Leaping out of the truck, we regrouped on the grassy field under the dark sky. Bright lights flashed all around us, music blaring from every angle, its heavy thumping vibrating through my chest, whilst people screamed with joy and fear from the various rides. I looked up at the one in front of us, spotting the situation that we were here to handle. A ferris wheel had come to a stop, mid circuit, leaving people stranded in their seats, rocking back and forth in the wind.
“Sam, Will, check the machinery, see if you can find a way to start it up again.If not, then set up for a manual function.” Alex ordered.
They both moved around the steps, letting the ride owner show them the way to the controls.
“Rebel, get up there and keep them calm.” He added, nodding towards the ladder truck, turning away to mumble quietly: “One wrong move up there and we’ll have bodies dropping from the sky.”
Nodding to Cain, we rushed to the appliance and got set up, once the ladder was in position, I scaled it as quick as I could, the distressed sounds of the stranded passengers getting louder with every step.The wind picked up, the higher I climbed. Some of the passengers screamed out to me, pleading for help, and asking me to get them back down to the ground. A few attempted to lean forward, presumably to attempt to aid the ride in moving again. I called out to them, reassuring them that we would get them all down soon. As I got closer though, my attention immediately focused on the car nearest me, a man and woman were seated inside. Both appeared to be somewhere in their mid to late thirties, and judging from the bickering, they were a couple.
“... Don’t be so stupid Zo.” The man snapped, turning away from her, and looking out to me.
“I’m not being stupid. I’m being sensible.” She argued back, crossing her arms and fixing him with a scathing glare.
“Okay everyone, please stay as still, and as calm, as you can.” I called out to them, coming to a halt on the ladder, and scanning the scene before me. “Sir, please stay as still as possible.” I said firmly when the man inside began moving around, jostling the cart, causing it to tilt and creak loudly, agitating the woman, and the other passengers earby.
“You’ve got to get us down, I’ve been stuck up here for long enough.” He shouted angrily, lurching to the side, stretching an arm out over the side.
“Mitch, no.” She pleaded urgently, trying to grab hold of him as the cart swung backwards, almost laying them down.
“No!” I said sharply, watching the cart slowly straighten up again, whilst scanning the ground to see how the others were getting on. “Please just remain still, Sir.”
“And what does staying still get us?” He asked bitterly, his knuckles whitening as he gripped the safety rail tightly, breathing slightly heavier as the swinging slowed.
I couldn’t believe the attitude of the man in front of me. I’d dealt with many instances where people acted without thinking, but this man wasn’t just toying with his own safety, he was risking other people’s lives. I struggled to keep the venomous tone out of my voice as I forced myself to keep a cool head, and remain professional, urging him to consider his actions carefully, for the sake of him and others on board. As the man turned away from me, to consider sniping with the female passenger, I tilted my head away from them and spoke into my radio.
“Any update on when we can get these guys moving again, Sub?”
“Machinery looks beyond immediate repair. We’re already moving on a manual override.” Alex replied.
“Got a time estimate?”
“Not yet. Everything okay up there?” He asked, sounding slightly concerned, clearly picking up on the fact that all wasn’t perfect.
“All good Sub. Just a particularly restless passenger.”
“None reported, and nothing I can see from here.”
There was a momentary silence on the other end, then he radioed back in to tell me he’d update me again soon.
I looked around at the other passengers stuck around the ride. Most were calm, thankfully, but the agitated man was showing no signs of calming down. In fact, his temper was climbing, and soon enough it was back to being aimed at me, and getting out of the cart again.
“Sir, you need to rem-”
“No. I need to get the fuck off this ride.” He yelled, cutting me off, his eyes blazing with anger. “Why are you just standing there? Do something. Get us down!”
“What’s your name?” I called out over the top of his rant.
His angry glare faded into a confused scowl.
“Mitch Raegan.” He said shortly.
As he finally stilled, I seized the moment to try to finally get through to him.
“Mitch, I need you to hear me. My team is down there, and they are already working to get all of you safely back down.” He began to peer over the edge, but I held a hand up and continued firmly: “Until then, I need you to listen to me, and stay still and calm. We don’t know if there are any other functions on the ride that are compromised, and at this height you are putting yourself, and your fellow passenger in danger.”
Slowly the anger faded into bitter understanding, and he shrank back, finally sitting calmly. I watched as the woman glanced at him, visibly relaxing, and resting a hand on his. She glanced my way and with a small smile, she mouthed ‘thank you’.
A little over an hour later, and everyone had made it back to the ground safely. Back on board the appliances, we travelled back to the station, and got on with the rest of the night. After dinner was done, we all sat around the table indulging in a few rounds of poker. The stakes being counted in the funds of cookies from the larder.
“I see your two cookies, and raise you two more.” Dodger smirked, pushing the little, green foil wrapped biscuits into the huge pile.
Cain laughed, his eyes twinkling with the usual confidence he showed when we played cards.
“I can read you like a book Dodge.” He said as he tossed two more cookies into the pile.
Dodger rolled his eyes, taking a sip of coffee from his mug and glancing at his cards again.
Alex, Jax and Sam added more cookies to the pile, whilst Will and Pixie sighed, tossing their cards down and folding.
“Rosie, in or out?” Cain smiled confidently.
I watched as she pulled her bottom lip between her teeth, biting it gently as she thought out her next move. I felt a familiar stirring inside at the sight, and lost myself briefly in the memory of biting that lip myself. She glowed with confidence as she tossed three cookies onto the heap, announcing her rise of the stakes.
“Looks like there’s finally someone about to take you down Hustler.” Sam laughed.
“About bloody time.” Will added, rising to his feet and heading to the kitchen with his glass.
A rumble of laughter rose from the group and I threw some cookies into the pile myself. As the stack rose higher, and it got later and later, Sam, Alex and myself soon folded too.
“Alright guys, let’s see those cards and head to bed.” Alex yawned.
I rubbed at my tired eyes and watched as they laid their cards on the smooth table top, and a loud groan rang out as we began to rise, none of us shocked by Cain’s winning hand, nor sticking around to watch him rake in his winnings.
“Sore losers, guys?” He called after us, laughing as he collected the vast amount of cookies.
“Not at all,” Dodger answered, walking past me and muttering under his breath: “Don’t choke on them now.”
I slapped him on the back, laughing as he turned and shrugged, before retreating into the dorm.
“He’s not a fan of losing is he?” Lacey spoke up from behind me.
“Not really.” I smiled.
“Night guys.” Cassandra smiled, heading past us and into the dorm, yawning and tying her long, golden hair up into a plait.
“Night Pix.” We replied in unison, lingering in the hall as the others filed in after her.
“How’s Marya doing?” Lacey asked, leaning back against the wall.
It had been a few days since the trip to my dad’s, and thankfully there had been no more contact from that asshole ex of hers.
“She’s doing good, thanks. She’s staying at Dad’s for a while. Just until she’s back on her feet.”
Lacey nodded with a faint smile.
“That sounds like a good idea.” She paused and ran her hand through her hair, “I had a really great time the other day. Maybe we can do it again sometime. If you want to of course.”
“Maybe without the asshole ex boyfriend though next time.” I teased.
Biting the inside of her cheek, she thought it over.
“I don’t know, I think the brawling added a certain element of entertainment.” She added sarcastically.
Rolling my eyes, I groaned.
“No, it really wasn’t great.”
She reached out, placing a hand on my forearm. My skin burned at her touch, heat pulsing through my veins as my body automatically moved closer to hers. Her eyes flicked to my lips as I backed her into the wall. I could feel her warm breath dance across my cheek as I closed in on her. We were barely an inch apart, my heart now pounding in my chest. It had been too long since I’d kissed her. I needed her, just like I needed the air to breathe. I reached up, cupping her cheek, my eyes drifting closed as my lips finally met hers. She pressed against me and kissed me back, her hands brushing my bare arms. The moment was fleeting though as a loud bang sounded overhead, and the sound of footsteps echoed on the staircase, causing us to leap apart.
“Shit.” I cursed under my breath. “Maybe we should…”
She nodded, taking the hint, and we darted into the dorm, climbing into our beds. I stared at the ceiling long after the sounds of everyone else’s soft breathing told me they were fast asleep, our kiss playing through my mind. It was hard to shut it off, and as I finally drifted off, images of Lacey naked beneath me, her lips locked with mine, and her back arching with pleasure, continued to race through my head, long into the night.
It wasn’t long after breakfast that the alarm bell rang through the station once again. Abandoning our coffees, we all rushed down to the appliances.
“Construction site collapse, Sycamore Avenue. Multiple persons reported.”
“Here we go again.” Jax sighed as he jumped up into the back of the truck.
I climbed in behind him, pulling the door closed and sitting down next to Sam, just as Will drove us out onto the street.
Arriving on site, the first thing that I saw was dust. Clouds of it filled the air. It was a disaster zone, groups of people were staggering around in all directions. Police and Ambulance units were on scene, helping the walking wounded to nearby paramedics, or safe areas away from the immediate danger.
“Shit.” Cain breathed, stepping out behind me and looking towards the mountain of rubble.
A police officer approached, making his way directly to Alex, and exchanging a few words. We waited for our orders, whilst a feeling of dread at what we’d find in the thick of the collapse, settled in my chest.
“Alright, we have reports of at least seven people unaccounted for so far, another three known to be trapped, and two dead.” He reeled off. “The area is confirmed unstable, so we have limited time to carry out search and rescue here guys. Let’s get started.”