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."
"Well we may be able to help too. Carolynn knows she is partly to blame for your injury and wishes to make amends by helping you until you can get on your feet again ... sorry bad wording. Anyway, she's willing to help you in whatever way she can, isn't that right?" Kevin noted she didn't seem overly keen but nodded her agreement.
"I don't believe it! You expect me to help that jerk to shower!" Carolynn screamed at her mother.
"You've been with naked boys before and it is not as though he can rape you and all you'll need to do is help him on to the plastic stool in the shower cubicle and maybe wash and dry the bits he can't get at easily," Denise smirked at her daughter's displeasure and the knowledge gave her a pay-back satisfaction for ignoring her instruction to slow down.
The hospital kept Kevin until the Friday but, with an acute shortage of beds and a reassurances from Denise and Carolynn that they would look after him until Social Services sorted themselves out, which now seemed likely to be the New Year, the doctors rather reluctantly gave permission for his discharge. Fortunately, wheelchair access to his bedsit wasn't a problem but indoors and without her mother overseeing things, Carolynn didn't hide her scorn and contempt for the boy she had in her care. Denise took them both to college in the repaired 4 x 4 and in public Carolynn made a show of pushing him to his lessons and helping him get his food in the cafeteria. To outward appearances she played the kind carer role to the full and many believed her performance. Kevin, of course, knew different but, being rather reticent by nature, kept quiet.
"Mother's taking us to the Christmas eve fair and market in town so I've to be here by nine to get you ready. Make sure you've been to the toilet and shaved before I get here."
"Just another of their doing-good shows," Kevin muttered when she left, "They just want to parade me in public like some doll, I'll be glad when Social Services get their finger out and the accident comes to court."
"Did you have to bring Legless along?" Rod Bilger, Carolynn's boyfriend of the moment, asked, his voice showing his disgust. They'd met with a group of boys and girls out for a good time and Kevin didn't feature in their plans.
"My bloody mother insisted on it."
"Let's see if we can park him somewhere out of the way and pick him up again after we've had a few beers."
Down a side street they came to a disused church with a bank of stone steps leading to a level area in front of the entrance. Kevin pleaded to be left alone but they ignored him and carried him on his wheelchair up to the entrance.
"We'll come and get you in an hour or so, don't go away," Carolynn grinned cruelly. This would be her retaliation for the grief he'd unwittingly caused her.
Trapped by the steps he couldn't negotiate on his own, Kevin wheeled himself into the overhang of the porch to get as much shelter from the bitterly cold wind as he could. Already shivering and without the blanket over his leg stumps because Carolynn refused to take it with them because it flapped around and sometimes got in the way of the wheels, the cold became more and more intense and he huddled into a small ball to try and conserve his body heat. An hour passed and then two, the cold gradually took hold of his weakened body and hyperthermia set in. A few people walked along the street below but they rarely looked up and if they did, they continued walking. Too cold to shout, he decided to stay still even when his shivering began to ease and a light-drowsiness took over and he almost fell asleep, his mind only vaguely registered the presence of a girl in a bright red woolly hat shaking him, trying to keep him awake.
When he opened his eyes again early that afternoon, the blonde, curly haired girl with a bright smile sat by his bedside holding his hand, "Hi Kev, I'm Sarah Bonnington, Merry Christmas or it will be in a few hours time. Glad I recognised your colourful hat and wheelchair when I walked by St. Margaret's and decided to see why you were up there. I work here in the hospital, junior admin in A&E, so I knew you couldn't have got there on your own and when I saw your condition, phoned 999 for the ambulance. The police want to talk to you when you're ready. They've picked up Carolynn and her friends who were enjoying themselves in the White Swan and have them in custody for questioning; they could have faced a manslaughter charge had I not come by." She stayed holding his hand throughout the police questioning and the reporter interview and they talked until later that evening, or rather she talked and he responded positively until he became too tired to remain awake and for a long while afterwards he remembered the feel of her kiss as she left.