather Sun, Grandmother Moon,
I give thanks for their lighting our way in times of darkness.

To All these Peoples, I give Thanks for all the Gifts and Help
I get in My Life Each and Every Day.

For ALL These Reasons and for LIFE Itself, I GIVE MY THANKS!"

The men were hungry and full of stories.  They ate, drank tea, sang songs and told stories well into the night until Grandfather Mathew chased them all off to bed in the big teepee.  Before going to his cabin with Tom, the two elders went to check on the young men.  They found JaredJared ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Jared<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 29<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 6'3\", 230 lbs of solid muscle, trimmed dark black hair and deep chocolate brown eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Paramedic (Partner: Liam) \/ Shift Supervisor \/ Paramedic Field Trainer<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Fianc&#233;: Liam<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Mathew Bear (grandfather), Melanie Bear (cousin)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Bear<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Nicknames: Masqua, Standing Bear<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Titles: Sacred Medicine Man of the People, President and CEO Bear Investment Group (secret), Shaman of the Forests<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 1<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") sitting by the fire, cross-legged and deep in thought.  They sat near him and waited for him to acknowledge them.

Finally, Jared stirred.

"You have been quiet this weekend, Jared," stated Mathew simply.

"I have been deep in thought and meditation.  I have learned a lot in the past month and I needed time to sort it out in my mind."

"You are doing well, Jared.  You make both of us proud," said Tom.

"Thank you, both of you, for being my teacher and my grandfathers.  I would not be alive today if it were not for you two."

Mathew smiled and stood.  He placed his hand on Jared's head and simply said, "It is time for bed, my grandson.  Join your fiancé in the teepee knowing you have both our love to take with you."  The three men hugged, and they all headed off to bed.

After breakfast in the morning, they cleaned up the area and headed back to the city. 

The college was a moderate sized educational facility with approximately 2,000 students being registered for a wide variety of classes.

There were several buildings within a short walking distance of each other which housed each of the various trades.  This college taught ironwork, pipe fitting, welding, and numerous other well-regarded courses for certification in a trade.  The college was academical as well as vocation based.  In addition to the trades, students could complete everything from Lab/X-Ray tech to Business Administration to Nursing.  There was also a very busy Paramedic training program.

The academic classes or academic-based programs were taught in a building consisting of 10 floors.  Previously, it had been a hospital but the government had closed it, renovated it, and turned it over to the college.  They sold the land where the college had previously been located for enough money to not only renovate the buildings and build all the new ones but pay for the operations for the first year.  For once, the politicians did a fantastic job of administering the advanced education department.

The basement consisted of a large cafeteria style eating establishment with several types of food being offered to the students.  There was lots of seating to eat either the meal the students brought them or the one they purchased.  The students spent a lot of time down there socializing over a meal of coffee.  The main floor consisted of administration offices, library and child care facilities.

The paramedic program was on the fifth floor.

Beau had everything handed to him in the first 22 years of his life.  His father was an industrialist and basically raised Beau by writing cheques to pay for anything which was needed.  His mother was usually drunk by noon of each day if she had even got up by then.

Beau had been the quarterback, the hockey team captain, and the leader in any sport he competed in.  He had a natural athletic disposition, and when it came to sports, he was the leader.  During high school, if anyone didn't measure up on his team, they suddenly started getting bruises and cuts during practices.  If they didn't take the hint, they ended up getting injured and sidelined from the games for the season.  In a few cases, there were accidents around the school or school activities which ended up having some players seriously injured with broken limbs.  The coach knew what was going on, but he never intervened.  Beau's father just wrote cheques to help people forget whatever had happened.

Beau was at University when his drinking and drug-use first got him into trouble.  Unlike the high school, the university took a dim view of drunk or disorderly conduct and he ended up on academic probation.  A week later he was expelled when Beau was busted buying cocaine on campus.  His father paid for Beau to go to drug rehabilitation, and he stayed for six months under threat of all financial aid being cut off.  The next two years were in school or rehab for Beau.  He was spinning out of control.  His father and mother had actually thought his addiction had been cured this time after the latest round in rehab, but they wouldn't realize how wrong they were until it was too late.

The registration in the paramedic program had been his mother's idea and his father pulled some strings for it to happen quickly.  Beau had guaranteed his parents he had beaten his addiction and would do well at school.  His father made it clear if he had problems this time, he was out and on his own totally.  Not a penny would ever be given to him again.

When Beau's father got the phone call from the Dean of Academic Affairs advising him of an incident at schoolincident at school ("Seen in Chapter 23: Portents."), and Beau's expulsion from school, he was upset.  Actually, upset was an understatement.  Beau was cut off, but his father was still trying to figure out what he had to do to fix his son... if he could fix him.  Once again, Beau had been placed into a drug rehabilitation facility.  He had played the game and finished the treatment program.  He had been released, and his parents had allowed him to stay in their home.

Beau walked into the college main foyer and quickly moved to the elevator.  He was carrying a backpack over one shoulder, and an anger which had been building since he had been expelled from the school.  He was now in a position to get the revenge he had been planning all through the treatment program.  The program he completed with a very, very insincere smile.

Beau took the elevator up to the paramedic program area on the fifth floor but found everything locked up.  He read the notices on the wall and observed the classes were all on practical sessions this week.  Beau was furious and was now almost out of control.  He looked out the windows as he waited for the elevator to come back and he saw the Riverbank City Park which ran alongside the College's property.  He knew lots of the students hung out there between classes or if they had skipped.  Beau looked down and saw many people down there throwing around footballs, frisbees, or laying in the sun.  He looked at all those people down there and hated what they represented.  Beau didn't have any friends other than the bimbos when he had cocaine, his family life was terrible with his mom and dad always trying to run his life, and they wouldn't even let him have his inheritance from his grandfather.

Beau had been drinking and smoking crystal meth since he got out of bed just after noontime.  When he woke up his intention had been to find a couple of girls and then fuck them silly.  He had no intention of ever setting foot in the college again let alone going back up to the paramedic floor.  A little voice in the back of his head had been getting louder and louder as he got older; a voice which seemed to recede as he drank.  The voice he heard was getting more demanding as well.  He recalled how yesterday he had bumped into an old girlfriend who he had invited to lunch.  She apologized sincerely she didn't have time and had to get back to work.

While she was apologizing, the voice was telling Beau what a loser he was for letting her go and he would never find anyone as wonderful as her again.  The voice was yelling at him that he was a fucking loser and would always be a loser.  Why would a beautiful girl like her ever be seen with a piece of shit like him in public?  Beau was gracious on the outside, but as she walked away the voice was telling him she would be laughing at Beau as soon as she got back to her desk.  She and all her co-workers would be laughing at what a waste of oxygen he was.

Beau had never told anyone about the voice in his head, and he never understood the underlying condition was treatable.  He didn't realize it had run in his family, because it was one of those things no one ever spoke of.  Schizophrenia was the family secret.

Today, after he smoked the meth, the voice was louder than it ever had been before.  He went into the den and took two of his dad's semi-automatic 9mm handguns.  He had loaded the 15-shot clips and chambered a round as well.  Both of them were put in his backpack.  The voice kept telling him to make the people at the college pay for their actions in ruining his life.  It reminded him how his father thought he was a failure at everything he did, but if he managed to get revenge; his father would love him again.  Beau went through the gun collection his father had and found an AR-15.  After filling the banana clips and chambering a round, he slid the stock into its retracted position and put the gun into his backpack.  It barely fit, but he managed.  Beau grabbed a few boxes of extra ammunition and put them into the pack as well.

While Beau was looking out the window, the voice was telling him what a loser he was because he couldn't even get even with the people at the college.  The voice was painful today and Beau held his head until it became tolerable again.  Beau got off the elevator and walked out to the parking lot where he had parked and got into the car.  His buzz was wearing off so he got the pipe out and smoked another crystal of meth.  Beau laughed to himself as he thought crystal meth was like boosting a car battery.  He was totally energized again, and ready to go.  Beau was full of energy, and unfortunately, the voice was recharged too.

Beau took the weapons out of his backpack, made sure they all had a round in the chambers and got out of his vehicle.  He put the two handguns into the waist of his pants like he had seen so many people on TV do before.  Even his voice told him he looked good that way.  He put the backpack with all extra ammunition on and retrieved the AR-15.  The voice was congratulating him for actually planning something and following through for the first time ever.  Beau heard the voice telling him if he hesitated, he was the spineless piece of shit his father had always thought he was.

JoshJosh ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Josh<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 25<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'8\", blue eyes, light brown hair, solid. He and Darrin could pass for cousins or even brothers<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Police Officer (Partner: Tyler)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Darren<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Nickname: Ditch Pig<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 1<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") and DarrenDarren ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Darren<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 26<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 6'0\", green eyes, light brown hair, solid. He and Josh could pass for cousins or even brothers.<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Fire Fighter<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Josh<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Cameron (brother, deceased)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Nickname: Hose Puller<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 5<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") were down at Riverbank City Park playing frisbee and enjoying the sun.  They would toss the frisbee, visit with some of the other people they knew or lay in the sun to darken their tans.  It was mid-afternoon and Darren had snuck away while Josh was sleeping in the sun to buy each of them an ice cream cone.  He sat down, and gently woke his boyfriend up to give him his treat.

Josh had only licked the cone once when everything around them seemed to slow down in time.  Darren heard something cracking in the background, rapidly.  No, it was chattering in bursts of three.

Beau had walked to the grassy area, amongst the people, and started shooting.  The voice was laughing louder every time he pulled the trigger.  Beau could feel his cock getting hard as the gun bucked in his grip.  The voice was telling him shooting the gun was as good as an orgasm.

Darren looked at Josh, and his beautiful face looked confused as he dropped the ice cream cone.  Darren looked deep into Josh's eyes and could sense confusion, anger, and pain.

Josh had no clue what had happened.  He had just tasted his favorite ice cream flavor when he felt something hit him in the back.  He was focused on the pain in his back but looked at his boyfriend to ask him what had happened.  As they looked deep into each other's eyes in confusion, Josh thought he saw the top part of Darren's head disappear in a spray of red.

The last thought Darren had was how beautiful his boyfriend was, and he couldn't understand why Josh's chest was exploding outwards in an explosion of blood.

The two of them realized at the same time it was gunfire they had heard, and it was that gunfire that had hit both of them.  They collapsed against each other, holding each other, looking like two people deeply in love and leaning into each other.  They each took their last breath holding the other, not afraid of what was coming and ready to spend an eternity together in the next world.

Darren looked up and saw his brother Cameron standing there with his hands held out to both Josh and himself to pull them to their feet.  They got up, and the three of them embraced.

"Darren, I told you that you were never alone and that I was always near you."  The three of them held each other tightly, oblivious to the growing carnage and destruction they had left behind. 

LiamLiam ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Liam<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 22<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 6'0\", blue eyes, curly blond hair, nicely toned and tanned<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Paramedic (Partner: Jared)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Fianc&#233;: Jared<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Eagle<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Nicknames: Mikisow, Soaring Eagle<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Titles: Shaman of the Lost Tribe (Celtic)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 1<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">")  and Jared were at the ambulance base conducting some training for the staff when they both grabbed their heads in pain.  TroyTroy ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Troy<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 25<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'11\", brown eyes, blonde hair, solid but not overly muscular.<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Paramedic<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Tyler<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 1<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") was in the class and he did the same.  It lasted a few seconds, and the class was concerned about what was happening.  Troy stumbled forward to the front of the class.

He was still holding his head with tears running down his cheeks as he said, "Darren... Josh…"

Liam cut him off.  He too was holding his head and had tears running down his cheeks.  "They can't be...  Jared?"

Jared wasn't holding his head anymore but he had tears rolling down his cheeks as well.  He barked at everyone in the class to stay there as he ran from the room down to Rob's office.  Jared burst through the door and interrupted a meeting.

"RobRob ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Rob<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Ambulance Base Manager<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 4<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">"), any minute now there will be a call for a Multiple Casualty Event, shooter, Riverside Park.  We need to get rolling and get the bus rolling," shouted Jared.

Rob looked at the man who had burst through the door and saw it was Jared.  He noticed right away something was wrong not only because of what Jared had done, but the tears rolling down his cheeks.  When Jared blurted out what had happened, he didn't even question the source.

Rob leaned over and punched the intercom.  "Code Black, I repeat Code Black.  Man the MCI bus and roll all available units in teams of three.  I repeat, man the MCI bus and roll all available units in teams of three."

Dawn come running into the office with MelanieMelanie ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Melanie Bear<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'6\", with olive skin and jet black braided hair to her waist<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Executive Assistant to the CEO\/President, Bear Investment Group (3rd in command)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Mathew Bear (grandfather), Jared Bear (cousin)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Wolverine<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 10 &lt;- Jared, Chapter 2 (mentioned)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") behind her.

"You two call everyone you can to get their asses in here now," demanded Rob as he got up from behind the desk.

Melanie saw Jared, Liam, and Troy standing there with tears rolling down their cheeks.  "What is it, Jared?"

Jared hesitated... then finally said it, as if it had not been real because he had not yet said it aloud. "All three of us felt it at the same time, Darren and Josh are dead at whatever is going on at the park."

Melanie, Rob, and Dawn froze upon the announcement.

Jared turned to Liam and Troy, "Let's roll.  There are people who need us, and lots of time for our losses later."

"Are you sure?" asked Rob.

All three of them had forcefully clamped down their emotions.  They knew they would be needed at the park and forced their professional appearances forward, their grief would have to wait.  "Absolutely."

Dispatch came onto the radio and was advising everyone of multiple gunshots, casualties, and injuries at Riverside City Park.  By the time the ambulances showed up, the gunman was down.  A couple of students had seen him walking from his truck with the gun and called campus security and the police.  The police happened to have a bike patrol in the area and they responded quickly, but not before 14 people had been shot, with two fatalities.  Beau's inside voice screamed he was an absolute loser as two police officers shot him after he failed to comply with their request to put the gun down.  The last thing Beau ever thought was the voice in his head telling him he was better off dead than being a fuck-up and alive.

End of Chapter Thirty-Three