Please take note!
This is a work of fiction, any resemblance to persons living, dead or otherwise is purely coincidental. The ideas and thoughts that follow are pure fantasies. In real life, at the very least they would be unpleasant and probably illegal. Fantasies are like that; daydreams where we can contemplate and imagine the sensations without suffering or inflicting the pain, despair or humiliation.
© obohobo 2011
Kevin hated the blind corner on the narrow rural road from Lower Upton to Castonwick, the town where he attended Art College. With trees and bushes obscuring the view on the inside of the bend and a high earth bank with closely spaced mature oaks on the outside, most motorists would slow and stay behind his cycle until they could see the clear road ahead but a few always took a chance and accelerated past him, assuming they'd not meet any oncoming traffic. Since starting college in September, he'd seen a few near misses but luckily, no accidents.
On that fateful morning in early December, road conditions were particularly treacherous. Rain the previous day had cleared during the evening and with the temperature dropping to -5° Celsius patches of ice formed on the road especially under the drip line of the trees, and the low sun that shone directly into the drivers faces when they turned the corner, added to the hazard.
With the peak of the multicoloured woolly hat he wore under his cycling helmet pulled down to shade his eyes, Kevin saw another cyclist approaching and a white van about to overtake him, its offside wheels well over the median white line. Simultaneously he heard the engine of a car following him rev up and start to overtake. "Bloody hell!" Kevin yelled, as fear for his life became a reality. Too late the drivers saw each other and tried to take evading action. The car driver jerked the wheel to cut in front of Kevin but, hitting one of the ice patches, the car spun ninety degrees and hit Kevin square on, knocking him and his cycle deeply into the bank until one of the larger oak roots prevented further progress. He awoke in hospital.
The van too skidded, crossed the median line and hit another car, a Ford Fiesta, sending it and the van into the bank causing non-life threatening injuries to the occupants but writing off both vehicles.
"Slow down Carolynn," Denise Battesford ordered her learner driver daughter, but resentful of the her mother's intrusion, the teenager ignored the instruction and accelerated to pass the slow moving cyclist. The sun's glare momentarily blinded her and too late she saw the oncoming van. Instinctively putting her foot on the brake and swinging the wheel to avoid the van, sent the car spinning out of control and before she'd time to react further, it came to an abrupt and violent halt, causing the air bags to deploy. In the last few micro-seconds before the impact she saw Kevin, whom she knew vaguely from seeing him at college but with him being a year below her and not in her social class, they had never spoken.
With the road now blocked in both directions and the rush hour traffic heading towards the town building up, it took the police, fire service and ambulance twenty-five minutes to arrive on the scene and even longer for them to free Kevin from the bank and the remains of his bicycle, part of which remained embedded in his legs.
Groggily Kevin peered around, "I'm in hospital and I'm alive, I don't feel too sore but I need to find a loo," he muttered and threw the bedclothes back, "Shit," he said loudly when his arm and shoulder pained him. A nurse appeared at his bedside, "Ah, I hear you are awake, you're in Castonwick General Hospital if you haven't guessed that already."
He nodded, "I was just going to find a loo."
The nurse looked sad and a little worried, "Kevin, I'm afraid you won't be walking anywhere for some time, the surgeons amputated both your legs below the knees, you don't have any feet."
"I thought the road was clear, mother, I really did," Carolynn tearfully responded to her mother berating her for not taking notice of her instructions, "What will they do to us, to me?"
"I don't know dear, but your father will get the firm's lawyer on to it. That van driver is equally to blame, perhaps more so as he is an experienced driver, but it is that poor boy you should be thinking about. Jayne in the village shop told me he won't be able to walk for months and he lives alone and has few or no friends in the area so maybe you'll have to help him and to make some reparation for the injuries you caused. That will also help your case should it come to court."
"But he's a nobody boy, mother, not in my circle of friends at all and wouldn't be if he were older."
"Maybe so, but it will be in your best interest to be seen to show remorse and take a bit of the responsibility for his care, even if it is only getting his work from college and sitting with him for a bit, or pushing his wheelchair when they discharge him from hospital."
Propped up on pillows, Kevin looked at the horrifying pictures and read the article on the accident in the Castonwick Daily Times and wondered how the elderly woman driver of the Ford and the van driver escaped without serious injury. From the battered state of the two vehicles, they should have been dead. His attention focussed on the blonde bitch that drove the big 4 x 4 that hit him. "Bloody spoilt brat, even in high school when she had brown hair and wore glasses, she thought herself better than everyone else, I bet her rich father gets her off without any punishment," he thought. "What will I do for a living now? My hands and arms work so I can still draw and maybe sell a few cartoons but I'll find it even more difficult to get a job at the end of the design course, even if I can complete it. How will I get to the college? There are busses but the bus stop is nearly three-quarters of a mile from my bedsit and busses will add to my expenses. The surgeon did say I would get artificial feet and be walking in six months or so when the stumps have hardened but what will I do when they release me from here in a week or two? I suppose they'll provide an ambulance for my visits but I'll need to go to the supermarket for food. Maybe Social Services or perhaps there are voluntary organisations that will help even if I cannot afford to pay them."
Looking around at the visitors arriving to talk with other patients, gloomily he realised that the only visitors he'd had in the three days he'd been in hospital, were the police and reporters. From them he learned that the immediate impact of the heavy car, started to throw him out of the saddle but such was the speed of the vehicle that before he cleared his cycle, the car's bumper hit the crossbar and rammed his legs into it, forcing him and the remains of his bike, deep into the soil crushing and burying his feet. The fire service rescue team left a section of the crossbar embedded in his legs, the paramedics cleaned away the superficial dirt and the air ambulance doctor gave him an injection that kept him unconscious until the surgeons finished operating.
One of the visiting policemen brought the contents of his pannier bags and the folded remains of his art folder to the hosital. "Thank you, at least I have my sketch books and pencils so I can amuse myself instead of trying to read books I've no interest in," Kevin thanked the officer, "I hope my tutor will accept my course work when it is taped up, that is if I can get back to the course," he added sadly.
Despite bouts of depression, Kevin's time in the hospital had its highlights too. Having his sketchpad, cheered Kevin enormously and he found his hands had lost none of their ability to draw and began filling the pages with caricatures and cartoons of the staff and patients as well as imaginary animals and bestiary. On Saturday afternoon a couple with their young daughter, Jade, came to visit the little girl's grandfather in a bed opposite to him. Bored after five minutes of the visit, she wandered over to see his drawings and asked for him to draw animals for her, and then noticing his drawings of patients, asked if he would draw her. "Only if you can sit still," Kevin grinned. In five minutes he'd pencilled in the main outlines and allowed her to watch as he added colour with felt tip pens. First her mother came over to see what her daughter was doing with the man and then her father came after the mother expressed her admiration for the work. "Will you do a portrait of my wife, I'll pay you?" the husband asked.
"Only if you get me a new sketch pad like this. I can't get out to get another."
They came again on Sunday and Jade brought him his sketchpad and had a smaller one and pencils for herself. Needless to say, the wife's portrait didn't get started until the evening visiting session when they left Jade with friends.
Very much to his surprise, towards the end of visiting time when he'd been in hospital for over a week and the doctors suggested he might be discharged on Friday if suitable arrangements for his care could be made, Carolynn and her mother arrived bringing the traditional bag of grapes and after unnecessary introductions Denise enquired how he felt and how he planned to cope with life when he returned home. "I don't really know, the nurse said I should get some help from Social Services and a district nurse would visit to change dressings and things but nothing has been said officially. I will have to keep coming back here for therapy and check-ups and later on I should get false feet."
.... There is more of this story ...