At one time I lived in an area of the city that was nice and peaceful. But as the years dragged along the neighborhood began to make a sharp decline. The violence increased with murders every month or two becoming the commonplace. Vandalism, break and enters along with various assaults were everyday realities. There was also the much dreaded home invasion.
This area was also near a major hospital and several years back the city approved the construction of a ambulance station a block away from my house. The community picketed and protested, but it was a done deal whether we liked it or not. You may ask what the problem is with having an ambulance station near by. Simple. Sirens screaming at all hours of the day.
Construction of the ambulance station was completed in June of 2002. I still remember the first night. I was just dozing off in bed with the windows open for the hot August night when the whining of the first siren woke me. I wondered why at one in the morning it was necessary to use sirens when there was no traffic. I walked over to the kitchen window and looked over the backyard fence waiting for the ambulance to race by. It seemed to take forever, the siren wailing louder and louder. My kitchen then flashed in random red neon as the ambulance approached and soon the kitchen became bathed in red as it passed by. I shook my head. This was not going to be a good thing.
Every fifteen to thirty minutes the sirens would rip through the night and light up the windows in flames of red. The first night I didn't sleep a wink. I never really noticed the sirens through the day likely because I was at work and they would have been drowned out by the other traffic noise.
Night after night the sirens screeched and there was nothing anybody could do about it. The area fell into further decay as quality residents began to sell their houses and the buyers that replaced them were less than scrupulous and extremely viceful. The whole time the sirens continued to lament the darkness. I no longer could sleep and became irritable beyond normalcy. For what ever reason the sirens became louder over time and less tolerable. I was in the process of nervous deterioration from them and became obsessed. Every night I waited in strained anticipation for the next siren to howl into the night. I hated the red lights as well because everything appeared red to me with flashing afterimages.
I continued to fall into ill health from the sirens. Then one day I was pushed over the edge when the red flashing lights were so bright that they blinded me and the siren piped so loud it made me deaf. Everything rocked and shook as I lay on my back in bed. Was this the end? Then everything stopped shaking, the sirens became silent and the red lightning of the lights ceased. Two men then opened the backdoor to the ambulance and rushed me into emergency.