Evil Ambulance by Mark Rinker
By Mark Rinker
Genre: YA Paranormal
Eighteen-year-old Eric Donnelly moved to a small town in Pennsylvania, to live with his uncle, Dan, while his parents finalize their divorce.
Dan has recently purchased an old house which sits atop a three-mile hill overlooking the town of Riverwood; a house which is host to the decades-old presence of Victor Devlin, a homicidal ambulance driver responsible for a series of brutal murders years before.
Eric soon finds himself alone, as the spirit of the ambulance driver begins to inhabit his uncle’s body, and each night Devlin’s ambulance appears in the driveway, eerily glowing, calling to Eric.
Two people had been unfortunate enough to be home when Victor had showed up at the front door of the house on Winding Way. The house at the top of the hill. No neighbors up here. It wasn’t his fault; the cops had forced him there, chased him there. He hoped they were happy with what they found there: a young couple each with a new, red smile drawn across their necks. The result of their chasing him, forcing him into a corner.
You can’t trap a wild animal and not expect him to lash out—at everyone and everything around it.
He scolded himself, continued saying the words, tried not to think of the police upstairs. If the incantation didn’t work before they got down to the basement— Yes, I am a wild animal.
His own voice shouted at him inside his head, demanding he focus, shut out distractions, focus on the words and—
He stared straight ahead at the wall, repeated the words, over and over, faster, then slower, trying to find the right pace—and blocked everything else from his mind.
He stepped past Eric and crossed the short distance between their rooms. He found Eric’s room bathed in a most unusual glow. Something about the light seemed to move, like fish swimming through it, or waves caressing one another. Waves of dull light. What could possibly be going on here? he thought again.
He crossed the room, to the window. Eric stood in the doorway, watching him. Dan placed his hands on the window ledge, propping himself up, because he most definitely felt like he might collapse again.
The ambulance, the source of the glow, waited in the driveway. It sat there, still, its engine purring, in terrific shape for a vehicle many decades old. The lights atop the ambulance didn’t light up or spin, but were enveloped by—and at the same time, exuding—the yellow, murky glow which consumed the rest of the vehicle.
Dan was only able to look at it for about ten seconds—ten seconds in which he was transfixed, absorbed entirely—before a sudden pain, worse than any he’d felt yet, attacked him, hit him square in the forehead, and knocked him to the floor.
“Dan!” Eric was crossing the room in a hurry.
Dan faintly registered the sound of the ambulance pulling out of the driveway. He held both hands to his forehead, tears spilling out of his eyes, the pain driving into his skull, into his brain. He was unable to scream, though he’d never known anything as terrifying as that sudden hellish jolt.
Halbert saw the ambulance lunge towards them. It was impossible—the driver was outside, ten feet in front of him, hands up—but that’s what was happening. The ambulance rushed forward at a remarkable pace, and then somehow became airborne. Halbert was impressed with his own reaction, when he thought on it later. He registered what was happening, was still standing still as the ambulance jumped towards them, but he somehow dodged it, spun around, and dove out of the way.
The ambulance crunched down on the back of the cruiser, and slammed down onto the road behind the demolished vehicle.
Halbert dropped his gun. It landed on the ground, and it wasn’t until the ambulance had made it down to the next intersection, turning right, that he realized it was no longer in his hand.
Mark R. Rinker was born in California, but has spent most of his life in eastern Pennsylvania. His short story, “Dog Mask” was published earlier this year by Dark Gothic Resurrected magazine, and Evil Ambulance is his first novel.
We start in the past when the horrors began. Victor Devlin is trapped and on the verge of being caught. Using his last resort, he hides out in the basement. He takes out his vial and chants words in his head which invoke the incantation to begin...by the time the police bust in on him, the incantation is complete and victor is gone in a flash of green smoke. The we come into the present and meet young Eric Donnelly, who is a new HS graduate. His parents are on the verge of a divorce which leaves him feeling left out and empty. There is enough tension at home that it made home life miserable for Eric. He decides to go live with his Uncle Dan and start a new leaf on life. Little does he know that life isn't about to get better, it's about to get creepy and scary. After arriving to live with his uncle he tries to make the best of it, but can't help but feel he isn't really missed back home, even by his Girlfriend Dodger. When his uncle starts acting strange and his appearance and everyday patters chance Eric thinks that Dan is sick, but when the Evil ambulance shows up, Eric knows something at the house isn't right. His uncle is sleeping at odd hours, acting nonchalant and becomes forgetful and it only escalates into screaming and he is in obvious pain, not to mention not breathing right and his facial features have changed, Eric knows it has to do with the ambulance. He seeks out help in unlikely places and meets some creepy people who are hiding something about the house Eric is living in. When one shows up at the house uninvited Eric and Dan are both afraid of what will happen next.
Dan Donnelly is Eric's uncle, although not close, he understands all to well the pain a divorce can bring as a divorcee himself. He just recently purchased the house on the top of the hill, the only way up...a winding turning road which only leads to the house. He has no knowledge of the horror ans secrets the house has. Its only after he wakes up in the basement and can't remember why he was there that things start to take the turn. He starts getting sick, he sleeps on and off, and he can't remember certain things. He's reluctant to let Eric help him thinking its just a passing ailment. However, when he is pinned to his bed and can't move he knows things aren't right in his house. He thinks things will just pass, but with Eric revelation about the house he's starting to believe in the paranormal himself.
Eric has trouble dealing with being in a new place, with no friends and is unprepared to find the town is tiny, it doesn't even have a hospital. When he heads into town to explore he decides to investigate the local bookstore and finds out that some people know the horrors first hand and others are wanting to keep what they know secret. When Eric meets someone who knew first hand, he didn't expect him to come-a-callin'. Its only then that everything comes full circle and the ending is nothing short of a shocker.
Overall: I'd give it a 3 of 5, as I certainly got more into the story as the paranormal elements kicked in. I grew to like Eric, but with him being such a downer it was hard to feel sorry for him when all he could think about was did anyone miss him back home? And should he ditch his uncle and return home when things got scary or stay and help his uncle.