Chapter 2Darren looked down at the woman, and squeezed her hand. “You're going to make it”, he said, mainly to himself. His eyes took in the spreading pool of blood beneath her head, the loss of colour in her face, the breathing, getting shallower. He had no idea what he was doing, but he fumbled for her wrist. He'd seen enough of Holby City to know the basics, and while he had no way of measuring her heart rate or blood pressure, her pulse seemed strong. Unless that was the pulse in his finger? Had he heard that somewhere? Was there a pulse in his finger? He realised he was panicking, and tried to control his breathing.
Darren took off his hoodie and placed it over the woman, who had started to shiver, spasms shaking her shoulders and making her cough. He made a somewhat bizarre spectacle, half naked, kneeling in the road, the remainder of his hair product smeared over his forehead, like some kind of prize fighter cooing over a fallen opponent.
The foreman had now appeared, and he was furious. He frogmarched Darren down an alleyway and pushed him against a wall. “All you had to do was tighten the fucking bolts! What's the matter with you? What have you done?”
“S'not my fault”, mumbled Darren. “Spanner slipped”
“Is that all you can say for yourself? Well fuck off. You're no use to me. If I get asked about this, I will tell them that you entered the site without my permission. You're not insured and you're working off the books. You're not taking me with you. Twat!”. He spat the last word and turned on his heel. Then he turned back. “You know, when I saw you this morning, dressed like that, I thought I'd never get my men to work for laughing at you. Now I'm glad. No-one will believe you belong here. And that's because you don't. Fuck off!” He turned again and tried to get his crew back to work. But there was way too much excitement for that. Darren returned to his roadside vigil and knelt once more at the woman's side.
Thankfully one of the gathering crowd had called an ambulance, and after a brief wait, it pulled up next to the building site. Two paramedics got out, and quickly made their way to the scene of the accident. While the female one started to speak to the woman, getting her to count fingers and name the prime minister, the male one urged Darren out of the way, and took his place at the woman's side. He took the pulse (fifty) and the blood pressure (eighty over sixty) and shot a concerned glance at his colleague. “We need to get this woman to hospital now. Her pulse is faint and her blood pressure is very low. She's lost a lot of blood and needs an immediate transfusion, a skull X-ray, possibly an MRI scan. There's a swelling that may well be a sub-dural haematoma”. They carefully moved the victim onto a stretcher, applied a dressing to the back of her head, let the ambulance's lift manoeuvre the gurney into place and locked it into position.
“Can I come with her?” blurted Darren, all pretence at cool long left by the wayside. “I was the one who...” He looked down to avoid the eye of his foreman, who watched him intently. “I was the one who found her”.
The paramedic looked at him and nodded. “Yes, the police will want to interview you about this. Jump in.”
Darren put on his now bloody hoodie and entered the ambulance with a sense of trepidation. There were no good outcomes from this. If he admitted to working illegally, he would lose his benefits, probably get fined by the DSS and almost certainly get a good hiding from the foreman, maybe even the whole crew. If he didn't, and went along with the foreman's story that he trespassed onto the building site and presumably just dropped the spanner on the woman, he would get arrested for both crimes.
But these were matters to consider later. He sat beside the stretcher and held the woman's hand in his, squeezing it, waiting for a response. But the oxygen mask now covered her face and all was still beneath it. Her hand was flaccid in his. The bleeping of the heart monitor continued to play its vaguely comforting tune, but in a most disquieting tempo. It was noticeably slower than the machines he'd seen on TV.
The ambulance lurched forwards, the sirens started, and paramedics, victim and perpetrator started their journey towards the hospital.