Tell A Tale in 500 Words
The Mugging By Kevin Crowe
I awoke from a nightmare. When the pain hit me, I knew it hadn't been a bad dream. I tried to move. I screamed in agony.
“You're probably better staying where you are for the time being. I'll ask the nurse if they can give you any pain killers.”
I turned my head towards the voice. I was having difficulty focussing: I could make out a figure but none of the details.
“What happened? Why am I here?”
“Don't worry about that for the moment,” the voice said, “the nurse'll be here soon. You just concentrate on getting better.”
I heard footsteps, then felt a jab in my arm. When I woke up again, I was alone in my hospital bed. I thought I must have imagined the voice. I was still in pain, but it was a bit more bearable. My vision had improved, and I could now see things with more clarity. But my brain felt like it was clogged with cotton wool. I had no memory of anything after leaving my home.
I tried to sit up. A nurse came over and told me not to move. I asked her what had happened.
“I wasn't there,” she said, “however I can tell you you're lucky to be alive. You would almost certainly be dead if it wasn't for your friend. According to the paramedics if he hadn't known what to do you would probably have bled to death. As it is, it'll be months before you're right. But at least you're alive – thanks to your friend Donald.”
I was puzzled. “I don't know anyone called Donald. Who is he? What happened?”
“Calm down. Apparently, he was the one who called the ambulance. And who kept you alive until the ambulance arrived. It looks like you'd been badly beaten up. The police will probably want to speak to you, to see if you can remember anything.”
I saw someone I recognised walking towards me. Someone I knew – and didn't like. “What the bloody hell's he doing here?” I asked.
“Now, now, don't swear. That's Donald.”
Oh so that's what the queer's name was. Got nothing against them, as long as they don't flaunt it. He had been flaunting it, with his boyfriend. That's why we threatened them the day we saw them holding hands in the pub.
Donald smiled at me. “How are you feeling now?” he asked.
“Don't touch me!”
He shrugged his shoulders. “No worry. You're not my type.” He sat down.
“Why'd you do it?” I asked.
“Save my life. After I'd threatened you.”
“Oh, I wouldn't go that far. I just did what anyone would have done. I saw your attackers running away, then I saw you. Couldn't just leave you there.”
I could feel the tears beginning to fall. “Thank you,” I said, “and I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. About my threatening you.”
“No worries. That's all in the past now.”
If I could, I would have taken his hand.
Kevin Crowe, November, 2016.
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